On Thursday January 9, 2020, governors of the six South Western States of Nigeria converged on Ibadan, the Oyo state capital to unveil a joint security squad to watch over the region by giving all needed support to the police in the fight against terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and other crimes that have become popular across the nation.
Codenamed AMOTEKUN, the initiative has continued to generate reactions from groups and individuals in the polity with the latest coming from the Federal Government as the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, suggested that the federal government will soon go public with its take on the emergence of AMOTEKUN.
Now as the controversies continue, we have aggregated 15 top statements made since AMOTEKUN came into national reckoning.
1. “The number of policemen now cannot cover the states and the various communities. The police cannot take care of crimes nowadays, and for governors to come together to form the security outfit, it is a welcome development,” -Alhaji Tajudeen Quadri, Lagos State Chairman, Community Development Advisory Council (CDAC).
2. “Amotekun group in the Southwest is OPC military wing in disguise and in the same league as the proscribed IPOB terrorist organization, the President must not allow this unconstitutionality to prevail.” -Alhaji Isah Abubakar, Leader of the Northern Youths Council of Nigeria.
3. “The Yoruba decision and effort to launch Operation Amotekun security outfit just like our leader launched Biafra Security Service in 2017 is most commendable. “What we find horribly appalling however is that those who were at the forefront of misrepresenting and condemning our leader for having the vision and foresightedness to challenge terrorism in Nigeria are today praise singing the introduction of Amotekun.” -Emma Powerful, Media and Publicity Secretary, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)
4. “Amotekun is not a duplication neither is it a replacement for the Nigeria Police Force. Amotekun is a complement that gives our people the confidence that they are being looked after by the people they elected into office. We do not want this to create fear in the mind of any one. We are not creating a regional police force. We are not oblivious of the steps we need to follow in forming a State police. We are law abiding citizens of Nigeria. We know that will require a constitutional amendment and we are not there yet” -Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Ekiti State Governor
5. “This is the time we need the governors to bind together as one. If you cannot stand up at this moment, will you be able to stand up when some Nigerians roll out hard tackles against the security outfit?” -Yinka Odumakin, Spokesperson of Afenifere.
6. “We have no problem with them as long as they will not target our herders. We have our own defence mechanisms. We fight injustice anywhere, not only in Nigeria. So, if they end up meting out injustice to us, we will fight back. That is the truth but we are law-abiding.” -National Secretary of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Alhassan Saleh
7. “You cannot invade my home, & then start screaming “injustice” when I act to stop you from further trespass.” -Babatunde Olalere Gbadamosi, former Governorship Candidate of the Action Democratic Party in Lagos State
8. “Amotekun should be well empowered and monitored to allow them perform their duties effectively without complain” -Chief Olayinka George, the Baale of Karaole in New Oko-Oba area of Lagos
9. “Are they going to bear arms like the Nigeria Police? Are they a parallel police? Or are they simply like local vigilantes. What are their powers? Do they have power of arrest? “It would be nice to know, how are they going to work. What is their modus operandi? How are they going to complement existing law enforcement agencies, because there also has to be collaboration between them and the security outfit? It is when one knows all these that one can talk about whether there is an infraction of the constitution.” -Paul Usoro (SAN), President Nigeria Bar Association (NBA)
10. “Anybody criticising it [Amotekun] is either a sadist or does not value life. Amotekun is not the same with state police that we have been demanding before now. Amotekun is like someone with fever that requires first aid treatment otherwise you may not have the chance to administer full treatment.” -Iba Gani Adams, Aare Onakankanfo of Yorubaland.
11. “Our regional integration should be seen in one light and one light alone – that we are coming together to fight a common enemy. That enemy is not Nigeria; the enemies are the elements among us and their affiliates who are determined to cause commotion within the borders of our states and threaten our peaceful coexistence.” -Engr. Seyi Makinde, Oyo State Governor
12. “We are not undermining the authorities of the Federal Government but it is very important to realise that we have to address our immediate problems first. This is our own. All of us are Amotekun. The governors have done their best. I implore all Yoruba people to support Amotekun.” -Ooni of Ife, Oba Eniitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II
13. “I am an advocate of community policing. If I now come out to condemn the inauguration of ‘Amotekun’ in the southwest, that will be counter-productive.” -Yerima Shettima, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum
14. “It is about analysing the scope of the functions of Amotekun within the constitutional spirit of exclusive legislative list or otherwise.” -Abubakar Malami, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice
15. “l am going to tell you clearly that they are not going to be armed. It is the police and other constitutional forces that would be armed. Their role is to gather information.” -Alhaji Jimoh Dojumo, Special Adviser to Ondo State Governor on Security Matters.