A former director with the Department of State Services, Mike Ejiofor, has urged the Federal Government to allow state-owned security outfits bear prohibited firearms like AK-47 so that they can match up with the assault rifles of non-state actors like bandits and terrorists.
“This is one of the best ways the Federal Government should even help check crimes. Allow these well, formal, established security outfits like Amotekun, virtually all states have their own vigilante and security outfits, allow them to carry these prohibited firearms, they will be more effective because they are close to the ground than the police.
“We need to arm these well-established and organized security outfits if we don’t want to give arms to private citizens,” Ejiofor said on Channels Television’s Sunrise show on Saturday.
He argued that well-established and organised security outfits like Amotekun, Ebubeagu, Benue Guards, and private outfits deployed to banks will be more effective if allowed to bear prohibited firearms.
He said more violence is likely to be recorded in the country as campaigns start on September 28 because politicians know they can no longer manipulate election results.
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Ejiofor said organised security outfits are meant to complement the efforts of the police to secure the country but noted that private-owned security firms and their regional counterparts won’t be effective if not licensed to bear assault rifles.
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State had recently accused the Federal Government of granting a security outfit in Katsina State right to bear arms whilst same privilege has not been granted to Amotekun Corps.
However, Ejiofor said Akeredolu’s claims are still allegations and expressed disappointment that the Federal Government has not reacted to the governor’s accusations.
“I want to comment on the arming of vigilantes in Katsina State. I don’t believe that story and I am surprised that government has not issued a statement to confirm or refute that allegation,” he said.
Earlier, the 19 governors of northern Nigeria and traditional rulers in the region had backed state police to curb the growing kidnapping, banditry and terrorism in their respective states, a development lauded by their southern colleagues.