The Chairman of the South-West Governors Forum, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, on Monday, expressed his commitment to arming the South West Security Network Agency, also known as Amotekun, with sophisticated weapons for effective operation.
This is just as the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere; the Yoruba Council of Elders and the Ohanaeze Ndigbo flayed the Federal Government for denying the Amotekun corps the right to bear sophisticated weapons.
Afenifere knocks FG
The leader of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, at a press conference in Lagos on Wednesday, insisted that Amotekun should be armed. He said, “We have been calling for state police long before now, but because the Federal Government uses the police against us, that is why the president doesn’t want to arm Amotekun but approved that the Katsina Security Unit be armed. This shows you the kind of government that we have. He cannot give arms to Amotekun in the South but gives them to the North and we are saying Nigeria is one.”
The YCE Secretary General, Dr Kunle Olajide, in an interview with The PUNCH on Monday, said if the Federal Government allowed the vigilante group in Katsina State to bear arms, denying Amotekun the same right was condemnable.
He said, “If the law applies equally to others throughout Nigeria, there will be no problem about that and one will not raise any issue. “But what we hear is that the vigilante groups in the North are allowed to bear sophisticated arms. If that is correct, there should be no separate rules for the outfits in the North and the South.”
The Coalition of Yoruba Self Determination Groups has also described the FG’s posture as a double standard. The group said this in a statement on Monday by its leader, Steve Abioye.
Abioye said, “We received the highly disgusting news of the licence given to Katsina Security Network to bear AK-47 while our Amotekun is being denied same. This is a double standard on the part of the Federal Government.
“This has once again brought to the fore the nepotistic tendency of President Muhammadu Buhari which he is known for since the inception of his administration.”
Ohanaeze faults govt
The Vice President of Ohanaeze, Chief Damian Okeke-Ogene, in an interview with The PUNCH, said the Federal Government’s action showed that Nigeria is not a united country. Okeke-Ogene said, “By President Buhari’s refusal to grant the request for Amotekun to bear arms while granting that of the Katsina and Borno States, Nigerians have seen that it is not one law that is guiding Nigeria. We have different laws for the North and the South, and the National Assembly is also culpable in this action.
“This divisiveness is coming from our leaders, if he has the powers to grant states in the North to carry guns and deny the South-West, it shows that the Federal Government is arming the Boko Haram and other bandits with sophisticated weapons. They cannot come out of it and it is unfortunate, that is why when some state governors are agitating for state police, including Ohanaeze, it is because we want a uniform law for the country.”
Akeredolu on Monday expressed his commitment to equipping the South West Security Network Agency also known as Amotekun, for the effective operation of the operatives of the corps in securing the lives and properties of the people of the region.
Speaking at the passing-out parade of Courses 3 and 4 of the state Amotekun Corps in Akure, Akeredolu insisted, “The Amotekun Corps must be given the tools to carry out its now pivotal, indispensable duties. For centuries, we have been admonished that a bad workman blames his tools. In the case of Amotekun Corps, the workman is expected to function without good tools. It is not only absurd but also a dereliction of duty and a cause of disaffection.
“Dissatisfaction is induced by a feeling of unfairness. The crisis in conventional wisdom is life-threatening and nationwide. Therefore, it is unacceptable if the state sanctions differing rules of engagement for different sub-national governments.
“Without providing the sub-national security forces to be a counter-balancing force, we have a crisis which strikes at the heart of the conception and the definition of the state itself. It is not just the definition of the state; the state itself is under existential threat.”
No amount of training will mask the debilitation of fighting with one arm tied against implacable foes. “Amotekun must therefore be armed and will be armed and be backed by law. Otherwise, the training will be inadequate and we will be placing the lives of these great patriots in danger,” he noted.