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Southwest states intensify moves to legalise Amotekun bill

… as Ondo approves ‘Operation Amotekun’ Bill

Southwest states have intensified moves to legalise the planned regional security corps, also known as Amotekun, in their respective states.

Governors of the region were served the document during the week after the bill was harmonised by the Attorneys-General of the states in Ibadan last Saturday.

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However, the Ondo State government has approved the draft bill for the South-West security outfit code-named “Operation Amotekun.”

Donald Ojogo, commissioner for information and orientation, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday.

He said the bill was approved during the State Executive Council meeting, noting that the bill would be transmitted to the Ondo State House of Assembly for legislative scrutiny after which it would be passed into law.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the Ogun State government agreed to unbundle the security network from being regional to a state by state security corps, as the State Executive Council on Tuesday approved the bill and proposal for the creation of Ogun State Security Network Agency out of the regional status – Western Security Network.

Addressing journalists at the end of the Executive Council meeting held at Oke-Mosan Governor’s Office in Abeokuta, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, Adegbolahan Adeniran, said the presentation of the bill before the state council followed the earlier approval by the Attorneys- Generals and Commissioners of Justice of the six Southwest states.

There is also an indication that the security trust fund dedicated by state government to fund and beef up security in the state, Adeniran assured that the State Amotekun Corps would be headed by a State Commandant, saying that the bill also allowed for collaborative efforts between the six Southwest states should the need arise.

He expressed optimism that the bill would get speedy attention from the state lawmakers so that the governor could also give the required assent in no long time.

According to Adeniran, “We presented the bill for the creation of the Ogun State Security Network Agency or what many call the Amotekun Corp Bill of 2020.

“Today, the Executive Council of Ogun State met and adopted a draft as amended of a bill for a law to establish the Ogun State Security Network Agency. This agency is the agency that will comprise the Amotekun Corps and this bill will be transmitted to the House of Assembly before the end of this week.”

He expressed optimism that the bill would get speedy attention from the state lawmakers so that the governor could also give the required assent in no long time.

“The Amotekun Security outfit had already been launched by the governors of the South-western states. However, it became very clear that there was a need for a legal backing for that operation.

“This made all the Attorneys- General of the Southwest zone including Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo and Lagos states to come together with the intervention of DAWN commission that has been piloting the process, and we are able to have a draft model bill to be adopted by each of the state in accordance with their local circumstances and situations as the need arises,” he said.

Similarly, the Oyo State House of Assembly is expected to begin deliberations on the legal framework backing the establishment of the operation of Amotekun on Thursday.

This is coming as the Oyo State Executive Council last Tuesday approved the state chapter of the Security Network Agency and Amotekun Corp Bill 2020 sent to the state House of Assembly.

Oyo State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Oyelowo Oyewo, confirmed the transmission of the bill.

In an interview with journalists, Tuesday, the commissioner expressed optimism that the bill would get speedy attention from the state lawmakers to unable the governor sign it into law soonest.

It is however expected that the State Amotekun Corp will be headed by a state commandant, while the bill also allows for collaborative efforts between the six Southwest states should the need arise.

The bill also made provision for Zonal Command operations for the Corp.

Meanwhile, the Lagos State House of Assembly says it was still expecting the bill to be sent to it for deliberation and passage into law.

Spokesman of the State House of Assembly, Tunde Buraimoh, in a telephone interview with BusinessDay, said the House was still waiting for the bill from the Executive, while promising that it was ready to give it the necessary attention toward its speedy passage.

Buraimoh said there was the possibility that the House would harmonise the bill so that the regional security outfit would be fashioned to work with the Lagos State Neighbourhood watch optimum delivery.

“Well there have been reports, but I am not aware of the bill in Lagos Assembly, but we would give it extra attention when it comes. The bill may be with the executive, but it has not been transmitted to the House, we are still awaiting the bill,” Buraimoh said.

Telephone messages send to the Commissioner of Information and Strategy in Lagos State, Gbenga Omotosho on the issue was not responded to.

In Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi, was presented with the document on Monday after the bill was harmonised by the Attorneys-General of the states in Ibadan last Saturday.

While receiving the draft bill from the Ekiti State Commissioner for Justice, Wale Fapohunda, Governor, Fayemi said that the security network was designed to protect both indigenes and residents in the six states of the South-west.

The Governor pledged commitment to facilitate the speedy discussion of the bill at the executive council meeting and its subsequent passage at the State House of Assembly.

“The bill when passed into law would ensure that our highways are free of banditry, of armed robbery, of kidnapping, of all forms of brigandage and criminality in our states,” Fayemi said.

In Osun State, a top official of the State government told BusinessDay yesterday that the bill has been received by the state government.

He said the state government would work with the state Assembly to ensure it speedy passage into law.

Commissioner for Information in Ondo State, Donald Ojogo, also confirmed the receipt of the bill but said he could not speak in detail on the document until tomorrow.

A top government official said the bill would be officially discussed at the Ondo State Executive Council on Wednesday before it would be sent to the House of Assembly.

Recall that governors of the region reached an agreement with the federal government to set up the security network with a law after the controversy which greeted it establishment.

Similarly, other regions have since mooted the idea of floating their own regional security network as the security situation in the country degenerate.

 

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