IG, South-West govs to meet, Reps plan Amotekun law

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, is to meet with South-West governors over Operation Amotekun.

The six South-West governors set up the security outfit to complement the efforts of the police in tackling insecurity in the geopolitical zone.

The initiative drew mixed reactions from individuals and groups across the country. And the outfit appeared doomed to die in infancy after the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, reportedly described it as “illegal”. However, Malami has since said he was misquoted.

Amotekun got back on track after Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Adamu and Malami met with the governors in Abuja last week over the matter.

Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, who met with the IG at Force Headquarters in Abuja over Amotekun and the raging local government crisis in his state, confirmed the meeting between the South-West governors and the IG to review issues associated with the security outfit. But he did not reveal when the meeting will take place.

Makinde said South-West governors were working to get everyone to support Amotekun.

He said, “Everybody is aware of the issue with Amotekun, so we deliberated, we had an agreement in principle to have the governors of the South-West to meet with him (IG) to review the situation.

“We are trying to build a new country where the rule of law is supreme, so everybody should be law-abiding, ensure that they don’t do anything that would create lawlessness.”

When asked about the status of Amotekun, the governor said, “It is work in progress, we are trying to operationalise it and in doing that, all the relevant stakeholders would have to align.”

On the local government crisis in his state, he said he had secured Adamu’s commitment to ensuring peace in the state, adding that his administration did not want lawlessness.

Makinde said the state government would obey court judgments on the LG crisis, adding that Adamu assured him that they would similarly comply with the court order restraining the ousted LG chairmen from returning to office.

The governor said, “There was a court order yesterday (Tuesday) restraining the IG, CP and AIG from giving a unilateral order regarding the issue of local government administration in Oyo State. I came to brief the IG that this is the situation.

“We do not want chaos in Oyo State. I’m law-abiding. If there is a court judgment, we will obey it and he (IG) has assured me that once he gets a copy of the court order, he would do the needful.”

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has sought backing for any moves aimed at addressing the security challenges facing the country, as he tacitly lauded the Amotekun initiative.

In his welcome address at the plenary on Wednesday, after their return from a five-week recess for the festive season, Gbajabiamila expressed concern over rising insecurity in the country.

He directed the Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, and the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, to formulate and present constitutional amendment bills to encourage outfits like Amotekun.

He said, “Recently, the governors of Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti, Oyo and Ondo states took action to implement a regional security network to support the efforts of the Nigeria Police Force in preventing crime and protecting the lives and property of those of our citizens who live, work and travel through these states.

“The establishment of Amotekun has met with commentaries from across the country, both for and against. Too often, it has seemed to me that lost in these interactions is the hard, brutal and unavoidable fact that Amotekun and other such state or zonal interventions that already quietly exist in other parts of the country are a desperate response to the vile manifestations of insecurity that trouble the lives of citizens, depriving them of the peace and security that gives life meaning.

“I do not know that Amotekun or whatever iterations of it may follow represents the ultimate or perfect solution to the problem of insecurity in our country. Nobody does that. What I do know with absolute clarity and certainty is that the localised manifestations of insecurity across the different parts of our country call for unique and localised approaches that take those peculiarities into account.

“I therefore call on the Leader of the House of Representatives and the Minority Leader to take active steps to bring to the floor the appropriate amendments to the constitution that will ensure that these and other righteous interventions to protect the life and property of our citizens are firmly in compliance with the laws of the land.”

Gbajabiamila said insecurity in the country had manifested through the activities of “bandits destroying communities, kidnappers operating for profit and insurgents seeking to remake our world in the image of a discredited theocracy.”

The Speaker lamented the killing of the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in the Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, Lawan Adimi, and a student of the University of Maiduguri, Ropvil Daciy, by Boko Haram.

He said, “Our cup of endurance has run over and we are no longer willing to labour under these dark clouds of random violence inflicted upon our people by faceless cowards whose ends we do not understand, and whose means we do not know.

“Overcoming our overwhelming national security challenges now requires of us to accept new approaches and consider novel ideas. Neither the security institutions nor political leaders can afford to hold on too tightly to a status quo whose frustrating limitations are painfully evident, whilst reflexively rejecting innovations that may improve our fortunes if properly implemented.”

Insecurity has worsened, says CAN

Meanwhile, the Kaduna State Chairman of CAN, Rev. Joseph Hayab, says the country is facing a deteriorating security situation.

Hayab said in Kaduna on Wednesday the security situation was worse than when the association cried out over a spate of kidnappings, robberies and other violent crimes in the state last year.

The state chapter of the Council of Ulama in August 2019 accused CAN in the state of “politicising” security matters.

The Muslim body had queried the claims by the association that no fewer than 500 Christians were kidnapped in the last two years with N300m paid as ransom.

But Hayab said on Wednesday CAN had been vindicated due to the deteriorating security situation in the state.

The cleric said, “When we were crying that there were kidnappings and killings, they said ‘no, we are creating problems’. We are not talking now, is it not happening? We are not talking, the number of people being kidnapped and being killed now is more than when we talked.

“If we cried out that time and they (government) had listened to us; if they had started doing something, I can assure you that by today we would have gone far out of the problems.”

Ganduje backs community policing

Meanwhile, Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, has backed community policing.

Speaking to journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, Ganduje said the decentralisation of the police structure was the solution to the security challenges facing the country.

Ganduje stressed the need for synergy among security agencies.

He said, “What is important now is to pay attention to community policing because we have seen that security is everybody’s business. Unless there is synergy among security agencies and unless there is synergy among the population to get security information, we will not be able to get the issue of security right.”

Also, a group, Societal Safety Network, has urged the Federal Government and the 36 governors to collaborate more and address the security issues in some parts of the country.

The Executive Director, SSN, Mr Abdulrahman Agboola, said at a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday that insecurity had become so alarming that it required collaborative efforts to stem it.

He urged the governors to judiciously use their security votes to address insecurity in their respective states.

Written by Festus Abu, Adelani Adepegba, Leke Baiyewu, Success Nwogu and Godwin Isenyo, published on Punch Newspapers