- We won’t allow any group to undermine our territorial integrity —Military
Emboldened by the huge support from the people of the South West region in particular and across the states of the country in general, the South West governors have moved fast to give legal backing to the regional security outfit, codenamed Operation Amotekun which they launched on January 9 this year.
This is just as the Nigeria military has vowed that it will not allow any individual or group to jeopardize the sovereignty and stability of Nigeria’s territorial integrity. The military told relevant stakeholders to join hands with the armed forces and intelligence agencies to ensure that Nigeria is secured and not to look for other methods likely to negate the national policy and Community Policing approved by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
Meanwhile, Saturday Vanguard learnt authoritatively that the laws to back up Amotekun are before South West States Houses of Assembly while the lawmakers are already fast tracking the legislation.
According to the source who pleaded anonymity, “all machinery is in motion to pass the laws in all the Houses of Assembly in the zone legalising the establishment of Operation Amotekun”.
The source also told Saturday Vanguard that irrespective of the position of the Federal government, the Western Nigeria Security Network was already in operation and the South West governors would do everything within their powers to provide adequate security for the people of the zone.
While launching the outfit about two weeks ago, the South West governors said it was not a paramilitary organisation but an initiative to complement the various security agencies to tackle kidnappings and killings in the region.
It will be recalled that after the launch of the security outfit in Ibadan, Oyo state capital, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami declared it illegal arguing that the outfit was not backed by any known law in the land and that he was not consulted before the outfit was launched.
Malami’s declaration was however greeted with a groundswell of condemnations from South West leaders who urged their governors to ignore the Federal Attorney-General
Former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Bode George, yesterday warned that Amotekun, should not be used as an agenda to push the country to war, but should be supported. George, who threw his weight behind the outfit said Amotekun should be embraced and not criticized by some northern groups.
In a statement titled: “The Hues and Cries about Amotekun”, the PDP leader said: “the security initiative of the six South West states that gave birth to a protective cordon codenamed Amotekun is largely a necessary and proactive response to the widening insecurity, the seemingly loose banditry and the marauding licentiousness that have ravaged virtually all parts of Yorubaland. The governors did not jump into the fray in some hurried unreflection in the creation of this self-protective, self-preservation security umbrella across their region.
“The initiative is a product of over six months deliberations by various stakeholders on how best to protect their people who are murdered in their farmlands, savaged on the roads, kidnapped on the fields, cudgeled and ravaged in the sanctity of their private hearths.
“Indeed Amotekun is not some unthoughtful fancy of the governors trying to create a nebulous counterforce to the existing security structure as some uninformed would put it. It is largely to enhance and strengthen the subsisting law enforcement agencies as it is already well established in most parts of the North.
“Our nation is already on the very edge of tenterhooks. The drumbeats of suspicions, the vile alarm about some secret agenda or the vain recourse to some ethnic national appropriation do not augur well for anyone. Amotekun is not a challenge or a threat to anybody save the wandering marauders, the murderous goon-squad and all kinds of assorted outlaws whose actions make the Nigerian Union itself vulnerable and wobbly. We should all support Amotekun in that pristine design as a deterrent to roguish outlaws roaming Yorubaland.”
Speaking on behalf of the YCE, the Yoruba Elders Council, Dr Kunle Olajide, Secretary General of the council urged the six governors of Oyo, Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo, Osun and Lagos States who launched the security outfit to disregard the comments of AGF and move on with the initiative which their people had been clamouring for.
Dr Olajide said, “As regards the pronouncement by Malami, it is not binding on us. He can’t dictate terms for the six elected governors. They acted within the purview of their constitutional powers. One of the expectations of the people who elected them is to provide adequate security for the people and their property. If he believes in what he said, he should go to court. He is an appointee of government and he can’t dictate to democratically elected governors of the six states. He should then wait for court’s pronouncement on the issue. But, I want President Muhammadu Buhari to caution Malami about his utterances. He should call him to order. We are running a democracy and not a military rule”.
Other South West leaders who threw their weight behind the initiative of the governors include Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka; Chief Afe Babalola, SAN; Mr Femi Falana, SAN; Mr Olisa Agbakoba and Aare Ona Kakanfo, Iba Gani Adams. They all resolved that Amotekun has come to say regardless of oppositions from the Federal Government and some groups in the northern part of the country. They also argued that the security outfit was concerned with safeguarding the lives and property of the people of the region and had no business with the territory of the region which is the responsibility of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.
We won’t allow any group to undermine our territorial integrity —Military
However, in an apparent response to the launching of Operation Amotekun, Nigeria military has vowed that it will not allow any individual or group to jeopardize the sovereignty and stability of Nigeria’s territorial integrity.
The military also told relevant stakeholders to join hands with the armed forces and intelligence agencies to ensure that Nigeria is secured and not to look for other methods likely to negate the national policy and Community Policing approved by the President Muhammadu Buhari – led administration.
Briefing State House Correspondents after a security meeting presided over by President Buhari before his departure to London. at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, said the whole essence of the meeting was to critically evaluate what the armed forces of Nigeria as well as other security and intelligence agencies were doing with regard to ensuring that the territorial integrity of Nigeria was not undermined by any individual or group of individuals. He disclosed that some of the equipment acquired by the armed forces for the Nigerian Air Force have started arriving.
On the essence of the meeting, he said, “You recall that we had a meeting on the 30th December 2019 and today we held another one. The whole essence of the meeting is to critically evaluate what the armed forces of Nigeria as well as other security and intelligence agencies are doing with regard to ensuring that the territorial integrity of Nigeria is not undermined by any individual or group of individuals.
“We also looked at the emerging situations in some of our areas particularly acts of banditry in some of the North Western states and other parts of the country and we have critically looked at everything and we are satisfied with the progress we are making. We are satisfied with the support the Federal Government is giving the armed forces and other security agencies in terms of procurement of platforms. Substantial number of these equipment are expected by the end of February.
“Some of the equipment we are acquiring have started arriving for the Nigerian Air Force, two helicopter gun-shoots have arrived on the 15th of January and we are now in the process of putting them together which will add to whatever we have.
“We are equally expecting other equipment like I said that are meant for the armed forces of Nigeria which we are hoping to get by the end of February. I am sure you are also familiar with the equipment acquisition by the Nigerian Police Force.
“I am sure you are also aware of the policy on Community Policing that was approved by Mr. President and it is going to be funded. The whole idea is to ensure that Nigeria is secured and Nigerians can go about pursuing their legitimate aspirations without any hindrance.”
Air Marshal Abubakar further said, “What we want to do here is to reassure Nigerians that the armed forces of Nigeria and indeed security and intelligence agencies in Nigeria are going to continue to work round the clock to ensure that our country is secured and to ensure that nobody undermines the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of Nigeria.
“We are going to keep a very close watch on what is going on and with the equipment that we are getting, definitely, the challenges we are facing in some of the theaters of operation particularly the North East will be addressed adequately. We are doing everything with the other sister countries in the Lake Chad Basin working together to ensure that the Boko Haram terrorism is brought substantially to an end as quickly as possible.