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Amotekun and the Northern Uproar

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By Yemi Olakitan

Nigeria has been bedeviled by increase in the state of insecurity since the days of former President Goodluck Jonathan. Although many thought the former President’s exit would usher in a new dispensation of peace and tranquility but some now think that the situation has worsened under the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

The people of the Southwest like their compatriots in other geo-political zones have not been spared attacks by criminal elements. There have been unending reports of rape, killings and kidnappings.

It is generally believed that the Nigerian police and other security agencies in the country have not been able to combat the security threat in the south west. The security challenges compelled the governors of the zone to set up the Amotekun Security outfit.

While there has been a massive support from every leader of thought in the southwest, hailing Amotekun, including Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, opposition has come from the north and the Federal Government itself.

Shortly after the security outfit was launched, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami declared the outfit illegal. Miyetti Allah after urging South-West leaders to dump their regional security outfit for the sake of 2023 presidency, urged the Federal Government to arrest Yoruba leaders behind Amotekun.

Ironically, the Southwestern states of Nigeria are not alone in setting up security outfits in the federation. The Civilian Joint Task Force, is reported to have contributed immensely to the fight against terrorism in the North. They have joined hands with the Nigerian Army in the battle against terrorism in northern Nigeria with support from the Federal Government. Similarly, the governments of Kano and Zamfara states have the Hisbah Corps. According to reports, about 23 states have similar Vigilante security outfits.

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In Kaduna, Sokoto, Kano, Zamfara, Ondo, Ebonyi, Edo, Nazarawa, Plateau, Niger, Bauchi and Abia, there are such groups operating side by side the Nigerian Police Force.

In Borno state which was heavily hit by Boko Haram terrorism, the state government created a handful of security outfits. One of them is BOYES, Borno Youths Volunteers, who work in collaboration with the Nigerian military to fight Boko Haram terrorists. Borno state also has local hunters and other vigilante groups which have worked with security agencies long before terror attacks began in the state. The State Governor, Professor Bagana Zulum employed the services of hunters from across the north and neighbouring countries to help fight terrorism and other forms of criminality in the state. These groups carry light arms; locally made guns and pump action guns to help their operations.

AN24.net had a chat with Pa Ayodele Ogunjobi, a social commentator and blogger. He said, ‘‘Amotekun is a worthy venture aimed at protecting lives and properties in the region. There are mountains of evidence that vigilante and security outfits are not a new thing in Nigeria. The fierce opposition from the north including the Federal Government is what surprises many people. It was even suggested that Amotekun is a regional army set up to speed up the way for Oduduwa Republic, a claim that has been denied by Yoruba leaders.’’ Ogunjobi said, the opposition only reveals that the northerners have skeleton in their cupboard. They have a hidden agenda which the Amotekun security outfit will prevent from coming to pass, otherwise why the opposition?’’ he said.
AN24.net also had a chat with Chief Bayode Ogunmupe, veteran Journalist, economist and social critic. He said, ‘’The Federal Government has displayed a high level insensitivity to the issues of security in Nigeria. Their massive opposition to Amotekun security outfit has exposed this insensitivity to security problems facing the nation. It shows that their aim is political domination of the rest of the country. Consider that, some time ago, the APC governors’ forum had a meeting and made a recommendation for state police as a panacea to insecurity, yet the Federal Government refused to implement this recommendation. Vice President, Yemi Osibajo had also recommended state or regional police, yet the President refused to yield. The southwest Governors cannot fold their hands while their people are beingslaughtered by criminal elements that have invaded their states.’’
A chieftain of Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari was opposed to the Southwest security outfit, because the president wanted to rule Nigeria with force. He said the solution to the security challenge in the country was state police.
However, the South West governors have moved fast to give legal backing to Amotekun security outfit. Bills concerning Amotekun, are reportedly in all the state house of Assemblies. Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu vowed that the Federal Government cannot stop the security outfit, saying, Amotekun is not a regional army.
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