The Chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum and Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, on Sunday, said the regional security outfit, Operation Amotekun, was not targeted at any non-Yoruba ethnic group.
Akeredolu, who stated this in a statement in Akure by the state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Donald Ojogo, said discourse on Operation Amotekun should not be given an ethnic coloration.
The South-West governors, traditional rulers and other prominent indigenes had, in June last year decided to set up Operation Amotekun as a result of serial killings and kidnapping in the zone.
Following the launch of the security outfit on January 9 in Ibadan, prominent groups, including the Igbo apex socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze; the Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere; Northern Elders’ Forum and Middle Belt associations, threw their weight behind the move by the South-West governors.
But on Tuesday, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, faulted the South-West governors. He said they did not consult his office before setting up the security outfit.
“The setting up of the paramilitary organisation called Amotekun is illegal and runs contrary to the provisions of the Nigerian law, he said.”
Akeredolu on Sunday reiterated that the security outfit was to complement the efforts of the conventional internal security agencies.
He warned people against making divisive statements or utterances that were capable of compromising the genuine intentions of the South-West governors.
He said, “Amotekun, when fully operational, will serve the purposes of local information and intelligence gathering for processing and usage by the conventional security agencies. Amotekun is therefore, merely supportive and not a replacement for the nation’s security agencies.
“The concerns expressed by individuals, agencies of government and several stakeholders are noted without bias. Where possible, the inexorable efforts of the South-West governors will be deepened through relentless interface.
“As such interface and engagements continue. It is pertinent to say that the ongoing discourse on the issue of Amotekun must not be misguidedly used as a platform to ventilate personal or group views aimed at oiling primordial sentiments and grievances. Ethnicising the current situation is even more unhelpful. There should be no reason for such.
“This is more so that the Amotekun scheme is not targeted at any non-South West ethnic group just as its benefits are to be reaped by all Nigerians irrespective of ethnic or religious placements.”
The governor expressed confidence that the South-West governors would not submit to blackmail either from within or outside the region, insisting that the governors were ready “to pursue the Amotekun security scheme through all permissible political and legal means.”