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HomeNEWS#Opinion: The South-West Security Outfit Amotekun is a SCAM

#Opinion: The South-West Security Outfit Amotekun is a SCAM

The inauguration of the much-talked South-West security outfit, Operation Amotekun purportedly came to existence on 9th January 2019 following its formal declaration by the governors of the South-West region at the Oyo State Governor’s Office, State Secretariat in Agodi, Ibadan.

From the report, the outfit was designed to tackle kidnapping, banditry and other criminalities in the region.

The Chairman, Western Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Gov Rotimi Akeredolu while speaking at the launch held in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital and attended by Governors Seyi Makinde of Oyo, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, Deputy Governor of Ogun, Noimat Salako-Oyedele, Deputy Governor of Osun, Benedict Gboyega Alabi, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Otunba Deji Osinbogun and Professor Banjo Akintoye, said that Governors in the region are committed, in all ramifications, to the ideals that will make the country stronger and more united, and not to divide it.

He added that the establishment of Amotekun is without prejudice to the expectations of patriotic discharge of your mandates as provided in our laws, noting that the region is concerned with the security of its people and property.

This text is not to argue about the legality or illegality of the purported establishment of Amotekun because am not a lawyer and not a court of competent jurisdiction, but since the issue borders on security I believe I have some atomic ideas to sell to the public on the scam called Amotekun.

Though the Idea of the Southwest region on forming a synergy in tackling security issues affecting the region must be encouraged by all but the South-West region must also form handshake to ameliorate the poverty in the region.

We have seen a scenario whereby Lagos is partnering with Kebbi on Agriculture- Kebbi rice, and 70 per cent of the youth in the region want to stay in Lagos because of the economic advantage. I can say that no household in Yoruba land that does not have family in Lagos simply because their respective state is not very viable for economic development.

It’s high time we duplicate Lagos Economy for sisters’ state so as to have peace and tranquility. We need the governors to form a common cause irrespective of their political differences; the same energy put into the Amotekun should be replicated to other issues affecting common man in the region.

Let them create south-west economic ministry by an act of parliament and each state to contribute a certain percentage of their allocation directly from the federal government purse and see if the reason for forming of Amotekun would not be defeated.

However, it is no longer news that there have been continuous threats to the security of lives and properties and Security is an important part of our lives, owing to this, protection of lives and properties is an integral responsibility of any government.

The formation of Hisbah in the North is different from AMOTEKUN which was created not by decree or two people coming together to form business.

The Hisbah Board Law of 2003 established the Kano State Hisbah Board. The functions of the Board are set out in section 7(4) and include ‘rendering necessary assistance to the police and other security agencies, especially in the areas of prevention, detection and reporting of offences.

The Hisbah Corps does not have the authority to execute arrests and officers are armed only with non-lethal weapons for self-defence, such as batons. Hisbah officers who observe violations of Sharia are expected to alert the Nigeria Police Force. Other duties of the Hisbah Corps include arbitrating the voluntary reconciliation of disputes, verbally chastising violators of Sharia, and maintaining order at religious celebrations. Hisbah are also trained to assist with disaster response operations.

Comparing “AMOTEKUN” with hisbah does not hold any water, and comparing it with Civilian JTF in Borno is another mistake because CJTF was created by the military as part of the government’s strategy to combat Boko Haram. The Vigilante had been trained and some were integrated into the Military.

Let the South-West state governors go back to the drawing board and plan effectively on how to get it done, defending scam with irrelevant points won’t succeed and the Unity of the Country is not negotiable.

We need to tell ourselves the truth that we are not in a Banana republic where everything goes, we must learn how to do things rightfully.

Why not copy Lagos State Neighbourhood Watch as a template, and see whether it would cause any uproar because any means of cutting the corner to create an appendage of the Police force with the aid of regional security outfit without recourse to the constitution would be a waste of time.

Today, individuals and corporate organizations alike require the services of private security personnel to enhance the general security provided by the Nigeria Police, Department of State Security or the Nigerian Security (DSS) and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

The requirements for the registration and grant of licence to a private security company in Nigeria is not a child’s play or by decree but strictly in line with the regulations of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps(NSCDC).

The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) is responsible for the licencing, monitoring and the supervision of private guards companies in Nigeria, which means that you cannot just wake up one day and said you want to have own vigilante. No, you need to get appropriate approval so that in future it won’t cause a nuisance to the society or security threat.

It should be noted that until a licence is granted by the NSCDC, the company cannot begin security operations. So answer me where the so-called governors with their attorney generals put their brain before jumping into the scam Amotekun inauguration? Where is the feasibility report? Where is the operational endorsed document?

Where is the Bill passed by each state house of assembly on the formation of the beer-parlour security outfit? Till date, no single operational framework, no addresses of correspondence, and no heads of operation known to the public. It baffles my imagination for Oyo state government procuring 1 vehicle per local government that cannot even serve LCDA. The whole of Ibadan North East is more than Bayelsa state. Tell me what are they taking us for.

Governance is not rocket science, I expected the Governors to study the concept very well before coming to the public, and they only awake the conscience of the Federal government to regig the current security architecture to truly reflect their operational guide.

How much operational efficiency can that provide if not scam and to score political points. If we allow security operative to operate by pronouncement, many tribes would also spring up that they want to protect themselves. Are we not in danger? But if we follow what the Law says on the rightful ways to have security outfit the society would be better for all.

Let’s call a spade a spade, not agriculture tools, if the South-West governors want to have security outfit, let them send a bill to their state of assembly where all issues bordering on its operationality can be unveiled. As it is, the so-called Amotekun is a scam.

If they want a quick fix they should form a private security guard for the protection of the region and the requirements for the licence of private security by the NSCDC are as follows;

1. Application for private guard license addressed to the Commandant General
2. CTC of memorandum and Article of association (2 copies)
3. Photocopies of certificates of incorporation (2copies)
4. Payment of Five hundred thousand naira (500,000.00) only.
5. Tax Clearance Certificate
6. Statement of account
7. Letter from a legal adviser
8. Letter from an auditor
9. Proposed training program
10. Proposed salary structure
11. Veterinary certificate (optional)
12. Personal History Statement (PHS) forms at One hundred thousand naira (100,000.00) only.
13. Credentials of directors (2copies) to be attached with PHS form
14. Letter from bankers
15. Eight (8) passport photographs for each of the Directors.
16. Eight (8) full photographs (postcard 5 X 7 inches) of each of the Directors with a white background, with five fingers print and signature signed at the back of the postcard (photograph) in the presence of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps Officers.
17. Photocopy of the signature page of the Directors in the International passport or National ID Card or Driver’s License and this should be stapled at the back cover of the file jacket.
18. PHS form must be adequately filled by the Directors stating Nil or Not Applicable to portions they do not have answers to and no column should be left unfiled.
19. Attestation letters from referees for each Directors.
20. One uniform sample with photograph of a guard in Uniform (2 copies).

It should be noted in respect of the 20th requirement that the proposed uniform of the private security company must be unique and original in design and thus must not bear any resemblance to any uniform of the armed forces or any existing security outfit.

So many things are wrong with the so-called Amotekun and the governors are not sincere.

Written by
Fatai Abiodun
ICT Expert, Journalist and Public Affairs Analyst

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