Oyo Assembly begins bill’s consideration Thursday
By Adeola Badru
THE Oyo State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Professor Oyelowo Oyewo, has disclosed that there has been a provision forbearing of arms in the newly created Western Nigerian Security Network codenamed: ‘Operation Amotekun,’ just as the state House of Assembly will consider the operational legal framework for the security outfit today (Thursday).
This was disclosed by the state commissioner for justice, in an interview with Vanguard on Wednesday, hinting that the provision bearing arms for the Amotekun Corps was in compliance with the extant law in Nigeria to bear arms and that is seeking the President’s permit.
His words: “There is a law on a bearing of arms, 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.”
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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.
“Beyond arms, there is other security equipment that you don’t need such rigorous process to bear but when it comes to bearing of firearms, the firearms act and prohibition law make guidelines and this will be complied with in seeking the necessary permission.
“So, the Attorneys-General of the Southwest zone including Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo and Lagos States 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 forbearing 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.
“It is a synchronised process that showed that the zone is collaborating with one another. This also has the backing of the Conference of Speakers of the zone and so, it is not surprising that within the week and next week, all these six states within the Southwest zone will have passed the bill into law.
“The gist of the bill is that it establishes a Security Network agency with a board and in Section 3 of it, it specifically allows for the contiguous states within the Southwest to collaborate with each other. So, this bill is to enable the southwest governors to deliver on their constitutional responsibilities under Section 4 of 1999 constitutional that imposes the obligation for the protection of lives and property, not only on the federal government but for the state and local government.
“So, we have a situation where this Network is established to complement the police and security agencies in the light of the insecurity incidence not only in the Southwest all over Nigeria. It must be noted that the primary obligation for policing in the constitution is vested in the Nigeria Police, but there are also constitutional obligations imposed on the state and government at the local level to ensure the security of lives and property and this is what is taking place. It is a complementary Security Network outfit.
“And we have the Amotekun Corp which is also established thereunder and their operation as it were for the purpose of securing those areas in collaboration or complement with the police and of such miscreants or offenders that are arrested will be handed over to the police and if they violate state laws, they will be prosecuted through the office of the Attorney-General, so it is a symbiotic, corrollative and complementary relationship and it gives room for collaboration within the Southwest which enhances the security operations under the code name of Operation Amotekun.”
Alongside the establishment of an agency, would be the setting up of an Amotekun Corps Complaints board where complaints about an excess of the corps, in relation to human rights abuses, could also be lodged.
Meanwhile, in its readiness to begin the operational Legal framework for the security outfit, the state House of Assembly, has said that the assembly would begin hearing of the bill today.
The Speaker, Mr Debo Ogundoyin stated that Assembly 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.