Lagos — National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has stated that the security outfit launched by South-West governors, Amotekun, is not a threat to national unity, but that the South-West governors need to engage Attorney-General of the Federation & Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, on it.
Tinubu in a statement, yesterday, said, "Those claiming that this limited, inoffensive addition to security threatens the Republic have taken themselves upon a madcap excursion."
Reacting to Tinubu's comment, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, said it was on the same page with the APC leader.
Meanwhile, elder statesman and Afenifere chieftain, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode and Secretary-General of the Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE, Dr Kunle Olajide, were not too excited.
National President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, however, called on the North to be ready to start its own version of Amotekun in order to tackle the rising wave of insecurity in the region.
Also, Second Republic lawmaker, Dr. Junaid Muhamed, maintained that Tinubu ought to have got the party leaders and government together to assure them of the motive of Amotekun, saying he (Tinubu) got it wrong.
This came as Osun State governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, stressed the need for public support in tackling insecurity, noting that kidnapping and armed banditry recognize no religion or ethnic groups.
Also, Director-General of Development Agenda for Western Nigeria, Mr Seye Oyeleye noted that Amotekun is aimed at protecting all ethnic groups in South-West region.
Amotekun not threat to national unity
Tinubu in the statement, said: "Those claiming that the Federal Government seeks to terribly suppress the South-West have also lost their compass. Those who occupy these two extremes have sunken into the dark recesses of fear and political paranoia that can undo a nation if such sentiments are allowed to gestate.
"Amotekun. This issue has dominated recent discourse and media headlines. Distilled to its basics, it concerns how best state governments can assist with the safety and security of their residents. This is a matter of serious concern entitled to sober thought. However, it has been turned into a political tug-of-war. Fierce, often unthinking rhetoric, for and against, has crossed the lips of too many Nigerians. More subjective talking than objective thinking has been the fuel of this outburst.
"Question those in favour of Amotekun. Most have but the vaguest notion about it. They know few details yet vigorously attribute to its opponents the most negative intentions. Ask those who oppose Amotekun. They are equally ignorant of its provisions. They oppose the initiative not on its merits but merely because it was proposed by their political opponents or because they don't see an avenue for personal gain from it.
"While colourful, the rhetoric has been disconcerting. How people have mishandled this matter demonstrates that we still have far to go in perfecting this democracy. Too much energy has been spent distorting this issue instead of seeking a resolution that supports local enhancement of security while keeping the constitution intact. If this becomes the standard for how we handle disagreements then we will obscure Nigeria's path forward with our own rubbish.
"In this matter, I do not see malign intent in the differences of opinion between the S'West governors as authors of Amotekun and the Attorney-General as the primary law enforcement officer of the Federal Government. Shorn of the overly dramatic language, what lies before us is but a step in the evolution of our federalism. This is an opportunity to more clearly define that federalism; but one cannot attain this better, more functional definition through overblown, emotional language.
"Objectivity and calmness are required. To a significant degree, the enduring quality of our republic will be established by the sagacity with which we handle disagreements regarding the division of power between federal and state governments. Such disagreements are inevitable. This is not the first, nor will it be the last. We must devote our energies more toward solving problems rather than amplifying them.
"Seeking to fulfill their mandates by helping protect their people, the governors of the South West collectively established a programme to buttress existing security mechanisms. Seeking to protect the constitution as best he could, the Attorney-General offered his opinion on what he believed the governors sought to do. No one can blame either party for seeking to fulfill what they genuinely see as their public duty.
"Until now, I have deliberately maintained a studied silence regarding Amotekun. Many have tried to goad my swift public reaction. Those who have taken this road did so not because they care about Amotekun or even the people it intends to help protect. They did so knowing this had become a delicate and emotional issue for many. These cynics did so with the adversarial hope that, in haste, I might misspeak or misstep in a manner they could twist to their political advantage.
"Equally, I do not cow to the demands of those who press for me to make a premature statement on an important issue. Again, that is a game devised by those who care more about political cleverness than the quality of governance. I chose to talk when my position has been made ripe by a collection of the facts and a reasonable assessment of those facts."
We agree with him --Afenifere
Reacting to Tinubu's comment on Amotekun, Afenifere's National Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin said: "We agree with Tinubu that Amotekun is not a threat to anybody. It is a measure to protect everybody in the South West whether you are Igbo or Hausa. Only criminals can be afraid of Amotekun.
"We read Tinubu's statement, all he is trying to do is to constitute himself as a tanko court, giving judgments over parties he does not listen to. This is not the time to be an apex court, it is time to state where you are and talking from all sides of your mouth because of Buhari.
"All the insults we are getting from some people over Amotekun, we choose to ignore them, all that we want is that all those who call themselves Yoruba leaders, should speak out clearly because we are under siege."
Also speaking, elder statesman and Afenifere chieftain, Pa Ayo Adebanjo said: "Is he talking to the Federal Government or who? His comments are too ambiguous. He should state clearly who he is referring to? What he is saying is deceitful. He should have come out to slam the Federal Government instead of dancing round the issue."
Also, Secretary General of the Yoruba Council of Elders, Dr Kunle Olajide, said: "The comment was beautifully written and politically worded but it came a bit too late. The comment gives the impression that Asiwaju Tinubu is too distant from us. Imagine how the herders killed, maimed and kidnapped our people. So, we, Yoruba, are justifiably angry.
"We expected Asiwaju to be physically present at the launch of Amotekun being the leader of Yoruba. I'm particularly not happy that he kept his distance from us. He remains our leader and he ought to have been involved from the inception.
"Look at the beautiful suggestions he gave in the comments. That type of suggestion should have been given at the launch. Asiwaju Tinubu should be regionally minded and should not be too federally minded."
Similarly, Fani-Kayode berated Tinubu over what he described as wishy washy statement on Operation Amotekun.
Fani Kayode said on his twitter handle that "I read BAT's (Bola Ahmed Tinubu) wishy-washy statement on Amotekun and his futile attempt to defend the FG. He should stop trying to defend the indefensible."
Also, Chief Kole Omololu, National Organizing Secretary of Afenifere and former United Kingdom chairman of the group said: "His Excellency, Asiwaju's statement is what is called political correctness; leaders should talk boldly on a precarious situation. Asiwaju refused to comment on other para-military forces like Hisba and civilian JTF in the north.
"He did not read between the lines that that the Attorney General's statement is a statement of panic. Panic in the sense that the Amatekun phenomena unify the Yoruba nation, regardless of political affiliations. It has total and absolute support of all the children of Oduduwa and also other nationalities apart from Fulanis.
"lt is a unity that is dangerous for a government that is nepotic and whose agenda on one Nigeria where true federalism operates is not clear.
"The Yoruba nation is an utterly and incredibly resilient one. We are focused and not dissuaded by any statement by one million Tinubu, when we know we are just and sincere. Asiwaju's statement is a pile of waffle, a dubious exercise in self-seeking sophistry and equivocation."
There's need for him to address govt, party - Junaid Muhammed
Muhammed said: "I believe as a leader of the ruling party, Tinubu is entitled to his opinion and in a situation whereby even leaders of the same party have divergent views or outlook on the same issue, the best to do is not only to address it on the pages of news paper as he did, I believe that is wrong.
"There's need for him to get the government and the party together to address the issue because people are concerned about some of these creation of new inventions. So peace and common sense are in existence together.
"We demand that he does that instead of shouting on the pages of newspaper. He is only reassuring those who are concerned which includes me in particular. If he's now saying that how I wish he just go to President Buhari and his close associate like the general chief of staff and some of his political advisers that Amotekun is not a threat to our national unity but a confrontation to the challenges of insecurity."
North should get its own Amotekun, says Arewa Youth leader, Shettima
National President of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Alhaji Shettima, in his reaction, said that rather than dismiss Amotekun as illegal and vilifying the South West governors for their ingenuity in setting up the security outfit, the Federal Government should team up with the governors and ensure the workability of the new outfit.
"I am a strong supporter of community policing given the state of insecurity in Nigeria particularly in the Northern part of the country and I believe that Amotekun is a right step in the right direction which should be supported by all well-meaning Nigerians.
"As far as I am concerned, the North should get ready to start its own version of Amotekun in order to tackle the rising wave of insecurity in the region. It is only when one is alive that there could be governance. The situation is clear and simple: If the state cannot protect and defend its citizens, the people must find a way to protect themselves."
Kidnapping, banditry respect no religion, Oyetola tells Osun residents
Governor in a statement y the Chief Press Secretary disclosed that describing Amotekun as an agenda against a particular faith or adherent is preposterous and a claim in bad faith.
The Osun Muslim Community in the state had weekend, rejected the security outfit on the ground that it is sectional and favourably disposed to the Christians.
But Oyetola said the intention of his administration and other governors in the region was to ensure security of lives and properties of the people irrespective of their political, religious and ethnic affiliation.
"Amotekun is a collective response by the South West region to the spate of armed banditry, rape, kidnapping, and other violent crimes that suddenly became a past time in the South West. To therefore, claim that it is an agenda against a particular faith or adherents of a particular religion is not only preposterous, but also in bad taste.
"Kidnapping, rape and armed banditry have no religion and know no tribe or ethnicity," it stated.
Amotekun will serve all ethnic groups - DG DAWN Commission
Director-General of Development Agenda for Western Nigeria, Mr Seye Oyeleye in an interview programme in a private radion station, noted that mischief-makers who didn't lift a finger when South West states was having security challenges are the ones opposing the outfit.
"Insecurity is not our way of life in the South West. This is the region that has been exposed to the outside world for about 700years ago. Mischief makers are the ones who are making comments that Amotekun is ethnic police to protect the Yorubas. In the Western region not only Yoruba live here. Every region lives here because we are an accommodating region. If you live here, under the armpit of the law, Amotekun will also serve you. It won't single out a Yoruba man.
"Amotekun is not for the territorial integrity of Nigeria, it is the work of Nigeria army, police e.t.c. Amotekun is to provide cover for the South West region in terms of complementing the work of the police.
"At some point last year when the South West states were going through several security challenges, people were afraid at the state of kidnapping, car hijacking, murder on our roads. The governors came together quickly to proffer solution the prevailing bad occurrence in the region.
"The South West governors mandated the DAWN commission, in June 2019. We csme together, the security experts proffer medium/long term solution. That was what we did when had a 4-day summit. One of the recommendations is the setting up of the joint security network by the six states."
Yoruba group back security outfit, accuses AGF of heating up the polity
Meanwhile, Yoruba Leadership and Peace Initiative, TYLPI, has accused the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, of unduly overheating the polity and putting the nation on the boil, by declaring the security outfit codenamed Amotekun as illegal.
In a statement by its President and General Secretary, Mr. Olusegun Ahmadu and Mr. Olufemi Adefemiwa respectively, they faulted the minister's stance, describing it as insensitive, insincere and smacking of bias and double standard.
They said, "Silence of the federal authorities even continued to lend support to the formation and operation of similar security bodies such as the Hisbahs and Civilian Joint Task Force, JTF, in certain troubled parts of the North.
"Where were the Federal Government and the AGF when Hisbah operatives recently arrested a policeman in the North? Why would the same Federal Government that lent and still lends support to those outfits now find the constitution sacred?
"Malami's insensitive and vexatious outburst has dangerously resurrected all the divisive tendencies- mutual distrust, differences, fissures and dichotomy which had plagued relations among the various sections of the country, judging by the public outrage that has trailed the incident.
"The Federal Government should see the rationale behind Amotekun and let it be. We must not see everything from the perspective of north-south dichotomy. Neither must we see it as Fulani versus Yoruba nor we versus them."