…Maintain its not a regional police
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Governors of the South West region, Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu and stakeholders in the security profession, on Thursday, met in Lagos, and unanimously, endorsed the creation and operation of the controversial new security outfit in the region, “Operation Amotekun.”
However, Adamu stressed that the new security outfit must be backed by law for it to be effective.
They made their stance known after a closed-door meeting, tagged: “S’West Governors, IGP, and other stakeholders summit on Community Policing,” held at Lagos House, office of the state Governor, Alausa, Ikeja.
The summit had in attendance: Ondo State and Chairman, South-West Governors’ Forum, Arakunrin Rotimi Akerodolu: Governors of Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Oyo, Ogun, Osun and Ekiti states were represented by their deputy governors, Engr, Rauf Olaniyan, Engr. (Mrs) Noimot Oyedele, Mr Benedict Alabi and Mrs Bisi Egbeyemi, respectively.
Others include the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, all the Commissioners of Police from the six South-West states, other security outfits in Lagos State, Commissioners for Justice/Attorney-Generals from the South-West states, traditional rulers, Community Development Committee, CDC, representatives among others.
Akerodolu, briefing state House Correspondents before going into the closed-door session, said, governors of the South West will ensure that they give what it takes for the security of lives and properties in the region through community policing.
He said “It is time to face the truth which is community policing because of the peculiarity of every state. This is what is done in advanced countries and it is time to embrace it because of numerous security challenges which has overstretched the conventional police.
“This is something of great importance to all of us, something we can not pretend about, we must be honest with ourselves, all of us agree that we are facing security challenges, the National Assembly, the President, Muhamnadu Buhari, nobody is happy with the way things are going, we must have a rethink about central police, there is too much on the IGP’s table.
After hours of deliberation, Akeredolu, subsequently, briefed the media on the outcome of the summit, stating that all grey areas were cleared and all have embraced operation “Amotekun.”
According to Akeredolu, “It’s clear to us all now that the community police which the Nigerian Police is anchoring is one that will benefit all of us.
“And we have chosen that we’ll embrace community police in every part of our state.
“In addition, we have made things clear that when we said we are having Amotekun, it is not that we are creating regional police.
Amotekun is not regional police. It is state-based and we have all agreed that if you have laws in your respective state backing any security Amotekun, then you can go ahead for as long as it’s within the legal bounds.
“So that’s why I say to you that we have cone out happy. All of us have agreed and it’s been a wonderful resolution of few areas that the dark areas, we have put light on it.”
Earlier, before the closed-door meeting, Sanwo-Olu expressed gladness that the conversation around Community Policing started from Lagos and the South-West.
He said, ”We are indeed happy that the Inspector General of Police deemed it fit that all of the conversations around community policing need to start in Lagos and in South-West.
”We assure the entire Nigerian Police formation that Lagos State government will continue to give cooperation that is needed to ensure that the entire Police Force discharge their responsibility and their duties very well.”
Also, said that policing had to come from the public and not just from the Police.
Adamu commended Lagos State Government for the structure put in place in policing the residents, while urging other states in the region to emulate Lagos.
”We don’t want everything to be taken to the Police to handle, there are issues the Oba in the community can handle.”
However, Adamu, who was all smile, while answering questions from the journalists after the summit, said, “This is the second meeting with the south western governors. We have concluded that Amotekun is not a regional security agency whether it is vigilante or neighbourhood watch that are working with security agencies in the state to fight crime.
“It is not different from what has been existing. So Every state is having its own structure and it is agreed that these structure that we are creating, the community policing strategy is infuse into it so that policing the community will be the initiative of the community, the public. So these area must be clarified.
“It is not a regional structure, it is a state structure and it must be backed by law for it to be effective. The structure will be in tandem with the structure of community policing.”