More rift on Amotekun as Kano mulls community policing
A former aide to President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday faulted last week’s launch of Amotekun, the regional security outfit floated by southwest state governments.
“The creation of Amotekun is an attempt to divide our security and I am calling on the Federal Government to disband the establishment,” warned Abdulrahman Sulaiman Kawu Sumaila, a former special assistant to Buhari on House of Representative’s affairs.
A three-term member of the House of Representatives (Sumaila Federal Constituency, Kano State), the ex-lawmaker disclosed at a press conference yesterday that the development could destabilise the region’s security architecture and compromise national stability.
“Such an outfit would only aggravate the situation at hand. It will enhance ethnicity and disunity among Nigerians. It will not add any value to the quest for addressing insecurity challenges. We all know the importance of traditional institutions and the role they have been playing in the area of security. Therefore, if the government can support these institutions, I have no doubt that things will change for better,” said Sumaila.
He said further: “Such security outfits could be used to harass people from other regions. There are many northerners conducting businesses in the southern part of the country. There are also southerners doing businesses in the north. There is every tendency that such outfits could be used to harass northerners residing in the south and vice versa. So, the formation of regional security outfits would rather divide Nigeria than unite us.”
The ex-lawmaker recalled past public complaints about the alleged excesses of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) and urged the governors to support conventional security organisations rather than set up new platforms.
But speaking in defence of the regional outfit, the Ekiti State chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) argued that the governors had merely exercised their power to protect life and property.
Quoting from the constitution, NBA Chairman Samuel Falade said: “Chapter 2, Section 14 (2b) gives mandate and rights to the president and governors to provide security across the country and in their respective states. Also, Section 20 of the Administration of Criminal Justice allows a private citizen to arrest any criminal and hand him over to the police for investigation and prosecution. Under this context, operatives of Operation Amotekun can arrest and hand people over to the police for proper action.”
Similarly, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council (OYC) berated the Northern Youth Council of Nigeria for kicking against the outfit.
OYC National President Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro noted in a statement yesterday that only persons benefiting from insecurity in the southern part of the country would oppose the regional body. He went on to advocate the creation of a southeast equivalent of Amotekun, which he named Operation Ogbunigwe.
Besides, a former Oyo State Deputy Governor Chief Hazeem Gbolarumi told The Guardian in an interview: “It is totally wrong for anyone to give Amotekun any ethnic coloration or suggest that it may be targeted at any group of people. It is clearly a move to provide adequate security for the life and property of all Nigerians and foreigners resident within the southwest region.”
He added: “The people who are the workforce in Operation Amotekun are people who live among us. We know ourselves and understand the terrain within each community. So, their job is to complement the mainstream security outfits in Nigeria. The agitation Amotekun is generating is absolutely unwarranted, uncalled for, and unacceptable because we are all Nigerians and our brothers’ keepers, regardless of ethnicity or religion.”
Also, Alhaji Tajudeen Quadri, Lagos State Chairman, Community Development Advisory Council (CDAC), told the News Ag
ency of Nigeria (NAN) that the move is good for the region.
According to him, “The number of policemen now cannot cover the states and the various communities. The police cannot take care of crime nowadays. Therefore, for governors to come together to form the security outfit is a welcome development.”
Meanwhile, the Kano State government could soon explore community policing with a view to complementing the federal security architecture.
This was as the state executive council at the weekend approved a security summit aimed at ventilating ideas on the implementation of a new security network at the community level.
Briefing journalists, Commissioner for Information Muhammad Garba also said the state government recently procured high-tech security trackers worth N500 million installed at the police headquarters in Kano, to curb the activities of kidnappers, cattle rustlers and other criminals.
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