From Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has warned members and officers of the Amotekun Corps not to abuse their uniforms and trample on people’s rights away or risk being struck by the Yoruba god of iron (Ogun).
Soyinka gave this warning on Thursday in his goodwill message at the official inauguration of the Southwest Joint Security Network codenamed Amotekun, held at the Arcade Ground, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta.
The playwright who expressed delight at the eventual take-off of the security outfit in Ogun State, noted that it would complement efforts of the conventional security agencies, in combating crimes in the state.
He charged the operatives to discharge their duties diligently, saying he and other civil society groups in the state would continue to monitor their activities.
Soyinka, however, urged the police and other security agencies not to see Amotekun operatives as rivals or competitors, but partners in combating insecurity in the state.
He further chided the police for failure to nab the burglars who stormed his house and carted away sensitive and valuable materials.
“If you take a look at the unique swagger stick of the governor and the head of Amotekun, you will know that, it differs drastically from either the police or the military swagger stick. It is symbolic, it’s unique, it’s aesthetic and it just says we are different and I think that message, the aspect of it I want the security to understand is that, it is not a replacement for you, you are too jealous of your position, of your uniforms and everything. And where there should be cooperation, there is competition, that is silly, let us now go beyond that and recognise that this unit is simply to complement what you are already doing adequately, that is to the best of your ability, inadequately as far as we you are supposed to protect are concerned, the way we feel it. So, be happy and welcome them within your ranks and work with them .
“My last message is to the Amotekun people, the squad, the team, what people like me and we stand ready to contribute, Mr. Governor, what we can contribute to this initiative is monitoring, advice, designs, we use our minds to see how physical initiative can actually work out rationally and I want the Amotekun team to understand that we will be watching you as a representatives of the civil society group, we will be watching you very closely to make sure that you do not trample on the rights of citizens.
“You are not here because you now have a uniform to start behaving like some other security agencies. You have to set an example to say that you are a civic unit.
“So Amotekun, we are watching you, if you abuse your uniform, before Ogun strikes you, we would have dealt with you”. Soyinka who was decorated as the Super Marshall of Amotekun Corps stated.
Inaugurating the security outfit, Governor Dapo Abiodun,declared that the outfit was not meant to compete with other security agencies, but to further strength the security apparatus of the state.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Amotekun noted that the security challenges facing the state and the nation as a whole, needed the cooperation of all Nigerians and security agencies who should work in harmony and not unnecessary competition.
He recalled that the establishment of the joint security outfit was agreed on by leaders and governments of the six south west states in June 2019, as part of holistic approach towards tackling the rising wave of insecurity in the region.
The governor said the operatives have been careful selected, trained and equipped with necessary logistics, technical backstopping and political will for effective take off and operation, noting that the state expects nothing, but the best performance from them.