Amotekun: Why South-West Is Right

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By Idris Mohammed

The establishment of a regional security network in the South-West region of Nigeria continues to generate reactions from different places and background.  The recent comment was that of the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami who described the outfit as unconstitutional and illegal to operate.

According to him no state whether singly or in a group has the legal right and competence to establish any form of organization or agency for the defence of Nigeria or any of its constituent parts.

The issue is gaining image from a different perspective especially among the security experts and legal practitioners, but whatsoever the issue, the section 14 subsection (2) of the Nigerian constitution as amended pointed out that the security and welfare of the state is under the responsibility of the state governors.

I think the misconception and interpretation people do give to Amotekun is like the west form their own separate security system, while to them the structure will function within the existing Nigerian official security structures.

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From the word of the Chairman Nigerian Governors Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, “Amotekun is a complement that will give our people confidence that they are being looked after those they elected into office. So, we do not want this to create fear in the mind of anybody, as we are not creating a regional police force, and are fully aware of the steps we must take to have the state police. We do not want anybody to misconstrue the concept of Amotekun. It was in the context of the unfortunate development that we lost the daughter of Pa Rueben Fasanranti, the leader of Afenifere. And that further put pressure on us, as leaders in the South West, to do something about insecurity”

The above clarification summarized the rationale behind the security structure in the region; the insecurity issues that culminated into operation Amotekun bordered on the rampant kidnapping, banditry and armed robbery cases in many states in the southwest region.  Yorubas are good student of insecurity in the North; they carefully observed how the insurgency destroyed the socio-economic development of North East and how the deadly transnational bandits are operating in the North West region. So, they don’t want their region to fall in the same trap, which is what prompted them to proactively plan ahead of any hidden plan or agenda by the so-called transnational bandits.

To be fair with Yorubaland, Nigeria is in the unpredictable era where the official security architecture fails woefully to secure the lives and properties of Nigerians.  Take example of what is ongoing  in the North West region where highly trained and professional transnational bandits are sacking communities, killing people and destroying farmlands and seems the region fail to figure out the solution to the issue. In the North East region the Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorist groups are killing people every day and causing a lot of humanitarian crisis while Northcentral is battling with Farmer/Herders clashes that are consuming communities every day.

In a nutshell, Northern Nigeria is confronting a serious internal security ranging from kidnapping, armed banditry, cattle rustling and clashes between farmers and herders.

It might not be in the Nigerian constitution, but since the security is not properly networked, it’s a right step; No one would have seen or heard any Amotekun if the Nigeria securities are doing the necessary and needful. It is not right to condemn the west for designing what they believe will solve the insecurity challenges in their communities, it equally, not right to compare the Hisbah which is a more religious group working to bring morality among the Muslims communities.

There is no law backing the existence of the Hisba in some states of the northern region but the group is not established to provide security in the communities. In another way round, some people are comparing Amotekun with Civilian JTF in the North East region, they tend to forget that almost every region has its vigilante group.

To those who are afraid of Amotekun, they may be so because the country has for long been divided along ethnic lines which made it be more of regional than national. To them, it seems Amotekun established to fight the settlers especially Fulani Herdsmen that  are always at loggerhead with some of the communities especially in Ekiti, Ondo and Oyo state.

To whatever their reason, Amotekun as the security architecture should not bear arms in any form since it is not officially recognized by law. The southwest governor should also sensitize people more on their intention in order to curb the fear in the mind of the public.

The Amotekun should be well train and guided to address the insecurity issues assign to them not being the tools for politicians to harass some segment of people. Another thing to put into consideration is the issue of human right abuse, it is most common among the vigilante groups since they are not professionally train.

May God bring the everlasting peace to Nigeria!

Idris Mohammed writes from Sokoto, he tweets @idris4P