The Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, on Wednesday inaugurated the Oyo State Security Network Agency, codenamed Amotekun Corps to fight against insecurity in the state.
He said the outfit will help combat crimes in collaboration with the police and other federal security agencies.
Mr Makinde spoke at the passing-out parade of the 1,500 pioneer Amotekun Corps, that took place at the Emmanuel Alayande College of Education, Oyo.
He highlighted the efforts of his government at improving the security sector by supporting the federal security agencies in the state with the provision of patrol vehicles, communication gadgets and other logistics.
“As I said during the official launch of this outfit in January 2020, our regional integration, through Amotekun, should be seen in one light. We are coming together to fight a common enemy. That enemy is not Nigeria; the enemies are the elements among us and their affiliates, who are determined to cause commotion within our states’ borders and threaten our peaceful coexistence.
“Never again will invaders come into Oyo State without a local response from us. Amotekun is our local response.
“When the story of the Western Nigeria Security Network, codenamed Amotekun is told, it will be on record that it was officially launched on January 9, 2020. However, the Amotekun journey began earlier. In July 2019, the six states of the South-west, namely Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, and Oyo States, agreed to set up this outfit.”
“Amotekun is, indeed, a first of its kind security agency, because it is a regional security outfit initiated by one of Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones. History will also state that the headquarters is here in Ibadan, Oyo State.
“Since its founding, we have been taking steps to ensure that the security outfit commences operations. In March 2020, the Oyo State House of Assembly passed the Oyo State Security Network Agency Bill 2020, which I signed into law a few days later.”
He also said although COVID-19 “and other logistic issues delayed the recruitment process,” the governors ran an open and transparent recruitment process that culminated in the 1,500 candidates selected.
“Shortly after that, their training began in the first week of November. And today, we are here to witness the passing out parade of the pioneer members of the Amotekun Corps. And I am sure you have seen their performance.”
He also said security had always been an issue close to his heart.
“While on the campaign trail, I spoke about how we could tackle insecurity in Oyo State. We outlined clear plans in our manifesto, the Roadmap to Accelerated Development in Oyo State 2019-2023. And so, when we came into office, we went ahead to make security one of the pillars of our administration.
“We have appointed two qualified men as chairman and commandant of the Amotekun Corps, the persons of retired General Ajibola Kunle Togun and retired Colonel Olayanju Olayinka. We also have other eminent persons on the board. I am confident that under them, the Amotekun Corps will live up to their objectives.”
Reacting to the governor’s speech, the Commandant of the Amotekun, Olayinka Olayanju, said the selected corps “are well-informed and well-equipped to take care of how they conduct themselves and relate with other security agencies”.
Six South-west governors, on January 9, launched a security outfit, code-named “Operation Amotekun” to defend the region against indiscriminate killings, kidnappings, banditry and destruction of farmland.
Already, the corps are securing Ondo and Osun states.