Social media outrage has greeted PREMIUM TIMES’ publication of fresh evidence of how Ibikunle Amosun smuggled deadly arms and ammunition into Nigeria.
The story that was published on Monday exposed as false Mr Amosun’s claim that he had requisite approvals to bring in the weapons.
Mr Amosun, a serving senator and former governor of Ogun State, had admitted in June that he imported 1,000 AK-47 rifles, two million bullets, 13 armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and other hardware for security efforts in his state in 2012.
While reacting to a PREMIUM TIMES’ story about how he hurriedly handed over the illegal arms to the police a day before his tenure expired on May 28, Mr Amosun said he had approvals from President Goodluck Jonathan for import waivers and end-user certificate from the Office of the National Security Adviser.
But following extensive investigation of his claim, PREMIUM TIMES discovered that Mr Amosun only had approval to import 13 APCs to support the police in 2012.
There was no end-user certificate or import waiver issued to Mr Amosun to import 1,000 AK-47 rifles and two million bullets.
It is a federal crime for any individual or organisation to import AK-47 and its ammunition into Nigeria without an end-user certificate from the ONSA.
Nigerians on social media said Mr Amosun’s action was a clear affront on Nigerian extant arms regulations, with some calling for his immediate arrest and prosecution.
Nigeria has remained under siege of insecurity for several years, and most of the heavy arms being used to carry out armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes had been rumoured to be supplied by politicians.
Politicians have long been known to arm political thugs for their ambition, but hardly has any top politician been directly linked with arms smuggling as Mr Amosun.
Mr Amosun, a member of Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress, is considered powerful due to his deep political ties to President Muhammadu Buhari. Law enforcement agencies have been reluctant to go after him since his illegalities were revealed.
Nigerians were united in their demand for Mr Amosun to be arrested, investigated and possibly charged after his suspicious handover of the weapons was exposed by PREMIUM TIMES in June.
Following fresh revelations this week, demand intensified from the public that Mr Amosun should be made to face the law like other ordinary citizens charged with illegal arms possession, which is a federal crime under the Firearms Act.