Lagos State House Assembly has begun the process that would give legal backing to the South West security network known as Amotekun.
At its emergency plenary this afternoon, the Lagos State Neighborhood Safety Corps Agency (Amendment) Bill 2020 was read for the first and second times.
The bill seeks to create a unit to be known as Amotekun in the existing neighbourhood safety corps. It also seeks to ensure that the new agency collaborates with other sister agencies in the South West to ensure adequate security of citizens lives and property.
The lawmakers have slated Monday, February 24, 2020, for public hearing on the matter.
The speaker, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, subsequently committed the bill to the House Committee on Information, Publicity, Security and Strategy for public hearing during plenary on Thursday next week.
The clerk of the House, Mr. Azeez Sanni, had informed the House that he received a letter from the states Commissioner for Justice, Hon. Moyosore Onigbanjo on Wednesday, February 19, 2020, on the amendment of the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC).
Sanni was subsequently ordered to read the bill entitled a House of Assembly Bill No. 5 Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC) Amendment Bill 2020 and for connected purposes for the first and second times.
The majority leader of the House, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, who described the bill as an executive bill, said it was predicated on the private member bill that established LNSC.
“It is meant to energise and strengthen the security that we have in Lagos State based on the challenges in the state and in the South West.
“It tries to create a unit out of the LNSC to be referred to as Amotekun Corps to take charge of security in certain areas such as the forests, highways and other places to protect us against hoodlums, cattle rustlers and others.
“It will have a commander and Amotekun Corps would bear arms with the permission of the police. They will cooperate with other security platforms in Ondo, Oyo, Ogun, Ekiti and Osun states,” he said.
He stressed that the LNSC has a clause that would provide for Amotekun.
In his contribution, Hon. Oluyinka Ogundimu, (Agege 2), while supporting the bill, commended the foresight of the Lagos State House of Assembly on the security of the state.
He said the law would cover wider areas as it would make internal security a priority.
He called for local content in the bill, adding that people with native intelligence would be needed, and that whoever would be appointed as the head of the unit should be approved by the House.
Hon. Olumuyiwa Jimoh, (Apapa 2) said that there is a problem of nomenclature in the bill.
For Hon. Tunde Braimoh (Kosofe 2), governance is about giving meaning to the yearnings and aspirations of the people. He stressed that what the people of the South West want now is security.
“People keep talking about Amotekun because that is what they want now. Amotekun emanated from the House with the LNSC, which has now transformed to Amotekun. Section 14 (2b) of the Nigerian Constitution 1999, emphasises security. There are issues in the bill but they would be looked into later,” he said.
Other lawmakers such as Hon. Victor Akande (Ojo 1), Hon. Bisi Yusuff (Alimosho 1), Adedamola Richard Kasunmu (Ikeja 2) and Hon. David Setonji (Badagry 2) among others spoke in support of the bill.
Recall that the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, last week Thursday, hosted a meeting of the South West governors and the Inspector General of Police to discuss the issue of community policing.
The meeting adopted operational modalities for the Operation Amotekun’ to be a state-led effort as opposed to a regional security operation.