Governor, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State and Chairman Governors forum on Thursday cleared the air that the newly launched Western Nigeria Security Network code-named Operation Amotekun was neither an alternative to any of the conventional security agencies in the country nor a state police.
While dispelling the rumours making the rounds that the outfit is a regional police noted that the Southwest governors were not out to undermine the integrity and sovereignty of Nigeria but were providing the Yoruba people with a “confidence-building strategy” to tackle crime and criminality in the sub region.
Each of the six States has procured 20 Pick-up Vans equipped with communication gadgets and one hundred motorcycles for the take-off of the Security Network.
Fayemi who spoke at the launch of the security apparatus in Ibadan said that the region and its Governors strongly believed in the unity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and its indissoluble sovereignty.
“Amotekun is nothing but a confidence building strategy for our people in the western zone. When those elements that are going to work in the joint task force with the mainstream security agencies undertake this assignment, they are going to do it with the knowledge of the terrain, language and culture of the community they are going to work.”
“Amotekun is not a duplication neither is it a replacement for the Nigeria Police Force. Amotekun is a complement that gives our people the confidence that they are being looked after by the people they elected into office. We do not want this to create fear in the mind of anyone. We are not creating a regional police force. We are not oblivious of the steps we need to follow in forming State police. We are law abiding citizens of Nigeria. We know that will require a constitutional amendment and we are not there yet”, he said.
According to him, Amotekun is nothing but a community policing response to a problem that our people would like to put an end to. But pending the time that the community policing strategy being put together by the Nigeria Police comes to fruition, it is clearly important that we give our people a confidence boosting strategy.
The governor who commended the role played by the mainstream security agencies in tackling kidnapping and banditry in the zone, noted that Amotekun would reduce the burden on the agencies which he described as “overstretched”.
He stated ”we are daily assaulted by the spate of kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery across the length and breadth of the South West. We obviously sought succour in all the right places and the mainstream security tried their best in arresting the security situation. It was in the context of this development that we lost the daughter of our leader in Afenifere, Pa Fasoranti.
Fayemi pointed out that as elected leaders of various States, the primary responsibility according to section (14)2 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, is the security and welfare of our citizens and “that’s what informed the coming together of my colleagues and I to fashion a way that we can utilise to complement the work of our mainstream security agencies that are quite overstretched in their efforts to curb the menace that has afflicted not just our zone but the entire country at the time”.
On his part, the Chairman of the South West Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ondo State, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu said that Governors in the region are committed, in all ramifications, to the ideals that will make the country stronger and more united, and not to divide it.
He added that the establishment of Amotekun, is without prejudice to the expectations of patriotic discharge of your mandates as provided in our laws, noting that the region is concerned with the security of its people and property.
Akeredolu said, “it is appropriate for me at this juncture, to state that the Southwest States of the Federation believe in the unity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and its indissoluble sovereignty. We are committed, in all ramifications, to the ideals that will make the country stronger and more united.
“The various nation-states within the Federation are diverse, yet almost all of us agree that our strength is in our unity. Consequently, we shall continue to support the Federal Government, under the able and indefatigable leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, in its avowed commitment and determination to take the country to the next level. Let me on this note thank DAWN Commission for the wonderful job done in crafting the operational framework for Amotekun.
“The Commission has taken care of all grey areas that could cause friction in the operations of the personnel that will be deployed for the programme. As a matter of fact, the Nigeria Police will oversee and moderate the activities of Amotekun, thus making its operation conform to the acceptable standards. Amotekun is the Yoruba name for the Leopard. It is not the Tiger, Ekun. It is also important that I allay the fears of all those who have expressed misgivings as regards the quality of the personnel to be recruited to serve in the outfit. There is an adequate recruitment mechanism for the exercise. The conventional security agencies will participate, actively, in profiling the recruits.
“Nobody with questionable character will participate in the programme. We will make it difficult for undesirable elements to compound the challenges being encountered. Proper background checks will be carried out on personnel to be recruited while the needed registration/identification of such personnel will be done to ensure accountability. Let me seize this opportunity to once again appreciate the Nigerian Armed Forces, the Nigeria Police, State Security Services, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and other security agencies for their unrelenting efforts in combating the various crimes threatening peace and security in the entire country.
“Your patriotism in keeping the territorial integrity of our dear nation is acknowledged. The establishment of Amotekun, is without prejudice to the expectations of patriotic discharge of your mandates as provided in our laws. We depend on you, mainly, to secure our territory. You are the experts with the requisite trainings. Your patriotic zeal must not wane as a result of this necessary intervention.
“The Governors in the Southwest Region will provide all the logistic support that will enhance seamless operations of the programme. I wish to enjoin all those that will be in charge of the vehicles and motorcycles to ensure their adequate maintenance and use them only for the intended purpose.”
In his address, Governor Makinde said “traditionally we have to scare the fear, so the fear can be afraid as well, in Yorba adage they said we have to conquire fear. Six months ago, we the six Governor of the Southwest region met, to discuss on the way forward on the level of the security of our States.”
“We demanded that we set up a regional security outfit that will compliment the mainstream security outfit we have in Nigeria so as to assure we have a well robost security outfit in the our States.
“With the assistance of our sisters States, like Osun, Ogun, Ondo, Ekiti and Lagos, we are here today to launch, Amotekun, which is the latest Security outfit for the south West States, that will be complimenting our Police to tackle any criminal activities in our States.”
“We realized that we cannot achieve anything positive and progress in an athmosphere where there is no peace.
“Myself and my colleague, that are here did not forget our oaths of office which is to provide a proper and response security of lives and properties for our people.
“We are coming together to fight this common enemies, these enemies are factors that are affecting our progress, and the progress of our States, this is in harmony and in line with the Constitution of Nigeria. Amotekun Is in line with the security apparatus of Nigeria.
“We are excited that this will make way for further progress in our region. With the launch of Amotekun Oyo State has added another feather to her cap. As an hosting State.”
Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola who was represented by his Deputy, Benedict Alabi thanked the service chiefs for their support in tackling insecurity in the region.
assuring that Amotekun would work in collaboration with all security agencies said “this is in further fulfilling of our promises to our people, for providing a security of lives and properties for our people especially in our region.
“Welfare of our people are very important to us, and after we have brainstormed with ourselves, we decided to come up with this plan. Amotekun is the joint security outfit for our people in the South west region, and Amotekun is nothing but to protect anything in South west region.
“I charged Amotekun officials to always do their jobs with professionalism to make it a huge success at the end of the day, I thank our service chiefs, the Inspection General of Police and the President Buhari for their supports over Amotekun.
The Ooni of Ife,Oba Enitan Ogunwusi said “for all our Governors to come together for have this kind of gathering, is something we can and I think should be appreciated.
“This is not unlikely in our races, we the traditional rulers are in support of the Amotekun, we have to support our Governors to achieve success on this project, we all know what happened in Oyo Town of recent and I can say that Baba Alaafin absence here can be linked to that fire incident. But I can tell you that Baba is in Support of this project”.
On his part, Banji Akintoye a foremost historian and Yoruba leader said “we the Yorubas are very greatful for the fact that our governor’s can come together irrespective of their differences to find a way forward to our security issues.
“They have fulfill one of their promises, and this one is a serious issue, because we all know that security issues is a vital issue.
“Our farmer can no longer go to farm any more, because of the fear of some attack from some people, we cannot just sit and continue to watch this event going on without doing nothing, we cannot continue to watch with our hands fold, when this menace of day kidnapping, rubbing us from our farm lands, started, it’s not that we can do the needful then but we are people of impeccable character and we did not fight anybody but we waited for our leaders to act on our behalf and now you can all see what has happened, today we are launching the Amotekun Security Outfit for our dear region and I think, our Governors deserves kudos for this achievement.
“Our Governors have stepped forward, to give us the leadership we deserve, you are well brought up people, we are all proud of you, we are proud to have you as our leaders, people say Amotekun is not clear to us, I said there’s nothing that has the clear beginning in Nigeria, we have to be patient and support the Amotekun Security Outfit and with time you will all know what is all about.
Amotekun is a security Outfit meant for the betterment of the our States. You have our support, we the Yorubas are in support of the Amotekun.
We will stand by you to make you achieve success in this project.
I urge you the Amotekun Security Outfit official to stay by your trainers, don’t go beyond your boundaries, don’t bring in your own ideas over the ideas of your Training.