Draft bill details powers, operations of South-west security outfit
Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
The bill for the establishment of the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN), code-named Amotekun, has proposed that the operatives of the security outfit will tackle crimes such as armed robbery, kidnapping and cattle rustling, THISDAY has learnt.
The security outfit, according to Section 14 of the bill, will be headed by a commander in each state, who shall be a retired law enforcement officer or military officer not below the rank of a Major or its equivalent in other security services.
According to the bill, sighted by THISDAY, which was drafted by the six attorneys-general and commissioners of justice in South-west states, the outfit will also tackle cultism in the region.
The bill explains that Amotekun operatives, who will be majorly locals, would work in collaboration with the police for intelligence gathering on how to curb crimes in the South-west.
According to Section 4 of the bill, the objectives of the outfit are: “(a) to gather information and share intelligence about crime, crime in progress, suspicious activities, criminal suspects and other criminal activities;
(b) Collaborate with similar security network agencies, particularly in Ogun, Lagos, Ondo, Osun and Oyo, Ekiti States to deter kidnapping, terrorism, cattle rustling, cultism, highway robbery and other offences and to assist the -police in apprehending such criminals;
(c) Protect lives and property within the state;
(d) Ensure that all persons travelling along the highways, major roads, remote areas, hinterland, forest and inland waterways are free to participate in their normal social and economic life without fear or hindrance; and
“(e) Assist the police to carry out any other lawful activity for maintaining law and order in the state”.
Section 5 listed the functions of the security outfit to include:
1. “(a) collaborate with and assist the police and other security network agencies in gathering information about crime, crime investigation, arrest and prosecution of persons suspected or involved in kidnapping, terrorism, cattle rustling, cultism, highway robbery and other criminal activities;
“(b) Collaborate with and assist the police and other security agencies in maintaining law and order within the state by:
“(i) making available relevant information on crime, crime-in-progress, crime- related activities, suspicious activities and criminal suspects; (ii) undertaking routine day and night patrol on major roads, remote areas, hinterland, forests and inland waterways; (iii) ensuring that offenders are identified, arrested, registered and promptly handed over to the nearest police station or post; (iv) giving timely report of suspicious activities and crimes in progress to aid in the effective policing of the state; (v) providing the police and other security agencies with relevant information to aid in the effective policing of the state;
“(c) Disarm unauthorised persons in possession of arms and other dangerous weapons; (d) Render prompt assistance to crime and accident victims; (e) Undertake routine day and night patrols on interconnected roads and surveillance on highways, major roads, remote areas, hinterland, forests and inland waterways;
(f) Undertake joint operations with the police and other security agencies in furtherance of the objects of the agency; (g) React and respond promptly and strategically to distress calls; (h) Prevent highway crimes and any other criminal activities by way of local intelligence gathering and use of technology; (i) Collaborate with the other security agencies in carrying out its duties; and (j) Carry out such other directives as the governor may expressly give to the Amotekun Corps in relation to security and the maintenance of public order and safety.
“(2) The agency shall in the course of carrying out its duties safeguard the human rights of every person as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and other relevant human rights instruments”.
The attorneys-general from the six states in the region had drafted the bills that would be passed and signed into laws to legalise Amotekun, whose formation by governors in the geopolitical zone had stirred up a controversy.
Speaking on Monday at Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, while receiving the draft bill from the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Wale Fapohunda, the Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi had stated that law to give a legal backing to the security outfit would be ready on February 14 in all the six states in the geopolitical zone.
Fayemi had assured the people that the bills would be signed into laws simultaneously in all the six states.
He added that his state would convene an emergency executive council to deliberate on it before sending it to the House of Assembly for passage.