LEGISLATIVE bills authorising the creation of the regional security outfit Amotekun are to be passed by the houses of assemblies of the six states making up Nigeria’s southwest geo-political zone and signed into law by their governors this Friday.
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.
By tomorrow, the executive councils of the six states will have each received copies of the draft bill and by Friday, this will be passed to their state houses of assembly for passage. Already, the Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi, has received his copy of the bill and is expected to be the first to pass it on, with speedy passage expected.
Earlier this week, 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 Amotekun Corps.
Receiving the bill yesterday, Governor Fayemi insisted that the Amotekun security outfit was not about an exclusive protection of indigenes of the southwest. He added that Amotekun was about the safety and security of every person resident in the six states of the southwest, regardless of where they might have come from.
According to Governor Fayemi, the proposed bill backing the establishment of Amotekun will be signed into law on Friday February 14 by the six southwest governors. He noted that the creation of Amotekun was meant to protect every law-abiding resident in the region regardless of their tribe and ethnicity, debunking the insinuations that it was targeted at Fulani herdsmen.
Governor Fayemi said: “A lot of people have misconstrued the essence of the Amotekun security network, it is not about an exclusive protection of indigenes of the southwest. It is about safety and security of every person resident in the six states of the southwest, regardless of where they might have come from.
“As long as they are legitimately and legally resident in every part of the states, we consider it our duty, we consider it our responsibility to protect them as long as their within the jurisdiction. Even though, I have not read the bill , I am sure this is what this bill proposes.
“I am not sure the bill is for protection of Yoruba people living in the six states. It is going to talk on ensuring our highways are free from banditry, armed robberies , kidnappers and all forms of brigandage.”
Mr Fapohunda disclosed that the draft bill with about 38 provisions, was prepared with specifications from each of the states which outlined the operational guidelines for the security network. He revealed that the proposed bill would be uploaded on the website of the ministry for members of the public to read and make their comments.
In addition, Mr Fapohunda stressed that the bill was carefully put together with necessary provisions which include a complaints desk to report cases of abuse of human rights and corruption by the Amotekun corps. Also, the bill is expected to state that Amotekun operatives can apply to the inspector-general of police for gun permits.