The take-off of the Ondo State Security Network, otherwise known as Amotekun Corps, last Tuesday, has put the potency and capability in grassroots security to test. Before the Ondo inauguration of the outfit, Ekiti and Osun states have done the same, though without much fanfare.
For the residents of the three states, it’s indeed time for sigh of relief from criminals as the three states leave no one in doubt that they mean business. With Amotekun, a child of necessity, following incessant criminal activities across the six South -West states of the country, the governors, led by the chairman of the zone Governors’ Forum, Rotimi Akeredolu were of the view that an indigenous security outfit will be more suitable to tackle the security challenges. In Ondo State, the activities of bandits suspected to be herdsmen as well as bank robbers have left nothing but tears and trails of blood. Notable among their nefarious act was the gruesome killing of the daughter of Afenifere leader, Pa Ruben Fasoranti, Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, as well as the incessant kidnappings in some parts of the state.
Akeredolu, who witnessed the passing-out ceremony of the pioneer corps’ officers, as sured the people of the state of water-tight security across the 18 local government areas of the state. He assured the people that the corps would synergize with other security agencies towards combating all forms of crimes. He recalled that when the Amotekun Corps was launched in Ibadan in January this year, many people felt he was putting his second term ambition on the line. He said: “And I told them, time and again, that my ambition is not worth the insecurity that our people are confronted with, where at some point, people were afraid of travelling out of the state. It was so horrible that marauders laid siege to the highways as well as in the farmlands waiting to kidnap or devour anyone insight.
With the launch of the Amotekun, we resolved that it shall be no retreat, no surrender. We are not going to be intimidated or blackmailed.” Also, the Commander, Ondo State Security Network Agency, Chief Adetunji Adeleye, has said that Amotekun came to life because of the seeming insecurity situation in the country, especially in the South-West. “Looking at what is happening nationally in the country, the governors of the south west felt it is time to assist the existing security infrastructure to ensure that they secure the lives of their people. You know how important peace and safety is to the citizenry. Without peace,there is no economic growth. So, it is in the light of this that they came together and brought up this initiative.
“Ondo State took the lead by being the first to pass out the cadets and we are on now. It is a grassroots security outfit. That is the difference from conventional security outfit and the idea of it is, if you look at the conventional security outfit, you have people from all walks of life, from various ethnic backgrounds.
“But for Amotekun, it is for residents of those particular areas who know the nooks and crannies of their environment. That is why we said zero tolerance to crime,” he said. Speaking on the corps’ ability to tackle criminals in terms of weapons, Adeleye said the law setting up Amotekun allows the corps to possess no prohibitive ammunition. He assured the people that the corps is adequately equipped to match criminals, no matter the sophistication of their ammunition. He also said that “In every local government, we have a coordinator who has operatives working under him. We also have zonal coordinators. For instance, Ondo State has three senatorial districts. We have coordinators supervising in each of the senatorial district and we have coordinators per local government. Then, we have informants in every town in Ondo State.
“We also have a functional and vibrant K-9 section where we have trained dogs that we can deploy during operations even in the farms. Apart from operational vehicles, we also have motorcycles that will go to places where there are no accessible roads for vehicles; our operatives will use bikes to go to the deepest parts.
We will use boats to go to the remotest parts of the riverine areas. And most wonderfully, we have satellite based communication equipment, so we can reach everywhere. All our operatives are adequately equipped to transmit information at zero minute real time.” The Osun State Director- General of Amotekun, Comrade Amitolu Shittu, has also said that, it has put all necessary processes in place to make the state a criminally free one through its visible and invisible preparation. Shittu, who affirmed that, they are battle ready to fight insecurity war in the state with the last drop of their blood, said they are fully prepared to engage criminals both physically and spiritually. “We are men of war and we are combatants who are fully ready to wage total war on insecurity in the state. Amotekun security outfit is a formidable group comprising men of wisdom and outstanding integrities in the security circles. They aspects and can whether all storms of criminality at any given time,” he said.
The DG, who maintained that, when a lion roars in the jungle, all other animals will dialogue with their two legs in fear, stated that their combatants comprises vigilance group, traditional hunters, retired combatants from the army and other paramilitary outfits who are well versed in security matters. He said: “We are dynamic combatants who combine both modern and traditional technologies together to get rid of criminals from the state and we are bold to say it that, our strength are divine from our creator while our strategies are equally heavenly sent. Some of our weapons could be commanded from the air and our deities could be sent on an errand if the need be to do their portion of the assignments. “We have our own indigenous and traditional laboratories where wonders are being done and where our magical powers are being invented. I want to warn criminals to keep off Osun State and if they refuse, they will meet their waterloo.”
In Ekiti State, the Amotekun commander, Brig. General Joe Komolafe (rtd), while speaking with our correspondent attributed the perceived delay on the operation of the security outfit to the effect of COVID- 19 pandemic ravaging the world, as even the index ascase of virus was recorded in the state on March 19, three days after the bill was signed into law. ”You are aware of COVID- 19 and the attendant effects; you are not as free as when everything is normal. So, we are trying to observe the normal protocol, but Amotekun will take off fully as soon as possible “The level where we are now is that we have advertised our recruitment forms, people have obtained and submitted the forms online. We are sorting out the forms, after which we will invite people for interview and the training will follow.”
He promised that the board will recruit the best and most suitable applicants with proven record of integrity and those with experience in native security matters considered better chances to be enlisted for the security network. Komolafe said that the security outfit would soon take off. “We have just concluded our sensitization programme; we went out to sensitize everybody in the state about Amotekun. We had very fine and beautiful interaction with all the royal fathers and stakeholders; we also interacted excellently with the populace.” We expect that Ekiti will be more secured, we are seeking the support of the people so that we will be proactive and not reactive in our activities,” he assured.