THISDAY gathered that the six governors, Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo) Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Gboyega Oyetola (Osun), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos) and Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Dapo Abiodun(Ogun), had last year agreed to establish Amotekun, aimed at strengthening the security situation in the region.
Akeredolu, who is the Chairman, Western Nigeria Governors’ Forum, while speaking at the launch held in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital and attended by Governors Seyi Makinde of Oyo, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, Deputy Governor of Ogun, Noimat Salako-Oyedele, Deputy Governor of Osun, Benedict Gboyega Alabi,the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Otunba Deji Osinbogun and Professor Banjo Akintoye, said that Governors in the region are committed, in all ramifications, to the ideals that will make the country stronger and more united, and not to divide it.
He added that the establishment of Amotekun, is without prejudice to the expectations of patriotic discharge of your mandates as provided in our laws, noting that the region is concerned with the security of its people and property.
Akeredolu said, “Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, it is appropriate for me at this juncture, to state that the Southwest States of the Federation believe in the unity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and its indissoluble sovereignty. We are committed, in all ramifications, to the ideals that will make the country stronger and more united.
“The various nation-states within the Federation are diverse, yet almost all of us agree that our strength is in our unity. Consequently, we shall continue to support the Federal Government, under the able and indefatigable leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, in its avowed commitment and determination to take the country to the next level. Let me on this note thank DAWN Commission for the wonderful job done in crafting the operational framework for Amotekun.
“The Commission has taken care of all grey areas that could cause friction in the operations of the personnel that will be deployed for the programme. As a matter of fact, the Nigeria Police will oversee and moderate the activities of Amotekun, thus making its operation conform to the acceptable standards. Amotekun is the Yoruba name for the Leopard. It is not the Tiger, Ekun. It is also important that I allay the fears of all those who have expressed misgivings as regards the quality of the personnel to be recruited to serve in the outfit. There is an adequate recruitment mechanism for the exercise. The conventional security agencies will participate, actively, in profiling the recruits.
“Nobody with questionable character will participate in the programme. We will make it difficult for undesirable elements to compound the challenges being encountered. Proper background checks will be carried out on personnel to be recruited while the needed registration/identification of such personnel will be done to ensure accountability. Let me seize this opportunity to once again appreciate the Nigerian Armed Forces, the Nigeria Police, State Security Services, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and other security agencies for their unrelenting efforts in combating the various crimes threatening peace and security in the entire country.
“Your patriotism in keeping the territorial integrity of our dear nation is acknowledged. The establishment of Amotekun, is without prejudice to the expectations of patriotic discharge of your mandates as provided in our laws. We depend on you, mainly, to secure our territory. You are the experts with the requisite trainings. Your patriotic zeal must not wane as a result of this necessary intervention.
“The Governors in the Southwest Region will provide all the logistic support that will enhance seamless operations of the programme. Each of the six States has procured 20 Pick-up Vans equipped with communication gadgets and one hundred motorcycles for the take-off of the Security Network. I wish to enjoin all those that will be in charge of the vehicles and motorcycles to ensure their adequate maintenance and use them only for the intended purpose.”
Makinde in his welcome address, added that it is the priority of the Governors in the region to ensure that both indigenes and settlers living within the boundaries of their various states carry out their legitimate activities in a secure environment.
“As governors of these states, it is our priority to ensure that both indigenes and settlers living within the boundaries of our various states can carry out their legitimate activities in a secure environment. The security of their lives and properties should be of paramount importance.
“When we discuss the development potentials of our states and talk about investment opportunities and growing our Internally Generated Revenue by exploring areas of comparative advantage, we remain keenly aware that we cannot achieve anything in a state of insecurity. And so, we are here. To those who are afraid, I say, when we assumed office, we all took the Oath of Office and promised to be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria; To follow the dictates of the Constitution and protect the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We have not forgotten our oath.
“Our regional integration, our coming together, should be seen in one light and one light alone: That we are coming together to fight a common enemy. That enemy is not Nigeria; the enemies are the elements among us and their affiliates who are determined to cause commotion within the borders of our states and threaten our peaceful coexistence. As this launch proceeds today, we will find that this architecture we have put together is in harmony with the Constitution that we swore to protect. We will also learn that everything we have outlined to do with Amotekun is in line with the existing security architecture in Nigeria. All we are doing is creating an appendage of local vigilantes that will feed the current state apparatus.”