Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has faulted notions held in some quarters that the recently launched security outfit, Amotekun, was aimed at preparing the ground for the Southwest geopolitical zone to secede from the country.
Speaking to select journalists in Abuja, yesterday, he maintained that Amotekun was launched with the sole agenda of complementing the efforts of security agencies to protect the lives and property of the citizenry in the Southwest geopolitical zone. The governor hinted of plans to decentralise the outfit, saying: “We all now agree that all the necessary legal framework, when our attorney generals are through with it, we will sit down again and look at it as states and that we made it clear that the issue of regionalism is that we want to share information, share intelligence, share whatever we gather and that all the vehicles from Ondo State will be returned to Ondo State, vehicles from Ekiti returned to Ekiti, every state would have its own command.”
Akeredolu, who is at the forefront of the launch of Amotekun, however, insists that restructuring remains the panacea for the growth and development of the country. He spoke in reaction to claims by notable Nigerians from the northern geopolitical zone that the idea behind Amotekun was part of the grand design by the Southwest zone to breakaway from the country.
Akeredolu, however, said he remains committed to ensuring an indivisible Nigeria, adding that it was unfortunate that well-informed individuals, such as Alhaji Balarabe Musa, who was the former governor of Old Kaduna State in the Second Republic misunderstood the idea behind the launch of Amotekun. He said: “Balarabe Musa spoke out of ignorance. That is the way I see it because he is a respected leader. We all have respect for him and from his days in NEPU and PRP, till when he was impeached as governor, he was a progressive person, and he is still a progressive person. I am sure maybe he was misquoted. For me, such views from him were unnecessary.
“It is not possible. In my speech at the launch of Amotekun, I was very clear that this is not a regional army or regional paramilitary and that it is collaborative and that all we want to do is to ensure that our forests and other places, we have men who can go in to arrest these bandits and help the Police in their work. “I remember I said something there that this nation has come to stay, if only for one reason, for my sake it must stay. So, my wife that is Ibo, if they want to break this country, where would my children go? My wife is Igbo, so where would my own children go? I believe in this country totally.
“However, we are committed to restructuring this country. We are not going to say because of Amotekun, we should not restructure; this country must be restructured. We have said so openly, it is there in the All Progressives Congress (APC) constitution and part of our manifesto. Restructuring was stated clearly that we would do it.”
He continued: “Why we have not done it, nobody knows, but we have to. But there have been some efforts to restructure. We can give it to the President, at least, let him take the credit, there have been some efforts at restructuring in one way or the other. So, restructuring is not something we can compromise.
“That is the only way for this country. We can’t continue this way. The country is hydra-headed and everybody must feel a sense of belonging and the only way is for us to carry out this restructuring.”
Akeredolu, who met with the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Attorney General of the federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami; Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, and other top security chiefs, hinted that Amotekun would be incorporated into the community policing agenda of the federal government.
He disclosed that each of the Houses of Assemblies in the Southwest zones would soon come up with a uniform law that would be domesticated to achieve the goal, noting: “From the onset, we were to work with security agencies. There is no way we can do it on our own; we are to work with them, but we are to have our people embedded in every one of the vehicles.
“We were to have our people only on the bike, we will not bring the bike to Akure or to Ibadan. What we were trying to do is to complement the efforts of the security agencies, especially the Police, because they don’t know the terrain. “A number of these bandits, when it comes to the issue of kidnappings, go back and run into the forest. So, we want to use our people to trace them and give information to the Police and complement them.
“From our discussions yesterday, it was clear that one of the issues the Police were concerned about was that they were about launching community policing, and yes, a good idea from us, but we should be able to find a way forward to work together. “I said yes, we are not opposed to it; it is about community. That was why we said the structure of Amotekun is going to tilt to accommodate the community policing policy of the federal government.
“But we will be sharing information. The meeting was very fulfilling. It went well and moreso, the AGF said he was misquoted and misinterpreted on Amotekun by the media on the matter.”