Former Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun has described as laughable, allegations he stockpiled firearms before the general elections and hurriedly handed them over to the police a day to handover.

Amosun’s reaction which was contained in a rejoinder released by his media aide Rotimi Durojaiye corroborated The Nation’s earlier report on the issue.

An exclusive report by online news site Premium Times had on Tuesday stated that Amosun surrendered 1,000 AK47 rifles, four million bullets.

1,000 bulletproof vests and one armoured personnel carrier (APC) he allegedly stockpiled at the Oke Mosan Government House for an extended period of time, an allegation Police Commissioner Bashir Makama faulted during a telephone interview with The Nation.

According to the statement released by Durojaiye on Wednesday morning, no AK47 rifle was handed over to the police on May 28, the day the former Governor was disarmed as part of handing over formalities.

“It is rather interesting and ironic that a routine, bona fide and patriotic disposition of Senator Ibikunle Amosun has been so savagely twisted in a premeditated effort to stand logic on its head. It is important to clarify that NOT A SINGLE AK47 RIFLE was handed over at the event.

“Senator Ibikunle Amosun would have loved to ignore this report for the simple reason that it is a matter for the remit of the Police and Security agencies. But, that course of action will appear disrespectful to well-meaning stakeholders and inquirers on the matter. Secondly, the good people of Ogun State and Nigerians at large deserve to know the exact circumstances of the handing-over of these security items.

“It is important to stress that this was not the first time that Senator Amosun, whilst in office as Governor and former Chief Security of Ogun State would be handing over security assets to the police. The particular exercise of 28 May, 2019 was done openly in the full glare of the public and the media to ensure accountability, guarantee transparency and judicious use of the assets.

In May 2011 when Senator Amosun assumed office, the biggest challenge that confronted Ogun State was insecurity. Political assassinations, unnatural and unexplained deaths were prevalent. In Ogun East for instance, which comprised of nine of the 20 LGAs at the time, the entire business and financial institutions architecture had become comatose as no bank or such institutions could open for business in the entire senatorial district.

“Cultism, kidnapping for ransom, violent crime and tertiary institutions related criminality stank to high heavens. Ogun West was totally ravaged by cross border banditry, unbridled smuggling and economic sabotage. Ogun Central, though relatively calmer, had its fair share of the very low security index that our state had sunk at the time.

“No resident, in good conscience, could sleep at night with two eyes closed. In the World Bank Ease of Doing Business, 2010, Ogun State was ranked as Number 35 out of 36 as industries and corporations fled the State in droves…”

Explaining how the state government acquired the weapons and had an armoury, he said all necessary approvals were gotten, due process followed, adding that a security parley was first convened which birthed the Ogun State Security Trust Fund (STF) under the leadership of a former Nigerian National Security Adviser.

“The Amosun administration sought help from then President Goodluck Jonathan led Federal Government. First, we sought and got approval to set up “OP MESA” for Ogun State. We followed this up with the specialized QRS unit. We committed substantial funds into procurement of hard and software, and, myriad security assets to decisively combat our security challenges.

“We got all necessary approvals from the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) to procure the 13 units of Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), the 1000 units of AK47 rifles, two million rounds of ammunition,1000 units of bulletproof vests and 500 bullet proof helmets and other security communication gadgets.

“Ogun State not only got approval to import these essential assets, the federal administration under President Goodluck Jonathan gave all requisite approvals to assist the state. The Federal Government through the Office of NSA issued the State the End User Certificate Serial Number 000001123 dated March 5, 2012.

“The Federal Ministry of Finance also granted Import Duty Exemption Certificate through a letter from the Honourable Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy with Reference Number BO/R.10260/S.4/T.4/22 dated April 10, 2012. Indeed the supplier was an accredited agent of the Nigeria Police Force nominated for the job by the Force who also monitored and supervised the transaction.

“The security materials were cleared through the Murtala Muhammed Airport and confirmed through Nigeria Customs Memo NCS/MMAC/012/S.1. The materials were publicly handed over to the Inspector General of Police MD Abubakar on April 22, 2012…”

Noting the strict procedures for purchase, handling, storage and documentation of security merchandise, Amosun said they were satisfied that extant approvals, regulations and protocols were observed and complied with in this instance.

“Without going into the details and thereby breaching conventions, suffice to say categorically that the AK47 rifles were supplied directly to the Nigeria Police, Ogun State Command. The rest of the merchandise were securely kept in the approved designated armoury within the Government House precincts under police surveillance as it obtains in most Government Lodges, to guarantee exclusive use of the materials in Ogun state.

“The suggestion that the security assets were quickly handed over to the police in order that the new administration will not know about it is laughable because the current Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun was the main supplier of some of the assets in question, notably, the Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs).

“We say with pride that our substantial investment and commitment to security paid off. Ogun State won several international and local security awards. Companies returned to our shores in even higher numbers. Thankfully, under Senator Amosun’s watch, Ogun State did not record any unexplained death or political assassination throughout…

“As a governor who understood and took the responsibilities of his office seriously, Senator Amosun was mindful to account for and properly hand over the remainder of the security items to the police and the new administration. On May 28, 2019, the last of the APCs, and all other security assets under the custody of Ogun State Government were passed over to the police in full glare of the media and general public. We believed that was the surest way to prevent these assets getting into the wrong hands,” he said.

Practical Considerations to Negotiate an Enforceable Joint Operating Agreement in Civil Law Jurisdictions (Netherlands: Kluwer Law International, 2020) By Professor Damilola S. Olawuyi, LL. B (1st Class), BL (1st Class), LL.M (Calgary), LL.M (Harvard), DPhil (Oxford), Professor of Law and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, Nigeria, www.damilolaolawuyi.com. & Professor Eduardo G. Pereira, LL. B (Brazil), LL.M (Aberdeen), PhD (Aberdeen),www.eduardogpereira.com   

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