…Govs Makinde, Akeredolu, Fayemi others allay fears
…as S’west govs launch new security architecture in Ibadan
By Adeola Badru
SEEING provision of security as one of the key functions of any responsible and responsive government, governors of the southwestern states in Nigeria on Thursday converged on Ibadan to launch the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN) tagged: ‘Operation Amotekun’ with the aim to ensure an end to insecurity in the region.
The security outfit with the motto: “Zero Tolerance to Crime” will henceforth start work by securing the masses from attacks from terrorists, bandits, and other vices in Oyo, Lagos, Ekiti, Ondo, Osun and the Ogun States.
The recent occurrence of the herdsmen incursion in some parts of the country and of late in the Southwest has left many in palpable fears of the unknown.
There are various efforts put in place by the government to nip in the board the nefarious activities of these criminally-minded herdsmen, to which only little achievements are made.
The six south-west governors, June last year, jointly brainstormed in Ibadan to come up with a new security architecture for the southwest to effectively tackle insecurity through the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria Commission (DAWN).
The region’s governors at the summit proposed the establishment of a regional security outfit codenamed Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN). The outfit, which has its members drawn from local hunters, the Odua Peoples Congress (OPC) and Vigilante group, will work with other security agencies and traditional rulers for effective community security.
Recalls that in proferring a solution to the insecurity, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Muhammed Adamu summoned an emergency security meeting with the six southwest governors in Ibadan, September last year, to discuss the security challenges in the country, especially as it affects the southwest states in recent times and adoption of a new security architecture for the southwest, which, however, birthed the emergence of “Operation Amotekun.”
Part of the causes for the emergency security meeting was the recent murder of Mrs Funke Olakunrin, the daughter of the foremost Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, by yet to be identified gunmen.
At the emergency security meeting, the IGP gave the approval to deploy special forces in the six states of the southwest to be under a commissioner of police.
It was agreed that the OPC, traditional rulers and the governors of the zone would partner the police.
However, the south-west governors again restated their avowed commitment to the provision of safety for the lives and property of people of the southwest.
While speaking, Governor Akeredolu of Ondo State who is the Chairman, South West Governors Forum, stated that the security outfit was not serving as an alternative to the police force but to simply play a complementary role through intelligence gathering to the federal government security agencies.
He said: “Let me reiterate that Amotekun is an initiative of all the governors of the south-west states and its role is to complement the Nigeria police force.”
“The south-west states believe in the unity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, we believe in Nigeria. To me, our sovereignty is indissoluble,” he stressed.
The governor assured that the security outfit would not be allowed to serve as a tool by politicians against any political opponent or during political activities.
Governor Akeredolu who also said the southeast governors would provide logistics to support the security apparatus disclosed that each of the states in the south-west has procured nothing less than six vehicles for the take-off with Oyo State procuring 33 vehicles.
He called on the people of the region to continue to support President Mohammadu Buhari- led Federal Government in its efforts to nip the current security challenges facing the country in the bud.
Ekiti State governor who also is the Chairman, Nigeria Governors Forum, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said the launch of the Western Nigeria Security outfit, ‘Amotekun’ was borne out of the fact that it would further boost the security of lives and property of the people in the south-west region.
According to him: “We all know the reason behind the creation of the Amotekun, we have been daily rubbed, we can no longer farm on our farms, the most prime of it is the cold murder of the daughter of one of our leaders in Afenifere, Funke Olakunrin nee Fasoranti.”
“My self and my colleagues then think we should help the mainstream security to tackle the menace. From our initial Security summit, we held in Ibadan some six months ago, we decided to create a security outfit that will be responsive and responsible and accountable for our citizenry.”
According to him, Amotekun is nothing but a community policing, that is responsible for the problem of our people. It is important that we installed confidence in our people that voted us into power, and that is what Amotekun is going to do for our people.
“Amotekun is a confidence-building strategy in our people of the Southwest region. Amotekun is not a replacement nor a duplication of the Nigeria Police Force, but what gives them confidence that they are being looked after by those that put us in office.”
“We are not here to here to create a regional Police Force. we are all in support of the community policing and also supporters of the state police.”
“We need a security system that will be very supportive and be very closer to our people, mostly in the rural areas, this is not an agenda to underestimate the security system of our Country, Nigeria.”
“We are ready to do anything positive to protect the safety of our people. Amotekun will operate on State by State basis, no Amotekun personnel will come from Osun to Oyo for any operations.”
In his speech, Osun State Governor represented by the Deputy Governor, Benedict Olugbenga Alabi said: “Amotekun is just a security outfit for the south-west States, to complement the present security system we have in the country.”
He charged Amotekun officials to always do their jobs with professionalism to make it a huge success while also commending service chiefs, the Inspector- General of Police and President Buhari for their supports over the new south-west security outfit.
Earlier in his address of welcome, the Chief Host, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State lauded the corroborative efforts put up by the governors of the six states towards realising the security initiative.
He reiterated the need for the outfit to ensure indigenes and settlers sleep with their two eyes closed and go about their day to day activities in the state.
According to him: “It is time for us to be brave. Six months ago, we met, right here in Oyo State and decided to set up a regional collaborative security agency. And I am happy that we followed through. With our sister states Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, and Osun, Oyo State is launching Amotekun, The Western Nigeria Security Network.”
“As governors of these states, it is our priority to ensure that both indigenes and settlers living within the boundaries of our various states can carry out their legitimate activities in a secure environment. The security of their lives and properties should be of paramount importance.”
“Our regional integration, our coming together, should be seen in one light and one light alone: That we are coming together to fight a common enemy.”
“That enemy is not Nigeria; the enemies are the elements among us and their affiliates who are determined to cause commotion within the borders of our states and threaten our peaceful coexistence.”
“As this launch proceeds today, we will find that this architecture we have put together is in harmony with the Constitution that we swore to protect. We will also learn that everything we have outlined to do with Amotekun is in line with the existing security architecture in Nigeria. All we are doing is creating an appendage of local vigilantes that will feed the current state apparatus,” Makinde posited.
Leader of World Yoruba Congress, an umbrella body of
Yoruba groups such as Afenifere,
Prof. Banji Akintoye, noted that Amotekun is a security Outfit meant for the betterment of the region assuring the governors of their support.
“I urge you the Amotekun Security Outfit official to stay by your trainers, don’t go beyond your boundaries, don’t bring in your own ideas over the ideas of your Training,” he advised.
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi, charged all Yoruba to support the leaders of the security outfit to succeed.
“We the traditional rulers are in support of the Amotekun, we have to support our governors to achieve success on this project, we all know what happened in Oyo Town of recent and I can say that Baba Alaafin absence here can be linked to that fire incident. But I can tell you that Baba is in Support of this project,” he stated.