An international nongovernmental, ACTED, is in the trouble with the Borno state government for conducting illegal gun training in Maiduguri.
Governor Babagana Zulum has today ordered the immediate suspension of the French INGO’s operation in the state.
The governor’s spokesman, Isa Gusau, said the INGO was caught conducting the training in a hotel without the knowledge of the security agencies.
Mr Gusau said governor Zulum has also ordered the sealing of the unnamed hotel within which the gun shooting training was being conducted pending the outcome of a police investigation.
Mr Gusau who is an adviser to Governor Zulum on communication and strategy told newsmen that concerned residents who live close to the hotel tipped the police off about the suspicious activities going on within the hotel.
“Borno Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, has directed the immediate suspension of ACTED, an international Non-Governmental Organization (iNGO) following Saturday’s discovery that the humanitarian iNGO was using a hotel in Maiduguri for training some persons on shooting,” Mr Gusau said.
“French iNGO was found using toy guns and simulators in training exercises at a hotel located off circular road in Maiduguri.
“Residents near the hotel had reported to officials that they were hearing sounds of gunshots from the hotel, following which government officials reported the matter to GRA Divisional Police Headquarters which oversees the hotel’s location.
“The police found three toy pistols at the hotel while two trainers, both Nigerians, were at the police station with investigation going on.
The statement said pending the outcome of police investigation, Governor Zulum has directed sealing of the hotel and suspension of ACTED from any humanitarian activity in Borno State.
“Governor Zulum acknowledges and deeply appreciates the roles of credible iNGOs which have been providing critical humanitarian interventions in different parts of Borno.
“He assured them of government’s continued cooperation and support while also upholding obedience to prevailing laws, policies and rules guiding all activities and actions across the state.
By the principles of neutrality as contained in the provisions of the Law of Armed Conflict, humanitarian actors are prohibited from carrying or using guns or related arms in a conflict setting where they work.
However sources familiar with the activities of the organisation had explained that “the training was for the security personnel of ACTED”.
The source who spoke off the record however admitted that “the police may not have been informed before the training was conducted”.