Local hunters and Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) members who will serve in the Joint Southwest security outfit Operation Amotekun will not beer arms, it was learnt on Wednesday.
Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola stated this in Osogbo.
Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary Mr. Ismail Omipidan, Oyetola explained: “It is not that we want to arm the local militias. “the idea behind it (Operation Amotekun) is not necessarily to arm the locals. We are fashioning it after the Civilian JTF in the Northeast.” “The level of success recorded in the fight against Boko Haram was made possible by the support and cooperation of the Civilian JTF because they are the locals who gather intelligence and know their areas better than anybody.”
The governor’s spokesman added: “Before now, we had prepared ground for the launch. We acquired the vehicles which are fully branded and equipped with communication gadgets.
“A helipad to assist the security agents for air surveillance is about 97 per cent completed. The personnel have also been recruited.”
Vehicles to be used by the operatives started arriving Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, on Wednesday in preparation for Thursday’s inauguration.
The event will take place at the Governor’s office premises in state secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan today.
The Nation correspondent sighted many of the branded vehicles from Ondo and Osun states as they were driven into the state secretariat at about noon. Those of Ekiti State were said to be on the way at the time of filing this report.
Those of Lagos and Ogun states were expected last night or this morning before the commencement of the ceremony.
The Director-General, Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission, Mr Seye Oyeleye, who was in high spirit, said: “We are definitely going ahead with the ceremony tomorrow(today).”
The Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams expressed optimism that Operation Amotekun would help put to an end, criminality in the region.
Adams, a co-founder of OPC told reporters in Lagos yesterday that the initiative was long overdue.
He said: “Don’t forget I was one of those that pushed them (governments in the region) to do this security summit before they now decided to initiate Amotekun.
”I can tell you authoritatively that Yoruba people are happy with this initiative. Whoever criticise Amotekun is either a sadist or a person without values. Anybody that is against this initiative is an enemy of the Southwest; and if anything untoward should happen in this region, such a person should be held responsible. “
Adams likened Operation Amotekun to a child of circumstance, saying it represents a traditional way the Yoruba secure their domain.
He added: “Amotekun is not the real state police we are asking for but I just see it as a temporary means of tackling crimes in the Southwest.
”Ordinarily, we agitate for state police but if we don’t have state police now, something has to be done because state police can bring constitutional issues that may lead to an amendment to the Constitution. But a security outfit that will be controlled by the state governments is highly needed now.”
Adams also claimed to be in possession of some intelligence that certain forces from Chad, Libya, Mali and Niger had infiltrated the Southwest.
He lamented that security threats in the region had gone beyond kidnapping and herdsmen crises.
He said: “But Operation Amotekun will solve so many issues even beyond the herdsmen crises. We also have information that some Yoruba have connived with these criminal elements and are giving them information as to who they should kidnap to get money.
”What the governors are doing now concerning Amotekun is in the interest of Yoruba land. We have to support them. Once this is launched, you will see that within one month, criminals will retreat because the Southwest will no longer be a safe haven for them.”
The National Youth Council of Nigerian (NYCN) believes that Operation Amotekun will help flush out criminals from the region.
The NYCN which is the umbrella body of youths commended the Southwest governors for the initiative.
“We must commend the governors of the six states of the Southwest for coming up with this initiative. We believe that Operation Amotekun will address kidnapping, armed robberies and help flush out criminal elements that had held the region hostage,” its Vice President, Southwest, Olamide Odumosu, said in a statement.
The idea of Operation Amotekun was mooted during a security summit organised by the DAWN in July 2019 at the height of kidnapping and other criminal activities in the Southwest.