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Amotekun necessitated by collapsing national security apparatus, says Dickson

By Muyiwa Adeyemi (Head, South West Bureau, Ibadan) and Emmanuel Ande (Yola)
21 January 2020   |   4:10 am
Governor Henry Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has said that the South-West Security Initiative, the Operation Amotekun, reflected in clears terms the inevitability of restructuring.

• Yoruba group warns FG against overheating polity over initiative
• Regional policing only option for tackling insecurity, says Adamawa rep

Governor Henry Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has said that the South-West Security Initiative, the Operation Amotekun, reflected in clears terms the inevitability of restructuring.

Also, the governor said that regional security mechanisms like Amotekun were necessitated by the politicisation and collapse of the centralised national security apparatus in the country.

He said that the politicisation and the over-centralisation of security without an effective funding mechanism and arrangement for professionalism, had reduced Nigeria to an un-policed country.

Dickson, who described Amotekun as a component of the restructuring, which he had championed in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, said that he was a strong advocate of the devolution of policing powers.

He said further that he had championed the crusade for restructuring more than any governor in the country and had taken the message to all parts of the country, including two meetings with the President to impress on him to take charge of the initiative.

He, therefore, warned that if the country did not restructure now, there might be nothing left for Nigerians to restructure when they are ready and urged the President to take the lead on the issue of restructuring for Nigeria to survive.

The Bayelsa State governor said that every state in the South-South had some forms of internal security mechanism to collaborate with the law enforcement agencies.

According to him, Bayelsa under his leadership has the Bayelsa Volunteers, the State Vigilante, the Community Safety Corps and the Water Water Security, all backed by law.

Meanwhile, the Yoruba Leadership and Peace Initiative (TYLPI) yesterday warned the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), against overheating the polity and putting the nation on the boil with his declaration that the recently-launched Western Nigeria Security Network, code-named Amotekun, is “illegal”.

The TYLPI, in a statement signed by its President and General Secretary, Mr. Olusegun Ahmadu and Mr. Olufemi Adefemiwa respectively, deplored the minister’s stance as insensitive, insincere and smacking of bias and double standard, when the federal authorities had kept mute and even continued to lend support to the formation and operation of similar security bodies, such as the Hisbah and Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) in certain troubled parts of the North.

It dismissed the AGF’s allegation that the regional initiative breached the constitution as lame, hypocritical and vexatious, saying: “Where was the Federal Government and the AGF when Hisbah operatives recently arrested a policeman in the North? Why would the same Federal Government that lent and still lends support to those outfits now find the constitution sacred?”

The group, comprising eminent Yoruba intellectuals, professionals and businessmen in Nigeria and in the Diaspora, said the Federal Government had tipped the nation to the precipice of crisis and instability, as
“Malami’s insensitive and vexatious outburst has dangerously resurrected all the divisive tendencies – mutual, distrust, differences, fissures and dichotomy, which had plagued relations among the various sections of the country, judging by the public outrage that has trailed the incident.

It, therefore, advised the Federal Government to encourage the South-West governors to perfect the process that would make Amotekun effective as a demonstration of good faith and its professed commitment to safeguarding lives and property of all Nigerians irrespective of tribe, creed and political persuasions.

Also, a House of Representatives member representing Michika/Madagali Federal Constituency on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Adamawa State, Mr. Zakaria Dauda, has said that the only option left on the table to address the protracted security challenges in the country is to adopt the system of regional policing in the country.

Dauda, who spoke with The Guardian on phone from his Abuja residence yesterday, said that one of the drawbacks of security personnel to gather comprehensive information to fight insurgents is language barrier, which he said, regional policing can overcome since it is the locals that are recruited.

He said that it is the locals called vigilante group or civilian joint task force that help the military to deflect the deadly operations of the insurgents in the northeastern region because of their good understanding of the terrain and language.

Dauda, who urged Nigerians to put ethnic and religious sentiment aside and face the issues militating against the unity of the country, pointed out that it is no longer a secret that the population of the country has outweighed the strength of the federal security due to poor funding and language barrier.