Governors in the six states of the South West have told the Federal Government not to see the launch of the Western Nigeria Security Network codenamed Amotekun as an agenda to undermine the integrity of the country.
Instead, the initiative was meant to discharge their constitutional responsibilities to the people who elected them into office.
The governors said this at the launch of the security outfit which held at the Oyo state governor’s office, Secretariat, Ibadan.
The epochal event was well attended by prominent Yoruba leaders including traditional rulers and politicians. Governors Seyi Makinde, Rotimi Akeredolu and Kayode Fayemi of Oyo, Ondo and Ekiti States respectively attended the event while Governors of Ogun, Lagos and Osun sent their representatives.
The governors who spoke separately reiterated that initiative was occasioned by the need to protect their people from any aggression.
Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti who is also the Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum made it succinctly clear that the killing of the daughter of the leader of Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, put more pressure on the governors in the zone to find a means to address the security challenges.
He said: “The genesis of this initiative was when we were being assaulted by a spate of kidnapping, banditry and armed robbery across the length and breadth of Western Nigeria.
We obviously sought succour in all the right places and the mainstream security agencies did their best to arrest the situation.
“It was in the context of this unfortunate development that we lost a daughter of our leader in Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti and that further put and rightfully, a lot of pressure on the political leadership of the South West to do something about the fear our community and constituencies were in.
“They were not sleeping with their eyes closed and as elected leaders of the south of various states, our primary responsibilities according to Section 14(2) of the Nigerian Constitution as amended is the security and welfare of our citizens and that’s what informed the coming together of my colleagues and I to fashion a way that we can utilise to complement the work of our security agencies that are quite overstretched in their efforts to arrest the menace that had afflicted not just our zone but the entire country at a time.
“But having been a relatively peaceful zone, we were now witnessing the problem, our people became agitated.
So, six months ago, we held a security summit in Ibadan and I’m pleased that this idea has been embraced by the leadership of the police because the IGP announced the commitment of the police to community policing.
“Amotekun is nothing but a community policing response to problems that our people wanted to see the back of pending the time that the community policing being put together by the police come to fruition, it is clearly important that we give confidence our people confidence boosting strategy.
” If you ask me, Amotekun is nothing but a confidence-building strategy for our people in the six states. The personnel that would work in the security outfit would do the work with the knowledge of the terrain, language and history of where they are going to work.
“Amotekun is not a duplication or a replacement but gives our people confidence that they are being looked after by the people they elected into office.”
People want to sabotage our efforts ― Fayemi “We have seen all sorts in social media. What has proliferated the social media is an attempt to sabotage what we are doing. We are not creating a regional police force neither are we oblivious of steps to take in order to have state police. Yes, some of us are an apologetic, inveterate advocate of state police, but we are also law-abiding citizens of Nigeria.
We know the process and procedure to undergo to get to that point. Don’t misrepresent our motive ” We don’t want anybody to misrepresent what we are doing here.
Amotekun is going to operate in Oyo. However, we share boundaries and there may be a situation that would warrant a handshake between one or the other of our Amotekun formation.
Most importantly, it is not an agenda to undermine the integrity of our country.
“Just as some of us are unapologetic Yoruba indigenes, we are very proud citizens of Nigeria and we will do everything to protect the integrity of our people,” The host governor, Engr Seyi Makinde of Oyo state, said traditionally, human beings are afraid of what they do not understand.
“The security of their lives and properties should be of paramount importance. When we discuss the economic potentials of our states, and talk of investment opportunities, and growing our internally generated revenue, by exploring areas of comparative advantage, we remain fully aware that we cannot achieve anything in a state of insecurity.
And so, we are here. “To those who are afraid, I say, when we assumed office, we all took the oath of office and promised to be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. To follow the dictates of the Constitution and protect the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
“That enemy is not Nigeria, but bad elements among us who are threatening our co-existence. We shall ensure that Amotekun is in line with the security architecture of the Constitution.”
We’ll defend southwest against aggression ― Professor Akintoye Professor Adebanji Akintoye,
Yoruba World Congress Leader who leads other 28 different organizations, said the zone would not fold its arms while its indigenes are being overrun. He said this while granting an interview with Vanguard before the commencement of the programme.
While giving his goodwill message, he said, “I don’t think anybody is in doubt that our nation is in danger today. Our farmers are being driven from their lands. And we know that large numbers of our farmers out of the fear for their lives and families have fled their abodes.
“The foundation of our economic well being is fearfully being eroded. And we cannot just watch. And the Yoruba people have not just watched. When we first started, we did not know how to take it because we Yoruba are peaceful people.
“We love others and we were surprised to find that any other group of people anywhere in the world develop an agenda to wreck the peace and security and stability of any part of the world.
We did not know how to respond and so our people suffered very seriously in many parts of our States, and our zones.
“By and by, our people have arisen and are answering back increasingly, creditably, and that is a good thing. To say a person is a Yoruba is a great thing in the world. Now, our governors have come forward to give us leadership and we say thank you, we love you our governors.
“You are well-brought-up people and children of this nation. You are sophisticated people; men of honour and accomplishments. We have the assurances that having started this, you will keep it going. And you will continue to make it deliver the services you intend it to deliver to our people.
“Secondly, we did not rear you to go and break up country. We rear you to be leaders of the world, and each of you is a leader of the world in your own rights. I am sure you are not involved in any break up of the integrity and sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. That is not what is happening today.
What is happening is that the Yoruba by their elected leaders have decided to give the highest level of protection to their people in their fatherland and homes.”
“Thank you very much as we assure you of our supports and the support of all the Yoruba people. On the question of how the Amotekun people will relate with the police, I dare say that we are being led by educated people. We are going to train the people who will work for Amotekun properly so that they can have a proper relationship with the police and the Army. I don’t think there can be any problem.”
“The sustained efforts on the lives and property of our people compelled us of serious countermeasure, which seeks out to camp out within a short period.
“We shall not relent until the entire space is secure, we acknowledge the efforts of the Federal Government and its agencies in steering the security in the polity, it is comforting to know that the deliverance stride reported and to know that it is our sincere hope that our contributions at the regional level will serve as the secretive complement to the security architecture that may be put in place by the Federal Government in future.
“We have spoken about community police. It is not our intention to erect any antagonist structure. That is not what we are here to do. This operation will be across all purposes to the existing template of defence. That is not what we are here for. We want us to work together that is the purpose.
“This informs why we are here today. People are familiar with our rich heritage. We agree that banditry, armed robbery, kidnapping, and other vices are alien to our society. We always triumph after every act of sabotage.
We inherited an enviable heritage of magnanimity from our ancestors. Trusting, accommodating, generous but not stupid.
“We reward friendship with limitless affection and benefits there is a standard of treating perfidy and contemptuous discretion and what the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi said that Eni ba dale a ba ile lo. The protection of our people is paramount and all governors of our region are united in their resolve to put in everything and need anything including our God has given the talent to ensure that there are peace and security in the southwest.
“Our aspiration for a prosperous society is largely dependent on this anticipated achievement which with your support and prayer we will get there.
“Consequently, we governors, having considered the need to treat all matters connected with security challenges, we have decided to come up with a practical strategy for combating the serious criminal tendencies thus following our meeting of 7th June 29, 2019, in Abuja. “We discussed the central issue of development in our region we have come up with the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) at the meeting.
We have mandated them to convey the stakeholders from the security and all of you know that this was held on 25-27th of June 2019 at the summit a practical solution was proffer among others to the rising incident of kidnapping, banditry and armed robbery on our highway and rural individuals it is important that we should emphasise that ‘Amontekun’ is only one of many solutions to the socio-economic challenges we face in this region,” Akeredolu said.
I’m happy with governors for putting aside politics ― Ooni of Ife
Speaking on behalf of other traditional rulers who thronged the place, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Eniitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi was very happy that political affiliation did not create any barrier to the launching of the outfit.
Ooni said: “I sincerely commend the governors of the six western states for putting aside partisanship and collaborating on what can benefit their region wholly. If we urinate on a particular spot, it must foam. And the inability of snakes to move together is what exposes them to the danger of being killed by hunters.”
“I realised that Yoruba race was being threatened and I discussed with the Alaafin of Oyo, His Imperial Majesty, who gave me the mandate through his experience on the throne, and we all agreed that security in Yorubaland was being threatened. We thank God that the Federal Government is not averse to community policing”.
“But it is important to know that if a fire is burning one, one’s child and one’s relation, one should quickly extinguish that on one’s body”.
“I implore us all to support this project because we are all Amotekun. Our South West governors do not want deceit. Our tradition and customs do not encourage deceit because whoever betrays will be swept away by it. I assure you all that all traditional rulers support this project.
“I, therefore, urge all of us to collaborate and join hands together with Amotekun so that peace may reign in Yorubaland. Many of our people living overseas are fearful of coming home. We should be mindful of what our generations to come will say of us.”, the monarch said.
Some of the notable figures absent at the event include the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, The state Commissioner of Police, Mr Sina Olukolu, Aare Ona Kakanfo, Iba Gani Adams, Governor Babajide Sanwoolu of Lagos State and Osun State Governor, Mr Gboyega Oyetola. Vanguard