For Nigerians who are not used to the narrative of a region standing up for its own survival, the recent launch of the Amotekun Security Initiative will feel like another secessionist ploy.
For a very long time, the option of states having their own exclusive security outfit to curb rising insecurity has been discussed with no conclusive end. The debate around restructuring, autonomy, true federalism and the devolution of powers at the centre raged on without lasting solution.
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We all know that the Nigerian Police Force has been alleged to be at the forefront of “perpetuating” corruption for decades while being largely ineffective in ensuring national security. It was the ineffectiveness of the police that military units such as the Army, Air Force and the Navy are continually being drafted to ensuring the internal security in the country.
But this initiative tagged Operation Amotekun – stemmed from the deliberations of the DAWN Commission in 2019 – is set to achieve devolution of powers, restructuring, local security as well as emphasizing the importance of the South-West geo-political zone in national politics once more.
Interestingly, Amotekun personnel is being drawn by the six South-Western states from an array of vigilante groups such as the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), the Vigilante Group of Nigeria, the South-West Hunters Association, the South-West Agbekoya Group, Agbekoya Farmers Society Group, Yoruba Youth Council and the Community Security Awareness Initiative Corps of Nigeria. It will be led by Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams, is expected to lead them all under the aegis of the South-West Stakeholders Security Group (SSSG).
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However, it appears that it is not yet Uhuru for Operation Amotekun as oppositional voices are beginning to rise against its formation.
Not long after its launch in Ibadan on January 9, the Federal Government through the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN), and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) have spoken against Operation Amotekun. While Malami said it is unconstitutional to set up a rival security agency at the state level, the IGP, even though state police commands have warned that any vigilante group carrying pump-action guns without a license will be arrested by them. To cap it up, several Northern groups such as the notorious Miyetti Allah group have come forward to issue veiled threats on the launch of Operation Amotekun while known Northern personalities such Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida and Balarabe Musa are equally condemning Amotekun as a veiled move to create an Oduduwa Republic by the Yoruba in South-Western Nigeria.
Nonetheless, it is surprising how other well-meaning Nigerians and the Yoruba people of South-Western Nigeria have united in speaking against these rounds of opposition to Operation Amotekun. If at all, it appears to these set of Nigerians that this security initiative will only strengthen internal security rather than spiral into a secessionist ploy.
Since the Attorney General has come forward with his argument that the operation is unconstitutional, the six South-West governors have promised to approach their State Houses of Assembly to give Amotekun a deserved legislative backing.
And while other prominent Yoruba leaders such as Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who is also a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has kept strangely silent about this, other leaders and citizens from across Nigeria seem to be backing this bold move to securing a region. They are tapping into that boldness for similar initiatives, it seems.
Featured Image Source: The Guardian NG
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