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‘Operation Amotekun outfit’s mandate not to rival federal security agencies’ – S/West governors

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Governors of the South-West geopolitical zone, on Thursday, launched the Western Nigeria Security architecture codenamed Operation Amotekun, insisting that the security of lives and properties of the people in the zone remained paramount to them.

The Governors also clarified that the new outfit would in no way hinder the federal security agencies from performing their constitutionally-assigned duties.

They noted that Operation Amotekun was a community policing response to the security challenges in the South-West and a complementary confidence-boosting strategy to secure the territory.

The launch, which was held at the Car Park of the Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan, had in attendance the host governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde (Oyo); the chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (Ondo); chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Dr. Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti); deputy governors of Osun and Ogun states, Mr Benedict Olugboyega Alabi and Mrs. Naimot Salako-Oyedele respectively; the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi; leader of the Yoruba World Congress, Emeritus Professor Banji Akintoye and the Director-General of the Development Agenda for South-West Nigeria (DAWN) Commission, Mr. Seye Oyeleye, among others.

A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the Governor as noting in his welcome address that it remained a top priority for the governors of the South-West states that everyone in the region should be able to go about their legitimate businesses in a secure environment.

He added that the new regional collaborative security architecture was designed to create an appendage of local vigilantes that will feed the existing security structure in the country, insisting that the launch should not be seen in a different light than the need to fight a common enemy: unscrupulous elements hell-bent on threatening law, order and peaceful co-existence in the South-West.

The duo of Akeredolu and Fayemi, in their separate speeches, noted that the establishment of the Western Nigeria Security Network was not any way meant to rival the efforts of the Nigeria Police and other security agencies.
They declared that the new structure would be complementary to the efforts of the existing agencies.

In his welcome address, Makinde said: “It is an honour to be hosting this launch here in Oyo State alongside my colleagues. Traditionally, human kind has always been afraid of what they do not understand. Sometimes, people throw out revolutionary ideas because it is either they don’t understand it or are not willing to understand it. But an age-long Yoruba proverb says that when a powerful man conquers fear, even fear becomes dreadful. So, the time has come for Yorubaland to become fearful to fear.

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“About six months ago, we met here in Oyo State and decided to set up a regional collaborative security agency, and I am happy to stand before you this afternoon to say that we have followed through. With our sister states: Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo and Osun, we are here in Oyo State launching Operation Amotekun, the Western Nigeria Security Network. As governors of these states, it is our priority to see that indigenes and settlers living within the boundaries of our various states can carry out their legitimate duties in a secure environment.

“The security of their lives and property should be of paramount importance. When we discuss the development potentials of our states and talk about investment opportunities and growing our internally generated revenue by exploring areas of comparative advantage, we remain keenly aware that we cannot achieve anything in a state of insecurity. So, we are here.

“Those who are afraid, I say when we assume office, we all took the oath of office and promised to be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria to follow the dictates of the constitution and protect the sovereignty of the country. For me and my colleagues, we have not forgotten our oath.

“Our regional integration, our coming together should be seen in one light and one light alone. That we are coming together to fight a common enemy, that enemy is not Nigeria but elements amongst us and their affiliates who have determined to cause commotion within the borders of our states and threaten our peaceful co-existence. As this launch proceeds today, we will find out this architecture that we have put together is in harmony with the constitution that we swore to protect.

“We will also learn that everything we have applied to do with Operation Amotekun is in line with the existing security architecture in Nigeria. All we are doing is creating an appendage of local vigilantes that will feed the current state apparatus. Personally, I am excited to be part of this history because I believe that the collaboration we are starting today will make way for other regional roads and development and will ultimately improve the lives of the citizenry.

“With this launch, Oyo State has added another feather to its cap. Today will go long in the history as the first regional security outfit in Nigeria was launched and hosted by the state of the first.”

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Similarly, Governor Akeredolu, who is the chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum, assured that the new security outfit would be accountable, even as he appreciated the Nigerian Armed Forces, the Nigerian Police Force, the State Security Services, the Nigerian Security Civil Defence Corps and other security agencies for their efforts in combating various crimes till date.

Akeredolu, who maintained that the establishment of Operation Amotekun was without prejudice to the mandate of the existing federal security agencies, noted that the South-West region would continue to depend on them, especially the Nigerian Police, to discharge their responsibilities of securing the territory.

He said: “Your patriotism in safeguarding the integrity of the entire nation is acknowledged. The establishment of Amotekun is without prejudice to the expectation of patriotic discharge of your mandate as provided under our laws. We depend on you, you are not to sack your responsibility to secure our territory. You are the experts with the requisite training. Your patriotic zeal must not wane as a result of this intervention.

“It is important for us to say this. The Nigerian police must not see as it as an excuse to abandon your role. This is only complementary, you still have your roles to play, your constitutional duties are there. The Governors of the states in the Southwestern region will continue to provide logistics support that will enhance seamless operation of the Amotekun programme and the programme of other security agencies as we have been doing. We have been doing it and will continue to do it.

“Each of the six states has nothing less than 20 pickup vans, and I know of a fact that Oyo State has provided 33 vehicles. Others have over 20 and hundreds of motorcycles to take off the security network. I wish to enjoin all those that will be in charge of the vehicles and motorcycles to ensure their adequate maintenance and to ensure that there used only for the intended purposes.”

In the same vein, the Ekiti State Governor and chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Dr. Fayemi said: “I am extremely delighted on this historic occasion of the launch of the Western Nigeria Security Network. My brother, the chief host has clearly given us the genesis of this initiative, when we were daily assaulted by constraints of kidnapping, armed robbery and other social vices, across the length and breadth of western Nigeria.

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“We obviously are all in the right places and the mainstream security agencies are doing their best to arrest the situation. It was in the context of this unfortunate development that we lost the daughter of our leader in Afenifere, Pa Rueben Fasoranti, and that further puts, as rightfully so, a lot of pressure on the political leadership in the South-West to do something about the fear in our communities and constituencies where people were not sleeping with their two eyes closed.

“As elected leaders of our various states, our primary responsibility, according to section 14 (2) of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 as amended is the security and welfare of our citizens. And that was what we formed, the coming together of my colleagues and I to fashion a way that we can utilize to complement the work of our mainstream security agencies that are quite over-streched in their efforts to arrest the menace that afflicted not just our zones but the entire country at a time.

“So, from six months ago, when we held our summit here in Ibadan, I am pleased that this idea whose time has come has also been embraced by the leadership of our security agencies, because the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has since gone ahead to announce the Police’s commitment to community policing strategy. And Amotekun is nothing but a community policing response to a problem that our people would like to see the back of.

“Pending the time that the community policing strategy we put together by the Nigeria Police Force comes to fruition, it is clearly important that we give our people a confidence-boosting strategy. If you ask me, Amotekun is nothing but a confidence-building strategy for our people in the six states in the Western zone.”

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Lagos govt. approves full reopening of churches, mosques

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The Lagos state government on Saturday approved the full reopening of worship centres in the state.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who announced this during a briefing in the state said churches are now allowed to observe their mid-week services, while the mosques are also allowed to carry out their five times a day prayer routine, with strict compliance to COVID-19 safety protocols.

“We must not forget that the coronavirus pandemic is still very much with us, and we must, therefore, strive to prioritize the safety of all our children, teachers, parents, and the entire society,” the governor said.

Before now, the state had allowed for a gradual re-opening of places of worship as lockdowns eased.

With the full re-opening now, the governor has urged Lagosians to continue to act responsibly and maintain the required levels of hygiene.

Some other parts of the world have witnessed a resurgence of COVID-19 infections and rising possibilities of “hard lockdowns”, which according to Governor Sanwo-Olu may become inevitable for Nigerians if caution is not applied.

“Let me make it clear that if we do not continue to maintain our guard, and sustain the adherence to all required protocols and guidelines, we will find ourselves in a situation where fresh lockdowns are inevitable,” he warned.

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“The only way to avoid this is to continue to act responsibly: maintain the required levels of hygiene, through regular handwashing and use of sanitizers, wear masks in all public places, avoid non-essential public gatherings, and maintain the prescribed levels of physical distancing at all times”.

The total infections in the country have now risen to 56,956, with 48,305 patients recovered and 1,094 deaths recorded.

At the onset of the virus in Nigeria, Lagos became the epicenter, gapping other states with its case load despite frantic efforts to curb the spread.

However, in recent times, other states such as Plateau have started to witness a surge with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 stating that it might become the new epicenter in the country.

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Photos: Oyo deputy gov. donates patrol motorcycles to security operatives

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The deputy governor of Oyo state, Engr. Raufu Olaniyan on Friday made a personal donation of patrol motorcycles to security operatives in Oke Ogun area of the state to boost their role of ensuring the safety of lives and properties.

Speaking at the event, Olaniyan noted  that Security is one of the cardinal objectives of the present administration headed by Governor Seyi Makinde, adding that the government has invested massively to provide facilities and equipment for security operatives in the state to perform their roles.

Speaking further, the deputy governor remarked that ” In the light of the security challenges in the country, it is imperative that we support the government in tackling this malady. It was therefore a delight for me to donate patrol motorcycles, from my purse, to the various security outfits operating in the Oke Ogun area of our state.”

He stressed that security matters should be the responsibility of all and not the government alone.

Olaniyan, however , urged well meaning individuals and lovers of peace to support the government in creating a safe and conducive environment for growth.

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Yorubas will resist arrest of proponents of Oodua Republic – Group

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Groups under the aegis  of Yoruba Frontier Movement (YFM) on Thursday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to resist from using security agencies to harass, intimidate or arrest proponents of Oodua Republic.

YFM in a statement made available to journalists by its National Coordinator, Comrade Abdulkabir Adesina and National Secretary, Aderemi Adisa condemned the plan by security agencies to arrest proponents of Oodua Republic, saying that such action will only lead to breakdown of law and order.

The statement read, “We have received reports that there are plans by security agencies to arrest proponents of Oodua Republic headed by Chief Sunday Igboho. We are using this medium to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to order security agencies to desist from such attempts because proponents of Oodua Republic are operating within the ambit of the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

The group wondered why proponents of Oodua Republic have become the target of security agencies while Fulani herdsmen and bandits have remained untouchable.

“We should even go down memory lane. President Muhammadu Buhari while desperately seeking to become Nigeria’s president made many inciting statements capable of bringing anachy into the country but ex- President Jonathan never ordered for his arrest. On many occasions northern youths and elders have made similar inciting statements and heaven didn’t come down. As a matter of fact we have been calling for restructuring of Nigeria for a very long time.The failure of government to restructure Nigeria is the reason why we are calling for Oodua Republic. Yorubas have suffered greatly since the amalgamation of the country in 1914 owing to injustice against Yoruba race in Nigeria. As a race we have every right to demand for our right to either stay with Nigeria or go our separate ways”, the statement added.

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It further lauded  Chief Sunday Igboho for taking the bull by the horn, saying that Yorubas are fully in his support.

“We are using this medium to call on traditional rulers, Obas , leaders and all Yoruba sons and daughters to support the proponents of Oodua Republic”, the statement concluded.

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