GOVERNOR Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, yesterday, disclosed that the proposed bill that would give legal backing to the Western Nigeria Security Network codenamed Operation Amotekun will be signed into law on Friday, February 14 by the six south-west state governors.
Fayemi, who made this disclosure in his office in Ado-Ekiti at the official presentation of the draft bill by the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Wale Fapohunda noted that the South West Houses of Assembly had promised to give the bill accelerated passage.
This came as the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria, DAWN confirmed that recruitment of personnel was on-going in some states of the zone.
It was also gathered that speakers of various Houses of Assembly have assured that they would expedite actions on legislation that would give more credibility to the outfit.
Amotekun not targeted at Fulani herdsmen — Fayemi
Governor Fayemi said the draft bill will be subjected to extensive debate and discussion during the State’s Executive Council meeting tomorrow for immediate transmission to the House of Assembly.
Fayemi explained that the creation of Amotekun was meant to protect every law-abiding resident in the region regardless of their tribe and ethnicity, debunking the insinuations that it was targeted at Fulani herdsmen.
Expressing optimism that the security outfit would end the scourge of kidnappings, banditry and other criminal activities in the region, the governor added that it was in consonance with the community policing programme of the Federal Government.
His words: “It was one of the highlights of our meeting with the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo; the Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu and the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, including the six governors of the South West where we met to iron out the emerging different opinions on the outfit, including the security and well-being of every Nigerian, no matter where they might have come from.
“A lot of people have misconstrued the essence of the Amotekun security network. It is not about exclusive protection of indigenes of the South West. It is about the safety and security of every person resident in the six states of the South West, regardless of where they might have come from. As long as there are legitimately and legally resident in every part of the state, we consider it our duty, we consider it our responsibility to protect them as long as they are within the jurisdiction.
“Even though I have not read the bill, I am sure this is what this bill proposes. I am not sure the bill is for the protection of Yoruba people living in the six states. It is going to talk on ensuring our highways are free from banditry, armed robberies, kidnappers and all forms of brigandage.
“To that extent, it is a logical extension of the community policing initiative that President Muhammadu Buhari has assented to, that the Inspector General of Police has already communicated to various police formations across the country.
“Together with my colleagues, we have promised ourselves that this bill will be given accelerated discussions in our various State Executive Council meetings this week and send it expeditiously to our various State Houses of Assembly. “Our discussion with our speakers who have been waiting for the bill has led to the extent that they are recalling some of their members from recess in order to give this bill accelerated passage in the various legislatures.
“Latest by Friday, 14th February 2020, the bill, hopefully, will have been passed into law and assented to simultaneously in the six states of the South West and we hope the team in charge of it will start the implementation of the Amotekun corps immediately.”
Mr Fapohunda disclosed that the draft bill with about 38 provisions was prepared with specifications from each of the states which outlined the operational guidelines for the security network.
The Attorney General stressed that the bill was carefully put together with necessary provisions which include complaint desk to report cases of abuse of human rights and corruption by the Amotekun corps.
He revealed that the proposed bill would be uploaded on the website of the ministry for members of the public to read and make their comments.
Recruitment of personnel is on-going — DAWN
Meanwhile, in a telephone chat with Vanguard, the Director-General of the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria, DAWN, Mr Seye Oyeleye, confirmed that recruitment of personnel has commenced, while the legal framework is being perfected.
Oyeleye also confirmed that the speakers have given assurance that the process would not be delayed.
He said: “You know the Attorneys General of the six states and also various Houses of Assembly met. I’m sure they would expedite actions.
“The Speakers of various Houses of Assembly have assured that they would not delay the legislative aspect.
“As we speak, the recruitment of personnel is on-going. By this week, the state executive council in each state will meet.
“By the time we roll out, what people would see is a professional body. I assure you.”
Also speaking, the Yoruba Council of Elders through its Secretary-General, Dr Kunle Olajide urged the legislators in the states to expedite action on the outfit.
While commending the south-west governors for the initiative, he warned that people in the zone would not tolerate any failure.
Olajide said: “Events in the last 48 hours have further threatened the peaceful coexistence of our people when it was confirmed that about 400 Boko Haram members were arrested in Abia State.
“This is why we are very anxious. Everyone is anxious about the outfit. I can’t remember any Yoruba person arrested for kidnapping in the North as much as we have the Northern indigenes kidnapping our people here.
“This is one of the reasons we need Amotekun and we are not going back on our decision to have the security outfit.”
Ondo to commence recruitment
Meanwhile, the recruitment of personnel for the south-west security outfit will start this week in Ondo State.
Special Adviser to the governor on Security Matter, Alhaji Jimoh Dojumo, told Vanguard that all arrangements had been put in place for the exercise.
He said: “We are starting our recruitment very soon. But I want to assure you that the recruitment process had begun.
“What we want to do is to first recruit. After the recruitment, we will issue out forms; traditional rulers and community leaders across the state would be made to sign as guarantors of whoever we want to recruit in their communities.
“The traditional rulers and community leaders would be involved in the process.
“We are yet to issue out forms and if there is any form that is in circulation in the State, it is illegal, we have drafted the forms but we have not issued them out.
“People should not be deceived, we will make it transparent and those to be employed would be of an impeccable character that their traditional rulers and community leaders would be able to vouch for.”
Asked how soon the recruitment exercise will commence, Dojumo said: “This week is also very soon. We are ready with all the arrangements.”
Osun not recruiting yet — Oyetola
But Osun State government said it would commence recruitment into the Amotekun Corp after the bill is passed into law.
Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Ismail Omipidan said: “We have not started recruitment into Amotekun Corps, we are working to ensure that the proposed bill is taken to the House of Assembly and passed before moving to the next stage.
“We have concluded long ago that we are recruiting 900 locals and hunters into the Corp and we would do it through the local government councils across the state. For now, we are concentrating on making the bill see the light of the day.”