South-West states hold public hearing on Amotekun

Six South-West states on Monday held public hearings on the creation of Amotekun.

Amotekun was inaugurated on January 9 in Ibadan, Oyo State.

The six states involved are Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti and Oyo. It is the first security outfit initiated by states in a geopolitical zone in Nigeria.

In Ondo State, the Chairman, South-West Governors’ Forum and Governor of the state, Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, justified the need for the creation of Amotekun.

He said, “Amotekun is a big thing. It has shaken this country, some want it, some don’t want it but I know we are going to win the battle. The security of our people cannot be compromised. There is no going back on it.”

The Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr Bamidele Oleyelogun, said the bill involved the protection of life and property of the people.

Speaking for the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, the Secretary General of the association, Sehinde Arogbofa, said the Amotekun Bill would enable the outfit to work independently.

He said, “We don’t want the corps to be reporting to the police, they should work independently. They should collaborate with the police in their operations. We also want speedy, fair and firm justice. Membership of the corps should be only the indigenes that know the nooks and crannies of their areas. “

A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae, commended the six South-West governors for the initiative.

He said, “Amotekun is the arrival of Yoruba freedom. It is a good initiative and has nothing to do with politics but the safety of life and property. It cannot lead to secession; Yoruba cannot secede from Nigeria because our fathers have invested so much in the country.”

In Osun State, the Chairman, the peaceful coexistence between Fulani/Bororo and Farmers, Oguntola Toogun, said Amotekun recruits should not swear with the Bible or Quran.

He said their oath-taking should be in line with the Yoruba tradition to ensure discipline.

But the Chairman, Osun Muslim Community, Alhaji Mustafa Olawuyi, disagreed with Toogun, saying the recruits should be allowed to take oaths in line with their religious beliefs.

The Chairman of Fulani Association in the state, Alhaji Olawatoyin Sulaimon, advised that he would make the officials to approach their duties with the fear of God, assuring them that Fulani residents in the state would cooperate with them.

The Aragbiji of Iragbiji, Oba Abdrasheed Olabomi, in his remarks, advocated that traditional rulers should be given the responsibility of recruiting Amotekun officials.

The Speaker, State of Osun House of Assembly, Timothy Owoeye, said the Amotekun corps would assist the police and other security agencies.

Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Mr Gboyega Alabi, said, “If Amotekun works, investment windows will open. Amotekun will give wings to the Osun Economic and Investment Summit as well as the Osun Investment Promotion Agency, which are our windows to economic and industrial transformation.

The Speaker of the Lagos House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, on Monday, declared that Amotekun had come to stay.

He spoke at a public hearing on a bill to establish Amotekun in Lagos state. He said the outfit had become important for the protection of life and property.

“Amotekun has come to stay and we must stand by it,” he said.

In his opening remark, the Chairman of the committee on Information and Security, Tunde Braimoh, said the protection of life and property was the most important responsibility of government as stipulated in the constitution.

In Ogun State, the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Akingbolahan Adeniran, on Monday, said the state government would not allow politicians to hijack the operations of Amotekun.

The Attorney-General spoke at the Ogun State House of Assembly public hearing on Monday.

He said, “I want people to understand that you cannot hijack Amotekun for any political use.

“It is important you have that because when you hear about argument against the state policing, this is the first point people usually make (that politicians will hijack it) but let us make sure they are not going to do so.”

In his presentation, the NSCDC state commandant, Raji Abolurin, said the Amotekun officials should not be allowed to carry firearms.

Abolurin, who was represented, said, “They should not allow Amotekun corps to carry firearms while arresting criminals.

“Instead of Amotekun to be prosecuting in court, the work of the prosecution must be given to already established agencies. The clause that gives Amotekun officers freedom should be looked into.”

The Speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Olakunle Oluomo, said the Amotekun Bill, when passed into law, would be translated into indigenous language for easy understanding.

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