Nigerians on social media amplified their anger after PREMIUM TIMES revealed how former governor, Ibikunle Amosun, stockpiled arms and ammunition at his official residence before the 2019 elections.
The publication elicited widespread outrage and bipartisan demand for the former Ogun State governor to be arrested and prosecuted for illegal arms possession, which has long been identified as one of the immediate causes of the country’s acute insecurity.
Our findings showed that Mr Amosun stockpiled 4 million bullets, 1,000 AK47 rifles, 1,000 bulletproof vests and one armoured personnel carrier at Oke Mosan Government House for an extended period of time.
But, on May 28, a day before he was billed to complete his eight years as governor, Mr Amosun suddenly called the state police commissioner, Bashir Makama, to confess that he had a cache of arms he was willing to surrender to the police.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt from security sources that Mr Amosun abruptly handed over the huge arms vault as part of a desperate move to clear the Government House of any incriminating items before his successor takes charge.
Although he remained a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and was even elected to the Senate on the platform, Mr Amosun favoured Adekunle Akinlade of a rival political party in the state’s governorship election on March 9.
But, Dapo Abiodun, the APC candidate, won the election, and Mr Amosun knew the successor would be unwilling to protect him due to their political enmity.
Mr Makama received the weapons from Mr Amosun on behalf of the police, but failed to notify the Force Headquarters about it, PREMIUM TIMES learnt. The manner with which Mr Amosun turned in the arms has alarmed security officials, who saw the affair as damaging to national security.
Nigerians of all political affiliations are also weighing in, calling for Mr Amosun’s urgent arrest in a rare show of unity over a national security matter. Mr Amosun and the police have continued to decline comments on the scandal.
Reactions that poured in from several social media channels, especially Twitter, Facebook and PREMIUM TIMES‘ comment sections, were overwhelmingly unequivocal about the wrong impression that security agencies would signal to both citizens and criminals should they fail to act.
Below are some of the non-moderated reactions from Twitter:
Fatai Oseni (Retd) was on Channels tv today complaining how politicians will call a state CP and tell them clearly “our boys are going out today, don’t hinder them, where do they get weapons” then you read a governor had 1000 AK47s and 4million bullets in the evening.
— Tunde Aluko (MFR) (@tundealuko) June 24, 2019
4 million bullets? To do what?
Not sure the Police in the state or zone has up to that.
Deeper investigations need to be carried out on other Governors I don't think Amosun is the only one culpable especially those seriously troubled States with constant violence. https://t.co/i602yZdOWg
— Ajibola Y Owodunni (@jibolaowo) June 25, 2019
1000 AK47's. 4,000,000 bullets, 1000 bullet proof vests, and an APC.
This #Amosun issue is a grim reminder that our borders are incredibly porous, and laws are meant for anyone not in power. We're overwhelmed with internal security issues yet unaware of this cache of weapons?
— Chioma Agwuegbo (@ChiomaChuka) June 25, 2019
It's shamelessly shameless that we still have people like Amosun as leaders in this 21st century. 1k Ak47 as if he is preparing to fight America. So disgusting!
— Musa Ahmed (@Kempez2017) June 25, 2019
What will a sane man do with an AK 47, not to talk of a thousand.
Dear God, please deliver us from the enemies of this country
— The Future Leader. (@MuhammadYabagi) June 24, 2019
Amosun should be behind bars for this act, goosh, 1000 AK47s??? Was he planning a war in Ogun state? No wonder he had the guts to be that arrogant. I can't imagine how many of such weapons Amosun gave out to thugs.
— LanCe (@LanCebank) June 24, 2019
No matter how "good intentioned" Uncomfortable with a State Governor donating AK47 to @PoliceNG & having an armoury in Government house. Even @NGRPresident shouldn't be directly involved in Arms Purchase, we have established Arms Procurement mechanism. Can't justify this at all https://t.co/84VLGcyeB5
— Kayode Ogundamisi (@ogundamisi) June 24, 2019
How did Amosun procure those arms?
How were they smuggled into the Govt house?
Who are the Custom officers that cleared the consignments?
These are questions we should be asking these terrible politicians that put our lives in danger pre and post elections.
This Country sef.
— Adebayo Bankole Akintunde (@AdeBanqie) June 25, 2019
In my own opinion, I think Amosun should be arrested and prosecuted. We can't be having this kind of lawlessness and then cry over insecurity. When I shared stories of kidnapping, I knew what happened and how it happened, we need to start telling ourselves the truth no matter how
— Adenrele (@blastedup) June 25, 2019
1. Amosun still has more weapons he didn't surrender.
2. If he could acquire this much ammo, others can and have.
3. Nigeria's security architecture is crap. https://t.co/7sbOqS5Tut
— Callings (@CollinsUma) June 25, 2019
If Amosun surrenders 1000 AK47 rifles, it means he has more the numbers he disclosed, and possibility in the hands of his militia.
— Usman Bashir U. (@Alh_Umarr) June 25, 2019
I've read this story over and over again. And I am certain this is only part of what he truly had. Enough to start an insurgency, easily. In a land where there is customs, police, SSS, military, military intelligence.
And the man is still not under arrest. https://t.co/j91lofnr1s
— Tunde Leye (@tundeleye) June 25, 2019
— MoAlasan (@MoalasanA) June 25, 2019
Nigerians on Facebook made their demand as follows:
Yommie Ajenifuja: Our politicians, our security agencies, our borders and the national questions? Oluwa Oh! This is just too alarming. He should be questioned, some definitely would have gone out…
Chidiebere Nwobodo: Can you imagine? I’m flabbergasted. These are blood-sucking beasts fuelling crisis in the country. Imagine for a second that this man of the PDP?? Venomous supporters of the APC would have named and shamed him as an anarchist and terrorism sponsor.
Godwin Alumuku: This character needs to be properly interrogated. It is not part of the constitution of Nigeria that he is a gun runner. He must explain how he came across those weapons and ammunition. Furthermore, it underscores the need to completely strip all political office holders of any immunity. If just about 10 governors had about the same caches of weapons, which is actually very possible, given their proclivity for violence and do or die politics, only God can save us.
Ebraheem Yunus Adoke: Apparently, the Nigerian security apparatus are grossly incompetent. How can a civilian import such quantity of weapons and ammunition into d country without their knowledge? Then, you begin to wonder how many of such are with politicians. The spate of insecurity is apparently been orchestrated by our so called political leaders, who use it as a front to loot d treasury in d name of security vote. God help us in this country.
In the comments section of PREMIUM TIMES, Vita said: “Nigeria is a country where laws are interpreted differently based on societal status of an individual(s) involved.
“This explains why ex-Governor Amosun hasn’t been arrested. And it is also the reason why Nigeria will never ever develop. Certainly, many other state governors have armouries with deadly weapons fashioned against ordinary citizens and political opponents. What a country!”
Du Covenant said: “This is why I weep for our country, how do we make progress when such people exist in the system and are elected to positions of influence?. Is this what ‘politicians’ do in other climes?
“Remember, it was the politicians that gave birth to Boko Haram in Nigeria, remember a sitting Senate President was associated with political thugs who declared he supplied the weapons they used for other criminal activities including killing innocent citizens and the government of the day was vilified for attempting to question him on that matter and there are many we are not yet aware of.
“What type of country do we really aspire to have? Why are we so kind to people who are bent on destroying our country? I rest my case.”
Another PREMIUM TIMES reader, Thusspokez, decried the role of security agencies in the scandal, saying: “There is more law and order in the jungle than in Nigeria. The most troubling thing is the refusal of both the SSS and Nigerian police to arrest this man despite the very seriousness of the crime. The effing Amosun should be in jail the day he handed in the rifles and ammunition.
“This attitude of the SSS and Police to law enforcement is the reason Boko Haram flourished to what it is today, that is instead of nipping it in the bud. If Amosun is not prosecuted and jailed for life, many more governors will do the same. And then future elections will be fought with AK47 rifles.”