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Amosun’s private armoury

Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State
Ibikunle Amosun, a former Governor of Ogun State

Ogun State Police Commissioner Bashir Makama confirmed on Tuesday, June 25 that former state governor Ibikunle Amosun handed over 1.4 million rounds of ammunition, three ballistic helmets and one Armoured Personnel Carrier to the state police command.  Makama said he has the statutory responsibility to disarm and dispossess Amosun at the expiration of his tenure as governor. The CP also said police records show that Amosun had in 2012, as Ogun State governor, given 1,000 AK47 rifles to the state police command but he denied seeing any weapon during the disarming process.

According to CP Makama, Force Headquarters was aware of the receipt of the ammunition. He said, “I don’t keep anything to myself. It’s not my personal property. He did not dash me. He did not say ‘Makama, I dash you’. They (ammunition) are safely in our armoury and when it’s time to use them, we will decide.” It would be recalled that former Governor Amosun, now Senator representing Ogun Central Senatorial district had, on the eve of his handing over power on May 29, contacted the state’s CP Bashir Makama and declared that he had arms and ammunition in Government House, which he wanted to hand over to the police. At the handing-over event, Amosun said he procured the arms and ammunition in order to check the widespread insecurity in the state. He kept them at the Government House Armoury to ensure they were not allocated indiscriminately by security agencies, Amosun said.

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Four weeks after the handing and taking over of the ammunition, the Nigerian public, including security operatives, are still alarmed that a civilian governor would create an armoury to stockpile ammunition. The law stipulates that End-User Certificate (EUC) requests for arms and ammunition must be made by approved security agencies on behalf of themselves or their qualified vendors. No provision in this law recognises Amosun or his state as an approved security agency or qualified security equipment vendor. The National Security Adviser’s office is the only government institution responsible for issuing EUCs.

Reacting to allegations in the media over illegal possession of arms by Amosun, his media aide Rotimi Durojaiye said Ogun State government got necessary approval from former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to obtain EUC with Serial Number 000001123 dated March 5, 2012 from the NSA’s office to procure the arms. Durojaiye said the insinuation that security assets were quickly handed over to the police in order that the new administration in Ogun State will not know about them is laughable. Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu however said there’s nothing sinister about Amosun’s armoury.

Arms proliferation has long been known to be major contributory factors to insurgency, bandit attacks, armed robberies, communal conflicts, religious disturbances and post-election violence in Nigeria. These crises usually result in the killing of hundreds of people each time they occur. Arms proliferation has also been linked to the upsurge in kidnapping as well as farmer/herders violence across the country. Illegal possession of arms is a criminal offence under several Nigerian statutes, including the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act (1984) and the Firearms Act (1990).

Sequel to claims and counter-claims on this matter, we call on the federal government to investigate the procurement of surrendered weapons by Ibikunle Amosun while in office as governor. The investigation must establish whether Amosun procured the arms and ammunition without obtaining EUC from the office of the NSA. If the procurement was done without the EUC, the Nigeria Customs should be asked why it failed to intercept the illegal arms at the point of entry into the country. The panel of investigation must equally ascertain whether Amosun acquired far more weapons than he submitted to the police because it’s not impossible that some of them are already in wrong hands. The report of this investigation should be made public to educate Nigerians on whether Amosun’s action as a governor was in line with the law as claimed by the presidency.

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