The Nigeria Police Force has disclosed that it has yet to receive any application for firearms licences from any quarters.
Recall that 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 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 liberalization 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 terrorize 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?”