Opinion: The rise and the staggering of Amotekun – By FEMI OLUWASANMI
It is an undeniable fact that in an atmosphere of crisis, killings, kidnapping, “adultnapping” and other antisocial activities of this magnitude, to have economic development and progress will be difficult. This seems to be the rationale behind the inauguration of operation Amotekun by the South West State Governors on 9th January, 2020, before it was declared illegal by the federal might.
According to the Attorney General of Federation and Minister of Justice (AGF) Abubakar Malami (SAN) on 14th January, 2020, the formation of operation Amotekun is alien to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended 2011 because it runs contrary to the provisions that uphold the establishment of such security outfit.
Part of the provisions cited by the AGF are items 38 and 45 of the second schedule of the constitution which stipulate that the military (Army, Navy and Air Force) including any other branch of the armed forces of the Federation and the Police and other government security services established by law to maintain law and order in the country are exclusively for the federal government and not on the concurrent list where federal and state governments interplay as actors.
While this seems not to be far from the reality, the level of insecurity in the country suggests a need for community policing which would have been included in the Constitution if the country was to be facing this kind of security turbulent in 1998.
Even, despite this lacuna, the Constitution still recognizes the Governor as the chief security officer of the state, thereby giving them the responsibility to protest lives and property within their area of jurisdiction which probably informed the formation of operation Amotekun.
Prior to the formation of Amotekun, there were series of killings, kidnappings and other criminal activities which crescendo to an height of fear whereby people going to work have to considered security before leaving home. Just to picture the level of insecurity in the region.
For instance, in July, 2019, the daughter of one of the leaders of a Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, was shot dead at Ore junction in Ondo State by unknown gunmen. While the farm of a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Chief Olu Falae, located at Ilado, Ondo State was set ablazed by herdsmen in January, 2018.
Similar thing happened to some pastors of the Redeemed Christan Church of God when they were kidnapped by kidnappers along sagamu- Ore axis in 2019.
Infact, the Governor of Ondo State, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, said in June 2019, that his convoy was targeted by the kidnappers when he ran into them along Akure-Ibadan road before his security shot into the air to scare them away. If this could happened to a sitting Governor of a State what about the ordinary citizen that has no security escort?
Though, the issue of insecurity is not only limited to the Southwest because its manifestation is well felt in all the geopolitical zones of the country. The manner at which it is being reported daily shows that it has defied the tactics of the mainstream security agencies.
The number of people that have lost theirs lives to the criminal activities in the recent time based on the reports from both local and international observers are thousands in number. This is not to talk of those suffering from the truma of kidnapping, rape and other similar experiences.
Many Nigerians in the diaspora are afraid to come back to Nigeria because of insecurity while some within the country no longer go to their village again because of this menace which seems to have rendered the mainstream security agencies powerless and the citizens helpless.
The reason for this failure is not unconnected to the high level of corruption, inadquate funding, tribalism, and others similar factors within and outside the security architecture. Most time, people are even afraid of reporting security threat to the police station because of the fear of being the next subject of attack.
In the world of today, intelligent gathering is very important for security officers to perform very well and this is the reason operation Amotekun or something similar is of necessity. With such security outfit, the mainstream security will be able to gether information necessary for their operation.
Apart from this, the creation of such security outfit will bring security architecture closer to the people and naturally reduce the hideout of criminal elements wrecking havock on Nigerians.
Although, the place of Amotekun might not be so clear in the constitution but it place in combating the high level of insecurity is of great importance because if the mainstream security agencies had not failed in performing their constitutional role to the maximum level, the issue of Amotekun would not have even come to place.
So, it is high time the nation looks beyond legalism to necessity by facing squarely the common enemy which is insecurity inorder to achieve economic development and progress because in a state of insecurity there is possibility of anarchy and where there is anarchy, automatically the constitution of such a State is thrown to the dustbin of history while the survival of the fittest becomes a common currency.