…Say urgent need for state police can’t be compromised
…Amotekun, a child of necessity
By Dayo Johnson, Rotimi Ojomoyela, Shina Abubakar & James Ogunnaike
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari’s rejection of state police has elicited mixed reactions across the country.
While the Coalition of Northern Groups, CNG, endorsed the President’s position, the Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE, disagreed with him.
Speaking during an interview with Channels Television recently, the President had said: “State police is not an option.”
The CNG described state police as a recipe for disaster in the country
But the YCE, through its Secretary-General, Dr Kunle Olajide faulted Buhari, describing the rejection as the President’s personal opinion, to which every Nigerian is entitled.
Olajide said: “He is the president of this country; therefore, the views of Nigerians ought to influence his personal opinion, particularly when you consider the state of insecurity in the country.
“Also, in his part of the country, in the northern region, I am surprised that Mr. President believes that state police is not an option. There is no federalism anywhere in the world where the police system is centralised. There is none, particularly in a country as vast as Nigeria. Nigeria is a very big country, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Sahara desert. It is a vast country and a heterogeneous country.
“The reality of this country is that we are different people who agreed to live together, since 1914, over 100 years. I am a Nigerian nationalist. I believe in Nigeria if it is properly managed and if we have a fully people’s federal republic and not a centralised unitary system.
“So, for me, I don’t agree with him because we are different people, different histories, different cultures, different beliefs and we must sit down together and have a new constitution, I don’t belong to the group that believes that about 250 million people should be operating on a fraudulent constitution which in its first sentence claims we, the people of Nigeria, have agreed to, whereas we never sat anywhere to agree to the 1999 Constitution.
“For me, Nigeria, as important as it is, in the entire black world, in Africa and with the quality of national and human resources that we have, we should be uncomfortable operating a fake constitution that lies against itself.”
How Amotekun can effectively function
On the functionality of Amotekun as State Police, the YCE scribe said: “If you can recall the reaction of the Federal Government to Amotekun the moment it was launched, the Federal Government was very antagonistic and the Nigerian Constitution is such that it does not empower any state to have its state police. So, they are not armed, the Amotekun operatives are not armed, yet they are doing some good job, no doubt about that. So, Amotekun, with the present fraudulent 1999 Constitution, cannot address the security challenges of this country.
“It cannot, as it is, because it is not empowered by this fraudulent constitution to address our problems. We expect a new truly federal people’s constitution, where its federating units will be empowered by the constitution to have its security apparatus, side by side with the federal police system.
“You can see what happened in Lagos a few days ago when the Superintendent of Police was almost exchanging blows with the state governor because he is answerable to his IG, not to the state governor who is the Chief Security Officer of the state, you can see the contradiction.
“Yes, it is a paradox to call the governor the state Chief Security Officer, he doesn’t have control over any type of police. We have the state assembly that makes state laws but does not have state police to police such laws, what a country!
“Except if we continue deceiving ourselves with serial constitutional amendments where you can again go further, perhaps if you seek a constitutional amendment that will enable the federating units to have their security outfits. But right now, there is no provision for that in the constitution.”
Without state police, we’ll secure our society, says Ekiti Amotekun commander
On his part, the Amotekun Corps Commander in Ekiti State, Brig. Gen. Joe Komolafe (retd) said President Buhari’s position on state police would not deter the outfit from securing the state and beyond.
The commander, who spoke with Vanguard, said without the presence of state government police, the creation of Amotekun has filled the void with a reduction in crime rates.
Komolafe, however, said for security reasons, he would not disclose the strategies and plans to be used in securing the state.
He said: “Let me tell you that with or without state police, we have been securing the state, there is no doubt about this.
“We will continue to do this across the region because our people must be able to go about their activities without any fear of being attacked.
“So, we are on the ground to ensure the security of lives and property and nothing can stop this.”
The urgent need for state police can’t be compromised
Also speaking withVanguard, Alhaji Jimoh Dojumo who is the Senior Special Assistant on Security Matters to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, said: “I strongly believe that with the current insecurity situation across the country, the urgent need for state police cannot be compromised as there is no other alternative to it. But in the alternative, Amotekun is up to the task of securing Ondo State from the activities of bandits and others with criminal tendencies.
“You will agree with me that since the security outfit was established, the activities of bandits and herdsmen have reduced drastically. This was due to the relentless efforts of the Amotekun personnel that were employed by the state government and deployed to all the 18 council areas.
“The state government has put in place several security measures to curtail crimes across the state. To secure our people is our priority and the administration of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu would not compromise that.
“The magnitude of security challenges witnessed across the region prompted the governors to think outside the box.
“The need to provide security and welfare of the citizenry of the region led to the formation of the outfit. We are taking policing close to our people in their different communities. We are happy that our people are cooperating with Amotekun by giving them prompt information which is helping the security outfit to nip in the bud crimes.
Amotekun is not a parallel security outfit
“Amotekun is not a parallel security outfit. It is not state police or regional police. Those entertaining fears should not because the outfit was not intended to divide Nigeria, but to stem the security challenges we are facing in the region.
“Amotekun would give our people confidence that they are being looked after by those they elected into office.
“I will still appeal to the President that the need for state police cannot be compromised. We need it urgently in the country.”
Amotekun, a child of necessity
Describing Amotekun as a child of necessity, the Commander of Amotekun Corps in Ogun State, David Akinremi said the security outfit was created by South-West governors when there was insecurity in the zone.
Akinremi said though, President Buhari rejected the idea of State Police, he said: “I would not deceive you, if we say we practise true federalism; there must be devolution of power to the state, including policing.”
Akinremi said Amotekun Corps exists in five out of six states in the region and there is a collaboration among them, because we work together in many areas, including intelligence-gathering, sharing of information and joint patrol of border communities, as part of efforts to stem insecurity in the region.
He said: “Since, the inauguration of Amotekun Corps in Ogun State, the security agents in conjunction with other security agencies in the state have been up and doing in securing the state.
“Amotekun has been able to close trust gap that existed between the locals and other security agencies in the state because these locals prefer calling Amotekun operatives whenever there is a security breach in their communities.
“The recruitment of Amotekun operatives is local, because, we recruit from communities and after training, we send them back to their communities to operate. With these, we know and believe that they know and understand their communities and they should be able to work with desired dedication in their communities.
“Our operations can be best described as community involvement because we expect the locals to be concerned with the security of their communities.
“As part of strategies to further secure the state from criminals, especially after what happened last year between farmers and herders, Amotekun is working closely with a committee set up by the state government to find a lasting solution to last year’s crisis, and as well educate and enlighten both the farmers and herders on importance of peaceful coexistence.”
We’re collaborating with other states to cover security lapses -–Osun Amotekun
On his part, the Amotekun Commander in Osun State, Brig. Gen. Bashir Adewimbi, retd, said the corps intensified joint task force to meet people’s security demand.
Adewimbi explained that there is a wide gap between what the police can offer and the security demand of the populace in the country, hence, the decision to berth Amotekun in the South-West.
His words: “Recently, some herdsmen entered into a village in Ondo State and set it ablaze, that was embarrassing and the corps has designed more ways to ensure the people are protected.
“President Muhammadu Buhari also in an interview, challenged state governors to do whatever it takes to protect their people, so, at Amotekun, we are devising means to ensure lives and property are not wasted for whatever reason.
“Security is too important to be politicised, hence, we are putting a joint task force together to ensure that patrol activities are consistent on highways that link the South-West states, to eradicate all forms of criminality.
“There is an active patrol activity ongoing along Akure-Ilesa-Ikire express road and soonest, another one will commence along other boundaries.”