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IG: Embargo on firearms licensing still in force

By The Citizen
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The embargo placed on issuance of fresh licenses to the public for the procurement of firearms is still in force, Police Inspector-General Mohammed Abubakar said yesterday.

A statement by the Deputy Force Public Relations officer, Mr. Frank Mba said the embargo was meant to check the proliferation of firearms.

The statement reads: '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, organisation or agency of any state government, for the procurement or purpose of bearing firearms.

'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 licenses'.

The statement reminded the public of the legal implication of having unlicensed firearms in their possession.

The embargo also affects importation or exportation of firearms and ammunition without the appropriate license.

'While vigilance 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.

'Government and non-government institutions with genuine concerns for the security of their environment are hereby advised to partner the police and other legitimate security agencies for the safety of their environment.

'The Nigeria Police Force will continue to diligently work towards eliminating all threats to internal security and assures Nigerians of its commitment to their well-being', the statement added.