The Ooni of Ife, Enitan Ogunwusi, on Thursday declared that Southwest traditional rulers are in support of the new regional security outfit, code-named ‘Amotekun.’
The monarch’s comment comes just as the Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State also on Thursday said the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN) otherwise know as ‘Amotekun’ would not ”undermine the power of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
Mr Ogunwusi made his declaration during the launching of Amotekun by the governors of the South-west region.
At the launching held in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, were Governors Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and Mr Fayemi.
Others are Deputy Governor of Ogun, Noimat Salako-Oyedele; Deputy Governor of Osun, Benedict Alabi; Yoruba World Congress Leader, Banji Akintoye and Deji Osinbogun.
It will be recalled that the six governors from the zone: Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo) Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Gboyega Oyetola (Osun), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos) and Mr Fayemi (Ekiti), had last year agreed to establish Amotekun, aimed at strengthening security in the region.
The region, like others, has been ravaged by crimes such as banditry, robbery and kidnapping in recent months leading to the deaths of many.
Mr Ogunwusi warned personnel who will be working with the new security outfit ”not to betray the interest of Yoruba land.”
He declared that all traditional rulers in the region ”were in support of the new security outfit.”
Mr Ogunwusi also said governors in the region ”have done their best and it was left for the personnel and the citizens of the region to work together for the success of the security outfit.”
Mr Ogunwusi said, “All the traditional rulers are in support. The federal government is not opposed to it, let all and sundry support it for peace to reign in the region.”
“The success of this security outfit will be of benefit to the present generation and the generation yet unborn,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mr Akintoye said ”the Yoruba people did not know how to tackle security challenges when it first started and many people suffered for it.”
He added that the governors ”have now risen to the challenges and are acting credibly in tackling it.”
“The people that will work in the Amotekun are going to be trained properly by highly educated people for them to relate properly with the police and the army,” he said.
Also, the National Public Relations Officer, Vigilante Group of Nigeria, Nelson Fashina, said ”his people are properly fit for the security outfit because they understand the terrain” and are capable of taking up the challenges of community policing.
Meanwhile, Mr Fayemi, who doubles as Chairman, Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), speaking at the event, said the establishment of “Amotekun” was aimed at tackling armed robbery, banditry and kidnappings across the region.
He said it would not undermine the work of federal security outfits but enable it.
He added that the primary responsibility of all the governors is to ensure the security and welfare of citizenry.
Mr Fayemi maintained that Amotekun is not a duplication of the Nigerian Police Force.
“People should not misinterpret Amotekun,” he said. “We are not here to undermine the power of the Federal Government of Nigeria, but our primary interest is the security and safety of our people.”
“That is why we decided to come together to curb the security menace in this region,” he added.
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo, in his welcome address, also explained why the initiative was birthed.
“We governors have not forgotten our oath in providing peace and security and coming together to fish out our common enemy. All of us met six months ago and decided to set up a joint security outfit because it is our priority as governors to ensure that citizens carry out their legitimate businesses safely,” he said.
Mr Akeredolu, who is also the chairman of the Southwest governors forum, said hardly any state in South-west is immune from security challenges.
“We decided that something must be done in order to curb the menace and we think that combined efforts is the only solution to it. We shall not relent until our people are secured,” he said.