The Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams, has called for the possession of firearms for Amotekun security outfit.
Adams made the call on Monday during the public hearing of the state security network agency bill 2020 in Oyo State.
Represented by Gboyega Adejumo, Adams said that the use of guns will be ineffective for their operations, adding that hoodlums and criminal-minded persons may attack operatives once it was observed that they had no arms.
Also, Oyelowo Oyewo, Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Oyo State, who spoke during the event, said one of the objectives of Amotekun was to share intelligence about crime, suspicious activities and other criminal activities.
He said, “It is also meant to protect lives and property within the state and ensure that people travelling on highways, major roads, remote areas, hinterland, forest and inland waterways carry out their normal socio-economic activities without fear or hindrance.”
Aare Ona Kankanfo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams, has said any one of a group who antagonizes the Western Nigeria Security Network, code-named ‘Amotekun’ is an agent of criminals.
The Federal Government and governors of the South-West region of Nigeria recently reached an agreement after the Justice Minister and Attorney-general of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, declared the security outfit illegal.
However, several people have continued to criticize the move of the south-west governors, saying that the creation of Amotekun is an action unknown to Nigerian Law.
In his reaction, Chief Adams said those antagonizing the operation may have some hidden agenda to destroy the southwest zone.
Speaking in Ado Ekiti, the capital of Ekiti State during a courtesy visit to Kayode Fayemi, the executive governor of the state, Adams said, “It is necessary for our governors to (let us) have our own security network, Amotekun. Life is precious. You don’t politicise the issue of security.”
“If the South-West is safe, the entire Nigeria is safe.”
“We don’t need to continue throwing missiles at ourselves in the media. Anybody who stands as an antagonist to Amotekun, I will perceive that person in two forms. One, he has some agenda to destroy our zone; or two, he is an agent of criminals,” he added.
The leader of Oodua People’s Congress, OPC also commended the Federal Government for finally reaching an agreement with the South-West governors on the issue.
“Definitely, the agreement between the Federal Government and the South-West governors is a welcome development. It is for the progress of the country,” he said.
...says it will not destabilize nigeria
South West governors, yesterday, recorded a giant stride in their regional integration efforts as they formally launched the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN), codenamed: ‘Operation Amotekun’, which is the first of its kind in Nigeria.
Governors Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State and Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, personally graced the ceremony, while governors Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State and Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State were represented by their deputies, Gboyega Alabi and Noimot Salako-Oyedele, respectively.
Cloudy weather was said to have prevented Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, from attending the ceremony.
Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II; Alawe of Ilawe Ekiti and Chairman of Council of Traditional Rulers in Ekiti State, Oba Adebanji Alabi; a prominent Yoruba leader and astute historian, Prof. Banji Akintoye; Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Sunday Dare, also graced the occasion.
All the governors, monarchs and Yoruba leaders that spoke at the event said Operation Amotekun was initiated to strengthen security architecture of South West against banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, ritual killings and other social vices in the region.
They said it was not a move by the South West to cause disunity in Nigeria or for Youbaland to break away from the nation, and not an affront on the constitution of Nigeria as the security network would play complementary roles for the armed forces in the country.
Governor Makinde, who hosted the ceremony, at the car park of his office at Agodi, Ibadan, said: “It is our priority to ensure indigenes and settlers, living within the boundaries of our various states can carry out their legitimate activities in a secure environment. The security of their lives and property should be of paramount importance.
“When we discuss the development potentials of our states and talk about investment opportunities and growing our Internally Generated Revenue by exploring areas of comparative advantage, we are aware that we cannot achieve anything in a state of insecurity.
“Our regional integration, our coming together, should be seen in one light: That we are coming together to fight a common enemy. That enemy is not Nigeria; the enemies are the elements among us and their affiliates who are determined to cause commotion within the borders of our states and threaten our peaceful co-existence.”
Akeredolu, who is the chairman of South West Governors’ Forum and convener of the launch ceremony, said each of the states agreed to contribute 20 vehicles, and they have done so, with the exception of Oyo State that donated 33 vehicles, adding that each of the states also provided hundreds of motorcycles to penetrate terrains that vehicles cannot get into, especially forest reserves.
He also dispelled the speculation that the presidency summoned the South West governors to Abuja, 24 hours to the launch, adding that Governor Fayemi actually met the Inspector General of Police on behalf of the governors on the launch for discussion.
“The frequency and ease with which these criminal elements operate gave us great concern that the government felt a society that has enjoyed considerable peace before the descent of this current barbarism, something has to be done. I am giving you what informed our thinking by coming with the security network. The sustained onslaught on the lives and property of our people compelled the adoption of serious counter measures to stamp out the menace within a short period. We shall not relent until the entire space in secured.
“We acknowledge the effort of the Federal Government and its agencies in stemming the dangerous tide of insecurity in the polity. Significant strides had recorded in curbing the menace. It is our hope that our contributions at the regional level will serve as effective complement to the security architecture that may be put in place by the Federal Government in future.
“We have spoken about community police. You agreed with it. But all we want to do is to complement all these efforts. It is not our intention to erect any antagonistic structure, whose operation will be at cross purposes to the existing template of defence, that is not what we are here for. You want us to work together, that is the essence of what has informed what we are doing today, so that all of us can work together.”
Governor Fayemi, who is the chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) said: “We are not creating a regional police force. Neither are we oblivious of the steps we must take to have state police. Yes, some of us are unapologetic inveterate advocate of state police. But, we are also law-abiding citizens. We know the process and the procedures that we need to undergo to get to that point. We know we need a constitutional amendment and we are not there yet.
“That will not stop us from continue to campaign for a policing arrangement that is at a multi-level but most importantly, that is close to our people in their various communities. Whether it is local police or state police or federal police or even campus police. As long as it is close to our people and the people can hold them accountable, that is what we are for.
“So, for us, we do not want anyone to misconstrue or misinterpret what is happening here. The conception of Amotekun is that we will operate on a state by state basis. Osun Amotekun is not going to come and operate in Oyo Amotekun space. However, we share boundary and we are not islands. There may be situations that would warrant a handshake between one or the other of our Amotekun formations.”
Osun State Deputy Governor, Alabi, said governors of the six states in he region “are committed to the success of Amotekun and we will collaborate with the five services to make the project a huge success. We, therefore thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his concern for the security of the region and we enjoin all the people to cooperate with officers of the Amotekun Security Outfit for the successful execution of their assignments.”
The Ooni called on personnel of the Western Nigeria Security Network (Amotekun) not to betray the region on the ideals behind setting up the security outfit.
The Ooni said the governors in the region had done their best, adding that it was left for the personnel and the residents of the region to work together for the success of the security outfit.
“All the traditional rulers are in support, the Federal Government is not opposed to it, let all and sundry support it for peace to reign in the region.
“The success of this security outfit will be of benefit to the present generation and generations yet unborn,” he said.
…New party to form ahead 2023
…Laments 2019 is year of crises, hardship, bloodletting
There Aare Gani Adams is the 15th Aare Onakakanfo of Yoruba land. He is a social activist and former leader of a faction of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), which supports an autonomous state for the Yoruba people. Talking with Sunday Sun, he spoke about his views of 2019 and the New Year, 2020, among other issues.
What is your assessment of the outgoing year 2019?
2019 is a year of hardship in terms of the economy. It is a year where our economy is not moving in the right direction. It is a year that the government shut the border for the past four months now and it’s a year of bloodshed. It is a year of crises and lots of social vices. It is a year of bloodletting in different states in Nigeria and it’s a year of political decision.We held our presidential election and Nigeria elected President Muhammadu Buhari . It’s a year that gradually, Nigerians are losing hope on the government. It’s a year that the government has already made up their mind with some politicians that whether you like us or not, we’ll buy you to exercise franchise for us against your will. It’s a year that we are fast losing our institution and it is a year that rule of law is dying gradually,. It’s a year that we foresee a situation that the government is prepared to intimidate the citizens by all means. The freedom of expression is eshrined in our constitution, but tactically the Federal Government wants to erase it by bringing in a bill of hate speech which the majority of Nigerians have kicked against. It is a year that the budget sent to the National Assembly doesn’t see hope coming in 2020. It’s a year we realized that our president is not in control anymore; the people in the corridor of power have already taken over the government from him. The Sowore saga is another thing which the Federal Government did not manage very well, especially the SSS. If anybody poses a security threat, the government has a right to arrest that person, to detain him within 24 hours and charge him to the court of law. Until when the court proves him guilty before people would know that he has committed that offence. In democracy, there must always be a room for opposition. It is better to be in military uniform than to be a dictatorship in civilian democracy. You can’t survive dictatorship in democrat government. There is a serious setback on the process of our democracy.
What would you say about the arms of government?
I realized that our two arms of government have been caged by the executive. The Senate president openly told Nigerians that anything the executive brings to their table they would grant it. That’s an impeachable statement from any number three person who holds the most powerful parliament. It’s so sad that people like us that fought for this democracy are here, but those who worked with the military in those days are the ones in charge now. If the government did not pay me back for what I have done, the Yoruba has paid me a certain level of what I have done by giving me this position of Aare Ona Kakanfo. This is my own country. I can’t change my green passport. I can’t have citizen of any other country like others who believe that if Nigeria does not work, they would fall on their green card. It’s very difficult for me to have such plans because they would use it against me. I have been offered green card, residential permit by many organizations. If not for the love I have for this country I would have had their residential permit and needing no visas to go to those countries, at least European union, 28 countries. Because of the love and because of the sacrifice we have for this country I decided to go with my green passport.
What are your perceptions about the closure of our land borders?
The damage closure of borders has caused to us is more than the advantage that the closing has caused us. I’m not a smuggler, it’s not my route, it’s not my own business interest, but when you study the feelings of the people, you are baffled at the suffering. Before I became the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba land I listened to the wishes of the people, I realised that the Seme border, the Shaki border, Idiroko border and other borders within the Southwest and the economy of the grassroots are seriously affected. When you say they are bringing terrorists from these borders to Nigeria, what is the job of our Immigration? If you say they are bringing illegal goods to Nigeria what is the job of our Customs? When you are talking of security in the border, there are Immigration, SSS, Nigeria Police. Are you now telling us that these security institutions saddled with the responsibility to secure our borders, are they not competent to secure our borders and the best solution is for you to seal the borders? This is a year I believe Nigerian government took a wrong decision on external relations in that regard.
As we are entering year 2020 are we hoping to see Vision 2020 come to reality?
Is Nigeria even prepared for 2030 talk less of 2020? A lot of things have been done to affect our institution. Every sector of Nigeria is complaining. Even the civil servants are complaining. Both federal, states and even local government. When you are talking about three tiers of government, it is only the federal and states that are working. The local government tier of government is not active as before because their money is not getting to them. At the same time, Vision 2020 can never be realized. If they have a plan for Vision 2020 you could have heard them talking that two years ago. I don’t know the plan the government has maybe for Vision 3030 . Nigeria is the only country I see that the government was sworn in on May 29 and certain crop of politicians just rise up again that they want to become president. It is a serious diversion for the incumbent president; it’s a diversion for the incumbent governor and even the incumbent local government chairman. I will advise the politicians that they should play down their politics in 2020. By middle of 2021 the political atmosphere can be charged because anything now will destroy the entire system. The president will have an excuse that he wants to prepare for his successor because people have been coming out.
How do you see the coming year 2020?
I don’t foresee any magic. There won’t be something different from what happened in 2019. I forsee a situation where the president would be looking forward to clamp down on his opposition. I foresee a situation whereby the president would want to jail most of the governors that have trials. I foresee a situation that the president would want to use anti-corruption to cow down most of the opposition and those who don’t believe in his cause. I foresee a situation where new party may come out within 2020 and 2021. I foresee the two main major party will break and new party will surface. I foresee a situation that more civil society groups will come out stronger. I foresee a situation where many people we thought were powerful, their secrets will be opened and the whole world would know that most of them are enemies of this country. I foresee our judiciary, some of them standing their feet, that if you want to remove me, remove me, I cannot continue this way. Talking of the economy, I foresee international community coming against our government . If care is not taken sanction would come from international community. From what happened in 2019, the international communities were not pleased with the process of our democracy. I foresee a sanction from United States of America; I foresee a sanction from EU. If the Federal Government does not manage our international relations very well, the crisis between the government and the international community will be worse than the military because a statement that came from the spokesperson of the president that we are not answerable to the US, Britain and EU, that statement would generate a lot of annoyance because these are the powerful forces in global scene. They control World Bank, they control IMF, they control United Nations about 99 per cent of the institutions that we use to govern, the whole world they control them. You are not answerable to them, but you get grant from them and they are selling world equipment to you. We would have witnessed another third world war if not for the United Nations. I foresee sanction coming to the government if they do not manage their international relations very well. I foresee international community blocking our citizens from traveling to their countries. There’s an approval of budget of 30 billion dollars. Already Nigerian owes about N25 billion, the calculation of $30billion will almost get to N11 trillion. Definitely, the money the Federal Government is asking for, if the National Assembly grants the request, Nigeria will be oweing almost N36 billion, and a country with that kind of debt is in bad shape. Nobody will be thinking of bringing an investment to that country and nobody will be thinking of even borrowing more money to that country. It would bring more inflation to our society and value added tax has been increased from 5.5 per cent to 7.5 per cent and when cost of living is being hiked and wages are not high there will be serious problem. Definitely, we should expect a serious economic hardship in 2020.
There have been major crisis in Southwest in 2019, what efforts are you putting in place to curb it?
I think the Federal Government has tried its best. To solve our security problems now, the onus lies on the Southwest governors. The police have called that they’re ready to partner with the organization. Some state governments because of politics are trying to dodge it and by so doing they could not move forward. Once they dodge, it would be an exercise in futility. Definitely, the ball is on the court of our state governors.