A few hours to the end of his reign as Ogun State helsman, embattled Governor Ibikunle Amosun contacted the state’s Commissioner of Police, Bashir Makama, confessing that he had thousands of arms and millions of ammunition in store at a secret armoury in Government House, and that he had decided to hand them over to the police.
Mr Amosun’s anointed candidate for the March 9 governorship election, Adekunle Akinlade of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), had been roundly defeated by Dapo Abiodun of the All Progressives Congress and the governor was now desperate to clear the Government House of any incriminating material as Mr Abiodun moved in to take charge.
Shortly after he was contacted, Commissioner Makama raced to Government House with some of his subordinates. On arrival, truckloads of arms and ammunition were brought out of a nondescript amoury inside the Ogun State Government House.
And then begun a short hand-over proceeding during which the governor surrendered at least four million rounds of ammunition, 1,000 units of AK47 assault rifles, 1,000 units of bulletproof vests and an armoured personnel carrier (APC).
At the event, Mr Amosun said he procured the arms and ammunition to check the widespread insecurity in his state of 3,751,140 residents, according to the 2006 census. He said he decided to keep them at the Government House Armoury to ensure they were not allocated indiscriminately by security agencies.
The speech making over, the arms and ammunition were driven to the police command headquarters in the Elewe-Eran area of Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
Four weeks after the event, top Nigerian security operatives remained alarmed that a civilian governor would create an armoury and store thousands of arms there. The agents are also wondering why Mr Amosun has not been arrested and prosecuted for violating sections of the Nigeria Firearms Act.
The law forbids individuals and civilian institutions from illegally operating armouries or possessing prohibited firearms, including artillery, apparatus for the discharge of any explosive or gas diffusing projectile, rocket weapons, bombs and grenades, machine-guns and machine-pistols, military rifles (namely those of calibres 7.62 mm, 9 mm, .300 inches and .303 inches), revolvers and pistols whether rifled or unrifled (including flint-lock pistols and cap pistols).
It remains unclear how Mr Amosun obtained the weapons. Authorities are wondering how he imported the weapons, and how he transported them to Government House and stored them for prolonged periods without being detected.
Some security experts say they are suspicious he might have acquired far more weapons than he gave up to the police and that some of them might be in wrong hands already.
The former governor, now senator, declined to give his own side of the story. He did not answer or return telephone calls made to him over five days. He also did not respond to text and WhatsApp messages sent to him.
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