PDP, Religious Bodies, Others Back Lagos Govt on Amotekun

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Eddie Alegbe

Stakeholders across Lagos State and environs have pledged their support for the creation of Amotekun in the state.

They spoke yesterday during one-day stakeholders forum on a bill for a law to amend the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC) Agency Law, 2019 aimed at establishing Amotekun Corps at the pavilion of Lagos State House of Assembly.

The representative of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) stated that the church was in support of Amotekun and that they would pray for the success of the corps, while commending the proponents of the concept.

Also supporting the project, a security consultant and analyst, Mr. Dickson Osagie, urged the government to emphasise proper training of the personnel of Amotekun, adding that insufficient parenting has been contributing to the high rate of insecurity in Lagos State.

In his comment, the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State, Engineer Adedeji Doherty, who spoke through Chief Sunday Olaifa, said the party was in support of Amotekun.

He, however, said the party would want the state government not to employ personnel on party or religious or ethnic basis.

He added that qualified people should be employed and that there are enough charms in Yoruba land to ensure the success of Amotekun

In his contributions, a security expert, Mr. Gboyega Alowonle, said the state Assembly should look at the recruitment of personnel and training.

“Let us ensure that the personnel go through due diligence. You cannot rule out Nigeria Police in the area of security, and community policing is also important,” he said.

Also contributing, Mr. Lekan Otukoya advised that the government should give consideration to those who initially started Neighbourhood Watch then in the state.

Otukoya said members of the Neighbourhood Watch were laid off in 2016 without compensations, but that they did good jobs between 1996 and 2016.

Hon. Babatunde Adetunji, in his view suggested that irrespective of the qualification of the personnel, they should be people who understand the terrain, and that there should be penalty for erring officers.

Ibrahim Abubakar, who spoke on behalf of the Seriki Hausawa of Alimosho, suggested that people should be careful about provocative statements.

The Chairman of Agbekoyas in Lagos State, Alhaji Davis, said they had the ability to fight crimes without using arms or weapons.

“Let us employ those who know the job rather than using enemies. We should not use just anybody. Agbekoyas have the power to cope and fight criminals,” he said.

To Yoruba Youth Council, banditry, raping, illegal fire arms and trespassing should be part of the crimes and that members of Lagos State House of Assembly should be involved in the removal of the commanders. “We should also pay attention to the issue of training and recruitment,” he said.

Another stakeholder, Mr. Adio Abiola, stated that CDAs and CDCs members should be included in the recruitment of members of the Amotekun Corps, saying they know the terrain, and that the community leaders should also be involved in the process.

Mr. Babatunde Odunlami explained that hiring and removal of the head of Amotekun should not be left in the hand of the governors alone, adding that members of Lagos State chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and those of the civil societies should be on the board.

General Secretary of Coalition of Oodua Group, Mr. Rasak Olokooba, stated that the lawmakers should define the roles of federal and state governments on Amotekun clearly.

“The police and the Nigerian Army do not have the ability to secure the states properly. State police ought to secure the assembly and perform other security roles.

“These should be made constitutional. When criminals are arrested in Lagos State, we hand them over to the federal police, who might not handle the matter well,” he said.

Comrade Gbenga Ekundayo from the Trade Union Congress (TUC) said there could not be economic growth without security.