The Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, on Friday described illegal bearers of AK 47 as enemies of the country, and deserved to be shot on sight as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Irabor told reporters in Asaba, the Delta State capital, that presidential directive to shoot on sight anyone with an AK-47 rifle was very clear and must be enforced.
He said the proliferation of illegal arms in the country was a threat to Nigeria’s corporate existence.
“The mandate of the President for dealing with everyone holding AK-47 illegally is a mandate that must be enforced because we are a state that does not condone illegal bearing of arms,” Irabor said.
He added: “The armed forces and other security agencies are the only institutions that are mandated to carry arms in the course of their duties.
“So anyone who is carrying an AK-47 or any other weapon, for that matter, is considered a threat to the existence of the state.
“And because he is an enemy of the state, it must be addressed; so it’s not a question of my view but rather a question of having to carry out the mandate of Mr. President.”
Irabor said the Armed Forces, in partnership with other security agencies, would do all that is necessary to bring peace and security across the land and Nigeria “certainly will know peace again.”
The Delta State born CDS, who said he was visiting the state for the first time since his appointment, commended Governor Ifeayin Okowa for his support to the armed forces and other security agencies in the state.
His words: “Delta is my home and it feels good to be home, and I said that I cannot come home without paying a courtesy call on the Executive Governor of the state who has done pretty well, giving very credible support to the members of the armed forces and security agencies.
“I am aware of the threat dispositions within Delta even though it is stable now, but we know that there are areas of interest that we will need to do a lot to add value in up-scaling the security disposition of the state, and this is part of what myself and my colleagues were doing.
”I believe that the state will in no time begin to experience greater level of peace and security.”
Earlier, Okowa had congratulated the CDS on his appointment and promotion and urged him to do more to secure the nation.
Buhari issued the shoot on sight order last month following the outcry of Nigerians over the activities of AK47 bearing individuals, many of them herders.
The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said on a BBC Hausa interview that Buhari ”ordered security forces to go into the bushes and shoot whoever they see with sophisticated weapons like AK-47.”
The President, according to Shehu, also “ordered that whoever is seen with terrible weapons at all should be shot immediately.”