VICE president Professor Yemi Osinbajo has successfully got the governors of the six states in the southwest geo-political zone and the federal government to agree on a way to register the regional security outfit Amotekun.
Over recent years, heavily-armed herdsmen have been running riot across southwestern Nigeria, engaging in kidnapping, armed robbery and banditry. To address the problem, the governors from across the geo-political zone decided to launch a regional security outfit named Amotekun, which translates to leopard in the local Yoruba language.
Within the last fortnight, the six governors have supplied Operation Amotekun with vehicles and equipment. Under the arrangements drawn up, the governments of the six states will train vigilantes, hunters and members of the Oodua Peoples Congress to provide security to provide intelligence for the official security services like the police, military and civil defence corps.
However, the development has been opposed by some critics who have described Amotekun as an ethnic militia. Attorney-general of the federation Abubakar Malami called Amotekun illegal, while several northern socio-cultural groups opposed its creation, saying it was a threat to the sanctity of Nigeria.
In a bid to resolve the impasse, Professor Osinbajo called a meeting of the six governors of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti states in Abuja today to find a solution,. Mr Malami and the inspector-general of police Mohammed Adamu also attended the meeting and all parties agreed to proceed with the Amotekun project.
Professor Osinbajo’s spokesman Laolu Akande, said: “Vice president Yemi Osinbajo, met today with the south west governors, the attorney-general of the federation and the inspector-general of police. The meeting was at the instance of the governors who had asked to see President Muhammadu Buhari over the controversy surrounding the Amotekun initiative but due to the president’s foreign engagement, he asked the vice president to host the meeting.
“The meeting was very fruitful and unanimous resolutions were made on the way forward. Having regard to the need for all hands to be on deck in addressing the security concerns across the country, it was agreed that the structure of Amotekun should also align with the community policing strategy of the federal government.
“It was also agreed that necessary legal instruments will be put in place by each of the states to give legal backing to the initiative and address all issues concerning the regulation of the security structure.”
Following the resolution, it is expected that the houses of assemblies of the six states will now pass legislation on the creation of Amotekun. This will enable the governors to sign by-laws into effect that will make Amotekun a legally recognised entity across Nigeria.