· Warns criminals to stay away
Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, yesterday signed the Ekiti State Security Network Agency Bill, better known as Amotekun Corps, into law.
At the event attended by traditional rulers, members of Vigilance Group of Nigeria, hunters and the Oodua People’s Congress in Ado Ekiti, Fayemi warned criminals to steer clear of Ekiti, saying: “Amotekun Corps will get you wherever you hide.”
He said the assent would give legal backing to the operation of Amotekun in the state.
The governor said the resilience of Ekiti kete and Yoruba race brought the security outfit to full operation, describing the scenario leading to the birth of Amotekun Corps as novel since the advent of democracy in 1999.
He said: “Since the advent of democracy in 1999, this is the first time when Yoruba people will speak with one voice without political or religious considerations.
“As a responsible and responsive government, it is our belief that security is significant and we won’t toy with security of lives and property.
“The current challenges of proliferation of small arms, ritual killings, banditry, youth restiveness, cattle rustling, insurgency and terrorism are daunting.
“In tackling some of these menaces, which surfaced in the South-west region, the governors in the zone officially launched Western Nigeria Security Network in Ibadan on Jan 20, 2020 and the bill that will form the legal framework was passed by the State House of Assembly.
“Let me clarify that Amotekun will help the police to arrest, gather intelligence and information, arrest and prosecute criminals, tackle illegal mining, land trespass, cattle rustling, destruction of crops, trespass into farmlands, cultism, highway robbery, among others.
“Amotekun is not a substitute to the existing security networks, but a complement to it. It is not for Ekiti people alone, but for everybody. As long as you are resident in Ekiti, you enjoy the right to be protected; so, it is not for the indigenes alone.
“Crime fighting is a collective responsibility. Those perpetrating crimes are living among us and let us be vigilant and help the Amotekun Corps fish out criminals in our midst.”
According to the governor, handlers of Amotekun will be thorough with the issues of recruitment, training, and deployment of the operatives, for efficiency and effectiveness of the network.
“The issues of recruitment, training, and deployment will be carefully considered. All the operatives will work in areas where they understand better,” he added.
He urged traditional rulers to join efforts with the security network to rid the state of criminals at the grassroots.
“We are sure that we are going to make a success of this. Tell criminals to stay away from Ekiti, because Amotekun will get them wherever they hide”, he added.
Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Hon Funminiyi Afuye, said the homogeneity of Yoruba race, in terms of politics, culture and history made Amotekun gain traction in the South-west region.
“It is clear that the police are overwhelmed, overstretched and overburdened. This is where the concept behind Amotekun stemmed from. I want to also douse the tension and clarify that it won’t compete with police but will complement it,” he said.
The Chairman of the Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers, the Alawe of Ilawe, Oba Adebanji Alabi, described the signing of the bill as epochal and worthy of celebration.