Amotekun: Secession Not in Yoruba Agenda, Says Falae

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•Six South-west AGs to harmonise draft bill Wednesday

James Sowole in Akure

The former Secretary to the Government of the Federation and former Minister of Finance, Chief Olu Falae yesterday allayed fears that the formation of the regional security initiative, Operation Amotekun by the South-west, was a prelude to secession plan, insisting that the Yoruba cannot secede from Nigeria

Falae stated this yesterday in Akure, Ondo State capital, at the public hearing on a bill “Ondo State Security Network Agency and Amotekun Corps Law 2020”.

This is coming as the six Attorneys General of the South-west states will meet at Ibadan on February 26 and 27 to consider recommendations of all the Houses of Assembly before each house would send the bill for signing by their respective governors.

The public hearing held at the Babafunke Ajasin Auditorium, Akure, attracted various stakeholders, including traditional rulers, professional groups, security chiefs and youth groups.

The former SSG, who recounted his experiences when he was kidnapped for six days by herdsmen, described Amotekun initiative as the arrival of Yoruba freedom.

He said: “Yoruba cannot secede from Nigeria. If others want to go out of Nigeria, let them go; we cannot leave because we have invested heavily on Nigeria.

“What we want is our security and we shall support all moves to ensure our people’s security. I was a victim of insecurity. I was kidnapped from my farm and troubled for six days before I was released.

“I am impressed when the Ondo State Governor said he did not care when the Amotekun was declared illegal but that the security of people is paramount.
“How can Hisbah be legal and be performing all the functions of Police and somebody will declare Amotekun illegal? What we want is equal treatment.”
He said the Amotekun should have the power to arrest, investigate and prosecute criminals.

Also speaking, the Secretary of the Pan Yoruba Socio-Political Group, Afenifere, Chief Sehinde Arogbofa, said the ultimate objective of Amotekun should be in line with the recommendation of the 2014 Constitutional Conference, which recommended the establishment of State Police under state government.
He said Amotekun should not report to police but to the state governors for prompt action on their activities.
The Afenifere chieftain also advocated speedy, fair and firm justice to all concerned.

He said for efficiency, membership of the Amotekun Corps for a particular area must be limited to indigenes of that community because of their familiarity with the environment.
In his speech, the Ondo State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Kola Olawoye, said the six Attorneys General of the South-west would meet at Ibadan on February 26 and 27 to consider recommendations of all Houses of Assembly before each house would send the bill for signing by their respective governors.

Declaring the hearing open, Governor Oluwatotimi Akeredolu said as elected officers, security of people cannot be compromised.
“We cannot compromise the security of people, their property and lives. There is no going back again, we shall win,” Akeredolu said.