Myths, anxiety over emergence of Amotekun
No doubt the cumulative chain of events surrounding the emergence of the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN) code-named Ametokun in the southwest, has once again confirmed and reinforced the belief that things are no longer at ease in Nigeria and the centre has collapsed like pack of cards. This gave credence to the recent outburst of former President Olusegun Obasanjo when he stated unequivocally, that Nigerians had never been so divided as it is now under the current government.
The conflicting signals emanating from the different geo-political zones show that the Nigerian project is gradually heading towards a precipice.
Available nationalist literature again confirm that Nigeria is a mere contraption of the colonial power to maintain their imperial presence and It was in the light of this that the late Premier of the Western Region, Obafemi Awolowo, founder and leader of the Egbe Omo Oduduwa and later Action Group, stated that ‘Nigeria is not a nation, but a mere geographical expression. There are no “Nigerians” in the same sense as there are “English,” Welsh,” or “French.” The word Nigerian is a distinctive appellation to distinguish those who live within the boundaries of Nigeria from those who do not.”
In the same vein, the leader of the Northern People’s Congress (NPC), the late Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa affirmed in the legislative council during the early days in the nation’s struggle for political freedom that “since 1914, the British Government has been trying to make Nigeria become one country, but that Nigerians are historically different in their backgrounds, in their religious beliefs and customs and do not show themselves any sign of willingness to unite.”
Hence, every moment of every hour, the voice of restructuring has become louder. Amid the barefaced marginalization of ethnic minorities, the lopsided federal cabinet dominated by Fulani men and women and the limitless invasion of Fulani herdsmen now branded as terrorists, the South West opted to take its destiny into their hands.
The concord accordance of the governors of the six states that make up the western region, in addition to the royal presence of His Majesty, the custodian of the Yoruba race, the Oni of Ife, give credibility to the western regional Police code-named Ametokun. It demonstrates in single terms, the preparedness of the Yoruba nation to put to check the arbitrary invasion by Fulani herdsmen into their territories. In the wake of such unholy attacks, properties running into millions of naira were destroyed, their kinsmen maimed and killed in brutish manner, farm produce destroyed and the people sacked from homes and farmlands.
However, minutes after the inauguration of Ametokun which literary meaning is still in the wraps, North West said it had one or two things to learn from the southwest Governors. The comment by the Chairman of the North West Governors’ Forum, Alhaji Aminu Masari of Katsina State, has a clear message: similar regional local Police outfit, ostensibly to protect their perceived threatening interest will be set up.
It would be recalled that sometime in December 2016, South East Governors convoked a security summit hosted by the Enugu State Governor, The essence of that gathering was to checkmate the incessant maiming and killing of their kiths and kins and the subsequent usurpation of their land by the now dreaded Fulani herdsmen. It was also held in certain quarters that the gathering of the Governors would not be unconnected with the frequent invasion of the Nigerian Army of their region in the guise of taming the Biafra agitators who seem to be holding sway in the South East. Ironically, almost two and a half years the South West initiated Ametokun, the South East appears to be in limbo in the formation of a similar security outfit.
Governors of the Niger Delta region seem to be complacent over the wave of insecurity blowing across the nation. Available reports show that Delta and Bayelsa states are blazing the trail in the insecurity index of the region. Only recently, a Commissioner’s son was kidnapped in Bayelsa State. Most residents in the oil-rich state barely sleep with their two eyes closed. The story isn’t different in Delta State where traditional rulers have been kidnapped, killed. In the same vein farmers in the Agbor- Asaba axis now dread going to their farmlands due to the incessant operation of ritualists, kidnappers and armed bandits
Conversely, while it might be too early to applaud the efforts of the southwest Governors’ initiative, it won’t be out of context to query the modus operandi and sustainability of this regional security outfit. Already, there are unconfirmed reports that some of the Governors who put aside their political leanings are gradually backsliding from the laudable project. Again, what is the credibility of those conscripted into the security outfit? Are they graduates with a strong moral background or they are mere touts handpicked by political warlords? It’s on record that the Yoruba race was a major advocate in the clamour for state Police in the restructuring agenda, but has sadly backpedaled to embrace regional policing initiative.
Regional policing is not a novel initiative in Nigeria, but it had never been properly organised with state government openly involved as we have it now. In the South East then, we had the dreaded Bakassi Boys who after a time went beserk in their operation as a security outfit in the region. It took the combined efforts of both the government and the people before the Bakassi Boys were finally dislodged. The North had always had the Hishbah. It was even rumoured in certain quarters that this security outfit, a breakaway group currently formed what today is known as the dreaded Boko Haram group. The people of the South West had the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC). It was on record that barely a few months after its formation, a splinter group emerged headed by now Otunba Ganiyu Adams with the other group headed by the late Dr. Fredrick Fasheun. The acrimony that ensued thereafter now lies in the forgotten past.
Hence we must thread with caution in our quest for state or regional policing initiative before we become pawns in the hands of the lions we failed to tame.