Amotekun, a necessity for regional security

In the wake of the declaration of Operation Amotekun as illegal by the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, DAPO FALADE AND OSARETIN OSADEBAMWEN write on the necessity of the security outfit as a prototype to ensure security across the country.

 

For about two decades, Nigeria has been confronted with the resilience of an army of the absurd. This gang of men is no other than the Boko Haram insurgents. They have severally pushed into the territorial integrity of the nation, tasking and stretching to the limits the Nigerian Armed Forces and other regular security agencies across the country.

Besides some pockets of victories, the propaganda war has been the point of a major victory for the military. From the North to the South, citizens and residents at the epicenter of the insurgency have continued to suffer casualties of varying degrees and, almost on daily basis, lamenting their tales of woes, including loss of lives and property.

A war of this nature needs the support of all. Nigerians, have shown this support. Many have taken to the social media to salute the bravery of several Nigerian soldiers and other security personnel slain in the battle front. This has been in spite of the other side of the propaganda. Soldiers and policemen have lamented all sorts of inadequate supplies to meet their objectives in the front.

It was not only the military that took to the dangerous Sambisa Forest in the core North to quench the dicey onslaught of the insurgents. At some point, they had the company of local security outfits in their areas of operation. These irregular security outfits included the Hisbah and the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF). Without any iota of doubt, it could be said that the military and other regular law enforcement agencies owe their recent successes to the gallant support of these unregistered local security outfits.

Emboldened by successes recorded by their deadly actions in the face of the seemingly helplessness of the country’s security architecture, these bandits have also spread to other parts of the country. They have elevated all sorts of crimes and, today, Nigerians are at a cross road as regards the safety of life and property. Crime has become a way of life for the youths, most of whom have become willing daily sources of recruitments for the brigands. Armed robberies are being carried out, both in the daylight and under the cover of the night. It has become as perverse as never before, with kidnapping on the nation’s highway, becoming a regular routine across the country. A simple content analysis on security, using any of the news media, would point to chilling records and reports.

It is a commonplace report that travelers on the once most safest route which last two hour from Abuja to Kaduna, also known as the Crocodile City, are going missing, almost every day. Family members are quickly reminded of the temporary safety of their loved ones by calls from ransom negotiators from kidnap rings. Such temporary safety can only be negotiated successfully if the family members are able to meet the ransom demanded by the blood thirsty men of the underworld. Where they are unable to respond in what will be considered favourable by the gangs, the captive loses his life or is left with a lifelong injury.

The Abuja-Kaduna road has almost become abandoned, even by the most secured individuals, who would not take chances with the dare-devil guts of the killer and kidnapping squads operating on the road. At one point, the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan, resolved that military generals who are heavily fortified should make the route their pathway into the belly of Northern Nigeria as a measure to frontally confront the bandits and make the route safer for the every Nigerian.

The law of self-preservation dictates that one must ensure safety of self first before any other interest. It must have been this that informed the initiation and launch, last week, of Operation Amotekun in the South-West by the six governors of the zone. The new regional security initiative has been hailed by many Nigerians as a veritable measure against  the activities of armed bandits and criminal-minded herdsmen in the south-western parts of the country. It was seen as laudable move against the infiltration of farmlands, forest areas, communities, markets and even home by the criminals

Announcing the takeoff of Operation Amotekun, Ekiti State governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said it is a security outfit that would employ intelligent gathering and sharing as a means to ensure security in the South-West, in synergy with the regular security agencies. Amotekun, it was further disclosed, will not be bearing arms but, through community-based intelligence gathering and networking, will seek to alert the people of strange faces, movements and any such unusual happenings that would need further checks by the relevant authorities.

Mr Fatai Awoseni, Security Adviser to Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, further enlightened the country on the import of Amotekun and its modus operandi. He described it as purely a vigilante group designed to support the police with information/intelligence gathering like all other sub-security outfits subsumed under the police to ensure safer communities.

Just on Tuesday night, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, announced that Amotekun is illegal, insisting that security is the exclusive preserve of the Federal Government. He argued that Amotekun is an outfit that runs contrary to the provisions of the Nigerian Law.

Malami was however quickly reminded of the many security outfits offering private security services to homes, organisations, estates and including various religious security outfits in some northern states. All of these have been existing, long before the launch of Operation Amotekun and none of them, particularly Hisbah and the JTF, have been seen and termed as illegal.

While Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State simply said: “Laws are not made in the office of the Attorney General of the Federation”, Dr Farooq Kperogi, a regular columnist with the Nigerian Tribune wrote that “Amotekun may be Nigeria’s moment of truth.” According to him, “The Federal Government’s declaration of Amotekun as illegal was predictable. But the declaration may well precipitate unpredictable seismic national tremors that could convulse the very foundation of Nigeria.

“For one, it will certainly ignite soul-searching conversations, such as why the Federal Government has no problems with Hisbahs and the so-called JTFs in the North, which are no different from Amotekun, and why people who feel unprotected by evidently compromised and inept federal security agencies shouldn’t band together to preserve their lives.

“Self-preservation is the first law of nature. No sentient humans voluntarily choose to make themselves defenseless victims of armed, murderous criminals, irrespective of what the law says.”

Also reacting, Chief Yomi Alliyu, SAN, said: “Here we part! Amotekun is a child of necessity and since the constitution does not provide for necessity, it is legal under the Doctrine of Necessity. Nobody can be picking our tribesmen on our roads like hens from cages and keep them in our forests for months till we pay ransom.

“We rise to defend our right to life and liberty. We have not yet asked for our right to self-determination or association with any nationality. We are the political heartbeat of the nation. Amotekun is for peace. Enough of kidnapping.”

 

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