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There's No Going Back On Amotekun, Stakeholders Insist

From the Lagos Arewa community/Miyeti Allah, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Muslim community, Community Development Associations (CDAs), Community Development Committees (CDCs), state security outfits, traditional rulers including the Aare Ona Kakanfo, Otunba Gani Adams, political party leaders both APC and PDP, Agbekoya, traditional worshippers, lawmakers, state exco members, security experts and civil society organisations amongst many others, the verdict remains the same- "Amotekun is a necessity and it has come to stay. There is no going back."

The speaker of Lagos Assembly, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa set the ball rolling in his keynote address when he declared that Amotekun, as a security outfit, in the state and the South West has come to stay.

Adding that the outfit had become important for the security of lives and properties of the people.

However, their was an uproar of disapproval when the secretary to the Hausawa community in Alimosho, Ibrahim Abubakar speaking on behalf of the Hausa community and Miyetti Allah in the state cautioned against provocative statements on Amotekun by some people.

He said they should be given a sense of belonging and be carried along, saying “we don’t have anything against Amotekun but we want to be carried along”, he said.

There was also a shout of approval when Cardinal James Odumbaku, a member of the Governor’s Advisory Committee, GAC, said everything must be deployed to make Amotekun work, native intelligence, traditional powers and religious powers to ensure the outfit succeeds.

Obasa said, “I’m sure we all recall the incidents before the establishment of Amotekun, the killings, maiming, kidnapping and their likes.

“In the wisdom of our governors, they decided on Amotekun,” Obasa said.

The speaker noted that the idea had resulted in different reactions from Nigerians, but that the South West cannot relent in the zone’s bid to ensure people are safe.

The speaker said the bill on Amotekun would be accommodated in the existing law. “Amotekun has come to stay and we must stand by it,” he said. According to him, Amotekun has been supported by over 40 million Yoruba people and, as a result, it would only be wise to favour the bill. “Our race has spoken and we must stand by it but in line with the constitution,” he said.

Gani Adams decried the pessimism that trailed the Amotekun by people outside South West saying it was not necessary, “Yorubas are one of the most organized race and this public hearing for stakeholders to make inputs has justified my position.

He said it was very gratifying that for the first time in the history of the Yorubas they were talking with one voice on Amotekun.

“Amotekun has brought the unity we have been talking about in Yorubaland, this is the first time everybody in South West is speaking with one voice. Those who are afraid have nothing to fear, insecurity does not discriminate on tribe, religion or political party”, Adams said.

A member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who represented the state PDP chairman, Adedeji Doherty also said PDP is in full support of Amotekun but advised that the engagement of personnel should be purely on merit not party, tribe, religion or nepotism.

While a representative of the CDAs and CDCs advised they and community leaders should be included in the recruitment of Amotekun as well as to work with them.

Other stakeholders said the roles of Amotekun must be clearly defined to avoid constitutional crisis while the Vigilante Group also wants to be incorporated in Amotekun since they have been engaged in community policing.

Lagos Publicity Secretary of APC, Seye Oladejo said in recruitment educational qualification should be de-emphasised, criteria should be knowledge of the locality and culture of the terrain, recruitment should be locally based, while a security expert, advocated for a technocrat in security to head the outfit instead of retired police or army officer.
Hon. Segun Olulade, former member of the Lagos Assembly who is now a consultant and government relations expert, advised that appointment and removal of Commander of Amotekun Corps must be with the approval of the Lagos Assembly.

Read: Operation Amotekun, National Security and Countenance of the Law - Daniel O. Adedigba

Reviewing the bill tagged, ‘A Law to amend the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency Law, 2019’, earlier, Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade said, “Amotekun corps would be depicted by the image of a leopard, an animal with the capacity to penetrate anywhere. The lawmaker said the outfit would perform same functions like the Neighbourhood Safety corps.

However, the operatives would be made to carry licensed arms subject to the approval of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and collaborate with security agencies in Lagos and other states.

He said the exercise is not new but that it is an amendment to the Neighbourhood Safety law which has been in existence since 2016 to accommodate Amotekun corps.

The lawmaker added that the laws guiding Amotekun are all embedded in the Neighbourhood Safety Corps law and this is the reason for the decision to amend it.

With the amendment, “Amotekun is to collaborate with and assist the police and other security network agencies in gathering information about crime, crime investigation, arrest and prosecution of persons suspected or involved in kidnapping, terrorism, cattle rustling, cultism, highway robbery and such other criminal activities”, Agunbiade said.

Read Also: My Eye - Witness Daylight Burial of Criminal Justice by Daniel O. Adedigba

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