Insecurity: Akeredolu dares FG, vows to commence purchase of rifles for Amotekun

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…Says approval for Katsina’s outfit, disapproval for Amotekun is deliberate subjugation

…Nigeria, country with two systems of law — Lawyers

…Agree Akeredolu is victim of archaic constitutional imbalance

…Africa science, traditional tactics must be developed, superior to any amunition — Osun Amotekun

By Moses Adeniyi, Ridman Adekunle, Ismail Azeez, Osogbo

Ready to defy hostility by the Federal Government to approve for the Western Nigerian Security Network, Amotekun Corps, the possession of firearms, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, has slammed the Federal Government’s objection to grant approval for Amotekun Corps to bear arms, affirming he would defy all odds to acquire firearms for the security outfit to defend people of the State who are faced with existential threats.

Insisting that Ondo State will defend its people, he said the denial of Amotekun to bear arms to protect the people of the State violated the true tenets of federalism.

Akeredolu who is the chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum described as “a deliberate method of subjugation,” the refusal of the Federal Government to approve for Amotekun the possession of firearm, stating it must be challenged.

He lamented the fact that the Western Nigeria Security Network, Amotekun Corps, is struggling for approval to legitimise possession of firearms, while its equivalent in Katsina, have been allegedly granted approval to possess firearms as confirmed in a video making rounds.

Akeredolu described such lopsided disposition of the Federal Government as a case of “one country, two systems solution to the national question,” stating that denying Amotekun the urgently needed rights to legitimately bear arms is a repudiation of the basis of true federalism.

Akeredolu in a statement on Thursday, in reaction to the video showing the Katsina security outfit obtaining the approval to bear arms, said that equity and justice are required in the Federal Government’s relationship with all the component units.

“The video making the rounds showing the equivalent of the Western Nigeria Security Network (Amotekun Corps) in Katsina, obtaining the approval of the Federal Government to bear arms is fraught with great dangers.

“Denying Amotekun the urgently needed rights to legitimately bear arms is a repudiation of the basis of true federalism, which we have been clamouring for.

“That Katsina was able to arm its state security force with the display of AK-47 means we are pursuing one country, two systems solution to the national question.

“If the Katsina situation confers advantages on some, in the face of commonly faced existential threats, it means that our unitary policing system, which has failed, is a deliberate method of subjugation which must be challenged.

“The Independence agreement was based on a democratic arrangement to have a federal state and devolved internal security mechanics.

“We must go back to that agreement. Denying Amotekun the right to bear arms exposes the Southwest to life-threatening marauders and organized crime. It is also a deliberate destruction of our agricultural sector. It is an existential threat.

“We want to reiterate that what is sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander. The Ondo State government under the doctrine of necessity has decided to fulfil its legal, constitutional and moral duty to the citizens of the state, by acquiring arms to protect them. This is more so, given that the bandits have unchecked access to sophisticated weapons.

“The State government cannot look on while its citizens are being terrorized and murdered with impunity. We will defend our people,” he said.

Possession of firearms, it has been argued, would further enhance the operatives of the Southwest security architecture to further clampdown on security threats.

Recall that Akeredolu had earlier this month urged the Federal Government to allow Amotekun and other state security outfits bear sophisticated arms to protect the people of respective States in the Southwest.

Akeredolu, at the commissioning of the newly reconstructed office complex at the Ondo State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (OSOPADEC) in Akure had decried the precarious security situation in the Country, vowing to defy all odds to protect the people of the State.

“My position is to allow Amotekun bear heavy arms like the non-state actors who were engaged to protect the oil pipelines.

“Here, we are spending our money on Amotekun. And what I said in my statement titled ‘Who Actually Needs Weapon’ was that the Federal Government should allow Amotekun carry sophisticated weapons like those whom they awarded pipelines surveillance contract.

“If you can allow individuals to carry heavy arms to protect pipelines, why won’t you allow Amotekun to carry sophisticated weapon to protect the people. The oil facilities are not important than the lives of the people,” he had said.

…Nigeria, country with two systems of law – Lawyers

…agree Akeredolu is victim of archaic constitutional imbalance

Meanwhile, lawyers in reaction to what seems to be a lopsided disposition of the Federal Government to grant approval for the security outfit in the Southwest to posses firearms, have said the disapproval is reflection the Country is not upholding uniformity in the application of law.

According legal experts, Governors in the Southwest are victims of the archaic system of law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Lawyer and Right Activist, Dele Farotimi, in his reaction to the grievance of Akeredolu against the Federal Government on the refusal of the later to approve for the Amotekun security outfit to bear firearms, said the lopsided position of the Federal Government was a reflection that “Nigeria itself is predicated not on law, but on force.”

“If we must tell ourselves the truth, the very basis of Nigeria itself is predicated not on law, but on force. The last time the Nigerian people expressed their will, in any way, was back in 1963.

“So, what you have today are the imperatives of men who have been elected to give us what they call laws. And this law that they have made is what Governor Akeredolu was speaking to.

“And if you listen to him, he wasn’t just talking about bearing arms. It was specific, he says believe in one Nigeria.

“Nigeria appears to have become a country with two systems of law. So, what you’re hearing the Chief Executive of the State say, is a confession of his impotence in the face of the unjust laws that governs Nigeria, and as merely pointed at Katsina as an example of just how evil the system is in our days to the operator.”

According to him, “the truth is that” the 1999 constitution, does not give Governor of Ondo state the luxury to assume the powers on the actions that he seeks to take.

He, however, argued that though the Governor lacks the constitutional power, yet “the truth again, is that his sole duty is to protect the citizens of Ondo state.”

In reaction, Professor Edoba Omoregie, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said the call by Akeredolu was a reflection that Governors are now waking up to the circumstances of the prevailing reality of the defective constitutional system,

He said the push was not within the powers of the State Governors but for the National Assembly to legislate on.

Maintaining that Governor Akeredolu was right on his push, he said the subject “is not a political issue, but purely a constitutional question.”

Akeredolu was a leading figure in the creation of Amotekun as a security architecture in response to rising threats in the Southwest, particularly at the wake of banditry and the cruelty and impunity of firearm wielding herdsmen.

Although Amotekun in Ondo and other Southwest States including Oyo, Osun, and Ekiti, has recorded appreciable arrests, yet Akeredolu has argued it is now time approval be granted the security architecture to bear firearms to effectively carry out operations against firearm wielding non-state actors brandishing weapons.

This is as on Thursday, the Ondo State Amotekun said no fewer than 45 suspected criminals were on Wednesday paraded following their arrest in different parts of the state in the last two weeks.

Parading the suspects, eight of whom are suspected kidnappers, the State commander of Amotekun Corps,  Adetunji Adeleye said, “Today is another major harvest of criminals operating in the Ondo State.

“A couple of weeks ago, we deployed additional hands to all the 18 local government areas of the state to assist in beefing up security in the state and it has actually yielded a lot of results.

“In the last two weeks, we have been able to curtail the excesses of the criminals ranging from kidnapping, armed robbery, and rape among others.

“We have 45 criminals that we have concluded their investigations and they are ready to be prosecuted in courts.

“We have a case of one Okoyie Chukwuma, who specialises in burgling cocoa stores; we also have one Philip Jacob, who specialises in vandalising vehicles parked in mechanical workshop overnight.

“In Ore, there was a family that was kidnapped. We moved there immediately and were able to arrest the kidnappers and released the victims.

“We also have those that are regular in housebreaking in the midnight, they have their ways of opening doors and silently entering to molest innocent people and disposing them of their valuables.

“We also have some people who specialise in using vehicles to steal goats across the state and some of the goats have been recovered from them.

“We have a gang of fraudsters that use spiritual means to defraud some people in the society.

“We have a case of some kidnappers who will fake that you have hit their bikes, and when you come out to sympathise with them, they will just enter your vehicle and drive the victims away. We have eight suspected kidnappers from the Central and Southern senatorial districts of Ondo State.

“I must let you know that factually, all the operations were done in collaboration with other sister security agencies in the state,” he said.

Late May, 2022, the Amotekun security outfit in Ondo had disclosed the arrest of no fewer than 4,000 suspected criminals have been arrested across the 18 council area of Ondo state.

The suspected criminals arrested were said to be involved in various criminal activities, ranging from kidnapping, armed robbery, human trafficking illegal possession of firearms among others

Reviewing the activities of the security outfit between January and May, this year, the state commander of the Amotekun, Chief Adetunji Adeleye had said the crime rate in the state, going by statistics, had dropped by more 70 percent.

“On the average, between January and May 2022, we have made about 4,000 arrest and through the office of the Director of Public Prosecution of Ondo State, we’ve been able to send a reasonable number of them to correctional centres and prosecution are going on while diligent investigation are going on many others.

“Comparatively, the last five months of last year and the first five months of this year, we have a very sharp decrease in the number of suspects arrested.

“Last year, on maintenance of law and order in the line of violators of open grazing law alone, we arrested close to 4,000 but this year, we have not arrested up to 1,000.

“Also, comparatively too, virtually all forms of criminal activities are on the decline in the state. Unlike before when kidnapping was everyday issue, it is no longer as rampant as it was within the metropolis and even at the border towns, it is now becoming a thing of past,” he had said.

…Africa science, traditional tactics must be developed, superior to any amunition — Osun Amotekun

Meanwhile, the Amotekun Corps, Osun State Chapter, has said the push by the Ondo State Governor for the Oufit to bear firearms in his State, is best known to him based on peculiar circumstances.

Speaking to our correspondent on a telephone interview, the Osun Commandant of Amotekun, Comrade Amitolu Shittu, said beyond the use of conventional protective ammunition, the security outfit in the State capitalise on what he described as “African Science.”

According to him, strategy and tactics using the traditional way of policing with the use of “African science” was superior to ammunition and firearms.

Mentioning that though it was important for the corps to be encouraged and empowered, he said it was the Osun State Governor who could speak on the State Government’s side of the call for them to bear firearm.

Amitolu said more research was important, but such must not leave out “African science.”

“I don’t have anything to say about that now, because Ondo is different from Osun. The Governor of Ondo knew the reason why he is requesting for the said ammunition for the corps in the West.

“I don’t know why? To the best of our ability, the way we do our things, we employ strategy and tactics using the traditional way of policing by using African science, we don’t necessarily use the conventional protective materials.

“African science is more superior to any amunition you will think of. We should be encouraged and empowered. African science needs to be developed; without carrying gun or firing a shoot, there are many ways of fighting.

“I am not condemning what the Ondo Governor said about it; it is in the best interest of all of us, but it is only our Governor that can say anything about this.

“So, we must be encouraged to go into research and ensure that anything we want to do, we must attach African science to it.”