DETAILS of the regional security bill due to be passed in six state houses of assemblies across southwest Nigeria have been revealed with it emerging that the law stipulates that attacking any Amotekun operative attracts a fine of N250,000 of one month prison sentence.
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 the end of today, the executive councils of the six states will have each received copies of the draft bill and by Friday, the bills will be passed to their state houses of assembly for passage. In Ekiti State, Governor Kayode Fayemi has already received and forwarded on the proposed legislation known as the Ekiti State Security Network Agency Bill 2020.
In the bill, there is a section which says assaulting an Amotekun officer will attract a fine of N250,000 or a prison term of one month or both. Also, the bill stipulates that an Amotekun officer cannot be sued for whatever he does in the course of duty but only what he does in his personal capacity.
Section 36 of the bill states: “Any person who wilfully hinders, delays, obstructs or assaults a member of the Ekiti State Amotekun Corps in the course of the exercise of his lawful duties under this law shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of one month or to a fine not exceeding two hundred and fifty thousand naira only (N250,000.00) or to both such fine and imprisonment.”
In addition, the bill further states that the security organisation must be headed by a retired law enforcement agent who is not lower than the rank of major or its equivalent in any other security agency. Also, the bill provides for the establishment of an Amotekun board, which is expected to meet not less than four times a year
Section 14 of the bill reads in part: “There shall be appointed by the governor, a corps commander for the agency, who shall be a retired law enforcement officer or military officer not below the rank of a major or its equivalent in other security services. The corps commander shall be a person with at least 10 years cognate experience in security matters; (b) be responsible for the day-to-day running of the affairs of the Ekiti State Amotekun Corps and implementation of the decisions of the board; (c) hold meetings with his counterparts in other states, particularly Ogun, Lagos, Ondo, Osun and Oyo states on a quarterly basis or as may be collectively determined by the corps commanders in those dates.”
In addition, there will be an Amotekun governing board, comprising of the commissioner of police in the state and representatives of other security agencies. This board will also include one representative of the community development associations drawn from the three senatorial zones the state and the chairman of the Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers or his representative.
Wale Fapohunda, the Ekiti State attorney-general, has called for comments from members of the public on the bill. He added that the Ekiti State Ministry of Justice has posted the bill on its website to enable stakeholders view it and make comments and the deadline for submission of views is midnight of Wednesday February 12.
However, the Osun State House of Assembly said it has not officially received the Amotekun bill as it is still being discussed by the governor and his cabinet. Likewise, the Oyo and Ondo state houses of assembly are yet to receive the bills as their governors are still mulling over the details with their commissioners.