Nigeria: Amotekun - Restructuring Now Inevitable - Ohanaeze, Bakare

(file photo)
27 January 2020

Lagos — General Overseer, Citadel Global Community Church (The Latter Rain Assembly), Pastor Tunde Bakare and Apex Igbo social-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, yesterday, agreed that the newly instituted Western Nigeria Security Network, by the South West governors, code-named "Operation Amotekun, shows that restructuring was inevitable.

Meanwhile, the Middle Belt Forum, MBF, has called on the governors in the region (Middle Belt) to work towards the creation of a security network similar to Amotekun in order to check all forms of insecurity 'unleashed on defenceless communities' in the region.

Also, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, representing Taraba South senatorial district and Senate Deputy Minority Leader, yesterday, endorsed Amotekun' and advised other zones to borrow a leaf from the South-West by coming up with similarly security networks for a more secured Nigeria.

It has shown that restructuring is inevitable --Bakare

Speaking in Lagos during a church service, Bakare said the trend towards regional security outfits was an indication that Nigeria needs to revisit its national foundations and renegotiate them in order to have a more perfect union.

Bakare argued that Nigeria should candidly address its growing contentious national questions of constitutionalism and nationhood at the table of brotherhood rather than continue to sweep them under the carpet.

He said: "The proponents of Amotekun, particularly in the South, justify the move by referencing the Sharia police or Hisbah as a Northern version of regional policing. The opponents, on the other hand, particularly from the North, express fears of possible regional political motivations.

"These are clear indications that the issues we swept under the carpet in past decades are still staring us in the face. We cannot continue to hide under the umbrella of one finger. It is time to address the underlying issues of nationhood and reset Nigeria on the path to predictable progress.

"The way forward for these recurring questions of federalism, including that of regional or state policing is to travel downwards to revisit the constitutional foundations while looking upwards with unwavering faith in our divinely ordained destiny as one strong, united nation, with a strong Federal Government and strong federating units; a nation in which government as an entity is close enough to serve the people and strong enough to protect them.

"We must not lose sight of the main issue in the Operation Amotekun debate, which is that the current mono-level security architecture has proved inadequate to combat the security challenges that confront not just the South-West but every zone in our nation - security challenges such as kidnapping, herdsmen attacks, cattle rustling, terrorism and the porosity of our borders.

"Youth joblessness is the breeding ground for the various forms of crime that have bedeviled our land. Evidently, idle hands are the devil's workshop. Even our present constitution, flawed as it is, stipulates that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.

"Consequently, we cannot prioritise the security of the citizens above the welfare of the citizens; the two must go hand in hand. When that happens, the crime rate will drastically drop as our youths across the length and breadth of the federation are gainfully employed or helped to become job creators themselves."

Ohanaeze agrees, hails S' West govs on Amotekun

On its part, the apex Igbo social-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo congratulated the South West governors on Amotekun, even as it agreed with Bakare that Amotekun suggests a trend towards restructuring.

Spokesman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chuks Ibegbu, who congratulated the South West governors for their firmness on Amotekun and the Federal Government for reviewing its stand on the matter, noted that Amotekun is like a Vigilante group and people have the right to protect themselves against marauders and killers, especially "when our conventional security apparatus is unable to do that.

"Ohanaeze is in full support of Amotekun and any initiative that will safeguard lives and property in the country. But what is wrong if our security architecture is restructured to protect lives? Do you know how many Nigerians lose their lives everyday due to our unitary security architecture?

"Some people want Nigeria to remain a giant on mosquito legs and are not interested in who will salvage this country. This is a challenge and the youths should stand up to it.

"All criminals, killers, hoodlums and ritualists hiding in any forest in the country especially the south should flee now in their own interest.

"I have said that our security, political, economic, social and even socio-religious milieu need urgent restructuring. Bakare is right."

Ohanaeze also lauded the former Head of State, Gen Yakubu Gowon (retd), for his support for the Nigeria's President of Igbo extraction project, noting that Gowon has shown himself to be a statesman by the comment.

Ohanaeze further lauded Balarabe Musa, Gen Ishola Williams, Chief Adebanjo, Chief Edwin Clark, Gen Zamani Lekwot, Chief Kimsion Okoko, Bitrus Pogu, Air Commodore Nkanga, Ebenezer Babatope, and several elder statesmen in Nigeria who are making serious case for an Igbo to occupy Aso Rock in 2023.

Create your own Operation Amotekun now --M-Belt Forum tells governors

On its part, Middle Belt Forum, MBF, in a congratulatory message to the governors of the region over their recent victories at the Supreme Court, urged them to settle down and resolve the myriad of problems plaguing their states, especially the insecurity and infrastructural challenge confronting the region.

The forum, in a statement by its National President, Dr. Bitrus Pogu, said: "For most of these states mentioned above, the prevailing security challenges have become the bane of safety and development. Attacks on communities and defenceless citizens are recurring in most of the states that have been caught in the web of avoidable bloodshed by terrorists.

"These murderous assaults have continued to cast threatening clouds of uncertainties and untold hardship on the populace. With the electoral disputations finally settled in their favour, it is hoped that more efforts and focus shall be deployed by the governors in combating bloodshed and massive destruction unleashed by terrorists.

"The Middle Belt Forum wishes to draw the attention of these governors to be irrevocably steadfast in evolving measures capable of staving off further bloodshed across our communities occupied by the peoples of the Middle Belt Region.

"Democracy and rights to life is sacrosanct and, therefore, we call on the governors to be committed to the defence of life and property.

"The present decimation of communities in the Middle Belt states and the turning of towns and villages into silent killing fields need to be revisited by these governors in collaboration with relevant agencies of the Federal Government to end the massive siege unleashed on Middle Belt states.

"Considering the horrifying activities that have drawn global attention, the Forum calls on the governors to work towards the creation of a security network similar to Operation Amotekun in order to obliterate all forms of insecurity unleashed on defenceless communities.

"We believe that a security outfit like Operation Amotekun will serve our communities better than the proposed community policing."

Sen Bwacha advises other zones to emulate South-West

On his part, Sen. Emmanuel Bwacha, representing Taraba South senatorial district and Senate Deputy Minority Leader, advised other zones to borrow a leaf from the South-West by coming up with their various security networks for a more secured Nigeria.

Bwacha gave the advice in Jalingo on the sideline of a thanksgiving service in honour of Bishop Dan Kashibo of the Holiness Revival Movement who reunited with his wife after 37 years of breakup.

According to him, "Operation 'Amotekun' is timely as it will help in checking the incessant kidnappings and other forms of criminal activities in the region.

He advised the South-South, South-East, North-Central, North-East and North-West zones to also come up with their own internal security networks for a more secured nation.

"Operation Amotekun is a welcome development, I will advise other regions to follow immediately by coming up with their own internal security networks," he said.

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