Akinnodi Francis, Adekola Afolabi & Babatunde Ayedoju
To win the fight against terrorism, kidnapping and other forms of criminalities in the country, security agencies have been charged to rev up their intelligence gathering mechanisms.
Ondo State Commandant of Amotekun Corps, Chief Adetunji Adeleye stated this yesterday while delivering a lecture titled, “Contemporary Security Challenge: Is Amotekun Corps The Way Forward?” at the opening ceremony of the 2020 Press Week of the state’s chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, in Akure.
The Amotekun Commandant also recommended the establishment of Security Trust Fund to give all residents opportunity to contribute their own quota to security, as a way to sustain the fight against insecurity.
Adeleye said paramount importance must now be attached to strong intelligence gathering over and above the provision of physical security apparatuses, to rescue Nigeria from the myriad of security challenges.
He noted that Nigeria is grappling with security issues such as international terrorism and unsecured borders, local terrorism including lone wolf terrorists, proliferation of small arms in big cities, cyber warfare, drug trafficking, human trafficking and the regular misdemeanors among other petty crimes, all pointing to the need for strong intelligence gathering framework to be put in place to nip potential crime in the bud.
“We have identified that the gathering and utilisation of intelligence is of paramount importance, even ahead of the provision of physical security apparatuses.
“As is well known, I am a huge proponent of community policing. Indeed, I strongly believe that the fight against crime and all forms of criminality would be better enhanced if efforts are geared towards embracing community policing to complement other law enforcement agencies, adding that it was for such reason that the present administration of Governor Akeredolu set up the Amotekun Corp to enhance intelligence gathering in the state.
“Within 90 days of commencement in the state, we were able to put together our recruits for passing out parade. And with the government support, we were able to procure and deploy satellite based communication equipment for distribution across the 18 local government areas of the state.
“Procurement of non-prohibitive firearms, we were able to settle cases of destruction of farmlands and threat to life. Within the first two weeks, we saw ahead the likelihood of famine and received over 500 petitions from farmers asking for assistance against cattle rearers.
“Some weeks ago, we carried out “Operation Clean Up” and close to a hundred criminals were caught either in the act or about to act across the state. As we talk now, patrol vehicles have been deployed across major roads in all the eighteen local government areas of the state,” he said.
Adeleye explained that the Amotekun Corps in Ondo State is mandated to arrest and prosecute cattle rustling, kidnapping, piracy, robbery, farmers/herders clashes among others.
In his remarks, Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu said that the Ondo State Security Network Agency codenamed Amotekun Corps was established to complement the efforts of the existing security agencies in ridding the state of all criminal activities.
Akeredolu who applauded the media professionals in the State for living up to expectations said the Amotekun Corps was not created to compete with any of the existing security agencies in the country.
He described Amotekun Corps as an home grown response to the escalating and unending incapacity of conventional state security apparatus to totally contain security threats to the lives and properties of the people.
Governor Akeredolu who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Chief Olugbenga Ale, also solicited the support and encouragement of members of the union through adequate reportage of their activities in the fight against kidnapping, armed robbery, herdsmen attacks, banditry and other criminal activities in the state.
He applauded the Council for the support given to his administration in the last four years and called for more synergy, openness, courage and fairness in order to redefine leadership and deliver excellent service to the citizens.
Chairman of the occasion and Deputy Speaker, Ondo State House of Assembly, Rev Samuel Aderoboye said the state assembly was the first to pass the Amotekun bill in the South West of Nigeria to show how sincere the government is to security of lives and property of its citizens.
According to him, “Since the establishment of Amotekun in Ondo State, crime rate has reduced drastically. As lawmakers, we would continue to support the security improvement in our land.”
Also speaking at the event, Commissioner for Information, Mr. Donald Ojogo commended the council for organising the forum despite all the challenges that were experienced this year.
In his welcome address, Chairman, Ondo State Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Adetona Aderoboye appreciated Governor Akeredolu for the approval and payment of weigh-in allowance to all categories of journalists in the public service of the State, the donation of a Toyota Corolla car to the union, provision of logistics support and the rousing reception accorded the national leadership of the union while on a working visit to the state.