The Gun Debate Akeredolu’s battle with FG over arms for Amotekun

Toluwalope Jombo

Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu,SAN, has said the Amotekun Corps must be allowed to bear the tools and the most sophisticated weapons available to fight back against marauders committing crimes against humanity.

Governor Akeredolu explained that the incontestable authority of the state must be imposed in the country which is under threat by brazen conflict entrepreneurs and armed, audacious non-state actors.

He asserted that the State Security outfits backed by law whether in the Western Nigeria, Katsina, Borno, Benue or any Northern State must have access to the same sophisticated weapons that the marauders have.

The Governor vowed that his administration will continue to support the operational capacity of all security agencies in the State both in terms of equipment and the welfare of their personnel.

Speaking at the Passing-Out Parade of Courses 3 and 4 of the State Amotekun Corps at the Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Arcade, Igbatoro Road, Akure, Akeredolu emphasised that the passing out ceremony is a reminder of the need to strategize and tackle the current security situation, which he said has been left to snowball into existential crises across Nigeria.

He averred that the commitment of his administration to the safety and welfare of the people of the State and investors remains unshaken.

Governor Akeredolu charged the new officers to do nothing that will soil the image of Amotekun Corps, adding that much is expected from them.

“The key guiding principles which you must adhere to at all times include spartan discipline, zero-tolerance to bribery and abuse of power, prompt response to distress calls and display of professionalism in the discharge of your duties. No form of misconduct shall be tolerated.” He stressed.

The Governor, who noted that the current internal security framework in the country is ineffectual, submitted that the response of the subnationals by setting up their own outfits is welcome, necessary, and has become indispensable.

Governor Akeredolu said: ”The Western Nigeria Security Network, AMOTEKUN CORPS, as a response, is now not just the first line of defence, but the ultimate bulwark in the protection of a way of life and of a civilization.

“The efforts of our determined and valiant Amotekun personnel since inception must be underscored, encouraged and highly commended. We must all rise at this time to acknowledge their efforts.

“On our parts, we will continue to support the operational capacity of all security agencies in the State both in terms of equipment and the welfare of their personnel.

“The recent donation of 50-fitted patrol vehicles is a testament to our resolve to be up-to-date in fighting crime and criminality because without a secured environment, there can never be visible and sustained development.

“The Amotekun Corps must be given the tools to carry out its now pivotal, indispensable duties. For centuries, we have been admonished that “a bad workman blames his tools,” in the case of Amotekun Corps the workman is expected to function without good tools.

“It is not only absurd, but also a dereliction of duty and a cause of disaffection. Dissatisfaction is induced by a feeling of unfairness. The crises in the conventional wisdom is life-threatening and nationwide. Therefore, it is unacceptable if the state sanctions differing rules of engagement for different sub-national governments.

“Without providing the sub-national security forces to be a counter-balancing force we have a crisis which strikes at the heart of the conception and the definition of the state itself. It is not just the definition of the State, the State itself is under existential threat.

“The modern state is defined by Treaties. The conception of the modern state beatified by these treaties gives it “an incontestable monopoly of the means of violence, intimidation and coercion.”

“Those passing out today have undergone rigorous training at great expense to the state. The training will not end here it will be continuous. However, no amount of training will mask the debilitation of fighting with one arm tied against implacable foes.

“Amotekun must therefore be armed and will be armed and be backed by law. Otherwise, the training will be inadequate and we will be placing the lives of these great patriots in danger.”

This came just as the Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has expressed support for the position taken by the governor to kit Amotekun personnel with sophisticated arms like their counterparts in Katsina State.

The organisation said it was in full support of the governor’s decision, expressing dismay that the Federal Government was allegedly practising two systems in the same nation.

Afenifere in a statement by the its National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Jare Ajayi, posited that although there are many instances to be cited, “we want to restrict ourselves to the most recent one for now because of the serious implications it holds for our security, political and socio-economic well-being.

“Amotekun is robbed of the power to prosecute suspects apprehended notwithstanding the evidence they marshal. They must hand the culprits over to the police that is under firm control of the Federal Government. Complaints are rife that many cases handed over to the police by Amotekun ended up without proper prosecution, if at all. Rumours had it that some culprits ended up being released by the police – a reason being given for the rise in people taking laws into their own hands.” The statement read in part.

Speaking further on the alleged double standard of the Federal Government, Afenifere‘s spokesman recalled that it took a lot of pressures mounted by the people before bandits, mostly of northern extraction, were declared as terrorists whereas the government wasted no time in using the strong arm against groups in the South which are agitating for self-determination.

He also cited the case of the Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom who has, since August, unsuccessfully been seeking a licence from the Federal Government to equip the state’s Vigilante Group with needed weapons.

“This, along with the experience of the Southwest governors in regard to Amotekun, was what made Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State to speak angrily on the preferential treatment given to Katsina State Government. His angst is highly justified.”

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