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.”
“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.
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