The Lagos State House of Assembly on Thursday accepted the bill in favour of the South West Security outfit, Amotekun, and has fixed a public hearing on the outfit for Monday 24th February, 2020.
Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa, at a sitting of the House, subsequently committed the bill to the House Committee on Information, Publicity, Security and Strategy, headed by Hon. Tunde Braimoh, for public hearing.
The Clerk of the House, Mr. Azeez Sanni, had informed the lawmakers that he received a letter from the state’s Commissioner for Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo, on Wednesday 19th February, 2020 on the amendment of the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC).
Sanni was subsequently ordered to read the bill entitled House of Assembly Bill No. 5 Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC) Amendment Bill 2020 And for Connected Purposes for the first and second times.
The Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade (Ikorodu 1), said that the bill is an executive bill, but that it is predicated on the private member bill that established LNSC, which he said has been working well.
According to Agunbiade, the bill incorporates the concept of a more dynamic and more strengthened security platform than what they had in Lagos State.
“It is meant to energise and strengthen the security that we have in Lagos State based on the challenges in the state and in the South West.
“It tries to create a unit out of the LNSC to be referred to as Amotekun Corps to take charge of security in certain areas such as in the forest, highway and other places to protect us against hoodlums, cattle rustling and others.
“It will have a commander and Amotekun corps would bear harms with the permission of the police. They will cooperate with other security platforms in Ondo, Oyo, Ogun, Ekiti and Osun states,” he said.
He stressed that LNSC has a clause that will provide for Amotekun.
In his contribution, Hon. Oluyinka Ogundimu, (Agege 2), supported the bill and commended the foresight of the Lagos State House of Assembly on the security of the state.
Ogundimu stated that the law covers wider areas and made internal security a priority.
The lawmaker called for local content in the bill, adding that they needed people with native intelligence, and that whoever would be appointed as the Head of the unit should be approved by the House.
On his part, Hon. Olumuyiwa Jimoh, (Apapa 2) said that there is a problem of nomenclature in the bill.
Jimoh stated that the Nigerian Police had been existing before independence and that the people had been talking about their reforms.
“The colonialists formed the Nigerian Police for us in 1930 and we have not made efforts to form our own security force.
“The population of men of the Nigerian Police is small. We should encourage men of Amotekun to be armed and to be able to arrest and prosecute.
“South Africans have their own native police that checkmate other security forces. We can have the military wing of Amotekun in Lagos,” he said.
Also speaking on the bill, Hon. Rotimi Olowo, (Shomolu 1) said that Amotekun started in Lagos with LNSC, and that the federal police lacked character as their structure has not helped to suppress crime.
“Security is local and it should be localized. The issue of kidnapping and others give credence to the need for community police.
“They should be allowed to use guns. They can reduce armed robbery attack, kidnapping and others. We should allow more money into the system.
“The recruitment of Amotekun should be localized. They should work in their neighbourhood so that they could apprehend criminals in their areas,” he said. Hon. Rasheed Makinde, Ifako/Ijaiye 2 stated that security is local and that the country was getting close to having state police.
“We are setting a pace for other political regions in Nigeria. They can assist when there is any accident on our highways. There would be a collaboration amongst the six western states and beyond,” he said.
Hon. Tunde Braimoh (Kosofe 2), who chairs the committee to look into the bill, said that governance is about giving meaning to the yearnings and aspirations of the people.
Braimoh stressed that what the people of the South West wanted now is security.
“People keep talking about Amotekun because that is what they want now. Amotekun emanated from the House with the LNSC, which has now transformed to Amotekun. Section 14 (2B) of the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 emphasizes security. There are issues in the bill but they would be looked into later,” he said.
The matter was also supported by all the lawmakers, who spoke on the matter including Hon. Victor Akande (Ojo 1), Hon. Bisi Yusuff (Alimosho 1), Adedamola Richard Kasunmu (Ikeja 2) and Hon. David Setonji (Badagry 2).