By Victor Ogunje
The bill meant for the establishment of the Ekiti State Security Network Agency and Amotekun Corps has passed through first and second readings at the state House of Assembly.
The bill has also been committed to the House Committee on Security, chaired by Hon. Lateef Akanle, representing Ekiti East Constituency II, for proper legislative scrutiny .
The state executive council had Wednesday adopted the draft bill of the proposed law as a document of the state after exhaustive deliberation at its weekly meeting, which lasted till 9.30pm before transmission to the assembly for legislative perusal.
At the plenary of the House on Thursday, where exhaustive debate was carried out, it was a unanimous agreement that every Nigerian has the right to life in line with Section 33 of the 1999 Constitution as espoused by Section 4 (C ) of the Amotekun Bill which emphasized protection of lives and property as primary responsibility of security outfit.
Speaking on the floor of the House, the Speaker, Hon Funminiyi Afuye, said the House won’t violate the rules and standing order in the quest to accord the bill expeditious passage.
“It has passed through the first and second readings. Both moral and jurisprudence aspects of the bill had been extensively debated. We have committed it to the Committee of the House which will be holding a public hearing today (Thursday) at 2pm.
“We are still on course and in line with procedures of lawmaking. We have not breached any procedure and we won’t breach the procedure in passing the bill into law,” he said.
Indicating that the bill will be passed into law on Friday, the Speaker had directed the Majority Leader, Hon Gboyega Aribisogan, who had earlier moved the motion for adjournment to Tuesday, next week, to amend the motion for adjournment to Friday, February 14.
The Speaker charged the committee to be painstaking in the passage, saying: “We all know that internal and external migrations had caused banditry, kidnappings, robbery and insurgency in some African nations, Nigeria inclusive and solution to it by law is protection of lives and property.
“The insecurity in our territory had led to loss of lives; farmers are no longer safe. Even if you do commercial farming, some people will go there and destroy it and this has been reducing the resources of our people.
“Recently, someone was kidnapped and the family paid a ransom of N20 million. One can imagine the psychological and economic effects of this and that necessitated the Amotekun issue.”
In his submission, the Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon Hakeen Jamiu, said the increasing act of terrorism by Boko Haram in Nigeria, herdsmen attacks and kidnappings had overwhelmed the conventional security agencies and the time has come for states to look inwards.
“The high level of displacement and migration from wartorn regions, robbery, kidnappings, herdsmen-farmers clashes, insurgency and terrorism had made things difficult for our conventional security architecture.
“It is now obvious that our police and army are overwhelmed and these menaces could only be tackled at the regional level. Amotekun has brought us to that level now.
“Some of the killings and kidnappings perpetrated in our nation showed that there were internal connivance. We must have locals who can really gather intelligence. The Amotekun personnel can even go digital. They can monitor our people with technology. I want to say that this bill represents what everybody in the South-west is expected,” he said.
Lawmakers representing Ikole constituency lI, Hon. Adeoye Aribasoye, and his counterpart from Ikere II, Hon. Tunde Idowu, dispelled the insinuation that Amotekun is an alternative security to the police, saying it would only play a complementary role.
A member representing Ekiti West l, Hon. Tajudeen Akingbolu, had deviated a little, by suggesting that section 35 of the proposed bill establishing the network should be expunged.
He contended that the section, which stipulated that “a suit shall not commence against the agency unless 30 days written notice of intention to commence an action is issued to the agency”, will impede people’s access to justice.
Akingbolu also added that sections 7 and 18 of the proposed bill, which dealt with the issue of composition of the board should be rejigged and amended to include professional bodies, so that it can be apolitical.
“Section 35 if not expunged will bring inequality and injustice. Section 35 should be expunged so that people can have access to court. Sections 7 and 18, should also be amended so that members of respected professional bodies like the Nigerian Bar Association can be on the board. This will make it apolitical,” he advised.
Others who contributed to the debate are members representing Ekiti southwest 1, Hon. Yemi Ayokunle (Efon), Hon. Goke Olajide (Moba Constituency), Hon Michael Ola; members representing Ekiti East Constituencies l and II respectively, Hons. Juwa Adegbuyi and Lateef Akanle, (Ado), Hon Toyin Lucas (Ekiti West II), Hon. Oyekola Adeoye.
Othets include members representing Ido Osi II, Hon Akin Osho, Irepodun/Ifelodun constituency l, Hon Femi Akindele, Ado Constituency ll, Hon. Kemi Balogun, Ijero constituency, Hon. Ademola Mathew Ojo and Ilole I, Hon. Gboyegan Aribisogan, among others.