Speakers from the six state houses of assembly in the South-west geo-political zone have declared that the recently launched Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN), popularly known as Amotekun, is similar to the already existing Hisbah and Joint Task Force (JTF) in some parts of Northern Nigeria.
The speakers made this declaration via a communique issued at the end of a one-day security summit of Conference of Speakers of South West State Legislatures, held in Ibadan.
The meeting held on Thursday but the communique was released on Friday.
At the meeting were Adebo Ogundoyin (Oyo), Funminiyi Afuye (Ekiti), Bamidele Oleyelogun (Ondo), Timothy Owoeye (Osun), Oluomo Olakunle (Ogun) and Mudashiru Obasa (Lagos).
Various opinions have been expressed on the rationale and legality of the new security outfit. While some are of the opinion that Amotekun is a welcome development, others are of the opinion that the new security outfit is an aberration to the constitution of Nigeria and the already existing national security agencies.
The Minister for Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, also declared the new security outfit illegal.
But, the South-west Speakers, who had earlier declared their support for the new security outfit, said that Amotekun is, no doubt, a replica of Hisbah and JTF which have been in operation in the Northern region for many years.
They told the critics of the initiative that “Operation Amotekun is similar to already existing security outfits such as Hisbah and Joint Task Force in the Northern part of the country which has been in operation several years ago”.
The chairman, South West Conference of Speakers who is also the Speaker of Ondo State House of Assembly, Bamidele Oleyelogun, said the conference wholeheartedly supports the coming into being of Amotekun.
In the communique signed and made available to PREMIUM TIMES on Friday, he added that Amotekun will go a long way in curbing the security problems facing the South-west region.
Mr Oleyelogun said Amotekun in the South-west is in tandem with spirit of the constitution.
“Following the launching of South-West Security Network (Operation Amotekun), the Conference of Speakers of South West Legislature held a day summit on security with a view to making the position of Legislative Arm of government in the region known to the public.
“Among other things, various salient issues bordering on the growth and development of the entire South Western region and in particular the place of security as the ultimate determinant factor for any society to develop were debated.
“After exhaustive deliberation, the conference resolved as follows: That the newly launched South-West Security Network (a.k.a Operation Amotekun) seeks to complement all the security outfits in the South-West and not to replace them.
“That the establishment of Operation Amotekun in the South-west is in tandem with spirit of the constitution which make the protection of lives and properties a matter of priority for any responsible government.
“That Operation Amotekun is a welcome development, especially in the spirit of existing community policing laws in the South-western states.
“That Operation Amotekun is similar to already existing security outfits such as Hisbah and Joint Task Force in the Northern part of the country which had been in operation several years ago.
“That the Conference wholeheartedly supports the coming into being of Operation Amotekun, knowing fully well that it will go a long way in curbing the worrisome security problem facing the South-West region”.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how South-west governors met with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday over Amotekun.
At the end of the meeting, the presidency and the governors said a resolution had been reached on Amotekun.
The resolution involved the South-west states putting in place legislation to back the formation of Amotekun.
With the resolution, each of the South-west states is expected to pass laws to support the establishment of the security outfit. The stance of the assemblies’ speakers indicates all the six assemblies in the six South-west states will pass such laws.