The Yoruba have unique ways with translation of words, so they translated the word ‘leopard’ to ‘Amotekun.’
Obviously, you don’t see a leopard in the city, except in the zoo. Otherwise, it is in the jungle. One major characteristic of this animal is its sharpness, agility, strength and vigilance. No wonder the South-West governors who brainstormed to set up a vigilante group preferred to codename their new security outfit “Amotekun.” Notwithstanding the fact that they already have in operation the Neighborhood Watch and the vigilance groups.
When the governors of the zone first met to deliberate during the security summit that eventually gave birth to the creation of Amotekun, many would have thought that the presence of the Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, would amount to an approval by the Federal Government. Any such hope of federal backing was to be dashed later with the directive from the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation banning the outfit.
Sequel to the Federal Government ban, tongues have been wagging, castigating the statement and using various words of disagreement and condemnation to attack the Federal Government for opposing the initiative. It is true that core issues of security are better handled by security personnel and not by politicians or traditional rulers. The security summit organised by the South-West zone surely had a lot of political and social aura around it, but without doubt there was the serious substance of the summit. Could it be that the IGP did not understand the core essence of that security summit? If not, then there is reason to see the Federal Government’s antagonism as suspicious. How come the issue suddenly took another dimension? When we look critically at the core objective of the South-West security summit and the baby, Amotekun, that resulted from it, we would all agree that the South-West governors were reacting to serious security challenges in the zone.
Like many other parts of the country, the South-West is being virtually overwhelmed by the evil activities of kidnappers, herdsmen and armed robbers. Many citizens in this part of the country have either been killed or maimed. So, by coming together as a region, the governors believe and expect that their common front would solve the serious nuisance of these criminals. After all, the main purpose of governance is to provide security for life and property. There is, of course, the view in some quarters now that the six states in the zone could have gone their different ways and develop individual community security arrangements to tackle their problems, instead of coming together and forming a huge security force that looks menacing. To those who think along this line, Amotekun is the beginning of a mini revolution. The fear need not arise. Amotekun is not a military union.
The argument that there had been no particular time two or three states in the South-West had been attacked simultaneously by the same criminals does not also hold water. The governors cannot wait till such problems sweep through the zone. Security problems in various parts of the country have continued to expand in recent years and no one knows what next will come up. It would be a poor attitude by the governors in the South-West or in any other region if they wait till criminals overrun them before they prepare to defend the people.
What the South-West governors have failed to do so far is to ensure that Amotekun is backed by legislation in the states involved. If they do this, they will bring Amotekun up to what obtains in some parts of the country,like in Kano, where the Hisbah, which is a distinct lslamic security arrangement, was backed up by legislation. There are also various vigilance groups all over the country. In the North-East zone, there is the Civilian Joint Task Force. This arrangement is supervised by the military operating in that zone of the war. The group started as ‘self-help’ and has been assisting soldiers by exposing youths who are Boko Haram terrorists in the war zone. The brave activities of the Civilian Joint Task Force so endeared them to the state government in Borno State and it has been supporting them. Similar groups exist in Adamawa and Yobe states, bearing the name Vigilante. Those who feel uncomfortable with Amotekun say that they would not have bothered if each governor of the South-West states had reinforced the already existing vigilance groups in their domain rather than uniting to set up Amotekun. After all, the governors were aware of the community policing project strategy effort of their august visitor (IGP) at the security summit. Why was the actual intention not disclosed on the first day of the security summit?
According to proponents of the Amotekun idea, those to be recruited would help to furnish the police with intelligence as well as confront frequent attack on citizens in the zone. Some critics have added mischievously that, since the leopard lives in the jungle, no member of Operation Amotekun should be sighted in townships or on the roads. In other words, the governors should not waste money buying patrol vehicles for them since they would be operating specifically in and around the jungles of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ondo, Osun and Ekiti states. As it seems, many are scared of the sight of a leopard in the city. There are still a few aspects of Amotekun to work out and fine-tune, but the truth is that many Nigerians are left unprotected today and criminals, including many from across Nigeria’s borders, are freely terrorizing citizens. So, something drastic needs to be done. Maybe we should now take another look at our security arrangements in the country.
KIM: Unique broadcaster of change
At a time when many Nigerians would easily embrace corrupt practices to get what they want, this female broadcaster with Nigeria Info (95.1 FM) in Abuja won the heart of many of her listeners, including this writer, on January 16, 2020, on her afternoon show, Eye Witness Account.
A listener phoned in to complain about an error in which a different class of driving license was issued to him by the Federal Road Safety Corps. A call was instantly made from the radio station to a top official of the FRSC, who advised the listener to lie on oath and obtain a court affidavit by claiming that the license has expired so as to get a new one. Kimberly Nwachukwu quickly intervened while on air and cautioned that nobody would use her radio programme to corrupt her listeners.
She said, “Even if it will take a longer time, I will suggest you do the right thing, because we want every Nigerian to say the truth and do the right thing as we build a new Nigeria.
“That is the way to go,” Kim said.
What a wonderful broadcaster, disseminating truth and patriotism to Nigerians.