*As Oyo Assembly begins bill’s consideration Thursday
By Adeola Badru & James Ogunnaike
ABEOKUTA—Ogun State government, on Wednesday, approved the proposal for the creation of Ogun State Security Network Agency code-named Operation Amotekun.
Meanwhile, Oyo State House of Assembly said it will consider the operational legal framework for the Amotekun security outfit on Thursday.
The approval in Ogun was given during the State Executive Council meeting at the governor’s office in Abeokuta, after an extensive deliberation that lasted close 10 hours and presided over by Governor Dapo Abiodun.
Addressing journalists at the end of the Executive Council meeting, the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General of the state, Mr. Adegbolahan Adeniran, said the presentation of the bill before the state council followed the earlier approval by the Attorney-Generals and Commissioners of Justice of the six South-West states.
Adeniran assured that the state Amotekun Corps will be headed by a state Commandant, adding that the bill also allows for collaborative efforts between the six South-West states, should the need arise.
Also, he expressed optimism that the bill will get speedy attention from the state lawmakers so that the governor can also give the required assent as soon as possible.
Adeniran said: “We presented the bill for the creation of the Ogun State Security Network Agency or what many call the Amotekun Corp Bill of 2020.
“Today(Wednesday), the Executive Council of Ogun State met and adopted a draft as amended of a bill for a law to establish the Ogun State Security Network Agency. This agency will comprise Amotekun Corps and this bill will be transmitted to the House of Assembly before the end of this week.”
Oyo Assembly begins Amotekun bill’s consideration Thursday
Similarly, Oyo State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Professor Oyelowo Oyewo, disclosed that a provision for bearing of arms is included in the Amotekun bill.
In an interview with Vanguard on Wednesday, Professor Oyewo said the provision bearing arms for the Amotekun Corps was in compliance with the extant law in Nigeria to bear arms.
His words: “There is a law on bearing of arms and there is a provision in the Amotekun laws that is in compliance with the extant law in Nigeria to bear arms; that is seeking the President’s permit. You can’t bear arms without a permit.”
Oyelowo said the Amotekun Corps would adhere to extant laws, including the Firearms Act and Prohibition Law, that arms can only be borne with a permit.
He added: “Beyond arms, there are other security equipment that you don’t need such a rigorous process to bear. But when it comes to bearing of firearms, the Firearms Act and Prohibition Law makes guidelines and this will be complied with in seeking the necessary permission.
“So, the Attorneys-General of the South-West zone—Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo and Lagos— came together with the intervention of DAWN commission that has been piloting the process, and we are able to have a draft model bill to be adopted by each of the states in accordance with their local circumstances and situations as the need arises.
“And this is not the first time. For example, the extant law in Ogun State relating to neighbourhood watch has provisions for bearing of arms. There are even other bodies like Joint Task Force, Hisbah in the North-East that are bearing arms. So, the case of Amotekun is not a peculiar one.”
Meanwhile, in its readiness to begin the operational legal framework for the security outfit, the state House of Assembly, has said it would begin hearing of the bill Thursday.
The Speaker, Mr. Debo Ogundoyin, stated that the House would set a pace by giving speedy consideration to the bill when presented for enactment.
He also announced that the assembly would be holding a security summit soonest in order to address the issue of insecurity, violence against women, children and other life-threatening issues in the state.