The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu and the six South-West governors on Thursday in Lagos agreed on the security outfit created by the governors in the region, codenamed Amotekun.
They all agreed on the security outfit as the outcome of the Stakeholders Summit on Community Policing, involving also the commissioners of police as well as attorneys- general from the six states in the region and their security agencies in the state.
Others in attendance at the parley which took place at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, include traditional rulers, Community Development Committees (CDCs), among others.
Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), who is also the chairman of the South-West Governors Forum, and IGP, Mohammed Adamu, who both addressed the press at the end of the closed-door deliberations both alluded to the need for Amatekun as a community policing strategy to tackle crime in the six states of the region.
This was just as both of them, affirmed that Amotekun is not a regional outfit but rather state-based.
“It is clear that community policing which the Nigeria police is anchoring is one that will benefit all of us from the ward up to the state level,” he said, adding that all stakeholders at the meeting agreed to embrace community policing in its entirety.
“We have made things clear to everybody and we want all of us to know now that when we said we are having Amotekun, it is not that we are creating regional police, Amotekun is not regional police.
“Amotekun is state-based because we don’t have regions in the country anyway, we only have states; and all of us have agreed that when you have laws in your respective states backing Amotekun or any security outfit, then you can go ahead for as long as it is within the legal bound.
“So we have come out happy, all of us have agreed and its been a wonderful resolution of few dark areas which we have put light into, but we can’t give you full details because this is a security summit, but I can assure you that we are on the same page in respect of this,” Akeredolu further added.
IGP, who also address the press, said Amotekun was not a regional outfit.
The police boss said every state currently had one form of security outfit or the other working with security agencies to fight crime and criminality, adding that community policing would be infused into existing states’ security structures.
“What we have concluded is what the chairman of the South West Governors Forum has explained.
“Amotekun is not a regional security outfit, as it is existing now every state has one form of security outfit, whether it is vigilante or neighbourhood watch, that are working with security agencies of the state to fight crimes.
“And it is not different from what has been existing before, every state is having its own structure and it is agreed that this structure they are creating, the community policing strategy is infused into it, so policing the community will be the initiative of the community. The public is the police and vice-versa, so everybody must be involved.
“This area must be clarified, it is not a regional structure, it is a state structure and it must be backed by law for it to be effective; so we are saying the same thing, the structure must be in tandem with community policing,” Adamu said.
Asked whether the police will be involved in the training, deployment and payment of salaries of operatives of Amotekun, Adamu said, community policing was nothing but a partnership, adding that whatever structure that was in place must be in partnership with the police to deal with problems that were associated with crimes and criminality.
“Therefore any structure brought by any state government that is geared towards assisting and collaborating with security agencies to suppress crimes we will all participate, be it in training or deployment all geared towards dealing with crimes and criminality,” Adamu said.
Earlier during the opening ceremony, Akeredolu assured the South-West governors would ensure that they gave what it takes for the sake of security of lives and properties in the region, “and we say it without fear.
“Our people believe community policing is necessary whose time has come, it is time to face the truth which is community policing because of the peculiarity of every state ” adding that: “This is what is done in advanced countries and it is time to embrace it because of numerous security challenges which have overstretched the conventional police.
“This is something of great importance to all of us, something we cannot pretend about, we must be honest with ourselves, all of us agree that we are facing security challenges, the National Assembly, the President, nobody is happy with the way things are going, we must have a rethink about central police, there is too much on the IG’s table,” Governor Aketedolu said.
Dignitaries at the parley include Governors of Lagos and Ondo states, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Akeredolu; Oyo, Ogun, Osun and Ekiti states were represented by their deputy governors, Engr Rauf Olaniyan, Engr (Mrs) Noimot Oyedele, Mr Benedict Alabi and Mrs Bisi Egbeyemi respectively.