A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress and the national chairman of Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu Support Group, Yomi Odunowo, has called on the government to gradually approve arms licenses for a certain category of Nigerians as a step aimed at curtailing some of the security challenges the people currently grapple with.
Odunowo, who made this known in a statement in Lagos, urged President Bola Tinubu to revisit the Executive Order signed by former President Buhari revoking all existing arms licenses.
He noted that the existence of the Executive Order had restricted the chances of responsible citizens the opportunity to possess arms and self-defence, while those not authorised to possess them operate with them freely within the nation with minimum capacity to regulate and control them.
The Ogun State APC chieftain recalled that former President Buhari had signed an Executive Order to remove, revoke and banish all firearms certificates and licences throughout Nigeria on May 22, 2019, but this had not in any way stopped or discouraged the acquisition and possession of firearms by various criminal groups.
Odunowo, who stressed that former President Buhari meant well with the Order in response to threats by some Niger Delta militants to declare a Niger Delta Republic and secede from Nigeria and also as part of his strategies to ameliorate the insecurity ravaging the country, however, lamented that the level of insecurity across the country had increased unabated in spite of the Order.
He further explained that the reasons adduced by the former President to sign the Executive Order revoking all arms licenses were no longer tenable as there was no longer any intelligence report indicating the secession of Niger Delta from Nigeria, adding that most of the Ex-agitators have interestingly been very supportive of the current government and the blanket revocation of the arms licenses had not in any way reduced the security challenges the people daily face in the country.
While making references to major security incidents across the country prior to the general elections in March, Odunowo stressed that available statistics have shown that the revocation had not in any way reduced the security challenges in the country.
The AATSG national chairman, therefore, noted that it was expedient for President Tinubu to urgently look at the Executive Order signed by the former President for immediate review so as to restore back the situation where qualified citizens can obtain arms licenses for self-defence, thereby promoting the constitutional provision of right to life in the face of exposed danger.
“The debates for gun licensing for Nigerians are undoubtedly gaining acceptance from various quarters, more so that many eminent Nigerians and groups have also called for gun licences to individuals and groups to bear arms for self-defence and to aid conventional security organisations, who they said, are over overstretched due to the high level of insecurity in the country,” he said.
Odunowo added that a coalition of self-determination groups, led by an America-based body, the United Indigenous People of African Foundation, had called on governors in the South and Middle-Belt regions to invoke the doctrine of necessity and provisions of Chapter VII, article 51 of the United Nations Charter on Self-defence.
He, consequently, urged the state governors to purchase arms for their regional security outfits, including training and retraining of vigilantes and hunters to protect people in their territories, stressing that this would be one of the important decisions this government could take to help improve the security of lives and property of its citizens.