The Speakers of the various State Houses of Assembly in the South-west region on Thursday declared their support for the newly launched Western Nigeria Security Network also known as Amotekun.
They made this declaration during a meeting of the Conference of Speakers of South-west State Legislatures held in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
Present at the meeting were the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly who is also the Chairman, Conference of Speakers, Mudashiru Obasa; Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly, Funminiyi Afuye; Speaker of Osun State House of Assembly, Timothy Owoeye; Ondo State House of Assembly Speaker, Bamidele Oleyeloogun; Ogun State House of Assembly Speaker, Olakunle Oluomo and Speaker of Oyo State House of Assembly, Adebo Ogundoyin.
Others were representatives of Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission, members from the state Houses of Assembly in the region, security advisers from the region and others concerned.
The theme of the conference was “The imperative of Western Nigerian Security Network (Operation Amotekun): Legislative support for the initiative”.
None of the state assemblies had individually expressed its position since the launch of the new security outfit, which has attracted controversy including stiff opposition from the federal government.
Some of the governors have also said they would go ahead with the initiative despite the opposition.
Speakers take position
But, the speakers on Thursday expressed their support for the establishment of the newly launched security outfit.
Mr Ogundoyin, who addressed journalists at the meeting decried the statement credited to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, that the new security outfit is illegal.
He said that the new security outfit was launched to complement the efforts of the police and other security agencies.
”Since the launch of Operation Amotekun on January 9, 2020 in Ibadan by the South-west governors, several reactions have continued to trail the initiative,” he said. “To me, the legality or illegality of the launch is the most widely discussed issue in the media and indeed Nigeria today hence our coming together under the auspices of the South-west Speakers Conference to deliberate on the issue and pledge our unwavering support to the Operation.”
“The reactions and controversies generated by the launch especially the statement credited to the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami were surprising,” he added. “Operation Amotekun is meant to complement the activities of other security agencies in curbing the rising and disturbing spate of kidnapping, assault, ritual killing, armed robbery and other criminal acts in the South-west.”
He also said “another issue before us as Houses of Assembly is our quest to have financial autonomy as already enshrined in the nation’s constitution.”
“Recall that the Fourth Alteration Bill signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari granted financial autonomy to both the State Houses of Assembly and the Judiciary which consequently empowers us to receive our allocation straight from the Federation Account. However, this is yet to be implemented.
“We are also expected to work in tandem with all the state governors in the region towards ensuring the success of the Southwest economic integration agenda.
“It gladdens my heart that states in South-west Nigeria have keyed into the vital need for regional cohesion, integration and synergy for all-round growth and development of this part of the country. I thank you most sincerely and I wish us all fruitful and happy deliberations,” he noted as the meeting commenced.