Friday, September 30, 2022

Buhari should also allow Amotekun bear arms like Tompolo, others: Akeredolu

Ondo governor Rotimi Akeredolu has again urged President Muhammadu Buhari to allow Amotekun Corps to carry sophisticated arms to protect the people.

• September 7, 2022
President Muhammadu Buhari and Ondo governor Rotimi Akeredolu
President Muhammadu Buhari and Ondo governor Rotimi Akeredolu

Ondo governor Rotimi Akeredolu has again urged President Muhammadu Buhari to allow the State Security Network, Amotekun Corps, to carry sophisticated arms to protect the people.

Mr Akeredolu argues that since the Buhari regime has allowed non-state actors, who were engaged to protect oil pipelines, in the Niger Delta axis, the state security outfit should also be given the authority to bear arms.

“If you can allow individuals to carry heavy arms to protect pipelines, why won’t you allow Amotekun to carry a sophisticated weapon to protect the people,” the governor posited. “The oil facilities are not more important than the lives of the people.”

The Ondo governor’s renewed position followed the award of an Oil Pipeline Surveillance contract to former armed militant, Government Ekpemupolo, otherwise known as Tompolo by the federal government.

Mr Akeredolu, a member of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), had last week criticised the multi-billion naira pipeline security contract in a statement titled “Who actually needs Weapon?”, describing the contract as “unsettling”.

He said; “If the state governments, which are keenly desirous of protecting their citizens, establish ancillary security outfits and there has been pronounced reluctance, if not outright refusal, to consider permitting them to bear arms for the sole purpose of defence, granting private individuals and or Organisations unfettered access to assault weapons suggests, curiously, deep-seated suspicion and distrust between the Federal Government and the presumed federating units.” 

The governor said in reference to the Buhari regime’s reluctance to support states that have established security outfits.

Speaking on Wednesday at the commissioning of the newly reconstructed office complex of the Ondo State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (OSOPADEC) in Oba-Ile, Mr Akeredolu noted that some governors have failed to understand his position on the oil pipeline surveillance contract awarded by the Buhari regime.

“I have no issue with the Federal Government awarding surveillance contracts to anybody. It is the Federal Government’s money. They can use it anyhow they want,” he said.

He however said the federal government should allow states to tackle festering insecurity in their own ways.

“Here, we are spending our money on Amotekun. And what I said in my statement titled “Who Actually Needs Weapons” was that the federal government should allow Amotekun to carry  sophisticated weapons like those whom they awarded pipeline surveillance contracts.” The governor added.

Many states of the federation, including Ondo, have set up local security outfits to combat security challenges in their domains. Their operations have however been hampered by inability to carry sophisticated weapons to face daredevil criminals. 

The right to grant approval for use of firearms is exclusively preserved for the government at the centre, according to the Nigerian Constitution.

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