‘The issue of Amotekun is an issue of public safety and protection of property. There is no law in Nigeria which prevents citizens from being able to secure their lives and properties. The Nigeria Police does not enjoy exclusive jurisdiction when it comes to the protection of lives and property.”
– Chief Afe Babalola, SAN.
We cannot agree less with the legal luminary –Chief Afe Babalola, SAN on his position on the issue of Amotekun. As a matter of fact, one of the regular slogans of the Nigeria Police is that ‘‘security is everybody’s business’’.
In that regard, every sane man is expected to protect himself and his family/household from intruders or assailants who may be on a sinister mission to rob, maim or kill. In such circumstances, the law enforcement agents encourage each household to make proper arrangements for their own personal security in form of employing private security guards possibly with two or three attack dogs.
Provisions can also be made for erection of high walls, iron –gates complete with electrified wires, Close Circuit Television (CCTV) systems and depending on how much such households can afford to spend on their personal welfare and safety, such families can also install sophisticate alarm systems or Apps that can even alert the Control- Room of the Nigeria Police for a quick response or intervention whenever they find themselves in danger of unwanted visitors or criminal elements.
Since security is paramount to the well-being of any family or household, those who are low income earners and are enable to spend a fortune on such aforementioned sophisticated security gadgets can still make sure they secure themselves by contributing their quotas for the maintenance of Neighbourhood Watch, otherwise known as the Vigilantes in local parlance.
The same arrangements apply to communities or villages who make provisions for hunters who arm themselves to defend and ward off intruders, especially at night who may want to disturb the peace of the communities in their respective Areas of Jurisdiction (AOR). This is the usual form of security arrangement on ground especially in places where there is no conventional security presence or where the Police personnel are in short – supply.
In all these circumstances no one be it an individual, family or a group of people would wait for the arrival of security operatives to defend themselves whenever their lives are threatened or in danger and it is better to prepare for such attacks than to be caught unawares or napping whenever the enemies chose to come like a thief in the night with unpleasant surprise attacks.
Unfortunately, such surprise attacks resulting into causalities with little or no consequences on the parts of the suspected assailants have been widespread in certain parts of the country. And when such ugly scenarios were beginning to creep into the South –West geo-political zone with reported cases of kidnapping, robbing, fatal farmers-herdsmen clashes with some cases of raping, the leaders of the region felt it was high – time they closed their diverse political and religious ranks and listened to the outcries of their people.
That is the background of Amotekun as a complimentary security outfit for the residents of the South-West region and not just the Yorubas alone as tribal group. It should also be noted Members of the Nigerian Armed Forces especially the Army are already overstretched on Internal Peace –Keeping operations in certain parts of the country, especially in the North – East, North –Central and even in the North –Western geo-political zones of the country. The leaders of the South –West therefore, felt it is better to prevent the extension of such security arrangements into their region and hence the need to strategise and quickly work out an arrangement called Amotekun to checkmate the rising tide of criminal activities in the region before such ugly trends attract the attention of the Armed Forces on a permanent basis.
Amotekun is not a gang-up against any section of the country or against the Federal Security Agents and hence, the newly launched South-Western security outfit may not appreciate or receive the inclusion of I million IPOB members being offered by Nnamdi Kanu. To do so may jeopardise the spirit, the aims and objectives behind the launching of Amotekun which is to complement the efforts of the Federal Security Agencies in maintaining peace and order and thus checkmate the rising criminal activities within the South-West.
And so the inclusion of external bodies like IPOB or the Myetti-Allah to keep the internal security of the geo-political zone while serving as a complementary force to the Federal Security Agencies may not be necessary since it is meant to also protect the interests of other ethnic nationalities and foreigners from other parts of the world and not just the Yoruba interest alone.
In fact the South–Western indigenes are so accommodating of others to a fault to the extent that some elements from other tribes even dared to declare that Lagos is no man’s land until they were proved wrong. Paradoxically, one of such people is serving a jail term in Lagos now for offences committed against his own people in the Eastern part of the country while serving in a position of public trust.
The concept of Amotekun is not designed to outshine or to compete with the Nigeria Police or any of its sister Federal Security Agencies. Rather it is a form of Community Policing (which Nasarawa state has adopted) on a regional level because of the region being the commercial and economic nerve centre of the country.
Sometimes ago, during his first tenure in office when President Muhammed Buhari arrived from his 100 days plus medical trip abroad, a close associate or member of his family exclaimed that ‘’the lion has arrived, let the jackals and the hyenas give way’’. In the present scenario, the undisputed king of the forest -the lion is the Federal Government with its security apparatuses charged with maintenance of law and order in the political entity and nation called Nigeria while Amotekun (the leopard) which is a member of the Cat family is only out to play a complimentary role and not to challenge the authority of its big brother in any way.
Amotekun is not formed to witch –hunt any resident of the region who may be doing his or her lawful business without infringing on the rights of other residents or disturbing the peace of the region.
Since Amotekun is not out to dare the authority of kiniun, oolola iju (lion, the king of the forest) as some mischievous minds are insinuating, the king (the Federal Government) should rather support and let Amotekun (the Leopard) be in the common interest of the residents of the geo-political zone where it is supposed to provide a complimentary role to the Federal Forces and also in the overall interest of the nation- Nigeria as a whole.
Olakunle, JP is General Secretary National Prayer Movement via [email protected]