FULANI cultural group Jamu Nati Fulbe has offered to work with the newly launched Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN) volunteering to allow its members to serve in the regional outfit Operation Amotekun to help combat crime in southwest Nigeria.
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, government supporters have opposed Operation Amotekun, with the Northern Youth Council of Nigeria saying that the creation of the body is a threat to national security. Also, earlier this week, the attorney-general of the federation Abubakar Malami said the federal government considers Operation Amotekun as an illegal police force.
However, Jamu Nati Fulbe has said it is in full support of Operation Amotekun and its members will happily volunteer to work in the outfit. Alhaji Abdulkadir Salihu, the Jamu Nati Fulbe president, who is also the Sarkin Fulani of Oyo State, said they have capable hands that can be recruited as officers of the security outfit.
He added that the involvement of its members would give them the assurance that Fulani residents in the region would not be target of the new outfit. Alhaji Salihu stressed that the Fulani community in southwest Nigeria is in the dark about the operation of Amotekun saying it is a government programme and they cannot stop it, so are not antagonising the governors who came up with this initiative.
According to Alhaji Salihu, Amotekun should not be turned into a platform solely to target the Fulani herdsmen. He also disclosed that the leadership of the Fulani community plans to meet with the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, to intimate him about their position on the Amotekun operation.
Alhaji Salihu added: “We were not carried along as a community which is part and parcel of the southwest. Most of us who live in this community have been here for more than 40, 50 years.”
He pointed out that insecurity affects both indigenes and settlers in the region and the Amotekun initiative was a welcome development if it was meant to genuinely tackle insecurity. He said the Fulani community has also been victims of armed robbery and kidnapping, adding that it is wrong to say it is only the Fulanis that perpetrate crimes.