By Dapo Akinrefon
AARE Okikiola Aremu Kamorudeen is the President of Agbekoya Farmers Association. In this interview, he expressed worry over the slow pace at which Amotekun is operating, saying governors of the region were underrating the role of Agbekoya, OPC, vigilante groups and hunters. He also bares his mind on restructuring and other burning national issues. Excerpts:
What is your assessment of the Amotekun in some South-West states?
My assessment of Amotekun in the South-West has not been impressive in the sense that some states have taken off while some have not. Even in the states where the outfit has taken off, we are yet to feel the full impact.
Honestly speaking, when the idea of setting up Amotekun, a security outfit for the entire South-West states, was brought about by the South-West governors to assist other security agencies operating in the country, the people hailed our governors’ bold move and the expectations of the people were high in tackling the security lapses in the region.
But the unfolding events about the agency, in all the states, have not been impressive especially in the area of funding, recruitment, and the involvement of the security stakeholders groups like Agbekoya, OPC, hunters and vigilante groups.
First, funding of security operations and operatives should be adequate. Ssecond, the online application does not augur well. More so, we need to combine both modern weaponry and traditional weapons in tackling the security problems.
Also, governors of South-West are underrating the role Agbekoya, OPC, vigilante and the hunters can play in securing the South-West.
I also want to encourage the states that are yet to take off, to brazen up and take off on time because the security situation in the region is getting worse by the day.
Some states of the South-West have commenced training of personnel for the outfit. What should they look out for before recruiting personnel?
Recruitment into Amotekun should not be based on paper qualifications alone. Other criteria and conditions like physical fitness, boldness, endurance, long-suffering and ability to use local weapons and charms should be considered alongside with modern weapons.
Understanding of the local environments and routes and footpaths in our villages, towns and cities is also very important.
Despite the launch of the outfit, the crime rates are yet to abate. What is responsible for this?
Agbekoya Farmers Society has its own security arm that has been working in conjunction with the Police to help curb the wave of crimes like kidnapping, banditry, ritual killings, and the activities of herdsmen, who have been involved in killing our farmers and innocent citizens.
Like I said earlier on, Amotekun has been launched in all the states but has not fully taken off.
Its impacts are yet to be felt. In view of this, I am urging the governors of the states to release funds for the agency to fully take-off in their respective states for effective monitoring and operations of the outfit.
Do you think the South-West is still safe from criminal activities, especially marauding herdsmen who have been kidnapping and killing people in the region?
My assessment is that a lot needs to be done by the security agencies, especially in South-West and other parts of the country in curbing crimes in our society.
Can you imagine a serial killer escaping from police custody?
This is a serious dent on the Nigeria Police in Oyo State and in the entire country. In answering your question, the South-West is not safe yet from criminals and marauding herdsmen who have been killing and kidnapping people in the region.
How has Agbekoya been collaborating with security agencies to flush out criminals terrorising the South West States?
Agbekoya has been having a cordial relationship with all the security agencies in flushing out criminals terrorising the South-West states. When we arrest criminals we hand them over to the police for justice to be done. Our men don’t take laws into their hands.
With the 2023 general elections drawing near, will Agbekoya be supporting any aspirant? Also, will your group support Asiwaju Bola Tinubu if he decides to contest?
The Agbekoya Farmers Society will support aspirants, who have the interest of farmers at heart, especially from the South-West. We will support Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu if he decides to contest for the President of Nigeria.
There are arguments that restructuring of the country should be done before the 2023 general elections. Do you support this agitation?
Yes, Agbekoya is in full support of the agitation for the restructuring of the country before the 2023 general elections. There is a lot of imbalance in the distribution of resources and governance in Nigeria, as it is now and restructuring will help in solving the problems.
As much as we support restructuring, we should also take cognizance of the fact that the Nigerian constitution is a fundamental problem that must be tackled alongside restructuring.