The Nigeria Police Force has warned the South West Stakeholders Security Group(SSSG) working with the Western Nigeria Security Outfit, codenamed Operation Amotekun against any breach of security.
The Punch reports that the police commands in Ekiti, Ogun and Ondo states, in separate interviews, said they would not tolerate illegal possession of firearms by members of the group.
They said anybody in possession of illegal weapons would be arrested and prosecuted according to dictates of the law.
The Police said the personnel of the security outfit could only use Dane guns, which do not use cartridges.
The SSSG, comprising the Oodua Peoples Congress(OPC), the Vigilante Group of Nigeria(VGN), the South West Hunters Association, the South West Agbekoya Group, Agbekoya Farmers Society Group, Yoruba Youth Council and the Community Security Awareness Initiative Corps of Nigeria, is led by Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams.
Ekiti, Lagos, and Osun State governments had, on Friday, said they would recruit about 1,320 operatives from the OPC and other groups for the Amotekun, which was launched by the South West states on Thursday.
The Police Public Relations Officer(PPRO) for Ekiti State Police Command, Sunday Abutu, stated that any OPC member that had prohibited firearms would be arrested.
Abutu said it was the responsibility of the police to arrest and prosecute any individual or group bearing arms illegally.
The PPRO, who said the community security outfits like the vigilantes and hunters could not carry prohibited firearms, said the approved local vigilante groups can only carry Dane guns.
“Even people that are going to use those ones (Dane and local guns) have to be approved by the police. The police know those ones that are prohibited and the ones that such groups can use.
“Once we see anybody or group with prohibited firearms, we will arrest them because they are not allowed to carry such,” Abutu said.
Similarly, spokesperson for Ogun State Police Command, Abimbola Oyeyemi, also warned that any civilian member of the Operation Amotekun found guilty of using unlicensed firearms would be arrested.
He said the command would not condone any form of possession of prohibited firearms from members of the Amotekun security outfit.
According to him, “anybody that does not belong to any security agency, such as the army, the police, and the customs, cannot carry AK-47 rifles.
“The essence of issuing the firearm licence is to have biometric data of the bearer in such a way that if the person uses it to commit a crime, the police will arrest such a person.
“You cannot be in the possession of prohibited firearms and you expect us to condone that. For example, somebody who does not belong to any security agency such as the army, the police and the customs cannot carry an AK-47 rifle. You can’t carry a pump-action.”
Also, the Ondo State Police Command said it was illegal for anybody to possess firearms without being licensed.
The state’s PPRO, CSP Femi Joseph, said anyone who wished to get firearms should get the licence.
He said: “There are categories of firearms. The ones that are prohibited are those ones using cartridges. If you are carrying them without being licensed, it is illegal, but the Dane guns used by local hunters in the farm are not prohibited because they don’t use cartridges.”