The creation of Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN) codenamed Amotekun was premised on the need for a semblance of state policing which will be responsible to the State Government. It is to complement the efforts of the Federal Government controlled Police in combating banditry, armed robbery, kidnapping and other security challenges ravaging the Southwest gradually.
The accelerated establishment of the Network which had been in the pipeline for a while came at the height of attacks on both regular and prominent personalities like Pa Reuben Fasoranti who lost his daughter to suspected Fulani herdsmen.
Its demand is one of the few instances where Yoruba leaders across political divides have agreed on an issue and remained united till it materialised.
Despite resistance from the Anthony General of the Federation and the Inspector General of Police, both of whom are from the North where Hisbah – a similar and in fact more powerful outfit operates- the Southwest Governors got their wish. A regional security outfit to be funded by individual states with the responsibility of securing the region against Fulani herders invasion and assisting the police where and when necessary.
Amotekun was inaugurated in colourful ceremonies across the region amidst cheers and accolades. But two months down the line, our cheers are turning to tears.
Amotekun is fast becoming a killing machine right in our faces. And worst still, the one man that can call them to order at this early stage – the Governor- seem unconcerned. His “hold me responsible” speech reduced to mere rhetorics.
Amotekun since its inauguration in Oyo State is yet to crack any case of serious crime, it has instead been fingered in at least three cases of civilian deaths. The latest being that of Kolade Gbadebo, a final years student of the University Ibadan (affiliated with Federal College of Education (Special), Oyo, said to have been shot to death by unprovoked Amotekun Operatives.
Amotekun did not stop at terminating Kolade’s life untimely (as alleged), they have refused to address the public on their involvement in his death. Instead of an explanation, the outfit has resulted to intimidating anyone who dares to ask questions. Student Union leaders who were out on a fact-finding mission in Oyo town on Tuesday were confronted by a battalion of Amotekun operatives, threatening to attack them with guns, knives and juju.
If the Police Force that has it’s a minimum requirement as SSCE can be as unprofessional as we see every passing day. One can only imagine what will become of Amotekun if unchecked.
Its operatives are drawn from a pool of mostly uneducated hunters, members of OPC, vigilantes etc. Although their lack of education does not define their “Omoluwabi” ethos, it calls for strict monitoring and constant reminder of their duties and conditions of engagement.
Kolade Gbadebo is dead, but, his case must not. The demand for accountability from Amotekun and His Excellency Mr. “Hold me responsible” should start there. We either make Amotekun accountable now or never.
Asubiojo O. Marshal, writes from Ibadan, the Oyo state capital.