February 23, 2020
News Analysis

Ensuring Effective Take-off of Amotekun

Recently, governors of the six Southwest states launched the western security outfit code named Operation Amotekun.

According to the Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, the initiative is a policing arrangement that is close to the people in their various communities.

Governor Fayemi explained that the operation is not to undermine the integrity of the country but to ensure security and safety of the people. 

The security outfit is collective effort that includes contributions from the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria, DAWN, members of the Nigeria Police, Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, Agbekoya group and members of several other vigilante groups within the region.

The arrangement also includes consultation between the governors and traditional rulers in the southwest.

There have been concerns about security challenges facing the country, especially during the first quarter of 2019 when kidnapping became rampant on roads connecting the six states, including the Ore-Lagos Federal highway where daughter of the Afenifere leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, Funke Olakunrin was gunned down with no trace of her killers.

Regional security is not a new system in the country.

During the regime of Tafawa Balewa, the country operated the regional police systems to maintain security of lives and property of the citizens.

The military takeover of government came with the introduction of a central police force.

After the return of the country to civilian rule in 1999, states like Zamfara and Kano formed the Hisbah to assist the governors to enforce Sharia law.

As a result of the increase in kidnapping and banditry across the country, the southeastern states employed the services of the forest guards to protect their forests from kidnappers and other raiders.

Of importance is the fact that operation Amotekun is coming at a time when the Federal Government is planning to pull out military personnel deployed to states during the peak of kidnapping and banditry in some parts of the country.

Although the president has assured citizens that areas that still seem to be under threats will be given special consideration while soldiers are deployed to other critical assignments.

The launch of the Southwest security outfit is timely to assist the Federal Government to beef up security in the region.

It is heartwarming the governors’ efforts to plan a security arrangement that includes various stakeholders.

The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami has declared Amotekun illegal.

Southwest governors should propose bills to their state legislature to give the outfit legal backing.

In addition, the security outfit should be structured and sustained in a way that no individual or state can appropriate the organisation for personal or private ends.

Everyone involved in management of the security outfit should be trained to act with professionalism, fairness and justice.

The Southwest states need to carry the Inspector General of Police along in intensifying the functions of Amotekun so that it does not run into conflict with the Nigeria Police Force.

It behoves the governors to ensure that the new security outfit meets the expectations of Nigerians to contribute to peace and prosperity in the region and the entire country.

Fawzeeyah Kasheem

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