AMOTEKUN AND THE OPPOSITION AGAINST IT

As things currently stand, the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN), otherwise known as Operation Amotekun, recently launched by the six governors of the South West geopolitical zone, is facing strong opposition, particularly from the northern part of the country, and we are not seeing any bright future for the security outfit.

While the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, had wasted no time in declaring the outfit as illegal, many other strong voices had equally come out to oppose the establishment of the security outfit.

Former military President, Ibrahim Babangida, while stating that the outfit was not sustainable, contended that the governors of the South West may not be able to foot the needed expenses for Amotekun on the long run.

According to Babangida, “They must equip them, you must pay them salaries. You must give them all the welfare they need. That is going to be a problem for the states. Where will they get the money to foot those bills?

“If they have succeeded in convincing the federal government to put out some part of the revenue for the purposes of that, I can understand that, but if they take it on themselves, it is going to be a problem”.

He described the initiative as an “overstretch of security functions” and suggested the revitalisation of the existing security forces in the country.

“What we need to do is to have a closer look. We have a lot of security outfits; we have the army, the mobile police, the National Defence security, we have a whole lot of them. I think they should be assigned specific responsibilities to lessen the financial burden this initiative would cost the government of the states in the long run”, he stated.

First civilian governor of Kaduna State, Balarabe Musa, is also against Operation Amotekun. He described it as a ploy by the South West to create Oduduwa Republic, and warned President Buhari not to allow the operation of such security network, because it falls out of the established laws of the country.

Babarabe Musa also contended that some of the security components of the outfit like the OPC have records of recklessness in terms of securing the lives and property of non-Yoruba.

“First of all, taking into account what happened in the history of Nigeria, this Amotekun will lead to a declaration of Oduduwa Republic.
“Look at the composition of those who constitute the organization in addition to the six states governors.
There is also the OPC, Afenifere, and others”.

Musa agreed with the Federal Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, that Amotekun is illegal because it contravenes the provisions of the law and the constitution.

“And unfortunately for them in spite of the intellectual aura of the elite class in the Southwest, they couldn’t be articulate because they could have been articulate like the Kano State did in the case of Hisbah. They went through the State House of Assembly.

“Now, if this Amotekun had been taken through the six states Houses of Assembly before it was formed you could say they have a case in the sense that the state Houses of Assembly are in charge of lawmaking.

“Secondly, the governor of each state is the chief security officer of his state. So, if you combine this two and enact a law allowing for the formation of Amotekun, they would have gotten it right. But in spite of their articulation, they failed to do so, which means it must be deliberate that what they are concerned exactly is an Oduduwa State”, he stated.

The umbrella organization of cattle rearers in the country, Miyetti Allah, was more forceful. It gave the South West governors the option to either choose between supporting Amotekun or forego their desire to produce the President in 2023.

The National Secretary of the group, Alhassan Saleh, said Miyetti Allah was disappointed in the South-West intelligentsia for supporting the outfit.
According to him, “This Amotekun scheme is political and is not the solution to the problem of insecurity. What the South-West governors should have done is to continue to push for state police. Where did they expect to get the funding from at a time some of them are struggling to pay salaries?

“It is best they give up on this idea because it may affect the chances of the South-West to produce the President in 2023. The thinking is that if the South-West, a major stakeholder in this government, can be toying with this idea now, they may do worse when they get to power”.

In other words, since Miyetti Allah, which is the military wing of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), believe that they alone own Nigeria and can parcel out favours to whoever it pleases them, the implication is that unless the South West drops the security outfit, they will not give them the President in 2023!

For the foremost socio-cultural organization in the North, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), establishing ‘Operation Amotekun’, may affect Nigeria’s unity and cohesion.

Muhammad Ibrahim Biu, its National Publicity Secretary, said while ACF agreed that the military and other security agencies were overstretched owing to security challenges across the country, it was concerned that several tribal organisations set up in the past have been used to harass and intimidate non-indigenes.

He cautioned that the establishment of such security outfit must follow due process and backed by law. “The functions of the security outfit must be clearly spelt out and should not be in conflict with the federal law establishing the regular security agencies”, he stated.

The ACF further maintained that “the fear being expressed by Nigerians over Operation Amotekun or any other tribal security outfit is genuine, considering past experiences where tribal militia recognised by states became intimidating tools to non-indigenes”.

“Now that the Federal Government has declared the Amotekun illegal, confirmed our earlier appeal that due process must be followed in establishing such security outfits. The only option now left to the South-West governors is to approach the court for a legal solution,” he advised.

Taking all these contentious issues together, in addition to the persons and groups who are opposing the establishment of Operation Amotekun, we believe that for now, the security outfit has a very bleak future, forget about the noises being made all over the place.

We know for sure that before the Attorney General could come out to declare the Amotekun as illegal, he must have had the backing of the Presidency.

Moreover, apart from the fact that the individuals and groups who are opposed to the security outfit are not those the federal government could easily ignore, another factor is the character of the people who are promoting Operation Amotekun.

As most of us know, while the people of this area promoting Operation Amotekun could be said to be chameleonic in character that could easily change at the slightest blow of the wind, most of their governors equally belong to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and may be least prepared to enter into the ring to do any bout against the ruling oligarchy in the country.

Have you heard anything from Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the APC national leader, who is warming up to take over from Buhari as President in 2023, whether he is for or against Operation Amotekun? He has kept mute ever since.

Our thinking therefore, is that sooner or later, Amotekun may just fissile out once they raise the big hammer. The man currently at the helm of affairs will not do like Obasanjo who knew that Sharia is unconstitutional, yet allowed it to exist, and called it “political sharia”, until festered to most states in the North, and later metamorphosed to the current Boko Haram.

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