Fresh controversy trails Amotekun

…as APC govs disown S’West colleagues

 

  • Outfit is illegal –PGF
  • We’ll provide legislative support –S’West speakers

Despite the volte-face by the Minister of Justice and Attorney- General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, over the South-West security outfit codenamed ‘Operation Amotekun’, there seems to be no let down in the controversy surrounding the initiative.

The latest, being an indictment from governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), seems to have sidelined the South-West APC governors from the fold. Of the six governors that make up the South West caucus of the Governors’ Forum, only Seyi Makinde of Oyo State belongs to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), while the remaining five governors are of the APC. This is coming as the speakers of the state houses of assembly in the South West zone pledged to provide legislative support for Operation Amotekun.

The speakers made the pledge in a communiqué issued at the end of a one-day security summit of the speakers, and signed by the Chairman, Conference of Speakers of South West States Legislature, Bamidele Oleyelogun. The lawmakers had deliberated on the theme: ‘the imperative of Western Nigerian Security Network (Operation Amotekun): Legislative Support for the Initiative’.

The speakers, according to the communique, expressed support for Amotekun, saying it would go a long way in curbing the worrisome security problems facing the region. “The establishment of the security outfit in the South West is in tandem with the constitution, which makes the protection of lives and properties a matter of priority for any responsible government. The Operation Amotekun is a welcome development, especially in the spirit of existing community policing laws in the South-West states.

“We have collectively resolved that the issue of security as it is in the region especially, and the country as a whole, can no longer continue to be handled with kids glove. “As legislators, we must do our bit to complement the efforts of our governors through legislations that will give legal strength to the security force”, the communiqué reads. Apart from Oleyelogun, other speakers at the summit include, Adebo Ogundoyin of Oyo State, Funminiyi Afuye of Ekiti, Taiwo Oluomo of Ogun, Timothy Owoeye of Osun, and Mudashiru Obasa of Lagos.

However, in what had been seen as disowning their colleagues from the Yoruba nation, the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) aligned itself with the Federal Government, while noting that the security policy introduced by the South-West geo-political zone is illegal. Advising the Yoruba governors to toe the line of legality, the PGF said what the constitution provided for is Community Policing and not a zonal arrangement that cut across an entire region.

The PGF, which is made up of 21 states governors, said it has an agreement to establish community policing and that is what the group is working for. Speaking for the group after a meeting on good governance by the PGF Steering Committee, the governor of Plateau State, Mr. Simeon Lalong, said, even if the governors would be allowed to retain the outfit, it has to be within the ambit of the law. “What is within the law as far as governors are concerned is the issue of community policing and we all have agreed to that. Since the governors of the South-West zone launched the security architecture, it had been an issue of controversy with Federal Government declaring it illegal.

“On general term, what we did agree after presentations from security agencies is community policing. That is one thing we have all agreed on, so we don’t want situation where you start doing something and the Federal Government will say you are going outside the law just like what it said about Amotekun.

“It is now that they are going to dialogue. Even if they are doing that, it has to be within the law. So, what is within the law as far as governors are concerned is the issue of community policing. We all agreed on that. “Like my co-chairman said, when you go into implementation, you use different kinds of methods. I made a briefing in Lafia and I told them that I have been using community policing for a very long time. In Jos, I have about three organisations, three security outfits.

“I have the headquarters of a division -Operation Safe Haven and the police established by the Federal Government for only few states at that time, and I have what is called Operation Rainbow. “For us, Operation Rainbow is like community policing because while Operation Safe Haven and Police are answerable to the Federal Government, Operation Rainbow is answerable to the governor and it is a combination of different security organizations.

“What they do is intelligent gathering and we found out that they are effective because if you do not understand the intelligence, you will not understand how to even nip the security situation in the bud. Also contributing, the governor of Jigawa State, Abubakar Badaru, who cochaired the steering committee meeting said the Federal Government and the regions are finding solutions and that they will resolve the issues.

“On how they will do it, I think security is peculiar to each state, it depends on each state what they believe will work for them. Some will want Amotekun and some will want dialogue. “For Jigawa, we don’t need any. We cannot say it is a policy that all APC states will take. It is depending on your peculiarities and on what will work for you to protect lives and properties.”

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