On Thursday, January 9, 2020, Governors of Nigeria’s six southwest states of Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Ekiti, Ondo and Lagos, launched the western Nigeria security network called ‘Operation Amotekun’ in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
Governors Seyi Makinde of Oyo, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti and Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo were present at the flag-off.
Governors Gboyega Oyetola of Osun, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos and Dapo Abiodun of Ogun cited poor weather conditions as reason for their absence.
"Even though they are not physically here, I’m sure their spirits are here with us,” Makinde said of the absentee governors.
Here are 7 key things you really need to know about the sub-regional Operation Amotekun:
1..Amotekun is the Yoruba word for Leopard.
The logo of this operation features the image of a prancing, angry leopard in full flight; with ‘Zero tolerance to crime’ as the pay-off line.
2..Amotekun seeks to complement the police and other state security outfits in the southwest and not replace them.
According to Ekiti Governor Fayemi,“Amotekun is a complement that will give our people confidence that they are being looked after by those they elected into office.
“So, we do not want this to create fear in the mind of anybody as we are not creating a regional police force and are fully aware of the steps we must take to have state police .
“We do not want anybody to misconstrue the concept of Amotekun.”
3..The southwest governors cite rising insecurity in the region, kidnappings and robbery as major reasons for the birth of Amotekun.
As Fayemi puts it, “It was in the context of the unfortunate development that we lost the daughter of Pa Reuben Fasanranti, the leader of Afenifere.
”And that further put pressure on us, as leaders in the southwest, to do something about insecurity.
“As elected leaders, our primary responsibility, according to Section 14 (2) of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 as amended, is the security and welfare of citizens.
“That was what informed the governors coming together to fashion out a way to complement the work of the mainstream security agencies overstretched in their efforts to arrest the menace that have afflicted the entire country.”
4...Amotekun has received the blessings of the federal government and the Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu, the governors say.
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, says “all the traditional rulers are in support, the federal government is not opposed to it. Let all and sundry support it for peace to reign in the region.”
The governors also say this is not an attempt to achieve ‘state police’ through the backdoor.
“We are not creating a regional police force and are fully aware of the steps we must take to have state police,” Fayemi says.
5..Amotekun personnel will be locally sourced--more like your neighborhood police.
The leader of the Yoruba World Congress, Prof. Banji Akintoye, adds that Amotekun operatives are going to be well trained by professionals and security experts.
“The people that will work in Amotekun are going to be trained properly by highly educated people for them to relate properly with the police and the army,” Akintoye says.
6..Each of the the six southwest states has procured 20 trucks and 100 units of motorcycles for operation Amotekun.
7..Amotekun won’t be modelled after the Odua Peoples Congress (OPC) security outfit.
Amotekun personnel will sport uniforms and won’t rely heavily on charms and machetes on the job.
“They will be professional and courteous on the job and penetrate areas your regular police officers can’t penetrate because we trust that they know the terrain better,” one aide of a southwest governor tells Pulse.