Ex-Generals, other retired military officers back Amotekun
•George, Oyinlola, Togun others talk tough •Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo Legion chairmen ask FG to support South West initiative
KEY retired military officers in the South West on Friday threw their weight behind the region’s security network, Amotekun, declaring that it is a reaction to the worsening insecurity in the area.
Chief Olabode George, a retired Navy Commodore; Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, a retired Brigadier-General; Brigadier-General Kunle Togun (retd), as well as chairmen of retired officers and men of the armed forces under the aegis of the Nigerian Legion in four of the six states in the South-West who told Saturday Tribune on Friday that they were all for Operation Amotekun.
A number of other retired senior military officers from the South-West spoke with Saturday Tribune on Friday, also declaring their support for Operation Amotekun but pleaded anonymity “at least for now.”
S/West under invasion, must go ahead with Amotekun –Togun
A former Director of Military Intelligence (DMI), Brigadier-General Kunle Togun (retd), expressed the belief that the South-West is under invasion and it reserves the right to defend its territory and as such, it should go ahead with Amotekun.
In an interview with Saturday Tribune, Togun said: “I learnt that the Attorney-General of the Federation said that Amotekun is illegal and I have seen that people have responded to him and have made it clear to him that he is wrong. I’m glad that a lot of people have spoken in reaction to the Attorney General. Law professors and senior advocates have all replied him on the legal aspect to establish the fact that he is talking nonsense.
“What about the ones they formed in the North? Did the Attorney General talk about those ones? The same reason that gave them the wherewithal to form local security outfits in the North is also obtainable in the South West, and we also have good reasons to form protection.
“The South-West, as far as I am concerned, is under invasion. The South-West is under invasion by foreigners and the government cannot deny it that these rampaging Fulani people are not Nigerians. So, why should government turn blind eyes to invasion? When foreigners enter your country with arms, it is called invasion. It is invasion, there is no other word for it. And the reaction of government to invasion of its territory by armed foreigners is to gun them down and eliminate them. They themselves know.
“I have read it on the social media that Fulani and all people from West Africa and other places have been invited to come to Nigeria to come and take Nigeria over because God has given them Nigeria. The people have to defend themselves. You cannot come and take over somebody’s property; somebosy’s inheritance just like that.
“So, the South-West has its own right to defend its territory, they should go ahead with Amotekun.”
FG should not kill Amotekun –Oyinlola
Another retired Brigadier-General and a former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, asked the Federal Government not to kill the Amotekun initiative of the South West.
Oyinlola told Saturday Tribune that Operation Amotekun was a reaction to the failure of the Federal Government to secure the lives and property of the people, particularly in the South-West.
He said: “The Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN) codenamed Operation Amotekun is Yoruba people’s response to “the escalation of insecurity around us and the apparent inadequacy of the security forces.”
“Security is a very personal matter and the first basic service a government must provide for the citizenry. Where a government is failing in this regard, it is natural that the people will react by evolving new strategies to survive. That is what we have with Amotekun and it has the backing of everyone in Yorubaland.
“I pioneered the establishment of special joint forces to combat crimes in this country with the establishment of Operation Sweep on May 15, 1995 in Lagos when I was military administrator there. My successors have kept to that template and almost all states have copied it under different code names but the introduction of Amotekun, I am sure, will infuse new ideas into these structures and fill the gaps in our security ecosystem. The Federal Government should just key into the system instead of seeking to kill it.
“I advise the Federal Government to look beyond ethnic politics and actively support the initiative in the interest of the unity and peace of the country.
“Nothing must be done to create the impression that the Federal Government is on the side of criminals. It is dangerous for the Federal Government to ban or criminalise what governors who are constitutionally recognised chief security officers of their states have put in place.
“The other option would be self help by individuals and communities who are daily attacked by kidnappers, robbers and other violent criminals. If you ban Amotekun and still refuse to protect the people from criminal elements, they will rise in self help which will definitely wreck this country. We must prevent that.”
Amotekun a proactive response to worsening insecurity –George
In the same vein, Navy Commodore Olabode George (retd), a former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), described Operation Amotekun as a necessary and proactive response to the worsening insecurity marked by banditry and other crimes in states of the South-West.
George declared in a statement, a copy of which was obtained by Saturday Tribune, that the South-West governors took their time to study the situation and did not jump into the fray to establish Operation Amotekun for the protection of the region.
“Amotekun, a security outfit established by the six South-West governors, 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 PDP chieftain said.
George, who is the Atona of Oodua, said the security initiative is a product of over six months deliberations by various stakeholders, including the six state governors 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.”
He added: “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,” Chief George said.
He declared that Amotekun is not a challenge or a threat to anybody in the country but “the wandering marauders, the kidnappers, the bandits and all criminal elements whose actions make the Nigerian Union itself vulnerable and wobbly.”
The retired naval chief called on all South-West people to support Amotekun so as to enable it to curtail the activities of the “outlaws roaming Yorubaland.”
He added: “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.”
Also, the chairmen of the Nigerian Legion in the states of the South-West emphasised the need to support Operation Amotekun and for the governors that birthed the initiative to strive to keep it alive.
Embrace Amotekun, Ondo Legion chairman, Apata, tells FG
The chairman of the Nigerian Legion in Ondo State, Colonel Olu Apata (retd), urged the Federal Government not to discourage the initiative of the South-West governors in securing the lives and property of the people of the region through the creation of Operation Amotekun.
Apata, in an interview with Saturday Tribune, said the Federal Government should embrace the idea which, he said, is meant to complement the efforts of the security agencies in combating crimes in the region.
He called on the South-West governors to ignore Federal Government’s position on the security outfit and move on with the concept and protect the lives of those who voted them as leaders.
“The initiative is a welcome development, considering the insecurity in the land, especially the south-west region. The initiative is a laudable one and the governors should be commended for coming up with this idea at this critical period.
“The Federal Government should not see this as illegal as it does not affect the security agencies but should be seen as an effort to complement the efforts of the security agencies.
“The Federal Government should not see this as a threat to the nation’s security but we will appeal to them to study the concept and support the governors on this beautiful initiative,” Apata added.
Why we won’t abandon Amotekun –Ekiti Legion chairman, Adeyanju
The Ekiti State command of the Nigerian Legion Corps also threw its weight behind Amotekun.
It, however, advised the South-West governors to dialogue with the Federal Government in the interest of the people.
The chairman of the command, Colonel Joseph Adeyanju (retd), while speaking with Saturday Tribune in Ado-Ekiti on Friday, noted that the security initiative was a welcome development in the region.
Adeyanju noted that the security outfit, if duly implemented by the state governors, would help in reducing the scourge of kidnapping, killings, banditry and other security challenges in the region.
While saying that the Federal Government must have a reason for declaring Amotekun illegal, he counseled the governors to find a way to create a common ground with the government at the center on the outfit.
He said: “If the governors insist on going ahead with the initiative after its declaration as illegal by the Federal Government, we will abide by it. But don’t forget that whatever the Federal Government does, we are with it as soldiers. We belong to the Federal Government. Also, we still have to work with the state governors. To me, Amotekun will solve some of our challenges in this region if it is properly used and deployed. I am saying ‘properly used’.
“As it stands now, the governors and the Federal Government must resolve this issue by going into dialogue. We can’t force them and we can’t say they should not do it but they should go ahead and resolve it quickly in the interest of the citizens.”
FG’s declaration unwarranted —Osun Legion chairman, Olalere
The chairman of the Nigerian Legion, Osun State chapter, Sergeant Oladimeji Olalere (retd), said the declaration of Operation Amotekun as illegal security outfit by the Federal Government is unwarranted and laughable.
In an interview with Saturday Tribune in Osogbo, Olalere said: “The setting up of Operation Amotekun by states in the South-West is to ensure effective security of lives and property in the region.
“The security of the people is germane and that is why the South-West decided to establish this security outfit. To us, it is a right step in the right direction. The governors deserve to be commended for this laudable development.
“Security and welfare of the family members are part of the responsibility of the head of the family. He must be able to ensure the safety of his children and wife. This is a typical example of a larger society like a state.
“The decision of the Federal Government to declare Operation Amotekun illegal is totally uncalled-for and there is no justification for it.”
Amotekun will stop robbery, kidnapping –Oyo Legion chairman, Fajinmi
The chairman of the Nigerian Legion in Oyo State, Colonel Michael Fajinmi (retd), told Saturday Tribune that Amotekun would serve the people to combat violent crimes in the South-West
He said: “I see the establishment of the Amotekun security outfit as a welcome development. As natives, the Amotekun personnel will know all the nooks and crannies of their states and they will be able to tackle the problems of armed robbery, kidnapping and so on and so forth.
“The police and the army are trying, but in the real sense of it, you can never know a land like the owners. The utmost aim of establishing Amotekun is to safeguard the lives and property of the people of the South-West. So, to me, it, it is worthwhile initiative and a welcome development. I wholeheartedly support the idea.”
He said making the security network an initiative that is acceptable nationally is a matter to be resolved between the South-West governors and the Federal Government.
He added, however, that he would like to see the Federal Government approve of the security initiative.
All efforts to get the chairmen of the Nigerian Legion in Lagos and Ogun states to comment on the Amotekun controversy were unsuccessful.