Gani Adams, Miyetti Allah, Police, Transparency International, Agbekoya, 17 others make inputs
•As Oyo Assembly holds public hearing on Amotekun bill
Public hearing towards the establishment of Amotekun corps in Oyo State held on Monday, with stakeholders across various groups bringing up positions they desire to be inputted into the State Security Agency Bill, 2020.
The event held at House of Chiefs, State Secretariat, Ibadan, at the instance of the state House of Assembly, featured presentation of memoranda by 22 groups to include the Aare Onakakanfo of Yoruba land, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Agbekoya Farmers Association, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Transparency International, Yoruba World Congress, Muslim Community of Oyo State, Oyo State chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria, Oyo Commissioner of Police, Hunters Association and Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria.
Representing the Aare Onakakanfo of Yoruba land, Iba Gani Adams, Mr Gboyega Adejumo said it was pivotal for Amotekun corps to bear all kinds of assault weapons, not just light arms, for them to effective in combating criminals.
Stressing the need for Amotekun operatives to be licensed to be fully armed, he warned against reducing the operatives to just intelligence gathering else they won’t command respect of hoodlums, cult members and all kinds of criminals.
The Aare Onakakanfo also bemoaned the “great omission” of a representative of the office of the Aare in the agency board to be formed noting that his office receives hundreds of reports of various forms of insecurity within the zone.
Expressing fears about government’s sustenance of funding the operations of Amotekun, Iba Adams asked for the creation of a special trust fund to cater for effective operations of the agency.
For effectiveness in their operations, he further asked that the Oyo state command of Amotekun be divided into seven zones thus: Ibadan city, Ibadan less city, Ibarapa, Oyo, Ogbomoso, Okeogun 1 and Okeogun 2.
Dropping his input, Mr Kunle Adelakun of the Agbekoya Farmers Association also asked for the inclusion of his association in the governing board of the Agency to cater for the interests of farmers.
Adelakun also asked that Senior School Certificate Examination be the minimum qualification for recruitment except for those with special skills and lesser educational qualification.
Speaking for Transparency International, Mr Esuola Babatunde asked the state Assembly to consider making Yoruba the operational language for Amotekun corps, adding that only people of undiluted Yoruba descent should be recruited into the outfit.
While asking that personnel should be recruited along the lines of traditional and modern operations, Babatunde canvassed that recruits be mandated to swear to oath and Yoruba gods before being engaged as Amotekun corps.
Professor Abideen Olaiya who spoke for the Muslim Community of Oyo state cautioned against the use of Amotekun corps to settle political scores.
He also urged the Amotekun corps not to subscribe to jungle justice in carrying out their duties.
The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN), Oyo state, represented by Mr Yakubu Bello maintained that members of the association were not averse to the establishment of Amotekun.
Arguing that the Fulani cattle breeders had lived in Oyo state for over 50years, had married Yorubas, Bello said they also were keen on being engaged as part of the Amotekun outfit.
In his own presentation, Chairman, Ibadan NBA, Dr Oluwole Akintayo sought clarity in requirements to become an Amotekun corps member rather than uplifting the thinking that everyone in the South West is an “Amotekun” and can become a member of the agency.
Contributing, state Commissioner for Police, Mr Shina Olukolu said the law should mandate the police to train Amotekun corps on the use of firearms.
Olukolu, whose message was delivered by Officer in Charge, Legal, Mrs Funke Fawole, added that the minimum qualification for anyone to be recruited should be a pass in English language.
This is as he added that rather than the bill stipulating that a military officer should be corps commander, a police officer not lower than rank of Chief Superintendent should assume that Commander position.
Earlier, Special Adviser to Governor Seyi Makinde on Security, Mr Fatai Owoseni had noted that bill was proposed to tackle criminals, ensure a peaceful state and not targeted at any ethnic or religious group.
Speaking in the same vein, state Attorney General, Professor Oyelowo Oyewo said the establishment of Amotekun was in formalizing community policing because of inadequacies of the federal government in securing every part of the country.
He stressed that the agency was complementary to the existing national security agencies and will assist in gathering information about crime, arrest and prosecution of persons suspected or involved in kidnapping, terrorism, cattle rustling, cultism, highway robbery and other criminal activities.
Oyewo allayed fears that the leadership of the agency possessed absolute power, noting that section 10(2) of the bill gives the governor of the state the power to remove the Chairman of the board if dissatisfied that such person’s acts were not in the interest of the public.
Unveiling more parts of the bill, Oyewo said biometric data of all personnel of Oyo state Amotekun corps will be captured and corps members issued a tag bearing their identification number which must be worn at all times.
In his opening remarks, Speaker, Oyo House of Assembly, Honourable Adebo Ogundoyin had noted that the Amotekun corps will go a long way in assisting officers of the Nigeria police force and other security agencies to tackle the menace of insecurity.