Amotekun concept not to take South-West out of Nigeria — Akeredolu

• Bill for simultaneous public hearing today

Ondo State governor and chairman, South-West Governors Forum, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has said that the concept of Amotekun security outfit was not to take away the South-West geopolitical zone from the country as being rumoured.

According to the governor, Amotekun outfit, when it becomes operational, would daze those he described as enemies of the nation.

Speaking at the weekend at Government House, Akure as part of activities to mark his third year in office, he said, “Nigeria will remain one. The South-West will not secede from Nigeria. We will continue to live together regardless of our diversities. I can never be a party to any arrangement that will lead to dividing this country. I am a Yoruba man and I married from the East.

“I am a detribalised Nigerian. My wife is an Igbo woman and I have benefitted from both Igbo and Hausa people. What I am after is the unity of Nigeria.”

Meanwhile, the South-West houses of the assembly will today hold simultaneous public hearings over the bills on the establishment of the Amotekun security outfit.

The bill is expected to give legal backing to the security initiative put in place by the six governors of the states in the region.

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The public hearing, which is part of the requirements before the law can be passed, is expected to enable the stakeholders to have their input into the bill.

Already, arrangements are said to have been put in place to ensure that the states — Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Lagos, Ondo and Ekiti states — have hitch-free exercises.

The state governors and their executive councils had two weeks ago approved the various versions of the bill as presented by their attorneys-general and commissioners for justice.

It was after the approval that the bills were forwarded to their houses of assembly for consideration and approval.

The speakers of the states assemblies had at their meeting in Ibadan agreed to hold public hearings to further improve on the bills.

A statement by the chairman of the conference of speakers of the South-West who is also the speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Bamidele Oleyelogun, said the decision to hold the public hearings was taken at a meeting of the conference held penultimate Friday.

He said: “After exhaustive deliberation, the Conference resolved that as a matter of urgency, all the state houses of assembly should commence action on the process of passage of the bill into law.

“The conference also in this regard mandated that all the state houses of assembly should simultaneously hold public hearings on the bill in their respective states on Monday, February 24.

“The conference of speakers of South-West state legislatures urges all the people of South-West to attend and make meaningful contributions to the bill that regulates protection of lives and properties in our states.

“Thereafter, the conference of speakers will reconvene to meet with the states attorneys-general to address all conflicting areas and review the content of the reports generated at the public hearings for harmonisation into the proposed law.”

It is, however, expected that after the public hearings, the lawmakers will pass the bills following which their governors will sign it into law.

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