Tag Archives: operation

Operation Amotekun set to be legalised soon – Lagos govt.

The Lagos State Government announced on Sunday that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu would soon sign a bill to establish Amotekun Corps recently passed by the state House of Assembly into law.

The state’s Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, said this in an interview in Ikeja. N.Rs gathered

NobleReporters reports that Oyo, Ekiti and Ondo States are some of the states in the South West that have enacted laws to create Amotekun Corps in their respective states.

Hamzat said the essence of establishing Amotekun Corps in the state was to boost security, especially along major highways and border communities.

He said: “Yes, we will sign it (Bill).
“And on the Amotekun Bill, I think we all know what Amotekun is all about.

“The design of Amotekun is for us to be able to patrol our borders with neighbouring state.

“Lagos has one neighbouring state, Ogun State.

“So, if you are a criminal and you are trying to run from Ogun to Lagos State and vice-versa, Amotekun is there to chop you off.

“That is the essence.”

The deputy governor said the state government already had the Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps, a complementary community policing outfit, before the idea of Amotekun came up.

He said the state sent the bill establishing the LNSC to all the states in the South West to enrich the formation of their respective Amotekun corps.

Hamzat said a lot of operatives of the LNSC would go into the state’s Amotekun Corps to feed the new outfit with information on their areas of coverage.

The deputy governor said the Amotekun Corps, through intelligence sharing, would help to check trans-border crimes in the South West.
He recalled that it was through intelligence sharing that the state government was able to rescue some pupils who were kidnapped in Lagos in Ondo States a few years ago.


Operation Amotekun: Bill return for passage on Wednesday.

The stage was set on Sunday night for the resumption of legislative works on the bill seeking to establish Amotekun Corps in the six Southwest states.

Lawmakers in Osun, Lagos, Ogun, Oyo and Ondo states will be finalising the process beginning from today.

Speakers and Attorneys-Generals of the states met in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, where they made observations, suggestions and cleared conflicting areas identified during the public hearings conducted by the states last week Monday.

They did a clause-by-clause deliberation on the issues raised at the public hearings that held simultaneously in the states.

At the meeting were Speakers Adebo Ogundoyin (Oyo), Timothy Owoeye (Osun), Bamidele David Oleyelogun (Ondo), Mudashiru Obasa (Lagos), Funminiyi Afuye (Ekiti) and Olakunle Oluomo (Ogun).

The speakers adopted a uniform law for the security outfit to ensure uniformity and ease of regional cooperation on training, equipment and intelligence sharing.

It was learnt on Sunday that the Oyo State House of Assembly will tomorrow (Tuesday) pass into law the bill backing the establishment of the Oyo State Amotekun Corps.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Information, Kazeem Olayanju, told The Nation that the bill, which has passed through Second Reading, will be passed into law at tomorrow’s plenary.

A source in the Assembly revealed that the request by Miyetti Allah to have its members recruited into the outfit was not accommodated in the bill to be passed.

The group made up of herdsmen, had during the public hearing requested that its members be recruited along with others into the security outfit.

The request was contained in its memorandum to the public hearing committee in Ibadan, the state capital last week.

In Lagos, the Tunde Braimoh-led Committee on Information, Strategy and Security of the Lagos State House of Assembly will tomorrow present its report on the proposed amendment to the Neighbourhood Safety Corp Agency Law 2019 at plenary.

The law is being amended to create Amotekun Corps in line with the region’s effort to tackle rising crime waves such as kidnapping for ransom, killings, robbery and banditry.

The House suspended its recess two weeks ago to consider an executive bill sent to it.

Information revealed that the House is resuming plenary tomorrow at 12noon.

According to the notice sent out to lawmakers and legislative staff, the bill will be laid and presented by the committee.

The notice reads: “At the plenary, the House shall consider laying and presentation of report on a bill for a law to amend the Neighborhood Safety Corps Agency Bill, 2020.”

Also in Akure, the Ondo State House of Assembly will tomorrow pass the Amotekun Corps’ Bill.

According to the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Gbenga Omole, the lawmakers had done what was required by organising a public hearing after cutting short their recess last week.

Omole said the lawmakers are ready to pass the bill tomorrow like their counterparts in other Southwest states.

The bill on the Osun State Security Network and Amotekun Corps will be passed into law on or before Wednesday, Speaker Timothy Owoeye told The Nation on Sunday night.

He told our reporter that he and his colleagues will resume legislative work on the constitution of the bill from today.

Owoeye said: “From tomorrow (today), we will start considering the suggestions and recommendations of individuals and groups from the public hearing. By Wednesday latest, we will pass the bill and send to the governor for his assent.

Barring the unforeseen, the Amotekun Bill will be passed by the Ogun State House of Assembly tomorrow, Speaker Kunle Oluomo assured last night.

In a telephone chat with The Nation, Oluomo said: “The bill having concluded the public hearing on the bill a week ago, and the document gone through reconciliation and harmonisation in Ibadan by all the Southwest Speakers, Majority Leaders and attorneys-general among others, it was resolved that each state Assembly should pass the Bill into law on Tuesday (tomorrow).

He added: “When it is eventually passed by the Assembly and eventually signed into law by the Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, the bill would be translated into indigenous languages for easy understanding so that essence of it will be felt by all even in remote area of the state.

The speaker reiterated the bill’s importance to protect the overall wellbeing of residents and investors in the state, emphasising that intelligence gathering remained the fulcrum of any effective security outfit.

#Newsworthy …

Operation Amotekun: Gani Adams propose Ammo use for Group

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.”


Operation Amotekun: Miyetti Allah wants to join Leopard

tells Oyo govt to enlist members

Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria has told the Oyo State Government to include its members in the Amotekun security network.

A former chairman of the association, Yaqub Bello, said this during a public hearing of the state security network agency bill 2020 in Oyo State.

He said, “Some of us have been in Oyo State for over 40 years, cohabiting with the natives, married Yoruba women and have children.

“So, our request is to include Miyetti Allah as members of Operation Amotekun to enhance the job of the outfit, since we know the terrain of where we rear our cattle.

“Having Fulani among the outfit will make it easier for Amotekun officials to distinguish between genuine herdsmen and criminals while on patrol. A Fulani man can also serve as an interpreter while interrogating any suspected herdsman.”

Operation Amotekun is an idea of governors of the six South-West states to combat insecurity in the region.


Operation Amotekun: Actions Have Been Taken For Legality – Ogun Speaker

The Ogun State House of Assembly has considered and taken necessary legal processes on the South-West Security Network codenamed ‘Amotekun’.

The Speaker of the House, Mr Olakunle Oluomo, disclosed this to Channels Television at his office in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

Oluomo explained that the actions taken by the lawmakers were expected to make Amotekun a legally acceptable security outfit and deliver on its core mandate.

Speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Mr Olakunle Oluomo, during an interview with Channels Television in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

He also gave an update on the journey so far in the legislative procedure for the actualisation of the security outfit.

The speaker, however, sought the support and understanding of residents of the state to ensure the success of the outfit in securing their lives and properties.


Amotekun, Shege Ka Fasa Will Not Work – Ekweremadu Allege

A former deputy Senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, has said that with so many ethnic diversities in Nigeria, community policing will not work.

Claiming that many Nigerians are living in denial, Ekweremadu said that the security condition in the country is not only bad but unbearable, NobleReporters learnt

He said that as a federal system, what should be done is a decentralisation of the police, not community security outfit like Amotekun and Shege Ka Fasa because they will operate in ways completely different from what is prescribed in the constitution.

Ekweremadu said that the security condition in the country is not only bad but unbearable.
The former deputy Senate president said: “Amotekun is different from what the federal government is saying about community policing.

“They have personnel who are going to deal with issues unlike what the federal government is proposing.”

Moreover, he said that the creation of regional security initiatives is proof that people have lost trust in the ability of the government to ensure their security.


Meet Man who proposed Amotekun 4 years back

It happened on two occasion in 2015 and early 2016. The first was when he sat with some youthful friends, most of whom he often relates with to gauge the pulse of the majority. The venue was Agege, his base. In that meeting, Mudashiru Obasa, the speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, muttered the need for a collective security outfit with a will and goal to support the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), especially in the South Western part of the country.

Obasa understood what he meant. This was at a time there were hush discussions about threats from bandits, alleged herdsmen and kidnappers. Ikorodu was gradually emerging a notorious zone for criminals trying to test their whits. Was Obasa right? Was he wrong? The two questions rested in the hearts of those he was speaking with.
Few weeks later, Obasa again, with few lawmakers, some aides, and friends, during a non-formal discussion, herped on the need for a zonal security outfit. According to him, since the call for state and community policing had constantly hit the brickwall, it would make sense to have an organisation that is considered closest to the grassroots. There was the argument that the police, as much as they try, may not find it easy enough routing crime from every nook and crany of a state.

This is predicated on the fact that there is a central authority in Abuja, many kilometres away from states and this tends to challenge timely interventions in the case of emergencies. For example, a police unit would sometimes have to reach out to the commissioner, who, in turn, follows the chain of command in the case of any emergency till it gets to the Inspector-General. The response then follows same chain till it gets to the unit. The effect of this can only be left to imagination.

Again, his idea remained fallow, maybe to others. Later developments showed that the speaker never discarded the thought. The State Neighbourhood Safety Agency, which also controls the activities of the Vigilante Corps in the state, is the result of that thought.

Single-handedly sponsored by the speaker, the bill, which later became a law establishing the agency, sought for a more refined way of tackling crime, through effective surveillance and proactive actions. Has the Neighbourhood Watch helped the state, which wants to pride itself as a mega city in the near future? The answer is a ‘yes’.

One of its first test happened shortly after it was created. Badoo, the dreaded cult-like body that had a particularly strange way of killing their victims, evolved. It was mainly in Ikorodu. The criminals had suddenly mastered the act of nocturnal practices that left sorrows, anguish, tears and blood behind their trail. They hit at night while their unsuspecting victims slept. In some cases, they killed men, at other times, the women could not escape their attack. On a particular occasion, they reportedly killed a man, his wife and child. It was a pathetic situation that needed to be urgently curbed.

The police, under the supervision of Edgal Imohimi as commissioner, was having sleepless nights. Communities affected were in disarray, those not yet hit could not live in peace. Local vigilance groups were set up. Then, Neighbourhood Watch drafted its men to support the police. It only took a little more time, the cult group was run over, its leaders were arrested and peace returned to Ikorodu.

Since the Establishment of the Neighbourhood Watch, the organisation has assisted in quelling tensions, supported the state’s traffic management agency in resolving traffic issues, liaised with law enforcement agencies and carried out emergency activities. Above all, it has pulled out some residents from unemployment. It has also continued to enjoy accolades.

One cannot say, for sure, whether Obasa later sold the idea to any of the governors in the South West. However, one can confidently say the establishment of the Neighbourhood Watch was the ‘forunner’ for the creation of Amotekun almost four years after.

Amotekun is currently enjoying the support of a majority of the South West people and residents. Taking the shape of the Neighbourhood Watch, it will help to unite the region beyond political considerations. It would not only boost the zone’s economy, since businesses thrive in a peaceful environment, but ensure that the people of the area live happily and sleep with their eyes closed.


Operation Amotekun: Not to order Politicians, VIPs – Akeredolu

Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, has said that operatives of Amotekun Corps will not serve as orderlies to important personalities and politicians.

In a statement by his spokesperson, Jimoh Dojumo, Akeredolu said the primary function of the security outfit would be combating criminals in the region.

Amotekun was created by the South-West governors to address the issue of insecurity.

The Ekiti State Assembly passed the bill allowing the corps to operate within the state.

Akeredolu, who is also the Chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum, said the outfit would key into the model aimed at tackling criminal activities.

Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu

He said, “We are not attaching the Amotekun Corps to anybody or groups, no matter how highly placed. They are to tackle criminal activities such as armed robbery and kidnapping. They won’t be attached to any religious centre, either church or mosque. We don’t want it to be used for political reasons.”

He also stated that the corps would work within the framework of the Nigeria Police Force’s community policing strategies.


Operation Amotekun: Ekiti passed bill into law. Val’20

Ekiti State House of Assembly, on Friday, passed the bill for the establishment of Ekiti State Security Network Agency and Amotekun Corps into law.

The Speaker, Funminiyi Afuye, said, “Having passed through the third reading, the bill has become a law.”

Afuye, who lauded the lawmakers for their “leadership and commitment to the bill,” said the Assembly did not short-circuit any process that was required in law-making, NobleRepoters report

The Speaker said the bill would be transmitted to the state governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, for his assent.

The law passed through the first and second readings in the Assembly on Thursday and committed to the House Committee on Security for proper legislative scrutiny before the House adjourned sitting till Friday.

The lawmakers, who debated the bill exhaustively in the chambers on Thursday, spoke on the appropriateness of the proposed law in view of the security challenges facing the state, region and Ekiti State.

A public hearing was also conducted on the Bill later on Thursday.

At the resumed sitting on Friday, the House Committee of Security presented the committee’s report.

The report was adopted by the Committee of the House, then the Bill went into the third reading, which it passed through.


Operation Amotekun: Ondo signs bill

Ondo State Government on Wednesday approved a draft bill of the Ondo State Security Network Agency and Amotekun Corps, codenamed operation Amotekun, for passage into law.

According to a statement issued by Mr Donald Ojogo, Commissioner for Information and Orientation, the bill would be transmitted to the State House of Assembly for legislative scrutiny after which it would be passed into law.

He explained that the details contained in the bill was presented by the Commissioner for Justice in an exhaustive session of deliberations by the state executive members.

“The draft bill has six parts and 44 sections. It is also gratifying to disclose that every apprehension or fears expressed in various quarters have been adequately looked into.

“This is even as traditional rulers will now have roles to play in the operations of the security outfit pursuant to its passage into law by the state assembly.

“Government finds it pertinent to reiterate that this laudable initiative is aimed at complimenting the efforts of the nation’s security agencies.

“It is also necessary to encourage the good people of Ondo State to take maximum advantage of this opportunity,” he said.


Operation Amotekun: AG presents bill to Fayemi

The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Ekiti State, Mr. Olawale Fapohunda has presented the Western Nigeria Security Network Bill (WNSN) also known as the Amotekun Bill to the Governor of Ekiti State.

The bill was presented to Governor Fayemi at the Governor’s office, Ado-Ekiti.

Mr. Olawale Fapohunda while presenting the Bill appreciated the Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi for his unique responsiveness, passion, and commitment to the safety of the lives and properties of the people in Ekiti State.

The Attorney General, while addressing the Governor on the Amotekun Bill said, all the (6) six Attorney Generals’ from the southwest states namely Ekiti, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Ogun, and Lagos State have been working assiduously to provide a legal framework which will serve as an operational guideline for the proposed Security Agency across the Western States.

Mr. Fapohunda stated that the Amotekun Bill contain 38 provisions and enumerated some of the key provisions to include the Establishment of Ekiti State Security Network; Establishment and Composition of Governing Board for the Security Agency; Establishment of Amotekun Corps and Criteria for being appointed as a Corp Member; and Independence of Amotekun Board, where erring members would be reported among others.

The Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi in his response appreciated the Attorney General for the job well done and promised to send the Bill to the Ekiti State House of Assembly for accelerated passage.

The Bill will eventually be passed into law after it has passed through the House of Assembly and assented to by the Governor of Ekiti State.


Operation Amotekun: Southwest AGs make conclusion on bills

The Attorneys-General and Justice Commissioners in the six states of the South West geo-political zone of Nigeria have concluded work on the draft bills for the region’s security outfit codenamed Amotekun.

Following the conclusion of the exercise, concerned states are expected to present the draft bill to their respective executive council for approval and then forward same to the house of assembly to be passed into law and subsequently signed by the six governors.

This disclosure was made after a meeting of the six Attorneys-General hosted by Prof Oyelowo Oyewo, a former Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos (UNILAG), at Davies Hotel, Old Bodija, Ibadan, which lasted for about three hours on Friday.

Briefing journalists after the meeting, Oyewo, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, said: “The meeting of the Attorneys-General of the six south west states just concluded and we deliberated on the plan to evolve a collaborative security network or agency in the South West.

“We have been able to come up with a legal framework to back up such establishment of security network in each of the states. So, each of the states will have its own legislation and its own security network corps that will bear the name Amotekun.

“There will be standard operational procedure that will also be in common and there will be an avenue for collaboration between the states to work together. It must be stated that the security network will be working in collaboration and as a complementary network with the police and the security agencies and armed forces.


Operation Amotekun: Don’t delay bill – S/West urge govs

The Houses of Assembly of states in the South-West, comprising Oyo, Osun, Lagos, Ekiti, Ondo and Ogun states, have said they will give accelerated hearing to the bill on the Western Nigeria Security Network, popularly known as Operation Amotekun, as soon as it is presented to them by the Executive.

They therefore urged the governors not to delay in sending the bill to them for consideration and passage into law.

The governors of the six states in the South-West had, in a response to the spate of killings and kidnapping in the region, launched Operation Amotekun on January 9, 2020 in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital to provide security for their people.

They had at a summit convened by the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria in June 2019 agreed to set up the initiative, before it was eventually launched in January 2020.

Meanwhile, few days after the launch, which received commendations from many eminent persons in the region and beyond, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, described the initiative as illegal, adding that his office was not consulted before the governors went ahead to launch the initiative.

He had said, “The setting up of the paramilitary organisation called “Amotekun” is illegal and runs contrary to the provisions of the Nigerian law. The law will take its natural course in relation to excesses associated with organisation, administration and participation in “Amotekun” or continuous association with it as an association.

“It is important to put on record that the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice was not consulted on the matter. If it had, proper information and guidance would have been offered to ensure that Nigeria’s defence and corporate entity are preserved at all times.”

The AGF’s position had been greeted with severe criticisms, with many eminent lawyers faulting the AGF for describing it as illegal. They, however, advised the governors to send a bill on the initiative to their respective state’s Houses of Assembly to give it legal backing.

The governors had also threatened to approach the court if the Federal Government continued to oppose the initiative. But following a meeting the governors had with the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo; the AGF and the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, they resolved to come up with a framework that would provide backing to the regional security outfit.

Sequel to this, Attorneys General and Commissioners for Justice of the six states on Friday confirmed they had concluded work on the draft bill for the smooth running of the regional security network.

Each of the Attorneys General is expected to present the draft bill to their respective state executive councils for approval, after which the documents would be sent to each of the six Houses of Assembly in the region for it to be passed and subsequently signed into law by each of the governors.

Speaking to one of our correspondents on Saturday, the Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, Timothy Owoeye, said the Assembly would not mind cutting short their recess to attend to Amotekun bill to ensure its speedy passage.

Owoeye, who spoke through his Press Secretary, Kunle Alabi said that the bill would receive speedy attention once they receive it from the executive.

He said, “The Speaker has promised that the bill will be given speedy attention whenever it is ready for the lawmakers. Like other important matters of state, the lawmakers will be ready to attend to it.

“Recall that during the crises in some local government areas early in the year, the lawmakers cut short their recess to attend to the matter. The Amotekun bill will enjoy the same attention once it comes. The lawmakers will not mind cutting short their recess.”

Also, the Oyo State House of Assembly said the bill could be passed into law within two or three weeks if it’s presented to the House on Tuesday.

The Assembly’s Chairman of Media and Information Committee, Kazeem Olayanju, said, “When the bill on Amotekun will be passed into law in Oyo State depends on how soon the executive arm of government brings the bill to the House of Assembly. The House normally sits on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“If they bring it on time, it will be passed on time. Normally, a bill passes through four stages. The bill is expected to pass through the first three stages in the Assembly before being sent to the governor for his assent, and that is the fourth and final stage. If they bring it on Tuesday, for instance, it may scale through first reading on Thursday. It may be in the Assembly for two weeks before being sent to the governor.”

Olayanju added, “This will give the state the opportunity to enjoy the full value of the security outfit.”

On his part, the Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Funminiyi Afuye, also said the bill would not be delayed by any of the legislative bodies in the region.

Afuye said, “When we receive it, definitely it’s going to be given expeditious treatment. This is a coordinated western states’ matter, we, the speakers are meeting and we are sensitising everybody, every legislator in the South-West to the need to make it a priority.

“If it gets to us, I can assure you that it will be treated.”

He explained that even through the bill would still pass through the normal legislative process, it will be given accelerated hearing.

He added, “We have to study it and it has to pass through first and second readings, then the passage of the bill. It has to go through the legislative process. I can assure you that it is not going to be delayed.”

Similarly, the Speaker of Ogun State House of Assembly, Olakunle Oluomo, said the Assembly would also give speedy hearing to the bill once it is transmitted to them.

Oluomo said the speedy hearing would be aided by the fact that there had been a law related to the bill.

He added, “The state Assembly needs to amend a law that created ‘So safe Corps’ as a state security outfit for Amotekun.”

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, could not give timeline for the passage of the bill.

Obasa, who is also the Chairman, Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures, said the bill would go through the public for their input before it could be passed into law.

He added, “So far, we have not seen anything. We are waiting for when the bill will be brought to the parliament so that we know what to do.”

Osun gov meets lawmakers, promises early presentation of bill

In a related development, the Governor of Osun State, Adegboyega Oyetola, has met with the members of the State House of Assembly where he promised to present a bill on Amotekun ‘‘soon.’’

At the meeting, which was held on January 29, Oyetola was said to have sought the cooperation of the lawmakers, vowing that the commissioner in charge of the ministry of justice was working with his colleagues in other five states in the region to draft the bill.

A member of the State House of Assembly, who spoke with one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity, said the states were working with Development Agenda for Western Nigeria to draft the bill.

He said, “The bill is going to be uniform. Our governor met with us (the lawmakers) on January 29. Though we have had series of meetings on it at committee levels and groups, the governor had told us that the bill was being drafted.

‘‘The bill is being worked on by the Attorneys General and DAWN commission. Thank God the Federal Government is no longer against it. We will soon get it and I can assure you that we will get it passed as soon as it is ready.”

Asked how the operation would be funded, the source added that the governors would likely submit supplementary budget on it.


Operation Amotekun: Southwest plans anti-graft team

There are strong indications that the South-West states are planning to set up anti-corruption units in their security outfit, Operation Amotekun, The PUNCH has learnt.

The unit, in each state, it was gathered, would handle cases of graft and abuse of power levelled against operatives of Amotekun.

It was learnt that the Amotekun bills, which were being drafted by the states, would make provisions for either an anti-graft unit or an ombudsman to check the excesses of the operatives.

A top official of one of the states, who confided in one of our correspondents, said, “Some of the operatives may want to take advantage of their powers to extort money from people or engage in other forms of corruption. The anti-corruption unit or an ombudsman will take care of this.”

It was gathered that the unit or the ombudsman, depending on the preference of each state, would receive complaints on cases such as bribery, extortion, misuse of power, human rights abuses and other complaints levelled against any member of Operation Amotekun.

The Ekiti State Attorney General, Wale Fapohunda, in an interview with one of our correspondents, confirmed there would be anti-corruption provisions in the proposed Amotekun law.

Explaining highlights of the proposed law, Fapohunda said, “There must be anti-corruption provisions in the law. The proposed law must have citizens’ complaints provisions, including a framework for an independent ombudsman with strong authority to receive complaints from the public on matters of corruption and abuse of power.”

Recall that the South-West governors had at a summit in Ibadan on January 9, agreed to set up Operation Amotekun to address killings and kidnapping in the zone.

But the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, on January 14 kicked against the security outfit, saying it was not only illegal, but also negated the principle of federalism.

Malami’s statement, however, attracted criticisms from eminent lawyers and groups including Chief Afe Babalola, SAN; Mr Femi Falana, SAN; the Nigerian Bar Association; the Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Afenifere.

At a meeting in Abuja attended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, South-West governors and Malami, the Federal Government and the governors of the zone resolved their differences over Amotekun and decided that a law should be made by each of the states to give the security outfit a legal backing.

A few days after the Abuja meeting, the attorneys-general of the South-West states met in Ibadan and began the process of drafting the Amotekun bill, which each state would submit to its house of assembly.

Providing more insights into the bill, Fapohunda on Saturday said Ekiti State was proposing the inclusion of citizens’ complaints provision in the proposed Amotekun law.

According to him, it is to ensure that the states can deal with potential cases of violations by operatives for the purpose of accountability.

He said, “The proposal is to have an independent person. Each state will appoint an independent person that will be like an ombudsman; with strong authority to receive complaints and deal with them immediately.”

The attorney general said the appointment of an ombudsman would afford citizens the opportunity to complain “when things go wrong.”

According to him, the function of the ombudsman will be “to receive complaints from aggrieved citizens, as well as investigate those complaints and also send findings when there is the need for follow up on those findings.

“If you have a case, for example, that a citizen was tortured or beaten or so, that ombudsman will be responsible for receiving such a complaint and when it is established as a credible complaint, the law will take its ordinary course”.

Ombudsman can recommend Amotekun operative’s dismissal

He said by the proposed law, the ombudsman could recommend prosecution or dismissal of an errant operative depending on the degree or nature of the violation.

Fapohunda said, “The way we structured it is that there would be an accountable structure like a board that will oversee the operatives; so corruption, abuse of human rights, and general abuse will definitely be subject of scrutiny by this ombudsman.

“For any person responsible, the ombudsman can now advise that such a person must be removed, prosecuted or dismissed. It depends on the nature of the violation. For us essentially, it is for accountability which is non-negotiable. Each state will have a call centre like what the police operate, the states had agreed on that before now. You can call and make reports.

“Because our people need additional confidence, the standard operating guidelines (for the operatives) will state clearly what the operatives can do and what they cannot do; where that does not now work, that is where the ombudsman now comes in to identify specifics,” Fapohunda said.

Although the AG said Ekiti State did not suggest the profession of the ombudsman, he stated, “It does not really matter that such a person will be a lawyer, but legal experience will be very useful.”

Explaining other highlights of the bill, he said, “Primary organisational goal of Amotekun must be to work with individual citizens, communities, public and private organisations, formal and informal security agencies to identify and resolve security issues which potentially affect the livability of communities.”

The AG, who said Amotekun must be a public service delivery organisation, stated, “The proposed law must have clear provisions on respect for human rights. The proposed law must have clear provisions on accountability and transparency.”

“The proposed law must include provisions on gender considerations in recruitment of personnel. There must be sustainable funding provisions in the law; and clear provisions on modalities for collaboration including sharing information, resources and expertise between the six states.”

Fapohunda, who said the proposed law would not stipulate how much would be paid to Amotekun operatives, said, “It will only state how the governments will fund them. It can’t say how much now.

Amotekun to be funded from Security Trust Fund

“All of us will still have to sit down to discuss how much will be paid them. The proposal only specifies how the government will fund them, where the money will come from. A lot of us have the Security Trust Fund – Lagos and Ekiti states – have the trust fund. I think Oyo State now has it. For Ekiti State, they will be funded from the Security Trust Fund.”

Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti AGs harmonise Amotekun bills on Thursday

He said the meeting of the AGs of Lagos, Ogun and Ekiti states for harmonisation of the bills from the states would be held on Thursday.

IG’s community policing: 50 year-old residents can apply, says Ekiti command

Fapohunda said this as the Ekiti State Police Commissioner, Asuquo Amba, on Sunday said the command had begun the process of recruiting special constables for the community policing policy of the Federal Government.

The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had in a wireless message to commissioners of police on January 23, directed them to liaise with traditional rulers with a view to recruiting constables for community policing.

The Police Public Relations Officer for Ekiti Command, Sunday Abutu, said Amba had directed that the recruitment of constables should start in 16 local government areas of the state.

Abutu said forms for the recruitment of the special constables had been distributed to all police stations across the state where interested applicants would obtain such as the first step.

The police spokesperson, in a statement in Ado Ekiti on Sunday, stated, “The Commissioner of Police has given a directive for the exercise to start across the 16 local government areas of Ekiti State.

“The recruitment forms are now available in all the divisional police stations across the state. All interested volunteers are to walk into any divisional police station closer to them within their local governments and pick the form at no cost.

“Applicants must be between the ages of 21 and 50 years, with willingness to serve the community. Applicants must be resident within their respective communities.

“Applicants must be willing to sacrificially serve their respective communities for the purpose and aims of community policing policy with or without remuneration.

“Interested applicants are to, as a matter of urgency, go to the nearest police station within their local governments and pick the form as the screening date will soon be announced.”

The statement, however, did not disclose the number of special constables to be recruited for the policy in the state, but an unconfirmed source in the police said no fewer than 50 persons would be recruited in each local government of the state.

We are starting recruitment in Ogun – Command

The Ogun State Police Command also said it would soon start the recruitment of special constables for the community policing.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Abimbola Oyeyemi disclosed this to The PUNCH on Sunday.

Oyeyemi said the state commissioner of police would meeting stakeholders such as traditional rulers, executive members of Police Community Relations Committee in the state and some community leaders over the recruitment.

Oyeyemi said, “We are starting by tomorrow (Monday). The CP is meeting with executive members of the PCRC and other stakeholders to finetune the modalities on how we are going to go about the recruitment.

When contacted, Police Public Relations Officer for Osun Command, Folasade Odoro, said the exercise had yet to start in the state.

Odoro said that all the stakeholders would be informed whenever the recruitment would start.


Oluwo: Amotekun must fight ritual killings as well ..

The Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdul-Rasheed Adewale Akanbi, Telu I, has charged the southwest governors to ensure that the Southwest Security Network, otherwise known as Amotekun, is also made to fight ritual killings and “traditional corruptions.”

Describing traditional corruption, especially ritual killings, as rampant in the Southwest, Oba Akanbi expressed concern about the daily reported cases of killing of humans for rituals.

The first class traditional ruler advised that fighting ritual killings should be in the scope of operations of the security outfit.

In a statement by his press secretary, Ali Ibrahim, the paramount ruler said ritual killing is deadlier and more recurrent than herdsmen’s heinous activities. The Oluwo, who drew the attention of the Yoruba stakeholders to the menace of ritual killings, insisted that the politicians should be held responsible for trading their game with kidnapping.

He expressed disappointment that no one is talking about how to curtail ritual killings in the ongoing support for Amotekun.

“I am not condemning Amotekun but I am talking about better direction of job specification and scope of roles for the regional security outfit. Amotekun’s oversight functions should be streamlined to solve fundamental challenges facing us. It is disheartening that we misplace our priority.”

Oluwo added: “Just imagine, an innocent university final year student was killed in Ikoyi-Ile few weeks ago, out of ignorance that a spirit will bring money. It is poverty of the mind that could make someone be so gullible. Now, the child is gone. What a wicked act. What we are doing as a people to curtail such acts must be important to us. So, we need an institution that will allay fears against such an act.

The Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdul-Rasheed Adewale Akanbi, Telu I

“Additionally, to fight traditional corruption, we need agents of unquestionable characters and not accomplice of ritual killers. We need a transparent institution that will lead us out of daily killing of our children for money, promotion, popularity and so on.”

The Oluwo implored Nigerians, especially herbalists, pastors and alfas, to imbibe new approaches to offering sacrifices such as beautifying public places and economic empowerment programmes for the vulnerable in the society, among others, noting that “these are rewarding, promotional and more naturally acceptable than killing fellow humans for ritual.”


Operation Amotekun: FG’s intervention, impactful ..

As controversy over the establishment of the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN), codenamed “Operation Amotekun,” subsided following the intervention of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, MURITALA AYINLA takes a look at the developments in relation to the clamour for state police

There is relative calm in the air across the country, especially in the South-West geopolitical zone, following the agreement reached by the Federal Government and the six governors of the region on the establishment of the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN) codenamed “Operation Amotekun.”

The security intervention project called “Western Nigeria Security Network” (WNSN), initiated by the Seye Oyeleye-led Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN Commission), an offshoot of Odu’a Investment Company Limited, was specifically aimed at checkmating and tackling the myriad of insecurity challenges bedeviling the people of the region, particularly from the activities of banditry, terrorism, kidnapping, ritual killing, armed robbery, herdsmen and farmers’ conflicts, cybercrime and other crimes, threatening the lives and property in the region.

The legality questions, controversies

The inauguration of the joint security outfit popularly known as “Amotekun” on January 9, had sparked off reactions across the country as some sections of the country expressed concerns over its establishment. While the Federal Government through the Attorney–General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) described the formation of the security outfit as unconstitutional given that there was no legal backing for the regional security outfit, others saw it as a political decision capable of undermining the unity of the nation. Yet a host of Nigerians, who also ethnicised and politicised the project, said the idea was aimed at restructuring the nation through a back door approach.

The Attorney-General of the Federation, insisted in a statement that the Western Nigeria Security Network is unlawful, quoting Article 45 of the Second Schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which gives the Federal Government exclusive powers over the police.

Malami, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who is also Chief Law Officer of the Federation and Legal Adviser, called for the suspension of the project, but the six South-West governors and other legal luminaries like him argued otherwise.

Reacting to the AGF’s stance on Amotekun, Nigeria’s foremost human rights activist and lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), said the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) has no power to proscribe any organisation in the country.

Falana said the Minister of Justice should approach the Supreme Court if he believes Operation Amotekun is illegal as he claimed, advising the South-West governors to ignore the minister’s statement and proceed with the security outfit by enacting necessary laws to back it up.

“In this case, the statement credited to the Attorney-General of the Federal Government is clearly diversionary and hypocritical. Hypocritical in the sense that the governments of Kano and Zamfara states have set up Hisbah Commission and just recently, the Hisbah operatives in Zamfara State arrested a police officer alleged to have been caught in the midst of three women,” the human rights lawyer said.

Other silk, such as Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) and Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) and a senior legal scholar, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN) also explained to the Attorney-General of the Federation, the legality of the security outfit quoting the same 1999 Constitution.

Hence, the formation of the security outfit continued to generate reactions and counter-reactions from the different personality across the country, especially from the South-West region in addition to massive protests in support of Amotekun in the six South-West states, namely: Ondo, Ekiti, Osun, Oyo, Ogun and Lagos but it was not until Vice President Yemi Osinbajo brokered peace between the governors and Malami that a common ground was agreed on.

Buhari/Osinbajo’s intervention

With the growing crisis and controversies generated by the creation of the security outfit, there was no doubt that urgent intervention was required to douse the tension, which analysts said was capable of threatening the nation’s unity.

At the meeting held behind a closed door for several hours, which was also attended by the Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, Vice President Osinbajo was able to resolve the highly sensitive issue amicably while the worrying parties came to a logical conclusion on the matter.

It was learnt that the meeting which was at the instance of the governors who had asked to meet President Muhammadu Buhari over the controversy surrounding the Western Nigeria Security Network initiative. But due to the President’s foreign engagement in the United Kingdom, he asked his vice to host the meeting.

In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media, Mr. Laolu Akande, the meeting was described as very fruitful as it lay to rest all the issues generating controversy between the parties.

According to him, “the meeting was very fruitful and unanimous resolutions were made on the way forward. Having regard to the need for all hands to be on deck in addressing security concerns across the country, it was agreed that the structure of Amotekun should also align with the Community Policing strategy of the Federal Government.

“It was also agreed that necessary legal instruments will be put in place by each of the states to give legal backing to the initiative and address all issues concerning the regulation of the security structure.”

Also speaking on the outcome of the meeting, Ondo State governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), who is also the Chairman of South-West Governors’ Forum, said the meeting gave all parties ample opportunity to explain their positions and to agree on the way forward for security in the country.

Akeredolu said: “We have rubbed minds and all of us have agreed on the way forward. The most important one is that we are going to have legal framework to back this Amotekun. This legal framework is going to be one which we all are going to look at and will be sure to go without any hindrances.”

On whether Amotekun had been placed on hold pending the formulation and passage of the legal framework, the governor said: “No! What I believe is our resolution is that Amotekun is there. You know the Federal Government is about to start community policing. In essence really, it is about the community. So, we are going to work together to see the community policing and Amotekun work in a way.”

Commendation for Buhari/Osinabajo

Meanwhile, Nigerians have continued to react to peaceful resolution of the Amotekun, commending President Muhammadu Buhari for yet entrusting Prof. Osinbajo with the power to resolve the highly sensitive issue, saying that the Amotekun issue, if not handled intelligently, could lead to needless conflict and disunity.

They also commended the vice president for being a symbol of unity, maturity and stability in the country, saying that the Prof Osinbajo has always proven to be a dependable ally to the President.

Among prominent Nigerians who have commended President Buhari for entrusting Vice President Osinbajo with the task of resolving the issue amicably is prominent United States-based Nigerian and former Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) leader, Dr. Baba Adams, who said that President Buhari deserves commendation for allowing his vice to intervene and resolve the volatile issue.

The respected politician said Prof. Osinbajo has done an outstanding job again by saving the nation from falling into unnecessary conflict and calamity of disunity, urging the president to entrust him with more sensitive responsibilities.

His words: “Thank you for bestowing trust in the Vice President, Prof. Osinbajo (SAN) to provide the leadership on resolving the highly sensitive Amotekun issue. As in all other assignments, Mr. VP has done an outstanding job again and save the nation from falling into unnecessary conflict and calamity of dis-unity.

“This is the first salvo and we highly recommend you further empower or delegate the VP to resolve this issue, as not only in the South-West but the rest of the nation – as APC states such as Nasarawa have already expressed interest in implementing Community Policing, Local Government Area (LGA) and State Policing”

The call for state police

It was also on record that prior to the establishment of Operation Amotekun, Vice President Osinbajo had been an advocate of a community policing to strengthen the existing security apparatus in the state.

According to Prof. Osinbajo, the security challenges of the country were complex and nuanced that securing Nigeria’s over 900,000 square kilometers and 180 million people required far more men and materials than the nation has at the moment. Hence, he said that adoption of state police was the way to go in meeting security needs of the country.

Vice President Osinbajo, who said this at the 2018 National Summit, said that every Nigerian was entitled to adequate security by the government and that the security failures of the government were not deliberate.

“We cannot realistically police a country the size of Nigeria centrally from Abuja. As a people any killing undermines the security of the state,” he stated as he mentioned several killings that had taken place in different parts of the country in recent times.

He said the government had worked on some policy objectives, some of which needed legislative approval and cooperation of the judiciary.

“It requires a continual reengineering of our security architecture and strategies; this has to be a dynamic process,” he noted.


Operation Amotekun: Christian’s plot to dominate s’west – Sharia court ..

The Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria has reacted to the establishment of Amotekun, a security outfit it claimed was a subtle plot by Christians to dominate the South-West region of the country.

Speaking to newsmen in Osogbo, Osun State’s capital, the Muslim group’s Vice President Sheikh Abdurrasheed Hadiyatullah alleged that the affairs of the Christian-dominated State Police Force was designed and determined from the Church at the expense of the Muslim majority in the region.

He added that the Amotekun program is viewed as a subtle method of further Christianization of the Southwest by its promoters.

Hadiyatullah said; “The Amotekun program is viewed as a subtle method of further Christianization of the Southwest by its promoters in their usual manner of having political and power dominance over the Muslims in the region.

“It is another elusive way of establishing a ‘Christian-dominated State Police Force whose affairs would be designed and determined from the Church at the expense of the Muslims majority in the region.

“Provision of effective safety for lives and property of the people at any point in time is a collective responsibility one that is devoid of any iota of elements of religious, ethnic and primitive bigotry; a type of garment that Amotekun presently but unfortunately wears.

“Issues of security of the peoples ought not to be premised on the altar of politics and personal interests as doing such would amount to building an empire on mere propaganda and the figment of the imagination of the gullible. It stands to collapse shortly after its creation.

“Any form of the Christian agenda camouflaged as a Security Outfit, such as the Amotekun, where the Muslims population from the Southwest and in the country at large is viewed as a target is an act of injustice, unfairness, inequality, barbarism, savagery and wickedness taken too far and therefore outright unacceptable and thereby condemned in its entirety”.


Operation Amotekun, Anti-Islam – MURIC alleges ..

Muslim Rights Concern has asked governors in Nigeria’s southwest to change the name of the new regional security outfit it recently set up to fight crimes because it is anti-Islam.

The outfit is officially known as South Security Network but nicknamed Amotekun, a Yoruba word for leopard.

MURIC’s director Professor Ishaq Akintola said in a statement that the nickname and employment of security staff of the outfit are skewed against Muslims.

He, however, insisted that MURIC is not opposed to the establishment of the regional security unit.

“You cannot blame Muslims for crying out when you ask them to bring birth certificates from churches before joining Amotekun,” Akintola said.

“Neither can you expect them to stand akimbo when you tell them to bring letters of recommendation from churches.

“Muslims in the Yoruba enclave are not opposing Amotekun per se. What they oppose is a situation where an ostensibly anti-Islam security outfit comes into operation in Yorubaland.

“Apart from the reference to birth certificates from churches and letters of reference from pastors, the choice of nomenclature is another controversial issue because it has a strong Christian identity. Why ‘Amotekun’ as a name for crying out loud? Research has revealed the biblical origin of this name and it makes Muslims suspicious. Why Amotekun of all brands?”

“Jeremiah 5:6 says, ‘A leopard shall guard over their city’. Amotekun is mentioned in this verse with particular reference to guarding a city. Now, we have a sub-region where Muslims have been under persecution for ages coming up with a security outfit under the name of the same leopard mentioned in the bible as a guard over the city.

“This is not a coincidence. The handlers of Amotekun picked the name deliberately from the bible in order to score a spiritual point. It is very critical. It calls for serious concern. So why give a security unit a religious name?”

Akintola advised that a new “nomenclature” should be used instead of Amotekun. He, however, said he got assurances from “certain quarters” that church-issued birth certificates are a prerequisite for being employed into the security network.

He also insisted that MURIC is in support of any security arrangement anywhere in Nigeria so long as such an arrangement is without “gymnastic religiousity and acrobatic ethnicity.”


Operation Amotekun: Letter from Africa ..

In our series of letters from African journalists, the editor-in-chief of Nigeria’s Daily Trust newspaper, Mannir Dan Ali, considers the controversy over the latest plan to deal with insecurity in his country.

Last week, I helped pay a ransom to free the kidnapped wife and two daughters of a friend. The three had been held for eight days after being snatched from their home in the northern city of Kaduna.

What I did no longer seems unusual and it’s just one of the many stories resulting from the current insecurity in this vast country.

The federal government has been accused of ineffectiveness and the governors of six states in south-west Nigeria have come up with their own answer.

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered air strikes on criminal gangs acting in parts of the north and centre of the country
They have announced that they plan to set up their own security outfit to be known by the Yoruba word for leopard – amotekun.

Exactly how it will operate is not yet known as the states are still finalising the plans, but it is set to involve employing new security personnel with the power to arrest.

Accused of plotting breakaway
Amotekun will also share intelligence and security infrastructure across the states.

The plan has riled the national authorities and led some to accuse the six states of plotting to secede from Nigeria, a diverse country of 200 million people. Yorubas are one of its three main ethno-linguistic groups.

To ease suspicion the governors met Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and top police figures last week.

But if anyone had expected that that would be the end of the controversy then they were disappointed.

Emerging from the meeting Ondo state Governor Rotimi Akeredolu who chairs the council of the six governors, said a deal had been struck.

He said the states will now go and enact enabling laws to create Amotekun and at the same time align it with federal police initiatives.

But almost immediately, Afenifere, a Yoruba cultural group which stoutly supports the new initiative, quickly dismissed the agreement saying the federal government cannot dictate how the south-west protects its people.

Similar sentiments were expressed by others on the matter, which has gived opponents of what they see as a bumbling federal government a rallying point.

The media, both old and new, is awash with stories and opinions on the subject.

Acres of newspaper space have been devoted to Amotekun, while TV and radio discussion programmes and news bulletins have also been dominated by the issue.

And social media has been on fire since the idea first came to light several weeks ago.

You may also be interested in:

+ ‘I was kidnapped and now only travel by train’
+ Is Nigeria’s capital ‘one of the safest in the world’?
+ How Nigeria and its president are being held to ransom

Most politicians do not have the luxury of avoiding this leopard. But one of the biggest political figures managed to walk a tightrope with the precision of a circus performer.

Bola Tinubu, reputed to be the most influential politician from the south-west, and whose support was critical in getting Muhammadu Buhari elected as president in 2015, was goaded into declaring a position.

Raising the spectre of secession is a facile approach to the dangerous, self-evident lapses in governance”

Wole Soyinka
Nobel literature laureate

With the ambition of getting President Buhari’s support for him to contest the next presidential election in 2023, and careful not to antagonise his critical base in the south-west, Mr Tinubu appeared to support both sides of the argument.

Some comments on the matter have reflected the distrust between the different regions of Nigeria.

When the veteran northern politician, Balarabe Musa, aired his views on Amotekun, he said it was the beginning of a separatist republic for the Yorubas. The reactions came thick and fast.

Nobel literature laureate, Wole Soyinka, said that “raising the spectre of secession is a facile approach to the dangerous, self-evident lapses in governance”.

The poet and playwright added that “the midwives of Amotekun have repeatedly acknowledged that theirs is only a contribution towards a crisis of escalating proportions”.

While our leaders debate points of constitutional law, hapless Nigerians are at the mercy of kidnappers”

Mannir Dan Ali

But the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said that the proposed regional security outfit was against the law since the constitution vests such powers in the federal government.

“Amotekun [is] unconstitutional and illegal,” he declared.

While our leaders debate points of constitutional law, hapless Nigerians, not just in the south-west but all over the country, are at the mercy of kidnappers, bandits and in the case of the north-east, Islamist insurgents.

They are killing, maiming and making people poorer as they prevent them from earning their living in peace.

Apart from those who specialise in stealing oil from pipelines, there are also the bandits who rule the roost in many towns and villages, making it impossible for many to farm or keep livestock.

This is in addition to the herders who kill and maim farmers who challenge their right of way.

Nigerian football star John Obi Mikel talks about his father’s kidnapping
I am aware of many who have abandoned their multi-million naira investments in their farms for fear of getting kidnapped if they visit.

And it is not as if the authorities are not doing anything, as they periodically deal with some of the gangs involved.

In the case of the north-west, where banditry is rife, the authorities have agreed on an amnesty for criminals who give up their unlawful acts.

This week, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered air strikes against bandits, kidnappers and cattle rustlers in forested areas bordering three states in the north and centre of the country.

He said that air raids “remain the best approach given the lack of motorised roads in the areas constantly under attack”.

Vigilante response
But the measures appear piecemeal and suggest that something more systematic and drastic needs to be done before everyone resorts to self-help or vigilantism.

In just the past few weeks, in a sign of people taking matters into their own hands, alleged kidnappers were reportedly burnt to death by mobs in the south-eastern Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom states.

In the capital, Abuja, not only did a mob kill an alleged kidnapper, they also vandalised a police vehicle when the police tried to intervene.

What is needed is a frank discussion and agreement on measures to deal with the situation involving all tiers of government, instead of the grand-standing that distracts from tackling the criminals, who continue to have the upper hand.


Operation Amotekun: If S’west is safe, Nigeria is safe – Adams ..

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.


Operation Amotekun: Power to arrest criminals – AG says..

Lagos, Ogun and Ekiti states are leading the drafting of model bills on the South-West security outfit, Operation Amotekun.

The Ekiti State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Wale Fapohunda, who gave this indication in an interview with one of our correspondents on Sunday, also said operatives of Amotekun, would have the power to arrest suspected criminals.

Fapohunda said this just as indications emerged on Sunday that the South-West attorneys general would on February 6 meet to harmonise positions of different states on the proposed Operation Amotekun bills.

The Federal Government and the South-West governors had, at a meeting in Abuja on Thursday, resolved their differences on Operation Amotekun, which was launched in Ibadan on January 9 to address killings and kidnapping in the zone.

The meeting, which was presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, was attended by the South-West governors and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, who declared Operation Amotekun illegal on January 14.

At the meeting, both sides agreed that each of the South-West states should make a law to back Operation Amotekun.

As a follow-up to the agreement reached in Abuja, the attorneys general of the South-West states met in Ibadan on Thursday to begin the process of making Amotekun laws in their states.

Shedding light on the proposed Amotekun bill, Fapohunda, in the interview, stated, “We ultimately want to create a security outfit that is accountable and responsible to the people of each of the states involved so that they can have faith in the outfit. We have sights on a law that has focus on the people’s lives.

“The legal framework being drafted by the attorneys general will contain the mandate of Amotekun. The mandate is very crucial and that will be clearly stated; then the administrative structure, particularly as it relates to the issue of accountability and their power particularly as it relates to that of arrest.

“Power of arrest is not new. All our non-conventional forces have the power of arrest. What is important is that when they arrest, what happens to those that they arrest? The way Amotekun will work is that if they see a crime that is being committed, they will have to inform the national security forces like the police, where that is not possible, they can arrest and hand over such a person to the security agencies.”

Fapohunda, who said Amotekun across the different state commands would be working in collaboration, said the law would also spell out the relations among Amotekun in the six South-West states.

He stated, “There is going to be clear provisions on how they are all going to cooperate. The issue of funding is also crucial; where we are going to be getting money from and how the state governments should be funding them. Those are some of the issues that will be contained in the proposed bill.

“The relationship with the conventional security agencies is an important component. The approach that we are taking is that of community policing. The whole concept is going to fit within the framework of community policing. That is one of the areas that the governors agreed with the IG.”

Fapohunda said there would still be consultation among the South-West attorneys general with a view to producing virtually similar laws in the states.

He said, “We are working on it, but don’t forget that we are going to consult. Our own version will be ready, we are now going to look at other versions and see whether we can be inspired by what other versions have.

“Ultimately, it is about having a law that, when you see the Ekiti State Amotekun law, you look at the Oyo State Amotekun law, you see that there will be similarities. We are not warming up to enact a law on our own. We just want to make sure that our is ready and when others are ready, we are all working within a limited time frame, then the South-West AGs attorney-general will meet again and review where we are.

S’West states may adopt Lagos, Ogun Amotekun bill

“In fact, what we have actually as a proposal for the meeting is that Lagos, Ogun and Ekiti are the ones that are leading the drafting of the Amotekun model laws. What we have been doing since Thursday is just to get our own ready, putting together our thoughts on what we want to see in the law given the Ekiti State experience.”

Fapohunda said that the model bill would be the template that the six member states would fashion their laws after, taking into consideration the peculiarities of individual states.

He said, “What we want to do is to look at the best of all the bills and pick a template that we can all adopt. We will adopt one that is common to all of us. Individual states have their own issues, so we will have a model law that can serve as pilot, that will meet the minimum standard of effectiveness in response to citizens’ concern and of course respect for citizens’ right.

“Once we have that minimum standard, the law will be unique, but will be responsive to the peculiarities of each state. The agenda is that the law must respond to the concerns of crime, safety and security and at the same time meeting respect for citizens’ rights.

“When we agree on the template, the six states will have harmonised law, but with variations in respect to circumstances of the members,” the attorney general said.

Operation Amotekun will be based on community policing – Akeredolu

On his part, the Chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum and Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, said Operation Amotekun would be based on the community policing arrangement

The governor, who spoke through his Special Adviser on Security Matter, Alhaji Jimoh Dojumo, said, “As it is now, we are good to go. Any moment from now, the operation will start , we are commencing our recruitment any moment from now in line with the government position.

“We have involved the state House of Assembly. The attorney general is also involved. We have concluded on that everything will be in line with the community policing arrangement.”

S’West attorneys general meet on Feb 6

The Director General, Development Agenda for Western Nigeria, Seye Oyeleye, said the South-West attorneys general would meet on February 6 on the Amotekun bills.

Oyeleye, in an interview, said commission would not want to preempt the outcome of the documents being put together by the attorneys general.

Oyeleye said, “It will not be good for us to preempt the efforts of the attorneys-general. We met with them on Thursday and by February 6, they will be coming up with a proper position, so don’t let me preempt them.

“We are sure by that date, we would have a proper position. Things are moving fine on Amotekun. I want to assure you that things have been moving smoothly on Amotekun since inception, some people are just making noise about what they do not know.”

Amotekun debate shows there’s need to renegotiate Nigeria – Bakare

In a related development, the Serving Overseer, Citadel Global Community Church, formerly known as Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, has said the debate on Operation Amotekun, is a reminder that Nigeria has yet to address its foundation issues.

In an address titled, “No amount of ringworm medicine can cure leprosy,” which he delivered in his church on Sunday, Bakare said the Operation Amotekun debate showed that the nation could not sweep the foundation issues under the carpet unaddressed or run away from them.

Rather, the cleric said the way forward for the nation was “to travel downwards to revisit the constitutional foundations.”

He said, “When one considers the argument for and against Amotekun, one will find a recurring reference to the issues which we, as a nation, have failed to deal with in past decades.

“The proponents of Amotekun, particularly in the South, justify the move by referencing the Sharia police or Hisbah as a northern version of regional policing. The opponents, on the other hand, particularly from the North, express fears of possible regional political motivations. These are clear indications that the issues we swept under the carpet in past decades are still staring us in the face. We cannot continue to hide under the umbrella of one finger. It is time to address the underlying issues of nationhood and reset Nigeria on the path to predictable progress. No amount of ringworm medicine can cure leprosy.”

Bakare said while it was good that the South-West governors and the Federal Government had ironed out their differences on it, the South-West states would do well to give legal backing to Operation Amotekun, by enacting the appropriate laws.

He said such laws should address “recruitment, screening, training and deployment procedures, as well as seamless tactical operations between the outfit on the one hand, and the conventional federal police commissions in the South-West states on the other hand.”

He, however, said the nation must capitalise on the Operation Amotekun debate to address its nagging foundation issue.

Bakare said, “The agreement between the Federal Government and the South-West governors notwithstanding, we must not let this moment pass by without once again telling ourselves some home truths regarding the underlying issues of constitutional federalism that have continued to confront us. We must not lose sight of the main issue in the Operation Amotekun debate, which is that the current mono-level security architecture has proved inadequate to combat the security challenges that confront not just the South-West but every zone in our nation, security challenges such as kidnapping, herdsmen attacks, cattle rustling, terrorism and the porosity of our borders.

“We must not forget that, while the debate over the legality or otherwise of regional security efforts like Amotekun was raging during the past week, Nigeria was, once again, plunged into mourning with the murder of a chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Lawan Andimi, by regional terrorists. We must not forget the fact that tens of thousands have lost their lives to criminal elements who have taken advantage of the national security gaps in the respective zones of our federation. This is why I believe that, although the efforts of the South-West governors towards taking responsibility for the security of the zone are commendable, our nation needs a more strategically effective approach to national, regional and local security.”

Meanwhile, it was learnt on Sunday that the IG had redeployed the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of zone 11, Adeleye Oyebade.

Oyebade, who was in charge of Oyo, Osun and Ondo states, was transferred to the Nigeria Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Plateau State. He was replaced with AIG Bashir Makama, who it was gathered, had resumed in Osogbo.

Sources said Oyebade was removed for failing to stop the protests in support of Operation Amotekun which held in some South-West states last Tuesday.

The rally, which was called by a group, the World Yoruba Congress, was foiled in Lagos by scores of policemen who barricaded the Gani Fawehinmi Park, Ojota, venue of the protest, preventing protesters from converging on the ground.

The protests, however, held in other South-West States as they recorded a huge turn-out in Ibadan, Osogbo, Akure and Ado Ekiti.

A source who spoke to one of our correspondents in confidence said, “AIG Oyebade has been removed by the IG for allowing the protests in support of Amotekun to hold in Ibadan, Osogbo and Akure despite knowing that the government was against Operation Amotekun.

“The police authorities were not happy that the AIG did not order the three commissioners of Police under him to stop the rally as it was done in Lagos where policemen blocked the proposed venue of the protest. The AIG has been sent to NIPSS.”

But the Force spokesman, Frank Mba, while confirming Oyebade’s deployment said he was sent to the NIPSS to fill a vacancy.

“Oyebade’s redeployment to the NIPSS should not be attributed to any other ulterior motive or primordial sentiments. It should be noted that posting to the NIPSS as a directing staff member is a privileged posting and it is reserved only for officers who are very cerebral and with proven record of core competency in general policy and administrative matters,” he said.

Community policing: We need time to put our act together – Rivers command

The Rivers State Police Command Sunday confirmed that they received the IG’s directive on the recruitment of constables for community policing on Friday.

It said it needed some time to put its act together as far as the formation of screening committees was concerned.

The State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Nnamdi Omoni, added that the Command received the directive from the Federal Government on Friday.

Omoni stated that the police in the state would comply with the directive of the police high command on the recruitment of constables for community policing.

“That directive came on Friday; it (directive) came from the police high command. We are going to comply as directed. It came at the weekend, Friday night. We need some time for us to put our acts together,” Omoni said.

But his counterpart for Benue State, Catherine Anene, said the command said that it had not received signal from the headquarters.

According to her, the command is aware of the Federal Government directive on the recruitment of constables into community policing.

“But as I am talking to you now, we have not received signal from the headquarters until then there is nothing we can do for now”, Anene stated.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had in wireless message obtained by NobleReporters, directed commissioners of police to liaise with traditional rulers in their domains to screen volunteers for constables who would participate in the Federal Government’s community policing.


Operation Amotekun, helpful to s’west, s’east, others – Tanko

Elder Statesman, Tanko Yakasai, has said that the Southwest security network, code-named, ‘Operation Amotekun’, is a private army in the making. The founding member of Arewa Consultative Forum, in this interview with VINCENT KALU, urged the Yoruba to drop the security outfit and embrace the federal government’s initiative on national security. He warned that the idea is capable of encouraging the secession agenda of some elements in the Southwest, Southeast and South- South geo-political areas of the country. He equally warned Amotekun operatives and those promoting them not to dare the nation’s security forces

Fifty years after the civil war, are you satisfied with the level of unity that has been achieved so far?

No, exactly, no. I believe we have made progress, but we are not there yet.

Then, how do we get there?

If the government is not performing; not this government alone, but all the governments, it becomes a serious problem. The money that is supposed to be used for development is siphoned, so very little is left for actual development. So, people are not seeing anything different. Secondly, people are not engaged, as they are suffering from unemployment. We neglected power sector that would help us industrialise thereby creating job opportunities. We are not even doing agriculture that can easily mobilise millions of Nigerians through employment and job creation simultaneously.

If everybody is busy, we would not be debating about trivial issues, and nobody will be thinking of activities that would be secession in nature, but you have them now, particularly, if you look at the IPOB, which is an attempt to revive secession in the Southeast, I know they cannot succeed, but we shouldn’t have that at all in our country.

There are some indications even in the Southwest and in the South-South, although promoters of those ideas are not the movers and shakers; they can’t win local government elections either as councillor or as chairman, talk less of as a member of state Assembly or National Assembly, or as governor or president.

However, anybody can start trouble, it doesn’t require a very important person or the man with a majority support to start trouble, that is why I said there are still manifestations of disunity in the country.

Like you said, there are still manifestations of disunity, some people also argue that the events that led to the civil war are still building up, how do we avert this?

The events are building up. In my observation, in this country, people see danger but they are afraid to speak out for one reason or the other, and they would not speak out until it is too late for anybody to intervene; I don’t see people rising up to their responsibility in this matter.

The media is not helping matters; a nonentity would be turned to a very important person by the media, when in actual sense, he is a paper tiger. Media overblows trivial issues, which gives the wrong impression in the country.

Everybody is in fear about this trend of disunity of this country, but those talking about it are the insignificant people in the society. Like I said, anybody can start trouble and nobody can know how to quell it; but the media has to be alive to its responsibility of promoting national unity in averting disaster in the country.

Still talking about the events that led to the civil war, some people insist that a section of the country as the rider and the others the horse. What do you say to this?

I know what you are talking about, it is unfortunate, and I’m having some concerns about that. People are talking about the ways the present government goes about making appointments in the country, and many people expressed concern.

I’m a Northerner, full-blooded Northerner – my parents; my grandparents were from the North. There are so many thousands and millions of Northerners who are also committed to national unity. There is an Hausa proverb, I don’t know its equivalent in English – one piece of beans can spoil entire pot of beans, I just translate literally; if the government or the presidency has vacancies for ten people and for whatever reason he filled nine with Hausa – Fulani Muslim Northerners and gave one to the entire Southern Nigeria, including Christian Northerners, there is no doubt that people would not be seeing things going the wrong way, I’m seeing it also.

But you should also see the other positive side. For instance, you have Nigerians, who are Northerners going about their business in the South, some trading, some working as night watchmen, some even going begging, yet they are free, nobody is disturbing them; nobody is killing them, and also you find a lot of Southerners going about their business across the entire country. Take the instance of the magnitude of the Igbo man that goes about his business all over without let or hindrance over the country. These are the important aspects that people tend to ignore. Life is about survival, if people are free to go all over the country in search of means of livelihood unmolested, it is very good side and we have had it before. We had people going from the south to the north and from north to the south, but not to the magnitude they are doing it now. It should be noted and taken into consideration.

What is you position on the Southwest security network, Amotekun?

There are security challenges all over the country; it is not a matter that concerns the Southwest alone. It is in the Southeast, South-South, North Central, Northwest and Northeast, all over, killings, kidnappings, armed robberies, etc. These are not limited to a particular area, they are all over the place, nobody would doubt or dispute this.

The way the Southwest is approaching the issue is wrong; many times a wrong approach can kill a very good project. The wrong approach was to give it ethnic dimension.

Southwest has something positive and something negative. Something positive in the sense that they have no problem in understanding because all of them are one people; they speak the same language, they are either Muslim or Christian, they know how to relate with one another without discrimination. This is not the case with all the other geo-political zones. No geo-political zone is like that, yes, I know, people would say southeast, yes, obviously, they are Igbo, they are almost the same like Southeast.

This Amotekun is a private army in the making. A country like Nigeria that has experienced secessionist movement, and an attempt at secession, there is no doubt that so many lives of people of Nigeria from both sides were lost in that process, then Nigerians will be jittery; any patriotic Nigerian will begin to open his eyes wider seeing this kind of thing happening.

Since the problem is nationwide, a nationwide approach should make everybody happy.

The president has set up a committee with the Inspector General of Police to look into the problem of insecurity in the country holistically and give a recommendation that would enable the federal government on its own or maybe either in collaboration with state or local government to deal with the issue based on the recommendation that it considers appropriate.

I will prefer that approach, but I don’t accept the approach by the Southwest for simple reason that if you allow the Southwest to set up a semi-military outfit, particularly a security outfit that allow its personnel to carry guns, it doesn’t matter whether you call it Dane guns; gun is gun and nobody can assure that these Dane guns will not one day turn into proper or sophisticated guns, and you are not sure that if you give somebody a Dane gun, he will not one day go somewhere and drop it and pick a proper gun.

To that extent, I think the approach from the Southwest was wrong; it didn’t take into consideration the sensitivity of the government and people of Nigeria.

So, you are in support of the position by the federal government?

I’m in support of the initiative by the federal government. Southwest, Southeast, South-South, Northwest, Northeast and North Central should await the outcome of that exercise and get themselves keyed into it so that there will be synergy in tackling the problem of insecurity in Nigeria. It is a very big issue that can be addressed through synergy.

That Amotekun can be ordinary word in Yoruba, but it can have so many meanings; why can’t they adopt a term that can be understood by everybody?

It seems only the core Northerners are opposed to Amotekun because the Southeast, the South-South and the Middle Belt are in support of it. Why?

I’m too old in this game to be bamboozled. Somebody cannot go and call a meeting of two or three persons from each zone and say, Southeast, South- South and Middle Belt said this or that. In any case, why would the meeting not include Northeast, Northwest?

Why adopting Gideon Orkar’s solution to Nigerian problem? Those people who are talking, I know them, for the past five years they have been calling meetings. This Middle Belt is non-constitutional, non-legal and can never be defined administratively, legally or constitutionally. It is slogan by politicians to win votes; it has no basis.

What do they mean by Middle Belt, they mean North Central, which is made up of six states. Out of these six states, only two are predominantly Christians, even one is 70/30 per cent of Christian/Muslim, the other is 90 per cent Christians and 10 per cent Muslims.

You cannot define a state or an area or administrative unit in a country along that line. In a multi cultural society like Nigeria, you cannot define administrative division in terms of ethnicity or religion.

The South-South has jumped into the fray of 2023 presidency. The leaders within the week said, it is the turn of the region to produce the president. What is your take on this?

Jonathan was elected president and he ran for four years. Under normal circumstances, I would have no quarrel with their aspiration; I would have liked also to see them have the presidency for eight years as the Yoruba did, so that the issue of rotation and zoning will be entrenched into our system; the Yoruba have done two terms, so that they can come and complete their two terms, and then it will go to the north and when it returns, the Southeast would have theirs.

I said it in 2015, that if the country elects Buhari, it would take about 20 years for Igbo in Southeast to produce the president, I said it, but nobody took it seriously. South-South is now talking, they should have said that they have started and have done one term and so should be allowed to complete it.

Now, they are talking about it, before then, Southeast has been talking about it. Whichever is the case, I would accept it.

Two things: Somebody can dash you money – Naira, kobo. Nobody will be a millionaire without working for it; nobody will give you power, you need to look for power, work for it; it cannot be gotten just on a platter of gold.

So, the Southeast should also begin to warm into the Nigerian nation to begin to look for people they can win to support their aspiration, so also is South-South. There is only one way of doing it by mobilising support from other parts of the country. As a matter of principle, I don’t quarrel with any of them.

The Southwest seems irrevocably committed to Amotekun, where will this lead?

Will that be a declaration of the intent to fight the authorities? You know that there is abject poverty in this country. People are looking for where to get money. Anybody can gather people to demonstrate on his behalf in Nigeria, so I’m not carried away about the demonstration in support of Amotekun. People can go to disturb peace if they want; people can distribute money to unemployed youths to begin to make trouble all over the country.

Even the political parties don’t have membership today, people who joined them and paid money to be registered as members, so people you see in the streets demonstrating for whatever reason, somebody must have mobilised them. It is not something people do out of their volition. Don’t be surprised if you see people demonstrating for Amotekun, but they should not dare the security forces.


Operation Amotekun: I was misinterpreted – Malami

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, says he never declared the ‘Operation Amotekun’, the South-West regional security outfit, as an illegal body.

Malami, while responding to a question during a chat on Radio Nigeria Abuja on Thursday, January 23, 2020, noted that he was misquoted on Amotekun.

“I was misinterpreted on Operation Amotekun, I did not say it’s illegal,” Malami announced.

“I said the Operation Amotekun should be properly backed by law, so if at the end of this government, if the operation has been backed by law, any government that eventually succeeded this government would not rubbish the operation.

“I said if they failed to enact a law in support of Amotekun in the South-West region of Nigeria, another government can come and say it’s illegal and this is because it is not backed up by any law.

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami

“So, it is just a piece of advice to the state governors to use their power and the State Houses of Assembly in their various states to enact a law that will make the operation more effective,” he added.

Operation Amotekun was established to help tackle the rising security challenges in the South-West region.