CONTROVERSIAL Nigeria Islamic body Muslim Rights Concern (Muric) has accused regional security outfit Amotekun of intimidating other ethnic groups living and doing businesses in the southwest geo-political zone.
Over recent years, heavily-armed Fulani 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.
Earlier last year, the state houses of assemblies in the six states of the southwest geo-political zone passed by-laws making Amotekun a legal and constitutional entity. Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic derailed the process but now, the state governors are stepping up the formation of Amotekun corps in their states.
In a clear sign that the resurgence of Amotekun is causing some ripples, Muric director Professor Ishaq Akintola, has accused its members of profiling and intimidating northerners travelling down south. He further accused Amotekun operatives of engaging in extra-judicial killings of Yoruba people.
Professor Akintola said: “Reports reaching us indicate that the southwest regional security outfit, Amotekun, has been engaging in extra-judicial killings. Among those killed without proper recourse to law were Akolade Gbadebo, a 400 level student of the University of Ibadan, who was killed on 26th December, 2020.
“Seven Fulanis were also reported killed at Ayete in Ibarapa North Local Government area of Oyo State on Monday, January 11 2021. We also have reports that vehicles coming from or going to the north are being stopped by members of the Amotekun corps who order Hausa-Fulanis to disembark, search them and almost strip them naked.
“Muric strongly condemns this act of stereotyping of a particular ethnic group and the intimidation of northern travellers violates the spirit and letter of Section 41 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We believe that Amotekun can be useful in stemming the tide of insecurity in the southwest without targeting any particular ethnic group.”
Meanwhile, socio-cultural group, Yoruba One Voice, called on the Governor Babajide Sanwoolu of Lagos State to without further delay inaugurate the Amotekun in the state. It expressed concern about the spate of insecurity, wondering why it took the governor almost a year to inaugurate the outfit.
Amotekun, with the motto zero tolerance to crime, was founded on January 9, 2020 by the six governors of the southwest geo-political zone for the purpose of curbing insecurity in the region. Recently, the Oodua People’s Congress warned the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria against trying to infiltrate Amotekun.