From Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure and Sunday Ani
Chairman, Southern Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, has chastised the Federal Government on its alleged approval of arms for a state-owned security outfit in Katsina.
Akeredolu accused the Federal Government for being sectional in its activities, saying for the Federal Government to have approved arms for the Katsina State-owned security outfit and deny the same for Amotekun showed sectionalism.
Notwithstanding, the non-approval of the Federal Government for Amotekun to carry arms, Akeredolu said his government would go ahead to procure arms for the security outfit.
He said: “We want to reiterate that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Ondo State government, under the doctrine of necessity, have decided to fulfil its legal, constitutional and moral duty to the citizens of the state by acquiring arms to protect them.
“The video making the rounds showing the equivalent of the Western Nigeria Security Network (Amotekun Corps) in Katsina, obtaining the approval of the Federal Government to bear arms is fraught with great dangers. Denying Amotekun the urgently needed rights to legitimately bear arms is a repudiation of the basis of true federalism which we have been clamouring for.
“That Katsina was able to arm its state security force with the display of AK-47 means we are pursuing one country, two systems. If the Katsina situation conferring advantages on some, in the face of commonly faced existential threats, it means our unitary policing system, which has failed, is a deliberate method of subjugation which must be challenged.
“The independence agreement was based on a democratic arrangement to have a federal state and devolved internal security mechanics. We must go back to that agreement. Denying Amotekun the right to bear arms exposes the South West to life-threatening marauders and organised crime. It is also a deliberate destruction of our agricultural sector. It is an existential threat.
“This is more so, given that the bandits have an unchecked access to sophisticated weapons. The state government cannot look on while its citizens are being terrorised and murdered with impunity. We will defend our people,” Akeredolu said.
Meanwhile, Ondo has faulted the Ogun State government’s claim that border communities of Irokun, Obinehin, Idigbengben and Araromi were a subject of dispute between the two sister states, saying the communities were within the Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo and that they have a long history of traditional institution within the state.
A statement by the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Bamidele Ademola-Olateju, yesterday, debunked a statement by the Ogun State government, claiming that the two states were in dispute over the seaside communities
Ogun had challenged the white paper issued by the Ondo State government recognising the traditional institutions in the communities, insisting that the two state governments were in dispute over the ownership of the communities.
But, Ondo State government insisted the two governments were not in dispute over the communities. It said those living therein are indigenes of Ondo State because the landmass they occupy, falls within the Ilaje Local Government Area, which is in the territory of Ondo State.
It also described as untrue claim that the communities were in dispute before the National Boundary Commission, stressing that the communities were within Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State. The state buttressed the point with fact that federal institutions like the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) regularly conducts elections in the communities and votes cast were recorded for Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State.
“It should be noted that the traditional institutions of these communities, submitted memoranda and appeared publicly before Ondo State Justice C.E.T Ajama Commission of Enquiry on Chieftaincy Matters, set up by Ondo State as far back as 2015 without any opposition from any quarter, including the government of Ogun State. It is surprising that the government of Ogun State is trying to claim ownership, after the Ondo State government has accepted the recommendation of the said gommission.”
It further noted that while Ondo State was not averse to discussions on the matter as requested, Ogun government should check its records properly on the issues raised in its statement.