Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, yesterday argued that the South-west Security Initiative, Amotekun, reflected in clears terms the inevitability of restructuring in the country.
The governor said regional security mechanisms like Amotekun were necessitated by the politicisation and collapse of the centralised national security apparatus in the country.
He added that the politicisation and the over-centralisation of security without an effective funding mechanism and arrangement for professionalism has reduced Nigeria to an ‘un-policed’ country.
Dickson, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, described Amotekun as a component of the restructuring which he had championed in the country.
The governor, who said he was a strong advocate of the devolution of policing powers, added that the issues of control of policing powers are a critical component of restructuring.
Dickson explained that he had championed the crusade for restructuring more than any governor in the country and had taken the message to all parts of the country including two meetings with President Muhammadu Buhari to impress on him to take charge of the initiative.
He warned that if the country is not restructured now, there might be nothing left for Nigerians to restructure when they are ready and urged the President to take the lead on the issue of restructuring for Nigeria to survive.
He noted that every state in the South-south has one form of internal security mechanism to collaborate with the law enforcement agencies.
Bayelsa State under his leadership has Bayelsa Volunteers, the State Vigilante Group, the Community Safety Corp and Water Security, all backed by law.
He said apart from other meetings where he led governors of the South-south and Niger Delta leaders, he had also had two private meetings with the President which had the Chief the Staff in attendance on both occasions.
The governor added that the meetings focused on the operations of the Amnesty Programme, (the Avengers Crisis) and restructuring.
He noted that the South-south would hold a meeting of regional security at the right time if there’s need for such a meeting.
“No governor from the South-south has made serious comments on the issues of restructuring, state police, and true federalism.
“I have taken the message for restructuring, true federalism and the need for state police everywhere, even to the doorsteps of the President.
“I have had two meetings with the President and his Chief of Staff. In those meetings, I called on him to raise the issue of restructuring and the need for the President to lead the initiative.
“This South-west Initiative, Amotekun, is a clear issue of restructuring. It is like the state and regional police that I have been calling for.
“My views on restructuring are in the public domain and I have taken it to the President himself unlike those who are running away from critical issues affecting our people,” he said.
He added that as governor, he introduced similar security mechanisms to respond to the destabilisation of his state.
The governor lamented the politicisation of security in Bayelsa State in such a manner that criminals killed, maimed, and carried out heinous acts without fear.
“In Bayelsa State, we have our own similar mechanisms such as the Bayelsa Volunteers. I introduced the community Safety Corp, backed up by law, the state vigilante service backed up by law.
“We, in Bayelsa State, have suffered more than most states in terms of the destabilisation from the centre, destroying the fabrics of our security architecture where we have had about 20 commissioners of police in a year.
“Security is politicised such that crime and criminality now have partisan colour. People kill and maim and do terrible things without repercussions to the extent that the refrain then was that there’s no law in Bayelsa,“ he said.