•Outfit not for ethnic persecution —Akeredolu
•Recruit only locals —Yoruba Congress advises
•Amotekun not for Yoruba freedom —Falae
•We can curb crime without using arms —Agbekoya
By Dayo Johnson, Dapo Akinrefon, Olasunkanmi Akoni, Ebun Sessou, Adeola Badru, Shina Abubakar, James Ogunnaike & Anuoluwa Alder
IBADAN—FOLLOWING a Public Hearing on the Amotekun Corps bill by the Oyo State House of Assembly, the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, Oyo State, yesterday, declared support for Amotekun just as it demanded inclusion in the outfit.
This came as Chairman of the South West Governors Forum, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, yesterday, assured that there is no going back on the implementation of the security outfit codenamed Amotekun in the region.
Also, the Yoruba World Congress, YWC, yesterday asked the South-West governors to ensure they recruit only competent personnel in each local government into the security outfit to defend and protect their respective areas.
Myetti Allah backs Amotekun, demands inclusion
At the public hearing, yesterday, held at the Parliament Building, Secretariat Ibadan, in Oyo State, the former Chairman of MACBAN in the state and Chairman of the Cow Sellers Association of Nigeria in Oyo State, Yakubu Bello, said Amotekun is a good initiative that must be supported by all and sundry.
Bello said: “We, the Myetti Allah Group in Oyo State, are in support of this Amotekun initiative. We applaud the Oyo State governor for the initiative, it is a good development.
“We want our children to also be employed as Amotekun personnel. Amotekun will deal with the Fulani criminals.
“The criminally-minded Fulani can only be known and identified by the Fulani not criminally minded. Our children can help the Amotekun officers in the area of identification of the real herders from the criminal minded Fulani, our children can speak our language to them and through that, they can identify either they are criminals or not. We should give our children the privilege to serve as Amotekun personnel, so those innocent souls will not be punished for an action that was not done by them.”
Don’t use Amotekun to settle political scores — Oyo Muslim community
Also speaking at the Public Hearing, the representative of the Muslim Community Oyo State, Prof. Abideen Olaiya, noted that the Amotekun should not be used to settle political scores.
Prof. Olaiya said: “We should be very careful. Amotekun should not be used for settling political scores and also, its personnel should shun the act of jungle justice.”
On his part, the Commissioner of Police in Oyo State, CP Olukolu Olushina, who was represented by Funke Fawole said: “There is a firearms act, and I wish the organization of Amotekun should follow the due process in the area of the firearms act; they should also ensure that the handlers of those arms are well trained, so as to avoid the misuse of the firearms.”
Earlier in his speech, Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Mr Adebo Ogundoyin, who was represented by his deputy, Mr. Abiodun Fadeyi at the event said: “Amotekun Corps, when in operation, would not undermine the activities of members of the existing security agencies, but rather would complement their services. Offenders apprehended by members of the Amotekun Corps are to be handed over to the police or officers of the other relevant security agencies,” he stated.
Amotekun not for ethnic persecution — Akeredolu
At the public hearing of the bill in Ondo State, Governor Akeredolu assured that there was no going back on the implementation of the security outfit.
The governor said: “There is no going back. We are not going to compromise the security of our people. We have put our hands on the plow there is no retreating. Let me disabuse the minds of the people it will not be used for the purpose of ethnic persecution.
“We have cleared the grey areas with the security agencies. So, we are now good to go with Amotekun.
“There are those that are in support of Amotekun and some not in support. But those in support will triumph. Amotekun is not the initiative of just one state but it involved all the six states of the south-west which included collaborations of the Attorneys General and Speakers.”
Amotekun not for Yoruba freedom — Falae
Also speaking, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Chief Olu Falae said that restructuring was the answer to the myriad of problems bedevilling the country.
Falae said: “Amotekun is the arrival of Yoruba freedom. What we want is our safety in our region.
“Yoruba cannot secede from Nigeria; we have suffered to make Nigeria what it is today. We have invested time and resources in Nigeria.
“Amotekun is an opportunity to free ourselves. Our freedom is what we won’t compromise. Amotekun arrival represents the freedom of Yoruba from oppression within the Nigerian nation.”
In his remarks, Speaker of the Ondo Assembly, Mr Bamidele Oloyelogun, said the safety of the people in the region was paramount to the governors hence the initiative.
“Lives are being wasted on a daily basis and this has to stop”, he said.
Recruit only locals into Amotekun — Yoruba Council
Perhaps reacting to the call for Miyetti Allah for inclusion in the Amotekun outfit, the Convener of Yoruba World Council, YWC, Prof. Banji Akintoye, said that this was imperative since the personnel would be defending their localities.
Akintoye, in a statement, said: “These should be persons who belong to, and who reside in, the local government area.
“We also urge the recruiters not to forget to recruit some of our local hunters, so as to add to their well-known expertise to the defence and protection of their local government areas.
“Yoruba people are confident that the recruitment to Amotekun will be competently, patriotically and wisely carried out by those in charge.
“Amotekun is an exclusive Yoruba instrument of collective self-defence.
“In particular, local criminals have stepped up the crime of kidnapping for ransom and thereby added their own share to the insecurity and instability. Their terrorist onslaught is a wholesale invasion of Yorubaland.”
No going back on Amotekun —Obasa, Aare Gani Adams
At the Public hearing in Lagos State, Speaker of the Assembly, Mr Mudashiru Obasa and the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba land, Iba Gani Adams, declared that the outfit has come to stay.
They said this at the law to amend the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency Law, 2019, aimed at establishing Amotekun Corps in Lagos State, held at the state House of Assembly Complex, Alausa, Ikeja.
Obasa said the outfit had become important for the security of the lives and properties of the people.
He said: “I’m sure we all recall the incidents before the establishment of Amotekun, the killings, maimings, kidnappings, and their likes. In the wisdom of our governors, they decided on Amotekun.”
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, there is no going back.
“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.
Amotekun not state police — Aare Adams
Also speaking, Iba Adams, who submitted a memorandum to the House Committee on Information, Strategy, and Security, said: “When the heat on Amotekun started, a lot of people outside the Yorubaland were pessimistic but I assured them it is in the interest of Nigeria.
“Yoruba is one of the most organised groups in the world. The issue of Amotekun will further bring unity in Yorubaland. Since I was born, I have never seen a subject that has brought Yoruba together like Amotekun.
“Amotekun is not state police. I want to correct the impression and give the assurance that Amotekun, as a structure, all ethnic groups in Nigeria will be protected.
“I want to allay the fears of those who think Amotekun would harm them not to have any fear.”
Also speaking, Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, Moyosore Onigbanjo, represented by Permanent Secretary, in the Ministry of Justice, Mrs Titilayo Shitta-bay, while commending the establishment of the outfit, sought review of a section of the bill which borders on the handling of firearms, as well as redefine process for proper licensing of arms as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
In his opening remarks, Chairman of the House Committee on Information, Publicity, Strategy and Security, Tunde Braimoh, said: “What is being done is an amendment of Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC) Law of 2016, Lagos State. The law came from the Speaker, Obasa.
Include us in board — Hausa
Ibrahim Abubakar, who spoke for the Seriki Hausawa of Alimosho, suggested that people should be careful about making provocative statements.
Abubakar said that the Hausas should be given a sense of belonging by including them in the composition of board membership in order to communicate back with “our people.”
We can curb crime without using arms — Agbekoya
Also speaking, chairman of Agbekoya Farmers’ Association in Lagos State, Alhaji Davis, said: “We have the ability to fight crimes without using arms or weapons. Let us employ those who know the job and not using enemies, traitors. We should not use just anybody. Agbekoya has the power to cope and fight criminals and any form of aggression.”
Amotekun‘ll curb human trafficking, kidnapping in Ogun
Meanwhile, public hearing organised by the Ogun State House of Assembly canvassed for the inclusion of security measures against slavery, human trafficking, kidnapping, banditry, invasion of farmlands and the need to ensure human rights protection and intelligence gathering as parts of the responsibilities of the Corps upon its take off.
This was the aggregation of views of stakeholders including the representatives of the Nigerian Bar Association in Ogun State, the State Muslim Council, Association of Nigerian Authors, Coalition of Civil Societies, Yoruba World Congress, Association of Hunters in Ogun, and the Institute of Emergency Management.
The stakeholders, who took turns to lend their voice in support of the bill at the Assembly Complex, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, said when operational, the Amotekun Corps should strengthen ties with other security agencies with a view to strengthening security in the region.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Speaker, Mr Olakunle Oluomo, assured that the bill when passed by the Assembly and eventually signed into law by Governor Dapo Abiodun, would be translated into indigenous language for easy understanding by all and sundry.
Amotekun Corps will assist police curb insecurity – Osun Speaker
Speaking at the public hearing session, Speaker of the Osun House of Assembly, Mr Timothy Owoeye, expressed optimism that Amotekun Corps will assist the police and other security agencies to carry out lawful activities that will maintain law and order in the state.
Owoeye noted that the recruitment of Amotekun Corps will reduce the rate of unemployment in the state of Osun and the South Western States.
Also speaking, Governor Gboyega Oyetola, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Mr Benedict Alabi, noted that peace and security is the principal factor for business and investment.
Oyetola said: “If Amotekun works, investment windows will be open. Amotekun will give wings to the Osun Economic and Investment Summit as well as the Osun Investment Promotion Agency which are our windows to economic and industrial transformation.
“No state or nation can be stronger than the quality of its laws. Amotekun is as strong as we elect to make it, especially at this public hearing, whose outcome shall polish and enrich its legal outlook and determine the quality of the peace and prosperity we enjoy.”
Post personnel to worship centres — Muslim group
Also, a representative of the National Council of Muslim Youth Organisation, NACOMYO, at the public hearing Jamiu Adeyemi harped on the need for Osun House of Assembly to consider worship centres as places that Amotekun Corps should be posted to, noting that such places are a soft target for criminals.
Prof Aliyu Alao of the African Security Forum urged the House of Assembly to ensure that people in the diaspora are actively taken care of in the bill.
African Security Forum underscored the importance of ensuring annual reports on the Amotekun Corps noting that this would create room for checks and balances.
Monarchs should recruit personnel — Oba Olabomi
Speaking at the public hearing, the Aragbiji of Iragbiji, Oba Abdrasheed Olabomi, asked that traditional rulers should be recruiters of personnel since monarchs are the closest to the grassroots.
He stressed the need to involve monarchs in the running of the outfit saying that their involvement will be of immense benefit to the actualisation of Amotekun Corps objectives.
Amotekun shouldn’t intimidate people — Osun Fulani leader
However, the Chairman of Fulani Association in Osun, Alhaji Oluwatoyin Sulaiman supported the Amotekun Corp initiative but stressed that the Corp should be wary of intimidating the people.
Sulaiman said: “We are in support of Amotekun Corp, as long as the recruits would not give the initiative an ethnic bias or intimidating commoners when it commences eventually.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman Committee on Peaceful co-existence between Fulanis/Bororo and Farmers in the state, Mr Oguntola Toogun opined that Amotekun personnel should take the traditional oath, saying traditional oaths serves instant judgement than the Bible and Quran in dealing with erring Amotekun Corps personnel.
However, the president of Osun State Muslim Community, Mustafa Olawuyi contended that corps members should not be forced to take the traditional oath but be given liberty to choose what they will use in taking the oath.