NLC, Bishops throw weight behind Operation Amotekun

Posted by News Express | 5 February 2020 | 516 times

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Southwest Governors will meet on Thursday with Inspector-General of Police Sulaiman Adamu to fine-tune the operational plan for the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN) Operation Amotekun.

Also tomorrow, the Attorneys-General and Commissioners of Justice of Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti states will meet in Ibadan to perfect the bill to give legal backing to Amotekun.

On Tuesday, Catholic bishops in the zone and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) gave their support to the security outfit.

Operation Amotekun was launched on January 9 to secure the Southwest states but on January 14, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami declared it illegal.

His action drew the ire of many Nigerians, who criticised him for being legalistic in the face of unabated killings and resurgence of insecurity.

The Catholic bishops chided the Federal Government for its approach to tackling insecurity.

Chairman of the Southwest Governors Forum and Governor of Ondo State, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, announced the meeting with the IG in Abuja on Tuesday after a parley with President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said: “I did not discuss about Amotekun with Mr President in any way. We didn’t even mention it. He wouldn’t have asked me, I was not there for that purpose. The issue of Amotekun is a matter having to do with security and as you know, Mr Vice President had come into this, we have held meetings, we are having subsequent meetings and we know that on Thursday, the governors will be meeting with the Inspector-General of Police to sort out a few things and to smoothen edges.

“On the issue of security, we are directly speaking with the Inspector-General of Police and other security agencies. I’ve not come here to bother the President about it.”

President of the NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, noted that community effort was needed to support the security agencies in addressing Nigeria’s depressing security challenges.

He said Civilian Joint Task Force was already in place in the north east, assisting security agencies in fighting terrorism and other crimes and criminalities in the region.

Speaking on Amotekun he said: “We need community efforts to be able to support the Armed Forces because we know that the number is not enough and they can’t be in every community. So we must also play some role. It is just for those groups (Amotekun) to be organised.

“Even with the current discourse (insecurity), everybody has agreed that there is need for that (Amotekun) but that does not also mean they should operate outside the national structure.

“All efforts must be supported towards addressing the issue of insecurity in our country. Any idea that will address the issue of insecurity in our country is an idea that is worth consideration and I think that has been our position.

“Even the Federal Government has come to agree that (Amotekun) is an idea that is worthy of consideration. What they need is to operate within the confines of what the constitution provides.”

Wabba spoke during a meeting of Members of the National Adminstrative Council (NAC) in Abuja.

Catholic Bishops demanded to “see immediate action” from the Federal Government on insecurity.

The bishops, who spoke in Ibadan endorsed Operation Amotekun which they described as a security umbrella for everybody living in the Southwest.

All appears set for the presentation of the bill to the Southwest states’ Houses of Assembly.

Attorneys Generals meeting

The Osun State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Olufemi Akande, said on Tuesday that tomorrow’s meeting of the Attorneys-General and Commissioners of Justice in the six states will take far-reaching and definite decisions on the bill to protect the interest and welfare of the people when Amotekun eventually takes off.

Akande said the executive and the legislature in the region are on the same page on Amotekun.

The final draft of the bill is expected to be ratified at the meeting.

The AGs had set up a three-member committee when they met in Ibadan a fortnight ago. The committee was saddled with the responsibility of looking at existing laws in Lagos, Ogun and Ekiti and come up with what can work as a strong legal backing for the operation in each of the six states without running contrary to the Constitution.

The AGs working together to ensure that Amotekun exists and operates on a state-by-state basis but with regional cooperation. The outfit will operate with the same operational guidelines developed by the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission christened Standard Operational Procedure (SOP).

They are to operate with common insignia such as uniform, patrol vans, recruitment procedure and administrative organogram. They will interact at regional level through sharing of intelligence, joint cooperation in tracking down criminals and training of personnel.

The AGs were brought into Amotekun’s establishment when the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN) declared the outfit illegal.

State houses of assembly in the six states have already indicated readiness to give the bill accelerated passage once received.

At tomorrow’s meeting, the AGs will review the framework developed by the committee and the bills prepared by each state. They will study the two drafts and agree on a general guideline. Each state will then draft its final bill, present to the governor and send to the House of Assembly for passage.

Speakers of the houses of assembly have also pledged to give the bill accelerated passage once submitted.

Each state is expected to submit its own bill from next week which would have accommodated their peculiarities in addition to the general content that are common to all of them.

Catholic bishops demand action

The Catholic bishops in the Southwestern part of the country spoke after their conference in Ibadan.

Bishops from provinces of Ibadan, archdiocese, Ilorin, Ondo, Ekiti, Oyo and Osogbo dioceses, attended the meeting.

Describing the security situation in the country as worsening, the catholic bishops declared that human life seemed to have lost value in Nigeria.

Speaking on their behalf, Archbishop of Ibadan diocese, Most Rev. Gabriel Abegunrin, dismissed the claim that Amotekun was targeted at herdsmen.

With him at the news conference were Archbishop emeritus of Ibadan, Archbishop Alaba Job, Bishop of Ekiti Diocese, Most Rev. Felix Ajakaye , Bishop of Oyo Diocese, Most Rev. Emmanuel Badejo, Bishop of Osogbo diocese , Bishop John Oyejola, and Bishop of Ilorin , Bishop Paul Olawoore among others.

As part of the nine-point communiqué, they described security in Nigeria as in dire – straits, adding; only few Nigerians in any part of the country can sleep with two eyes closed.

Describing the establishment of Amotekun as the right response to the cries of the people of Southwest, the clergy men , who commended the governors for quickly responding to the challenges of insecurity, said: “It is not true that it is targeted against the herdsmen . If you listen to what they said and what people have been saying, that is not true at all.

“Amotekun is to take care of the people of South West region or anybody living in the Southwest is covered. I think that is their duty. They are not excluding anybody at all.”

They corroborated the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) , that Christians in the country are the most persecuted and cited the killings and burning of church in Minna, the beheading of CAN chairman in Adamawa, and other parts of the Northeast.

While calling on proactive measures to arrest the ugly situation, the catholic bishops condemned the approach by the federal government, which they said, was far from the expectations of Nigerians.

Laxity of government

“Well, people have been saying that there is a lot of laxity on the part of the federal government and it is not all totally false and its not totally true. There is more truth in it.  There is a little bit of laxity in the federal government approach to curbing insecurity. Each time it happens, as you all know, there is so much delay before the government even could say something about it.

“And when the government comments, either the president himself, or his media aides, you will find them defending and watering it down and attenuating the facts.  And that is human life, and that is not really good. They are full of defence, instead of facing the truth.

“We are on top of the matter dosen’t work with us. But we want to see the action, that is what we want to see,” they stated.

Speaking on the call on President Muhammadu Buhari to resign by some group of people, the Catholic bishops described the call as normal.

“Well, it is normal that if a government is not performing and its not ready to change, such a government should leave to give room for those who can do the job, because its not a family kind of inheritance. We can not treat the whole country as our backyard or as a personal thing.” (The Nation)



Source: News Express

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