The Inspector-General of Police, IGP MD Abubakar has restated that the ban earlier imposed by the Force on the issuance of fresh licences for procurement of firearms is still in force. Members of the public are reminded that the ban which was emplaced in exercise of the powers vested in the President and the IGP respectively, by the Firearms Act, was made in an attempt to restrict the observed widespread proliferation of firearms within 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, organization or agency of any State Government, for the procurement or purpose of bearing firearms” a statement by force headquarters said.
CSP Frank Mba,force spokesman in the statement said, “In view of the need for public education on the subject matter especially with respect to concerns 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.
According to the IG, “While vigilante groups and other sincere community efforts towards safety and security are encouraged to work in partnership with local Police authorities, the conduct and practice of such vigilante groups must be in total conformity with the Laws of the land. “
“Members of the public are advised to be properly guided in respect of the above as the Police Force is poised to uphold the existing restriction over the use of firearms. It is also in that vein that the Force had closed down the armouries of all licensed firearms dealers and kept due surveillance over their activities.
The IG further said “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.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Police Force said it will continue to diligently work towards eliminating all threats to internal security and assures Nigerians of its commitment to their well being.