By James Ogunnaike, Abeokuta

Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka has warned the newly inaugurated officers of Ogun State’s wing of the South-West Joint Security Outfit known as, “Amotekun”, to discharge their duties within the provisions of rules that established the outfit.

Soyinka, who gave the warning at the inauguration of Amotekun in Abeokuta, the State capital, advised men and officers of the corps not to trample on the rights of the people.

The Nobel Laureate who was decorated as the Super Marshall of Amotekun Corps in the state”, said the inauguration of the security outfit is not in any way to replace or fight the regular police, but rather to complement their efforts in the fight of insecurity.

He said the Police and Amotekun can never be rivals, but to complement what the police are doing to secure the citizens.

He said “the unique swagger stick of the Governor Abiodun and the head of Amotekun, differs drastically from either the police or the military swagger stick. “It is symbolic, it’s unique, it’s aesthetic and it just says we are different and I think that message, the aspect of it I want the security to understand is that it is not a replacement for you”.

He said the Police are too jealous of their position that was why they seem to be negating the formation of the security outfit.

“You are too jealous of your position, of your uniforms and everything and where there should be cooperation, there is competition, that is silly, let us now go beyond that and recognise that this unit is simply to complement what you are already doing adequately, that is to the best of your ability, inadequately as far as you are supposed to protect are concerned, the way we feel it”.

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“So, be happy and welcome them within your ranks and work with them.

Prof Soyinka then warned “the Amotekun people, saying “what we need to contribute to this initiative is monitoring, advice, designs.

“I want the Amotekun team to understand that we will be watching you as representatives of the civil society group, we will be watching you very closely to make sure that you do not trample on the rights of citizens”.

“You have been created to assist them, to protect them, to be part of them, to live inside them, to gather information, to say to the police, the military, we cannot handle this, but we have seen this, would like to take a look and assist?

“You are not here because you now have a uniform to start behaving like some other security agencies. You have to set an example to say that you are a civic unit.

Speaking on the recent attacks at his home, Professor Soyinka said, “I am glad the commissioner of police is here. My home in this place has been burglarized, I don’t say anything, I won’t say much, we have been hit several times, look in your records you will see how they broke into that place when I was away, very sensitive material was carried away, both security and everything, till today, even this case I was told went to SARS and also went to NSA, the Kabiyesi knows about one of the most serious ones, till today, I have had no feedback that sorry we didn’t make any headway so I’m compelled to resolve to do it myself and since then I have not been troubled but why? I pay taxes, why should I not rely on the protective services of the State, of my nation? It is absurd.

“And so I hope that you will be able to work with Amotekun and give me a clue about what really happened to things that were stolen from my house and who these people were, who got away with it”.

“So Amotekun, we are watching you, if you abuse your uniform before Ogun strikes you, we would have dealt with you.

Speaking at the launch, Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun noted that the security challenges facing the state and the nation as a whole needed the cooperation of all Nigerians and security agencies who should work in harmony and not unnecessary competition.

Said he: “Let me note that the inauguration of the Amotekun in Ogun State is not to create unnecessary competition with other security agencies in the State. And this is why everybody must work together to further strengthen the security of lives and property in the State.”

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He recalled that the establishment of the joint security outfit was agreed on by leaders and governments of the six south-west states in June 2019, as part of a holistic approach towards tackling the rising wave of insecurity in the region.

Governor Abiodun disclosed that the delay in the establishment of the outfit in the State was borne out the need to be meticulous and inclusive by allowing the people to participate in the decision-making process that affects them.

“We cannot but factor our economic status and other peculiarities into any security machinery we want to put in place. That is why the operation of the Amotekun in Ogun State looks delay. For us, it is never a delay; it was a calculated and methodical process in thoughts, action and to ensure a hitch-free service delivery”, he explained.

The Governor said the operatives have been carefully selected, trained and equipped with necessary logistics, technical backstopping and political will for effective take-off and operation, noting that the State expect nothing, but the best performance from them.

While urging men and officers of the security outfit to operate within the ambit of the law establishing it, the State helmsman, charged them to make their impact felt by co-operating with other security agencies to protect lives and property of the people of the State, calling on the people to give needed information to the outfit to serve them better.

The Governor who regretted that insecurity rising from the farmer/herders clashes led to the loss of lives in some parts of the State, reiterated that no part of Ogun State would be a safe-haven for criminals and criminality in whatever form or guise. He admonished those with criminal tendencies to have a rethink as the State would not be home for criminals.

“Any property found to be serving as hideouts to criminals will not only be taken over by the government, but such facility will also be demolished. Whoever is found to be harbouring kidnappers, ritualists, robbers or any criminals will be arrested and handed over for prosecution”, the Governor warned.

He said a taskforce, made up of the military, Nigeria Police, Department of State Services, Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps and the Vigilante Groups, has been set up as a quick response mechanism, particularly, to the troubled parts of the State to maintain law and other.

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