Amotekun not constitutionally empowered to carry arms, says ex-IGP
Former Inspector General of Police, Sunday Ehindero, has declared as unconstitutional for operatives of the South West Security Network codenamed Amotekun to carry firearms.
Ehindero, who made the declaration yesterday at the Community Policing Sensitisation and Awareness Campaign in Abeokuta, Ogun State, advised the operators to strictly adhere to the country’s constitution that “forbids them from bearing firearms in the course of their operations.”
He said Amotekun was supposed to be an information and intelligence gathering outfit rather than an arm-carrying one.
The ex-IGP advised the outfit to key into community policing and work with special constables and the police to combat insecurity at the grassroots.
Ehindero who headed the force from 2005 to 2007, urged Amotekun officers not to be in haste to bear arms, appealing to them to exercise patience until the Constitution is amended.
Addressing newsmen in Abeokuta, Ehindero said:
“They (Amotekun) are not allowed by law to carry firearms.
“They should key into community policing and give their own information. When Amotekun is launched, they will collaborate and cooperate with the police and bring intelligence.
“Amotekun can go where the police can’t go and when they bring the information, the police will definitely work on it.
“All I’m saying is that Amotekun, for now, should key into community policing and bring its intelligence gathering prowess to the use of the police.”
In his remarks, the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in charge of Zone 2, Ahmed Iliyasu, argued that crime and criminality could better be fought and won when the force tests its ability to gain community support than use of force and lethal.
He stressed that the only way to enhance community policing was to improve behavior, attitude and relationship with members of the public.
Iliyasu said: “Our officers and men must be approachable, accessible, available and committed to assisting the community.
“They must know and be known by the public, engage and mobilise the communities, as well as listen to the communities and their concerns.”
Governor Dapo Abiodun reiterated that the corps would commence operation soon.
He assured the people of security of life and property, cautioning Nigerians against disregarding non-pharmaceutical COVID-19 safety protocols during the festive period.
Get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox every day of the week. Stay informed with the Guardian’s leading coverage of Nigerian and world news, business, technology and sports.