'No More Licence For Firearms'
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, on Sunday restated that the ban imposed on the issuance of fresh licences for the procurement of firearms was still in force.
He made the declaration in a statement issued in Abuja by CSP Frank Mba, the Deputy Force Public Relations Officer.
Abubakar also reminded the public that the ban was imposed in exercise of the powers vested in the President and the IG respectively by the Firearms Act, to restrict the proliferation of firearms in the country.
“Consequently, the Nigeria Police Force wishes to state that in furtherance of the subsisting embargo, it has not and does not intend to issue permits to any person, group of persons, organisation or agency of any state government, for the procurement or purpose of bearing firearms.”
The IGP noted the concern expressed by many Nigerians over the eligibility and rumoured desire of some groups to bear firearms.
“The Nigeria Police Force wishes to categorically state that the extant laws guiding the use of firearms explicitly prohibit the bearing of various categories of firearms, without requisite licences.
“Members of the public should therefore note that it is an offence punishable under the law for: (i) a person to have in his possession or under his control any prohibited firearms without a licence granted by the President;
“(ii) a person to have in his possession or under his control, a personal firearm without a licence issued by the IGP; “(iii) any person to import or export firearms or ammunition without the appropriate licence.”
The police urged vigilante groups and other sincere community efforts aimed at ensuring the people’s safety and security to work in partnership with the local police authorities.
Mohammed, however, stressed that the conduct and practice of such groups must be in total conformity with the laws of the land, reiterating the determination of the police to uphold the existing restriction on the use of firearms.
“It is also in that vein that the force has closed down the armouries of all licensed firearms’ dealers, while keeping due surveillance on their activities.
“Government and non-government institutions with genuine concerns for the security of their environment are hereby advised to partner with the police and other legitimate security agencies for the safety of their environment,” he said.
The IGP pledged the commitment of the police to diligently work toward eliminating all the threats to internal security.