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Amotekun and ailing federation

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The alarm bells have been shrill and relentless since some states in Nigeria`s Southwest decided to float a security outfit. The alarm has mostly come from the northern part of the country with Miyetti Allah, the premier association of cattle rearers, leading the pack of alarmists. Amotekun is a direct response to the current security malaise in the country.It can also be interpreted as a direct reaction to the rebuff the ever growing call for state police have always suffered at the hands of the federal government. Whatever it is, that the idea has the federal government and some state governments at loggerheads lays bare the fragility of the contraption the Nigerian arrangement is. More directly, it indicts the idea that Nigeria is moving towards become one wholeheartedly.

Since Independence but especially since the Nigerian Civil War, Nigeria as a concept has continued to totter.As the years have gone by, the Nigerian center has grown increasingly fragile and untenable. It was always going to be a problem down the line.At least as some point. Those who put together Nigeria`s marriage of convenience failed or neglected to see it and they would always be indicted by history and posterity even from their graves. It was always going to be that different people put together with the warts and all of their different ethnicities and religions would struggle at some point to agree, live together and make the arrangement work. Those who conceived and birthed the arrangement lacked the foresight to conceive solutions to the problems that were inevitable in what was always going to be a difficult marriage.

Today, with every passing day, new problems crop up and hit hard at the heart of the Nigerian arrangement. Calls to restructure the country have largely gone unheard, viewed through ethnic lenses and greeted with ethnic suspicion. A toxic atmosphere under which no meaningful progress can be made hangs over the country, milking it of the last bits of patriotism left in the few Nigerians who are heroically holding on to the nobility that comes with loyalty and love for one`s country. Amotekun directly responds to a security nightmare. Boko Haram and their lethal brand of terror used to be the only stuff of nightmare for Nigerians until Fulani herdsmen arose and began to offer stiff competition. Whole communities in the rural areas have been trodden down by criminals herding cows, leaving Each killing always draws fresh blood from old wounds, fanning decades long flames of ethnic suspicion and asking questions of the Nigerian marriage.

In the face of the mindless slaughter which often leave innocent farmers victims,security agencies have seemed helpless,caught in no man`s land.This has prompted genuine debate about the ability of the Nigerian state to protect its people. It has only provided further justification for Amotekun. Then there is also the pervasive distrust sections of the country hold for its security agencies. There is the suspicion that because a certain section of the country dominates its security agencies, there has been under stable reluctance to clamp down hard on some of those perpetrating terror because the lines of their provenance runs to the same places. The Nigerian government seems overwhelmed by the security crises in the country. This is in spite of the feverish efforts to make Nigerians and the international community thinks otherwise. Amotekun is an idea in its infancy. Everyone may be better served by observing the experiment for a while and allowing or smothering it depending on its failures or successes. Whatever position taken, it would be wise to always remember that insecurity is the common enemy.

• Kene Obiezu, wrote from Abuja


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