GOVERNORS of the six states that make up Nigeria’s southwest geo-political zone are putting final touches to the bill that will birth the regional security outfit Amotekun with a caveat that its members will have to apply to the inspector-general of police for gun permits.
Over recent years, heavily-armed herdsmen have been running riot across Nigeria, engaging in kidnapping, armed robbery and banditry. To address the problem, the governors from across the southwest geo-political zone decided to launch a regional security outfit named Amotekun, which translates to leopard in the local Yoruba language.
Backing up their plans with an official launch in Ibadan, the six governors have supplied Operation Amotekun with vehicles and equipment. However, the development has been opposed by some critics who have described Amotekun as an ethnic militia but over recent weeks, the governors and the federal government have met and decided to draw up a legal framework to govern the operation.
On Wednesday this week, the executives councils of the six states will each discuss the draft bill and once they are happy with it, the bill will be sent to their respective houses of assemblies to be passed into law. Kola Olawoye, the Ondo State attorney-general, said that after the passage of the bill, each state would apply to the inspector-general of police, Mohammed Adamu, for a gun licence for its Amotekun corps.
Wale Fapohunda, the Ekiti State attorney-general, added that the bill provided for the establishment of a security network agency to oversee the operations of the corps. He pointed out that Governor Kayode Fayemi, had directed that the bill should be presented to the state executive council on Wednesday.
Mr Fapohunda said: “We have drafted a bill that is concise and comprises only the most necessary provisions. Community policing is an important component of the proposed Ekiti State Amotekun Law.
“The key features of the Ekiti State Amotekun Law include the establishment of the Ekiti State Security Network Agency that will oversee the operations of the Ekiti State Amotekun Corps. The bill also provided for the establishment of an independent Amotekun Corps Complaints Board to expeditiously inquire into and report any matter regarding the conduct of Amotekun corps, specifically as it relates to abuse of power including corruption and human rights violation.”
According to Mr Fapohunda, Amotekun would undertake routine day and night patrols on major roads, remote areas, hinterland, forests and inland waterways. He added that it will ensure that offenders are identified, arrested, registered and promptly handed over to the nearest police station or post.
Also listed among the functions of the agency are the disarming of unauthorised persons in possession of arms and other dangerous weapons. Mr Fapohunda added that it would also render prompt assistance to crime and accident victims as well as undertake joint operations with the police and other security agencies.
Already, a draft of the proposed bill is believed to have been handed to Governor Akeredolu on Saturday. Mr Olawoye explained that the security outfit would be called the Ondo State Security Network Agency but it would be driven by Amotekun Corps and will be replicated in other southwestern states .
He said: “We harmonised the bill and we gave a copy of the bill to the governor on Saturday. It will be presented to the state executive council where it will be deliberated upon after which it will be sent to the Ondo State House of Assembly.”