By Dapo Akinrefon, Dayo Johnson, Evelyn Usman, Victoria Ojeme, Rotimi Ojomoyela, Adeola Badru & James Ogunnaike
Attorneys-General of the six South-West States have agreed that the operatives of the Security Network Agency codenamed Operation Amotekun, will be allowed to bear licenced arms subject to the approval of the Inspector-General of Police.
However, the Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba, declined to state the kind of firearms the Amotekun personnel will bear.
“I have not seen it (Amotekun Bill) I don’t know its content and I cannot speak on something I have not seen,” he told Vanguard on phone, Wednesday.
Section 18 of of the Amotekun draft bill states that: (1) “The Ekiti State Amotekun Corps shall, subject to the approval of the Inspector General of Police have the power to bear licensed arms in the performance of its duties and as may be incidental to the operation of its objectives under this Law.
(2) The Ekiti State Amotekun Corps shall also have power to: (a) collaborate with similar security agencies, particularly in Ogun, Lagos, Ondo, Osun and Oyo states in the enforcement of the provisions of this Law; and
(b) share intelligence, equipment and resources with similar security agencies, particularly in Ogun, Lagos, Ondo, Osun and Oyo states.
Fire Arms Act
According to the Fire Arms Act, only the President and Inspector General of Police are authorized to issue license for firearms.
Part Two of the Fire Act states: No person shall have in his possession or under his control any firearm of one of the categories specified in Part I of the Schedule hereto (hereinafter referred to as a prohibited firearm) except in accordance with a license granted by the President acting in his discretion.
No person shall have in his possession or under his firearms control any firearm of one of the categories specified in Part II of the Schedule to this Act (hereinafter referred to as a personal firearm) except in accordance with a licence granted in respect thereof by the Inspector-General of Police, which licenses shall be granted or refused in accordance with principles decided upon by the National Council of Ministers.
There are, however, insinuations that if the operational modus of Armotekun, in terms of issuing firearms to members is not in line with the federal government’s position, it may hit the brick wall.
Again, if its legislation clashes with that of existing federal legislation, there are fears that it could be rendered void to the extent of the inconsistency.
A senior security agent who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said, If their law runs foul of the firearms law, then it will be void to the extent of the inconsistency.” So, I wonder how they are going to get the license for those arms if they don’t bring their operational modus in line with the federal government’s position.