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Amotekun: Pandemic, logistics delaying take off in Ekiti, Osun, Oyo

 

Almost one month after Ondo State launched the State Security Network Service code named Amotekun with much fanfare other states in the South West are yet to do so.

 

While the state governments have appointed commanders and inaugurated boards for the outfits, logistics, recruitment and the coronavirus pandemic have delayed the take-off in Ekiti, Oyo Osun and Ekiti states. Speaking on the matter, the Field Marshal of the outfit in Osun State, Comrade Amitolu Shittu said that the need for a sustainable outfit is delaying its official take-off as they have been engaged  in what he called “test running”.

 

While this is going on, their presence is still being felt in all the nooks and crannies of the state as they have been waging war against unholy acts ranging from abduction and other nefarious activities. Comrade Shittu speaking with Sunday Telegraph said that Governor Gboyega Oyetola does not want an unsustainable outfit and does not want the affairs of the outfit to be done in a rushrush manner He said: “We are test running towards the commence ment of the operation which would be second to none and pacesetting throughout the country.

 

Our watch word is ‘slow and steady, wins the race’ and we should bear it in mind that, a true combatant doesn’t go to war without full preparation. “We are committed to the great task and we are strategists who have always been on the drawing board in order to put things in proper order. We are in the process and by the special grace of God; we will be commended and applauded at the end of the exercise.

 

“Our recruitment exercise
is on-going and I am assuring you that, we are on course as all stakeholders, including the traditional rulers to be carried along, are all aware of our programme of actions and they are in full support with warm embracement to make it workable as planned.”

 

Meanwhile, investigations at the ancient town of Gbongan, along the Ife-Ibadan Expressway, where the operational base of the security outfit is to be sited, still remains abandoned; but Comrade Shittu pointed out that, in no distance time, work and activities would begin at the base for onward progression of the combatants to outsmart criminals and other inhuman activities in the state and its environments. In Oyo State, Sunday Telegraph learnt that recruitment is still an issue.

 

“The arrangement is not clear yet,” volunteered a source close to the administration. Our source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the topic, also said that the government wants a sustained effort.

 

“The governor wants to involve the local governments and fashion out the best way to sustain the corps. It is the sustenance of the corps that matters. Without the involvement of the LGs, they cannot really achieve much,” our source added.

 

Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr Wasiu Olatunbosun said recently that government has approved the sum of N59.78 million take off grant for the Corps. He said the grant was for the procurement of 3,000 units of uniforms, combat boots, lanyards, baseball hats, security belts and socks.

 

The money will also cover the production of a logo for the personnel, to serve as their identity and distinguish them from other security agencies in the state. But beyond this, Sunday Telegraph learnt that the mode of recruitment and who will be what is delaying its take-off. While the Western Security Network Service (WNSN), a brain child of the Development Agenda for South West Nigeria (DAWN), wants to modernise its operations through digital means and has asked would be operatives to apply on line.

 

However, this has not gone down well with some indigenous socio cultural groups who are not at home with the method. President, Federation of Yoruba Consciousness and Culture (Alajobi), Evangelist Kunle Adesokan is one of them. His words: “The government said that applicants should be filling forms for the recruitment, Online.

 

This has made the whole exercise somehow. “How many of the eligible applicants from the local hunters have the knowledge of computers or access to the Internet? Why not source them through the reputable local vigilantes who have got their groups already registered?

 

The government even asked people to apply on July 7 and on July 17; they said that registration had
closed. Even if other reputable security organisations like the Navy would recruit, it takes them about a month or more. Why the rush for filling of application forms in 10 days?”

 

Coronavirus delayed take off in Ekiti – Commander The Amotekun Commander in Ekiti State, BrigadierGeneral Joe Komolafe (rtd) said the Security Network will take off very soon in the state, now that lockdown is easing; he attributed the delay to the effect of the coronavirus pandemic. “The process for the takeoff to recruit best and most suitable candidates is ongoing and operation would soon commence.

 

“Amotekun will take off fully in Ekiti as soon as possible, the outfit will engage the best and most suitable people, we have just concluded our sensitization programme, we went out to sensitize everybody in the state about Amotekun. “We had very fine and beautiful interaction with all the royal fathers and stakeholders, we interacted excellently, with the cooperation of the people, we expect that Ekiti will be more secured.”

 

Community policing already in existence in Lagos Community policing in Lagos State has always been in existence with the presence of local security outfit, neighbourhood which has been rebranded, reformed and christened ‘Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC)’.

 

Following the rebranding of the corps, headed by the retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, DIG Israel Ajao, the state government saddled the agency with community policing.

 

Sunday Telegraph learnt that some members of the LNSC will be seconded to the Western Nigeria Security Network code named “Amotekun” for a possible uniform of operation while the LNSC will remain at various local governments.

 

It was also learnt that efforts were being made by the Lagos State House Assembly to give the operation of Amotekun a strong legislative backing for the operation, since an outfit meant for community police had already been in existence.

 

Speaking on efforts to give Lagos’ policies a legislative focus, a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Kehinde Joseph, said that no new law will be created for the operation of Amotekun, adding that the House will only amend a section of the Lagos Neighbourhood and Safety Corps Law.

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