Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has dispelled rumours making the rounds that the newly launched Western Nigeria Security Network code-named Operation Amotekun is regional police.
Fayemi, who spoke in Ibadan at the launch of the security apparatus, stated that the South-West governors were not out to undermine the integrity and sovereignty of Nigeria but were providing the Yoruba people with a “confidence-building strategy” to tackle crime and criminality in the region.
The governor added that Amotekun was neither an alternative to any of the conventional security agencies in the country nor state police.
He said rather, Amotekun would complement and work in collaboration with existing security agencies to provide adequate security of lives and property in the region.
“The Western Nigeria Security Network Operation Amotekun is nothing but a community policing response to a problem that our people would like to put an end to. But pending the time that the community policing strategy being put together by the Nigeria Police comes to fruition, it is clearly important that we give our people a confidence-boosting strategy.
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“So if you ask me, Amotekun is nothing but a confidence-building strategy for our people in the western zone. When those elements that are going to work in the joint task force with the mainstream security agencies undertake this assignment, they are going to do it with the knowledge of the terrain, language and culture of the community they are going to work.
“Amotekun is not a duplication neither is it a replacement for the Nigeria Police Force. Amotekun is a complement that gives our people the confidence that they are being looked after by the people they elected into office. We do not want this to create fear in the mind of anyone. We are not creating a regional police force. We are not oblivious of the steps we need to follow in forming state police. We are law-abiding citizens of Nigeria. We know that will require a constitutional amendment and we are not there yet,” he said.
While commending the role played by the mainstream security agencies in tackling kidnapping and banditry in the zone, the governor said Amotekun would reduce the burden on the agencies which he described as “overstretched”.
Fayemi, who added that the security agencies have embraced the Western Nigeria Security Network, urged Nigerians not to give room for fears which may have emanated from the propaganda circulating in the social media about Amotekun.
“We were daily assaulted by the spate of kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery across the length and breadth of the South West. We obviously sought succour in all the right places and the mainstream security tried their best in arresting the security situation. It was in the context of this development that we lost the daughter of our leader in Afenifere, Pa Fasoranti.
“As elected leaders of our various states, our primary responsibility according to section (14)2 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, is the security and welfare of our citizens and that’s what informed the coming together of my colleagues and I to fashion a way that we can utilise to complement the work of our mainstream security agencies that are quite overstretched in their efforts to curb the menace that has afflicted not just our zone but the entire country at the time,” he said.