James Sowole in Akure, Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti and Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo
Some states in the South-west yesterday rejected a bid by the federal government to regulate regional security outfits.
They faulted a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, that the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Mohammed Adamu, will determine the structure of the regional security agencies, including the Western Nigerian Security Network codenamed ‘Operation Amotekun.’
Amotekun, an initiative of the six states in the South-west to enhance security for the region by partnering national security agencies, was birthed amidst the controversy from the federal government’s opposition to the idea.
The law passed by the various Houses of Assembly in the region specified the structure, functions and other key outlines for the regional security outfit.
Shehu, however, stoked the controversy yesterday as he said on a live television programme that Amotekun would be run, in accordance with the structure to be defined by the IG.
“Whatever name they go by, Amotekun or whatever will be streamlined and they will be run in accordance with the structure as defined by the Inspector General of Police. They will be localised, they will be owned by local communities, they will be managed by them,” he added.
According to him, the community policing structure will be the same across the 36 states and whatever does not conform with the national structure will not be “in the scheme of things.”
“You know the constitution of the committees will be defined as including council chairmen, traditional rulers, religious leaders, civil society groups and all of that. So, you are going to have a single type structure of community policing permitted all across the country and whatever is not in line with this does not have a place in the scheme of things. That is my understanding,” he stated.
Reacting to the presidency’s position, the Ekiti State government said the recruitment and mode of operations of Amotekun would be determined by it.
The Special Adviser on Security to the governor, Brig. Gen. Ebenezer Ogundana (rtd.), told reporters n that all the states in the South-west operating the security network enjoyed the legal rights to control the outfit.
Ogundana countered the position canvassed by Shehu, saying only the community policing being proposed by the federal government will be controlled by the IG.
He explained: “Going by the law that established Amotekun, all the states have the legal powers to control the outfit.
“The recruitments and operations are under the states. Even those to be recruited into Amotekun in Ekiti have been contacted about the date of the recruitment.