Monday, April 15, 2024

Amotekun: South West govs to set up six committees for recruitment, training

Amid final preparations for the take-off of the Western Nigeria Security Network, popularly known as Amotekun Corps, governors in the South-West geopolitical zone are set to inaugurate committees to determine the modalities for recruitment and training.

A highly placed source in one of the state Houses of Assembly in the region told one of our correspondents that the committees’ sitting and reports would recommend when the recruitment would start.

This is coming after five of the six state assemblies in the region, namely Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Lagos and Osun, passed the Amotekun bill into law on Tuesday. The Ekiti State House of Assembly had on February 14 passed its own bill into law.

Meanwhile, about 24 hours after the Ondo State House of Assembly passed the bill into law, the governor of the state and Chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), signed the bill into law, saying Amotekun Corps is “a child of necessity” to protect people in the region.

“For the umpteenth time, the Amotekun Corps is not an independent regional outfit but a complementary effort by the governors of the South-West to engender unity, peace and security,” he added.

Other governors in the region had expressed their readiness to sign the bill into law without delay.

The Lagos State Commissioner for Information, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, told one of our correspondents on Friday that the governor would look at the bill passed into law by the Assembly before signing it.

He said, “It (the bill) has not been signed into law. It is like an executive bill that went to the Assembly and it has come back, so the governor will have to look at it to see if anything was changed or added before he will sign. I do not know whether the recruitment forms are going to be printed or when that will be done, all I know is that with the speed it is going now it may not be too far.”

In addition to the declaration in February by the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, at the South-West Security Meeting on Community Policing attended by governors in the region, that Amotekun would be state-based and no longer a regional operation, the governors have also said that the recruitment of personnel of the corps will be conducted at the local government level.

But, in an interaction on Friday, the top Assembly source said the next action was the setting up of the committees.

The source said, “The law has been passed and governors will sign. After this there will be implementation committees across the states of the region. The implementation committees will determine when to start recruitments and the modalities for the recruitment.”

The Amotekun Corps, which has received commendation from different parts of the country, is an initiative of governors in the South-West to check kidnappings and killings in the region as well as provide security for the people in the region.

The initiative, which was launched on January 9, 2020 in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, was first muted at an earlier summit convened by the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria in June 2019, where it was agreed that the corps was necessary.

But, few days after the launch in Ibadan, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, described the initiative as illegal, adding that his office was not consulted before the governors launched the initiative.

The AGF’s position was greeted with severe criticisms, with many lawyers faulting the AGF for describing it as illegal. They, however, advised the governors to send a bill on the initiative to their respective state’s Houses of Assembly to give it legal backing.

The governors had also threatened to approach the court if the Federal Government continued to oppose the initiative. But following a meeting the governors had with the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo; the AGF and the Inspector-General of Police, they resolved to come up with a framework that would provide legal backing for the regional security outfit.

Sequel to this, the respective Houses of Assembly promised to give accelerated hearing to the bill as soon as it was presented to them by the executive, which has now culminated in its passage by the Houses of Assembly.

The governors had also pointed out that contrary to insinuations, the corps would not be used by political leaders as tools of intimidation, and that they would not be attached to prominent citizens and religious centres.

The governors had also expressed their intention to respectively write the Inspector-General of Police for gun licence for the corps. And in its response, the Force spokesperson, Frank Mba, said the request would be assessed within the confines of the law.

Govs okay enlistment of women, graduates for corps

Meanwhile, the Ondo State Government has said it will include women and graduates in the Amotekun Corps for successful operation of the security initiative.

The Special Adviser to the governor on Security Matters, Alhaji Jimoh Dojumo, told one of our correspondents that even though the forms for recruitment into the security agencies had yet to be out, females and graduates that would be in the corps would be posted to appropriate units.

He said, “The application forms are not out yet but they will soon be out; maybe before the end of the month. When the forms are out, the graduates and females can apply and we will put them where necessary.”

Also speaking on the recruitment of women into the corps, the Lagos State Information Commissioner, Omotoso, told one of our correspondents in an interview on Friday that the state would also engage women as it had done with the existing Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps.

The state had stressed that the Amotekun bill, passed into law by the state House of Assembly on Tuesday, was an offshoot of the LNSC, noting that new persons to be recruited would be merged with the LNSC members.

Omotoso said, “There is no good security group that will not consider women as members. The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and others have women. I do not see anything different in the Amotekun Corps.

“For hunters as members, of course, yes. Recall that during the public hearing on the bill, the Agbekoya were present and they are the traditional hunters. They made their presentation and said they would want to be part of it and I suspect that they will be considered. But what I do not know is how much stake they will have.”

Corps may exclude non-indigenes, herdsmen

Speaking further on the calls by Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, an umbrella body for herdsmen in the country, that they should be allowed to be part of the corps, Dojumo said only natives from the respective localities would be recruited into the corps.


The herdsmen had initially expressed their reservations about the Amotekun initiative, claiming that it was aimed at flushing out members of the Fulani tribe from the South-West. But the South-West Governors’ Forum had dismissed the claim, saying it was misplaced.

But speaking on this, Dojumo stated, “Only the natives of communities can apply. It is not meant for non-citizens of the communities; only the natives know everywhere in the communities. Miyetti Allah members are not indigenes so they cannot apply to be recruited.”

He also pointed out that the operation of the Amotekun Corps would be 24 hours for patrolling and other security activities.

The top Assembly source, who hinted one of our correspondents about the setting up of the committees, also emphasised that non-natives would not be recruited into the corps.

The source said, “Never! That is not going to happen. What is their business in this matter? Let them go and render that service to secure their places. It is not going to happen. I don’t think there is any state that will consider non-Yoruba and there may be some discretion but certainly not for herdsmen.

“I know all the states are on the same page and we are determined to make this successful.”

Also, Omotoso, who was silent on whether members of Miyetti Allah would be considered for recruitment into Amotekun, promised that everybody living in the state would be protected.

He added, “Remember that Lagos is home for all, so, all the law-abiding citizens of the state who apply will be looked at on merit. This Amotekun is not based on ethnicity or group loyalty, it will be based on merit.”

He, however, hinted that the mode of training for the Amotekun Corps might be akin to the type that the paramilitary agencies give their personnel.

Recruitment process won’t be compromised –Ekiti commissioner

In a related development, Ekiti State Commissioner for Information, Mr Muyiwa Olumilua, has said that the state and others in the region would not compromise standards in the recruitment process, adding that recruitment would soon begin.

Although Olumilua did not give the precise date when the recruitment would begin in Ekiti State, he gave the assurance that it would not be delayed.

He said, “All the state assemblies have passed the bill, so, we are waiting for all the states to sign the bill into law, then the issue of recruitment forms will follow. Those to be recruited will be those that members of the communities can vouch for – people of integrity.”

He also promised that the personnel of the corps would be shared fairly between men and women that apply.

Olumilua, who said Ekiti State under the leadership of Governor Kayode Fayemi, was not discriminatory in terms of gender and place of origin, said, “In Ekiti State, we believe in gender equality and we are an equal opportunities employer.

“As long as you are resident in Ekiti State and you have resided here for a while, we believe that you are part of us here. We do not discriminate, but it’s of importance that those to be enlisted will be people whose integrity could be vouched for by their communities, since the personnel will be in the communities.”

He said there would be training and a command structure as it could not be a loosely-configured outfit.

“Everybody is looking forward to Amotekun to begin operations and I believe that the South-West governors will not let our people down. It will commence very soon,” he added.

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