Amosun’s curious armoury – The Nation

There is need to investigate the matter, especially in our kind of society

The information that seeped into the public domain that the former Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun, had an arms and ammunition depot in the government house, needs further investigation by the security agencies. Without doubt, the effort by the former governor to pass off the hand-over of the arms and ammunition on the eve of his departure to the state commissioner of police as an official function of state, does not seem to add up.

The discrepancy in the number of guns and ammunition the governor claimed he handed over, from what he actually handed over according to the commissioner of police, leaves a gaping hole, which the security agencies need to investigate.

Furthermore, the claim that the arms and ammunition were bought and are owned by the Ogun State government heightens the incongruity in the whole story. An out-going governor should have handed over the private assets of the state to the in-coming administration, and not to the commissioner of police, as claimed by Amosun in his story.

Even more intriguing is the claim by the commissioner of police that the arms were handed over in 2012, and that he did not see any arms during the so-called disarming process. The gaps and incongruities in the information released by the concerned parties make the story a nervy one for a nation roiling in armed conflicts, some of which were orchestrated by disgruntled politicians. There are a few examples to buttress this state of affairs.

For instance, it is common knowledge that the crisis which engulfed Borno State and later metamorphosed as Boko Haram started with a state-sponsored militia. It is alleged the former state governor of the state, Ali Modu Sheriff, used state resources to buy arms and ammunition and created a private militia, supposedly in the interest of the state he governed. Also, in the Niger Delta, there is the report that some politicians support some of the militias to attack their opponents, for political reasons. In many other instances, politicians arm thugs who fight for their personal interests, during elections.

So, if eyebrows are raised about the propriety of former Governor Amosun using state resources to buy arms and ammunition, keeping them in his custody and storing them in the government house, such worries are well founded. We recognize that many states have invested hugely in equipping the police in their states, and they have to take steps to protect those assets from being deployed to other states, since the police are controlled by the Federal Government. But that will not entitle the governor to become an armoury keeper, without the needed checks and balances to avoid abuse.

It is also important to find out from the former governor where he kept the missing ammunition, which runs into thousands. According to media report, while Amosun claimed he handed over 4,000,000 ammunition, the state commissioner of police said only “1,400,000 and some fractions” were handed over to him. So where is the rest of the ammunition? Again, Amosun needs to explain why he chose to hand over state assets to the commissioner of police instead of his successor, or were those guns and ammunition private assets of the governor, which he could deal with as he pleased?

We ask, could the last outing of the supporters of Amosun during the visit of the president to campaign in Ogun State, be a pointer to their potential to breed trouble in the state? We recall that the president and his party men were  heckled allegedly by Amosun’s goons. So, a thorough investigation is necessary to get to the bottom of this curious armoury.

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