Soyinka hails Amotekun, South-east meets on own security outfit
SOUTH-EAST governors and other leaders will meet this month with the aim of concluding talks on the zone’s security outfit.
The Ebonyi State Commissioner for Internal Security and Border Peace, Mr Stanley Emegha, who gave this indication in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents in Abakaliki on Monday, said the South-west copied the South-east security outfit model.
Emegha said the South-east governors and leaders would within the third and fourth weeks of January meet to conclude talks on the issue.
The South-west governors had, on Thursday, launched the Western Nigerian Security Outfit code-named Operation
Amotekun following a series of killings and kidnapping in the zone by Fulani herdsmen.
The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, on Friday commended the South-west governors for setting up the security outfit.
“I salute the South-west governors. Nobody needs to tell any Nigerian today that your security is in your own hands,” President of the group, Chief Nnia Nwodo, had said in a statement by his media adviser, Emeka Attamah.
Emegha, in the interview with The PUNCH, said the South-west’s Operation
Amotekun was copied from the South-east. The Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, is the Chairman of the South-east Governors’ Forum.
He said before the launch of the Operation
Amotekun last week, the South-east governors and other leaders had held many far-reaching security meetings on how to curtail insecurity in the zone.
Emegha disclosed that the South-east governors last year appointed General Obi Umahi (retd.) to coordinate the security architecture of the zone.
He stated, “The launch of Amotekun in the South-west is what is already in vogue in Ebonyi State, in particular and SouthEast in general. This is so, because traces of insecurity like kidnapping, car-snatching and armed robberies are no longer found in Ebonyi State. What they have done is they have just copied what is already in existence in Ebonyi. This kind of security strategy is being put in place and has been made possible by the South-east Security Consultant, Gen. Obi Umahi (retd). But we have been silent about it because we are waiting to launch at the right time.
“Security is a technical endeavour and that was why many efforts of governors of the zone in this regard, had not been made public. Security is a very serious thing. No dull person can be a criminal. Those who go into criminality are smart and intelligent persons. So we play down what we do because we don’t want those we are targeting or fighting to cash in on our strategies.
“By the end of January, precisely, one of the days within third and fourth weeks of the month, the security efforts and plans of the state and that of the entire region, will have been made clearer to the public. We will meet with our consultant this January over security issues. But we are also being tactful and are waiting for advice from stakeholders, because security is a technical thing.”
Amotekun, desirable New Year gift
In a related development, the Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, on Monday hailed the regional security outfit of the southwestern states, code-named
Operation Amotekun, saying it satisfied the yearnings of the people.
Soyinka, while describing the security outfit inaugurated last week as “a desirable New Year gift,” said he had earlier given up on the political leadership of the region until the launch of the security outfit.
The respected playwright spoke on Monday in Lagos at the “Never Again Conference” organised by the Nzuko Umunna and Ndigbo, to mark the 50 years after the Nigerian civil war.
Soyinka said, “To thank a number of public-spirited, humanity-considering governors in this nation, who finally responded to the demands and yearnings of the citizens and produced one organisation called Amotekun.
“It counts as one of the most unexpected because I had given up on them; it is an unexpected but at the same time a most desirable New Year present.
“So, I think this country has a few
amotekun (leopards). Those who disagree are free to disagree. The point is: the yearning of the people has been fulfilled.”
Meanwhile, two security experts on Monday said Operation Amotekun would help curb crimes such as armed robbery and kidnapping on the highways.
The two retired commissioners of police told the News Agency of Nigeria in two separate interviews that the security outfit would complement the police and other state security outfits in the South-west.
A retired and former Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Ibe Agharaya, said that Amotekun would make use of the concept of community policing in its operations.
He said that it involved the use of local indigenes to partner the mobile policemen to quell armed robberies on Okene-lokoja Road then.
“Amotekun is a modernised system of collaboration and partnership between the regular security agencies and the community for security purposes within a given area.
“With the type of warlike campaign, elections, tribalism and religious bigotry, we need such policing system to be adopted for securing lives and property.
“This system is particularly effective in the prevention of crimes, particularly on the highways, where armed robbery and kidnapping usually take place,” he said.
Agharaya urged the commissioners of police in the South-west to key into
Operation Amotekun by providing the system with modern weapons so that the outfit could be efficient.
He stated, “No policeman will enter the bush in the night to look for kidnappers because of lack of basic equipment such as night goggles, good body armour and substantial gas to smoke them out.
“However, the hunters and the indigenes of any given area will understand the terrain and can enter the bush with the assistance of the police.
“So, the introduction of the security system in the South-west is a good strategy to prevent crimes.”
A former Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Mr Fatai Owoseni, said Amotekun would help achieve the vision of the governors of the South-west for a more secure geopolitical zone.
Owoseni also said that the security outfit would complement positively the conventional security outfit based on their knowledge and familiarity with their localities.