*Police, military chiefs absent at launch
By Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
The six governors of the South West region namely Seyi Makinde, Oyo State; Kayode Fayemi, Ekiti State; Rotimi Akeredolu, Ondo State; Gboyega Oyetola, Osun State; Dapo Abiodun, Ogun State, and Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos State, Thursday led prominent Yoruba traditional rulers and leaders to converge on Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, for the launching of Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN), codenamed, “Amotekun”.
The governors at the launch held at the Car Park, Governor’s Office, State Secretariat, Ibadan, said the region strongly believed in the unity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and its indissoluble sovereignty, stating that they agreed last year to establish the security outfit to strengthen the security situation in the region.
Present at the launch include Governors Makinde, Fayemi and Akeredolu, the Deputy Governor of Ogun, Noimat Salako-Oyedele, Deputy Governor of Osun, Gboyega Alabi, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi, the Yoruba leader, Prof. Banji Akintoye, Otunba Deji Osibogun, Chief Gani Kayode Balogun, who represented Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Aare Gani Adams, and representatives of various Yoruba groups.
However missing at the event are the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Shina Olukolu, the GOC, 2.Division, the state Director, DSS, or their representatives.
Akeredolu who is the Chairman, Western Nigeria Governors Forum, in his keynote speech, said governors in the region were committed, in all ramifications, to the ideals that will make the country stronger and more united, and not to divide it, disclosing that the establishment of Amotekun, is without prejudice to the expectations of patriotic discharge of the mandates of the mainstream security agencies as provided in the laws with the governors primarily concerned with the security of people and property.
According to him, “The South West states of the Federation believe in the unity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and its indissoluble sovereignty. We are committed, in all ramifications, to the ideals that will make the country stronger and more united.
“The various nation-states within the Federation are diverse, yet almost all of us agree that our strength is in our unity. Consequently, we shall continue to support the Federal Government, under the able and indefatigable leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari,GCFR, in its avowed commitment and determination to take the country to the next level. Let me on this note thank DAWN Commission for the wonderful job done in crafting the operational framework for Amotekun.
“The Commission has taken care of all grey areas that could cause friction in the operations of the personnel that will be deployed for the programme. As a matter of fact, the Nigeria Police will oversee and moderate the activities of Amotekun, thus making its operation conform to the acceptable standards. Amotekun is the Yoruba name for the Leopard. It is not the Tiger, Ekun. It is also important that I allay the fears of all those who have expressed misgivings as regards the quality of the personnel to be recruited to serve in the outfit. There is an adequate recruitment mechanism for the exercise. The conventional security agencies will participate, actively, in profiling the recruits.
“Nobody with questionable character will participate in the programme. We will make it difficult for undesirable elements to compound the challenges being encountered. Proper background checks will be carried out on personnel to be recruited while the needed registration/identification of such personnel will be done to ensure accountability. Let me seize this opportunity to once again appreciate the Nigerian Armed Forces, the Nigeria Police, State Security Services, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and other security agencies for their unrelenting efforts in combating the various crimes threatening peace and security in the entire country.
“Your patriotism in keeping the territorial integrity of our dear nation is acknowledged. The establishment of Amotekun, is without prejudice to the expectations of patriotic discharge of your mandates as provided in our laws. We depend on you, mainly, to secure our territory. You are the experts with the requisite trainings. Your patriotic zeal must not wane as a result of this necessary intervention.
“The Governors in the Southwest Region will provide all the logistic support that will enhance seamless operations of the programme. Each of the six States has procured 20 Pick-up Vans equipped with communication gadgets and one hundred motorcycles for the take-off of the Security Network.”
Governor Fayemi in his own address, said the security outfit was a confidence building strategy for the people of the region, noting that while it would operate on state by state basis, it is not set up to undermine the integrity of the Nigerian state.
He added that the governors were not out to have regional police force but rather a step towards community policing which the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Muhammed Adamu, has shown interest in, stating that it is a response to a problem that the people of the region want solution to.
Makinde in his welcome address, said it is the priority of the governors in the region to ensure that both indigenes and settlers living within the boundaries of their various states carry out their legitimate activities in a secure environment.
“As governors of these states, it is our priority to ensure that both indigenes and settlers living within the boundaries of our various states can carry out their legitimate activities in a secure environment. The security of their lives and properties should be of paramount importance.
“When we discuss the development potentials of our states and talk about investment opportunities and growing our Internally Generated Revenue by exploring areas of comparative advantage, we remain keenly aware that we cannot achieve anything in a state of insecurity. And so, we are here. To those who are afraid, I say, when we assumed office, we all took the Oath of Office and promised to be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria; To follow the dictates of the Constitution and
protect the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We have not forgotten our oath.
“Our regional integration, our coming together, should be seen in one light and one light alone: That we are coming together to fight a common enemy. That enemy is not Nigeria; the enemies are the elements among us and their affiliates who are determined to cause commotion within the borders of our states and threaten our peaceful coexistence. As this launch proceeds today, we will find that this architecture we have put together is in harmony with the Constitution that we swore to protect. We will also learn that everything we have outlined to do with Amotekun is in line with the existing security architecture in Nigeria. All we are doing is creating an appendage of local vigilantes that will feed the current state apparatus”, he said.
While speaking with THISDAY, the Special Adviser on Security to Governor Makinde, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, a retired Commissioner of Police, said those to be recruited into the security outfit will be trained by the conventional police force, stating that they would more or less serve as neighbourhood watch in the six states of the region.