On Security we cannot afford to fail, says Akeredolu
Five days after its creation, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami declared the Southwest security organisation Amotekun an illegal entity.
Some had thought that because he had a second term election ahead of him, Governor Akeredolu would chicken out of Amotekun cause, but he dared the Presidency and announced that there was no going back on the resolve to use the outfit to secure the people from marauding killers.
For the first time in the history of the Southwest, the six Yoruba states were united regardless of political affiliation on the security initiative.
The Ondo State Government passed the Amotekun bill into law in March 2020, while other states also passed the bill in their respective Houses of Assembly, promising to support the network with logistics for full operations.
Each of the states donated 20 operational vehicles, except Oyo State that donated 33 vehicles, and 100 units of motorcycles each, making a total of 133 vehicles and 600 motorcycles to get started. Members were drawn from vigilante group, local hunters, Agbekoya and the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) to make up the outfit.
Akeredolu, who is also the Chairman of South West Governors’ Forum, insisted that the region would not succumb to pressures from anywhere on the matter of securing the zone, not even with threats of subverting his second term bid.
The Commissioner for Information, Mr. Donald Ojogo, announced then that the Governor was not bothered by the implications it would have on his reelection bid.
“The decision taken in respect of Amotekun was in the interest of the entire nation but not the South West alone. The political insinuations and blackmail are the required ingredients needed to make it credible. But such will not discourage the governor in any manner.”
For the past the past 18 months, Amotekun had made breakthroughs in fighting criminality in the state, drastically reducing kidnapping, farmers/herders clashes and other related crimes through collaboration with other sister security agencies.
The Guardian gathered that in most communities where the 2020 #ENDSARS Protest took a dangerous bend, for instance in Okitipupa axis of the state, it was to Amotekun the people ran, largely because of the massive destruction done to police facilities and operations.
In other parts of the state, the Amotekun personnel was able to effectively gather intelligence information and surveillance due local intelligence and relationship with the people, who rely more on them than other conventional security agencies.
Recently, the state Commandant of Amotekun Corps, Chief Adetunji Adeleye, announced the recruitment of 503 personnel to further strengthen the workforce and they have begun their training in the state.
As part of his efforts to tackle insecurity and further rid the state of criminal elements, Governor Akeredolu charged elected chairmen across the 18 local government areas of the state to set up their own local vigilante.
The governor iterated the need to engage local hunters, who can work effectively with the state security network to expand their reach in the grassroots.
He assured that, at least, two vehicles would be provided for the Amotekun Corps in each of 18 local government areas across the state, as operational vehicles to aid their fight against criminality.
According to him, the Amotekun corps is key to the effective security of life and property of the people of the state. He urged the local government chairmen to work with the corps.
Showering accolade for not yielding to pressure to abandon Amotekun, the Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, lauded the Akeredolu’s courage to proffer lasting solutions to the security challenges facing the people and the Southwest geo-political zone.
Afenifere, particularly, praised him for bringing all the Southwest governors together to tackle insecurity and making the security of the people a priority.
The Secretary-General of Afenifere, Bashorun Sehinde Arogbofa, who led the group’s delegation to the Governor’s Office, also commended him for his tenacity and bravery in forging Amotekun in the region.
Arogbofa noted that the creation of the security network is a forerunner to the establishment of state police, which he said Afenifere has always advocated.
“We salute your courage. We saw the Amotekun thing as a forerunner to the state police. What can any government do without security? Security of life and property should be priority. We commend you.”
Recounting the hurdles overcome to put Amotekun in place, the governor said: “Thank you for noting our efforts on the security of the state. You have captured it succinctly in a way that you can’t put it better.
“We met with a lot of forces and it was not easy and it is still not easy, when you are forced into a corner where you have a security outfit without the right to carry the right arms. But we thank God that in all of Amotekun’s efforts till date, we have not suffered any casualty.”
He agreed with the group that, “Amotekun is going to be a forerunner for state police. We believe that our security architecture needs total restructuring. There must be multi-level system of policing.
“This is where I believe part of the issue of restructuring lies. People who thought restructuring is about secession are wrong. We must restructure fiscal policy. We must restructure to show true federalism.”
Reacting to the massacre of Igangan Community residents in Ibarapa, Oyo State, the governor described it as “Igangan provocative onslaught one too many,” ordering the Amotekun Corp to carry joint operations in the region.
His words: “While we will encourage the security agencies to get to the root of this latest act of provocation, we have directed the Commanders of the South West Security Network, Amotekun, to convoke a joint security meeting of all Commanders in the South West with a view to commencing joint operations in the region immediately.
“We must reiterate the fact that certain elements are bent on causing friction among the peoples of this country with the sole aim of achieving a pernicious end. They will stop at nothing until their set goal is realised.
“It is, therefore, incumbent on all lovers of peace and freedom to rise against this current regression into savagery. We on our part are resolved to defend our people, their property, and all legitimate means of livelihood against both internal and external aggression.”
He added: “On this, there will be no compromise,” while urging the people to be vigilant and report any suspicious movement in their communities.
“In addition, they must be united in the task of defending our lives and properties. We cannot afford to fail.”Expanding the frontiers of the security network, the governor commissioned the newly recruited 503 to be posted across the state and unveiled his plans for border and internal security.
Also for all encompassing and effective service delivery, he announced that Amotekun will soon move to a permanent site, while the legal department was approved to function optimally.
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