Although, six Southwest states, namely, Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti, might have slated the launch of Operation Amotekun, a Southwest security network established by the governments in the region through the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission on Thursday (today), all odds seem to be working against the actualization of the security network.
Recall that the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State had earlier said in his New Year message that the Southwest security network codenamed Operation Amotekun (Operation Leopard) would be inaugurated on January 9, to reinforce the country’s security architecture, especially in the Southwest.
The Southwest security network, according to Governor Fayemi, is billed to take off and complement the efforts of the regular agencies such as Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, among others, as Governor Fayemi noted that the security outfit which will combine regular security agencies with the locals had been endorsed by the six governors of the Southwest.
The Ekiti state governor, who explained that the security scheme had received the endorsement of his counterpart governors; Ogun, Lagos, Ondo, Oyo and Osun states, said,
“On January 9, 2020, the Western Nigeria Security Network known as Amotekun shall commence operations in all the six states in our zone. Ekiti is very active in this initiative which will go a long way in securing the people and protecting the state”, the governor said.
But, as a reaction to the scheduled launch of Southwest security network in all the Southwest states on January 9, there have been some disquiet experienced in the region as to the launch and actualization of the security outfit being piloted by the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission since some known national media platforms had already reported that Southwest governors had been summoned to brief the Presidency on the operations of the security outfit which seemed to have sent some jitters in the spines of some people.
Although, Seye Oyeleye, Director-General, DAWN Commission assured that the launching of the security outfit codenamed Operation Amotekun would take off as scheduled as local security personnel such as Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), local Vigilante Groups and security experts had already been mobilised in each state to work with the conventional security agencies to combat security lapses in the Southwest region, the feelings and information gathered so far on the security scheme didn’t favour the actualization of the scheme.
BusinessDay gathered that though the six Southwest governors did not attend any security meeting on Operation Amotekun with the Presidency in Aso-Rock, Abuja as of the time of filing in this report as some governors, including Govenor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun state, were seen in their domains performing official assignments, some states like Ogun, Lagos, among others, don’t have any branded gadgets and dedicated weapons yet within the states.
Also, there is no tangible information and commitment from the Presidency as of the time of filing in this report to show Federal Government’s endorsement of the security network as a very influential politician from Southwest who is very close to the Presidency told BusinessDay that the security network did not follow due process expected of such security outfit and “therefore, may not fly”.
The source, who spoke with our Correspondent on phone on the condition of anonymity said, “such an agitation is good but it comes at a wrong time when IPOB (Indigenous People of Biafra) are now agitating for secession, when Boko Haram insurgency is threatening our unity, that is when our people in Southwest are planning Operation Amotekun which is a strong indication on Confederation instead of Federation we are practising in our Democracy.
“Besides, the issue of internal security is exclusive of the Federal Government and only National Assembly has power to legislate on it and our governors and state Assemblies are not talking about that, it can’t work, it can’t fly”, the source added.
A very senior Police officer who spoke with BusinessDay at Loius Edet Police Headquarters in Abuja, said “what the governors are doing as regards Operation Amotekun goes beyond them. Anything that has do with internal security is covered in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Nigeria Police Force Act. There is no clause that talks about state government handing and controlling internal security, why Operation Amotekun.”
The Police officer, who spoke without official permission, quoted some portions of the Constitution and Police Act that forbid Operation Amotekun, saying: “The structure of the Nigeria Police Force is provided for in section 214 (2)(a) and 215(2) of the 1999 Constitution. These sections provide inter area, section 214(2)(a):-
“Subject to the provisions of this constitution (a) the Nigeria Police shall be organised and Administered in accordance with such provisions as many be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly
Section 215 (2)
“The Nigeria Police Force shall be under the Command of the Inspector-General of Police and any contingents of the Nigeria Police Force stationed in a state shall; subject to the authority of the Inspector-General of Police, be under the command of Commissioner of Police of that state”.
Also, a Paramount Ruler of Egbaland in Abeokuta and a retired Colonel under Buhari-Idiagbon Military Administration (1984 -1985), Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, supported the creation of Operation Amotekun in Southwest, but requested Southwest governors to do it with a strict compliance with laid down rules and law of the land.
The Alake of Egbaland, who received Assistant Inspector-General in Charge of Zone II, Ahmed Illiasu in his Palace on Courtesy Visit on Tuesday, said, ” in order to tackle the hydra-headed security problem in Nigeria, which had never happened before, all sorts of solutions must be found, so far they are legal solutions.”