The Governor of Borno State, Bangana Zulum, has suspended an international non-governmental organisation, ACTED, for conducting shooting training in a hotel.
The French INGO’s personnel were caught by the police following a tip-off by concerned residence living around the hotel.
Isa Gusau, a spokesperson to the governor, who revealed this to journalists on Saturday, said the police found toy guns and other related firearm simulators at the training hall.
“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.
“The French iNGO was found using toy guns and simulators in training exercises at a hotel located off circular road in Maiduguri,” Mr Gusau said.
According to the governor’s spokesprson, “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 the investigation going on.”
The statement said “pending the outcome of the 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 NGOs 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,” Mr Gusau said.
ACTED officials were not available for comments as the INGO hardly interfaces with the media.
But a staffer of the organisation who spoke with our reporter confirmed the development even as the personnel explained that “it was a security training for some of the security personnel.”
The law of armed conflict does not allow personnel of humanitarian organisations to carry arms as doing so may compromise their neutrality.