Criminals beware, Amotekun has landed
By Bisi Olominu
‘In the wake of the attack carried out by suspected herdsmen on the highway in Ise Ekiti, Ise/Orun Local Government Area of Ekiti State early this week where some a commuters were robbed at gun point, Governors of the South West geopolitical zone of Nigeria will tomorrow, January 9, 2020 launch the long awaited joint security outfit tagged ‘Operation Amotekun’. The South West region which has been ravaged by incessant killings of her sons and daughters by suspected fulani herdsmen, the increasing maiming and wanton destruction of lives, cum increase in cases of ritual killings has made the new security outfit inevitable.
Southwest, the once peaceful bride and home of hospitality to investors and commercial nerve centre of Nigeria has been desecrated with the shedding of innocent blood almost on daily basis, with banditry ravaging the lands and the people.
With solution not in sight to the poor economy of the country, the bandits are having a field day, killing breadwinners of families, turning women into widows and w the unlucky women met on the farms have been turned to sex machine.
It gladdens one heart that solution has finally been found to the security breach in the region as the governors of Ondo, Oyo, Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti and Osun will on Thursday join resources together to tame the monsters killing our best brains, children and innocent people in the region.
Indeed security will define the narrative of the country in year 2020. This is being witnessed in the international scene with the United States of America slugging it out with Iran. It is quite clear that the warlords have their friends in Nigeria and they will enlist them to join the impending war that has been tagged “Third World War”.
Our neglect of articulating internal security architecture in the region has extremely suffered the zone to lose many things. ‘Amotekun’ is therefore the region’s solution to stem the waves of insecurity in the Southwest.
Launching Operation Amotekun on Thursday is therefore a welcome development as the Alafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi has described the act of those terrorising the region as height of provocation.
Oba Lamidi who did not mince words said if the trend was not nipped in the bud, it would breed discontent, and also amount to a deliberate attempt to overrun the ethnic group.
The first class traditional ruler while commenting on the road block mounted by fulani herdsmen in Ekiti said such was provocation of the highest order and such illegal act should be resisted.
He then acknowledged the “Amotekun”, a Western Nigeria Security Network promoted by the Southwest governors, hoping that the option would improve the security system in the country.
“We have to reschedule a traditional rulers programme to be held in Oyo to give enough space for the take-off of “Amotekun”. What it means is that we want to see how the Southwest governors would go about it. But if you ask me, I will tell you that we need to strengthen security architecture of the Southwest before it is too late.”
Also contributing to the security issue in the Southwest and the launch of operation ‘Amotekun’, the Head of the Assembly of All Yoruba Groups Worldwide, Professor Banji Akintoye lauded the Southwest governors for the initiative.
Akintoye, while speaking at a special conference for Cardinal Investment on Agriculture organised by the Oduduwa United People Association (ODUPA) held in Abeokuta said that the outfit would improve awareness and vigilance among the people of the Southwest, as well as fight the onslaught of herdsmen attacks.
The professor of History also called for support from the local security forces such as Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, Agbekoya, Yoruba Koya, Soludero, among others to stem the rise of crime in the region. He said the Yoruba must be” ready to defend their families, communities, farmlands, villages, churches, mosques and shrines from attacks by invaders.”
“We must wake up and energise our existing citizen defence forces, such as Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, Agbekoya, Yoruba Koya, Soludero, etc,. With each of these doing what they can do, we shall quickly show the fulani marauders that Yorubaland is not the kind of land they should invade.
“We must also mobilise our traditional hunters in all our cities and towns. We must pressurize our state governments to consider reviving the Colonial Forest Guard Institution for special deployment in our rural areas.
Speaking with The Hope on the launch of operation “Amotekun “, a retired Commissioner of Police in Rivers State and now a legal practitioner, Sam Adetuyi said the launch was a welcome development as it would bring peace and harmony to the Southwest
He said the launch is giving people the believe that governments are concerned about their lives and properties. He added that the security outfit will stimulate the growth of business in the area as people will now be able to sleep with their two eyes closed.
His words: ” Operation Amotekun should be encouraged by everybody. It is an innovation and the grey areas must be continuously looked into for the operation to succeed. It is a move against hoodlums ravaging the Southwest, but the relationship between the stakeholders must be thoroughly looked into and scrutinized, all aspects must be resolved for the programme to succeed. Police have the constitutional right to protect the states, but police cannot do it all alone, others joining the police, their operations must be looked into intently, for all different approaches to crime, different views and all these differences must be resolved for the outfit to have great success.”
” I so much love the enthusiasm of stakeholders in the region to wipe out the scourge, but there must not be an ego issue in this case. Everybody must downplay ego for Amotekun to work”.
The Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland and leader of OPC in Nigeria, Gani Adams, gave his nod to the new initiative, saying he was ready to compliment the efforts of the governors and the Inspector General of Police, IGP, in their plan to make the Southwest save for the inhabitants.
According to him, the group comprising the Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, the Vigilante Group of Nigeria, VGN, the SouthWest Hunters Association, The Agbekoyas Group, Agbekoya Farmers Society Group, and Yoruba Youth Council among others, has since inception in July 2019 made significant efforts to reduce the spate of crimes in the region.
He reiterated the need to create a workable synergy between the security outfits and the leaders at the grassroots, pointing out that all over the world, security of lives and property remained the priority of every government. Adams noted that members of the group had been involved in crucial matters, on how to secure the region and it would not be in the interest of anybody to sideline them.
His words: They cannot use them only for intelligence gathering but should be trained to work under the supervision of the Nigeria Police and other security agencies. Criminals will not respect them as mere informants and they will be open to attacks and killed like chickens. Security is about life and death. The police and other security agents contain them and license their guns to greatly assist in the operation. They should not detain suspects but hand them over to the police.”
Meanwhile, it has been concluded by state governments in the Southwest to train vigilantes, hunters and OPC members who will take part in the security outfit codenamed “Operation Amotekun “. The training is too better the lots of the groups that will work with the police on intelligence gathering during the operation.
Speaking on this issue, the Special Adviser to Ekiti State Governor on Security, Brigadier General Ebenezer Ogundana, (rtd), said the equipment to be deployed for the operation would be upgraded from time to time after the inauguration tomorrow.
He added that the OPC members and local hunters billed for the operation in terms of gathering information, would be drawn from their communities .
“For Amotekun, when we get there, we are still going to organise training on how they can relate more with the police, the army and with one another, as well as, how the police and army can accept the fact that the groups have access to information and move with them to use the information well.
“ The OPC members and hunters know the terrain very well. The army and the police are from different places and may not know the terrain as much as the local groups. But because of the exigencies, we now say let us legitimise the activities of the OPC, vigilantes, hunters and other group so that we now manage them”.
In his contribution, the Chief Press Secretary to Osun State Government, Ismail Omipidan said the state will engage those he called local hunters to work with the police and army on the new security outfit.