- Warns external forces, their allies against sabotage
- FG has failed to protect ordinary citizens, says APC chief
Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan and Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
An umbrella body of all socio-cultural groups in South-west, Yoruba World Congress (YWC) yesterday said it would hold a peaceful march on January 21 to protest the position of the federal government on Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN), Operation Amotekun.
YWC, led by Yoruba Leader, Emeritus Professor of History and Second Republic Senator, Banji Akintoye, warned the external forces and their internal collaborators who want to stampede our resolve to protect criminal elements terrorising the people of Yoruba.
The congress revealed the plan in a statement by its Director, Contacts and Mobilization, Mr. Victor Taiwo, saying the protest will hold simultaneously in Lagos, Abeokuta, Ibadan, Osogbo, Akure and Ado-Ekiti respectively from 9: 00 a.m.
All South-west states, Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti, Ondo and Osun had launched Amotekun January 9 in Ibadan, as their security outfit to tackle kidnapping and other criminal activities in the region.
However, Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami had insisted that the inauguration of a paramilitary organisation Amotekun by South-west states “is contrary to provisions of the law.”
In a statement by his media aide, Umar Gwandu last week, Malami said the setting up of Amotekun “is illegal and runs contrary to the provisions of the Nigerian law.
“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) has established the Army, Navy and Airforce, including the Police and other numerous paramilitary organisations for the purpose of the defence of Nigeria.”
Rejecting Malami’s position, the congress specifically urged all Yoruba people worldwide “to come out in their millions any where they are in Oduduwa Land on Tuesday to show to the world that Amotekun has come to stay.”
“We must show to the external forces and their internal collaborators who want to stampede our resolve to protect ourselves, safeguard our land from kidnappers, armed-robbery and put an end to consistent destruction of our farm lands that enough is enough.”
The congress noted that well-meaning Yoruba people and leaders of thought would be at designated venues “to address the protest on Tuesday. We want to assure our governors that Yoruba people are behind them on Amotekun.
“We urge them not to shiver and they must never shiver. It is no retreat, no surrender. We will not surrender Amotekun,” the congress said in a statement.
The statement said those in Lagos “are to converge at Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park, Ojota; Oyo at Opposite Agodi Cenotaph, Ibadan; Ogun at Pansheke Junction, Abeokuta; Osun at Nelson Mandela Freedom Park, Osogbo; Ondo at Alagbaka Roundabout, opposite First Bank, Akure and those in Ekiti are to converge at Fajuyi Round about, Ado-Ekiti.”
The statement added that the list of state co-ordinators for the rally would be released today after proper consultation with relevant stakeholders.
At a session with journalists yesterday, a former Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Ekiti State, Chief Jide Awe said the federal government should commend the southwest governors for initiating the regional security network rather than proscribing it.
Awe said: “For Abubakar Malami to have a complete work, let him tell Nigerians that hiring of private guard is illegal. Let him tell us that fencing a building or purchase of generating set is illegal.
“Let him know that as big men exist and protected by army, police and others, we at the lowest rung of the ladder must be allowed to live our lives. We must be protected. Amotekun is for this purpose because the federal government has failed us.”
Awe posited that the inability to secure the lives of the people by conventional security outfits signposted that Nigeria is now a completely failed state.
“Anything that has to do with security does not carry the toga of politics. So, it will be a great disservice to our people to politicise the issues surrounding the formation and proscription of Amotekun,” the party chieftain said.
He, therefore, commended all the south-west governors for breaking the barrier of politics to form this joint security, noting that he “is at loss with the claim by the federal government that Amotekun was illegal.
“People were being kidnapped, robbed, killed and traumatised on daily basis and the federal government did nothing. Do they want our governors to watch as their people were being killed? They said they will not give us presidency in 2023 if the governors insist on protecting their people.
“Again, let them know the Yorubas are destined for presidency in 2023 because we have paid our dues as far as the APC is concerned. I have been a victim of kidnapping because strange people here in Ekiti abducted my brother.
“We had to look for the money we didn’t have to pay ransom before he was released. Should we fold our arms and allow this to continue? They want to be kidnapping us so that we can be paying ransom to them. This will not happen.
“I am a farmer. I knew what it takes to keep your farm. Several millions of farms had been destroyed in Orin Ekiti, Oke Ako and others towns in Ekiti axis, also in Ijare in Ondo and Ibarapa in Oyo. All these wicked acts must stop and that was what the Amotekun issue was about.
“South-west leaders and those who were not politicians like Prof Wole Soyinka, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), Femi Falana, Prof Banji Akintoye and even our traditional rulers had spoken clearly that Amotekun has come to stay.”