MEMBERS of the Ekiti State House of Assembly have passed the Ekiti State Security Network Agency bill into law thus becoming the first state in the southwest geo-political zone to formally create the regional body Amotekun.
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. After several meetings with the inspector-general of police Mohammed Adamu, the six governors asked their attorney-generals to draft an Amotekun bill, which was sent to the houses of assembly this week after being approved by their respective cabinets.
At the moment, the bill is before the Oyo, Ogun, Lagos, Ondo and Osun state houses of assembly but Ekiti has become the first state to pass it into law. All that remains now is for Governor Kayode Fayemi to assent to the bill and Amotekun will become a legal and constitutional entity in Ekiti State.
Ekiti lawmakers had shelved another all-important legislative duties to hold the special sitting for the speedy passage of the bill. Yesterday, the bill passed through its first and second readings during an extensive deliberation on the floor of the house and was later committed to the Committee of the House on Security and Special Duties, headed by the lawmaker representing Ekiti East Constituency II, Hon Lateef Akanle.
He then conducted a public hearing attended by traditional rulers, farmers, driver unions and other stakeholders, yesterday evening. This morning, Hon Akanle read the outcome of the public hearing at the plenary, which included section 5 (I) which stipulated that the governing board should be headed by a retired law enforcement agent, who should be a man of proven integrity or equivalent in the Nigerian Army not below the rank of Major General.
Hon. Funminiyi Afuye, the speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, said: “You can’t get a perfect law anywhere and if you pass a law and if it becomes problematic tomorrow, then the mechanism of amendment will set in. Look at the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, people are still saying some aspects should be amended, so, those contentious areas will be perfected at the implementation level.
“We can be rest assured that the implementation will be thorough because we have not passed this bill in vain. We have a governor who is an Amotekun himself and we have not passed the bill in vain, so you can be rest assured that the law will be accorded speedy assent by the governor.”
Hon Gboyega Aribisogan, the leader of government business, said with the passage, Ekiti State had again exhibited leadership by example and pacesetting feature in the southwest. During today’s plenary, there was a heated debate on the qualification of who should head the board, as the deputy speaker, Hon Hakeem Jamiu and Hon Adeoye Aribasoye craved for the reduction of the rank of the chairman of the board should be reduced from Major General or equivalent to a lower rank.
Hon Jamiu said: “Retired Major Generals are not easy to come by and when you see them, they might be old or tired. So, let us bring down the scale to either Brigadier, Colonel or equivalent.
“We have to think ahead of implementation level, so that we won’t run into crisis. How many Major Generals do we have around? Those that are still alive are old for such position, so I move that we reduce the rank to Brigadier or Colonel or equivalent in other law enforcement agencies.”