Buhari regime denies approving use of AK-47 rifles to state security outfits

The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has denied approving the use of automatic rifles like AK-47 to state government’s security outfits.

Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, gave the clarification in a statement on Tuesday in apparent response to the allegation of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State that Katsina State government was allowed to arm its security outfit automatic rifles while similar outfits in the Southern part of the country were being prevented.

Mr Akeredolu while expressing the disapproval, last week, vowed to bypass the federal government and arm Western Security Network popularly known as Amotekun in the South-West geo-political zone with AK-47 riffles to combat banditry and violent herdsmen rampaging the region.

Below is the statement from Mr Shehu where the clarification is contained.


The Presidency wishes to strongly assert that there is no state, not Katsina, not any other state in the federation, that has been authorized to procure automatic weapons for their security outfits.

Under this administration, the President has repeatedly made it clear that nobody is allowed to illegally carry AK-47 or any other automatic weapons and that they must surrender them.

Where they fail to do so, the law enforcement agencies have been given clear directives to deal with any such outlaws.

Under the existing regulations, only the Office of the National Security Adviser can issue such authorization, upon proper clearance by the President and Commander-in-Chief and as it is at this moment, no such approvals have been issued to any state government.

In the specific Katsina State often cited, the Governor, Aminu Bello Masari wrote to explain that the administration invited the Provost of the Civil Defence Training College in Katsina to train their Vigilantes for a five-day period “in the handling and operations of Pump Action Rifles,” emphasizing that “the Vigilantes were not trained to take over the responsibilities of the security agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria but to assist them.”

The Presidency appreciates the active involvement of states with security matters.

As they continue to expand their capabilities as well as their active collaboration with law enforcement agencies of the federation, the joint efforts continue to yield good results, thwarting attempts of terrorists to wreak havoc and destruction on communities.

The President in particular has expressed happiness that in the last couple of years, security outfits mandated by state governments have been associated with several important initiatives, and reports have reached him of acts of utmost bravery and professionalism.

He thanks them for their alertness that is helping to defeat nefarious plots against targets at grassroots levels.

He, however, cautions against the politicization of security.

Government at the centre with a national mandate cannot afford to alienate Ondo State or any other state for that matter on the important issue of security and urges leaders at various levels to exercise restraint in their speech, even as we are in a political season.

Garba Shehu
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)