The Nigeria Police Force said it has yet to receive any application for firearms licences from any quarters.

The Zamfara State Government had in June directed the police command in the state to issue licences to those eligible to bear arms as part of moves to tackle security challenges in the state.

Also, the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, had on August 5 said the state government would legally procure AK-47 rifles for its security outfit, the Volunteer Guard.

But speaking in an interview with The PUNCH on Monday, the Force Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, said there was no such request at the moment.

“We have not received any request for firearms approval,” he said.

When asked if the force was considering lifting of the ban on firearms licences due to worsening insecurity, Adejobi declined further comment.”

Meanwhile, retired security personnel in separate interviews advised that instead of allowing individuals to bear firearms, the various security outfits established by state governments should be considered.

One of them, a former Director of the Department of State Services, Mike Ejiofor, said there was nothing wrong if the various security outfits bear arms.

He said, “I have been in support of liberalisation of firearms. Licensed guns are not meant for protection but sporting. Protection of lives and properties is the exclusive right of the government.

“The various vigilante groups and the security outfits created by Ortom and others are armed. What they are clamouring for is for them to bear prohibited firearms. To me, there is nothing wrong with them carrying arms, but they can’t because the law has not been amended for them to do so.

“I believe the National Assembly should make a law that would allow these security outfits to carry these sophisticated firearms to defend the people, if we cannot allow individuals to do so. We need to do this so that this can be controlled and regulated.”

Also, a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, Adedayo Adeoye, asked state governments to mount pressure on the President to allow their state security outfits to bear arms.

He said, “Unless the laws are reviewed, they cannot bear firearms. My advice is that the state governments should put pressure on the President to allow them to arm the various security outfits set up to curb insecurity. They deserve to carry firearms. If bandits can bear arms, how do you expect them to engage them?”

A retired Nigerian Army personnel, Colonel Saka Foluso (retd.), said arm bearing required training, warning that insecurity in the country might worsen if everyone is granted access.

He said, “We are in a failed country. From all indications, people using these firearms to terrorise citizens didn’t get licence.   What efforts are in place to curb proliferation of arms?

“Arm bearing requires training, otherwise, the carrier will misuse it. In a situation where it is thrown open, how many people do you want to train?”

Afenifere blames Buhari

The pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has expressed worries over security challenges in the country.

The group, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Jare Ajayi, on Monday wondered if the President, Major General

Muhammadu Buhari ( retd.), was aware of the situation at all.

The group urged Buhari to end killings and abductions across the country.

The group said, “ Because of the kid-glove manner with which government is dealing with them, terrorists and kidnappers have been so emboldened that they now attack security institutions at will and malevolently go into houses of their victims to deal with fellow Nigerians – all under the watch of government and security agencies!

“President Muhammadu Buhari needs to come out and let perpetrators of terrorism and kidnapping know that he has had enough.

“He should let them realise that the pact he signed with Nigerians was not to come and see to the serial termination of their lives but to ensure their security, improve their welfare and move the nation to a desirable next level.

“Unfortunately, the President has not been able to deliver on any of the desirables. He only brought to the nation, the negatives which were far from the expectation of anybody.”

Ajayi restated Afenifere’s position on the need to allow state police and to properly take care of security agencies generally.

 Ohanaeze slams President

The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation Ohanaeze Ndigbo, also on Monday, berated the President, for the recent utterances on the killings in the South East.

While it condemned the security situation in the South East, the highest Igbo body said the utterances of the President was not only very uncharitable, but mischievous to poison undiscerning minds by insinuating that non-indigenes and security officials are killed by the terrorists in the South East.

President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide, Ambassador George Obiozor, in a statement on Monday, said though Ohanaeze Ndigbo condemns the killings and violence imposed on the South East, the President cannot turn around to blame the victims.

The apex Igbo body noted that the failure of the Nigerian security agents to fish out criminals cannot be blamed on the Igbo.

Protest in Ogbomoso

Residents of Ogbomoso, Oyo State trooped out on Monday to stage a peaceful protest against worsening insecurity in some parts of the town.

The security awareness rally followed series of abductions especially in the Surulere Local Government Area where an hotelier, Mr Olugbenga Owolabi; and a final student of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Rachael Opadele, were killed by kidnappers after collecting ransom. The ransom bearer escaped with injuries but the motorcyclists, who took him there, Idowu Ajagbe, was also shot dead by the hoodlums.

 The awareness rally, which was organised by the Ogbomoso Consultative Forum headed by a former Military Governor of Oyo State, Major General Oladayo Popoola (retd); Dr Saka Balogun and Justice Afolabi Adeniran ( retd.), attracted a huge crowd of young and old who gathered at Takie Square.

The protesters, who were armed with placards with various inscriptions denouncing insecurity and killing of the three persons, called on the government to improve security in the town.

Members of Odu’a Peoples Congress, Agbekoya, and other vigilante said they were ready to stop criminals from further perpetrating their activities in Ogbomoso and its environs.

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