Soni Daniel – Abuja
As the controversy over the new Southwest security outfit, Amotekun, continues unabated, the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, clarified on Friday the agency is prepared to work in concert with the Nigerian police and other security agencies to protect the lives and property of Nigerians.
Akeredolu, who spoke to some editors in Abuja, also said the Southwest governors were ready to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari to explain the whole concept of the new security outfit to him with a view to ensuring the seamless takeoff and operation of the agency.
According to the governor, Amotekun was never conceptualized to operate as a stand-alone state or regional army as being speculated by ignorant persons, but was designed as a child of necessity to assist other security agencies to improve the security apparatus in the region.
He said: “From the outset, Amotekun was to work with the police and the military. The operatives were to be embedded with the other security agencies just to complement their efforts in combating crimes and insecurity in the Southwest.”
The governor said from their discussion with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, it was safe to say that they had a fruitful discussion but not a final approval for Amotekun given the fact that the six states would return and prepare a legal framework on which the security outfit could operate.
Akeredolu added: “Our lawyers and speakers of the respective Houses of Assembly in the Southwest are to work on the legal framework for Amotekun’s operations. We made it clear at our meeting on Thursday with the Vice President and IGP and AGF that the issue of regionalism is to enable the six states in the Southwest to share intelligence and nothing more.
“In fact our own understanding was that if we held discussions with the IGP on the operational details of Amotekun that would and if he agreed with us, it would suffice for all other agencies of government. In any case, the IGP did not oppose our operational guidelines and we were sure were on the right path to take off.
“In any case, we are not slowing down. The only thing we want to do is to put a law in place to legalise the operation of Amotekun. But while that is being done, we are going to intensify the training of the operatives, which is to be handled by the Nigerian Police Force.
“We look forward to Amotekun coming out in a robust manner soon. Those who have spoken against it, such as former Kaduna State Governor, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, spoke out of ignorance because he does not understand what the security outfit stands for and why it is being rolled out in the first place.
“Under the structure, we agreed on before the launch, every state in the Southwest must have its own command and control centre while we share equipment and pool resources for efficient operations.”