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Southwest Governors: Amotekun Not A Parallel Security Outfit, Will Not Be Politicized

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Governors of Southwest states declared on Thursday that the zonal security outfit is neither a replacement for the nation’s security system nor state police.

They also assured that the outfit will not be deployed as a political tool.

The governors gave the assurance in Ibadan as the novel zonal security initiative – The Western Nigerian Security Network (WNSN) was inaugurated. It is code-named Operation Amotekun.

All the six states in the region – Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, and Ekiti – are jointly funding the outfit, which will involve local hunters, vigilantes and designated members of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) as personnel. The police will drive the process.

Each of the states contributed 20 patrol vehicles – Oyo gave 33 – all fitted with communication gadgets to cover the region under a central command.

The local level of the security outfit will be solely handled by individual states. The two levels will work in collaboration.

While the headquarters will be in Ibadan, the operation will be controlled from Gbongan in Osun State.

Chairman of Southwest Governors Forum, Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, performed the inauguration of the equipment in the presence of Governors Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti) and Seyi Makinde (Oyo).

Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola was represented by Deputy Governor Benedict Alabi while Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun was represented by Deputy Governor Noimot Salako-Oyedele.

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was part of the decision to create Operation Amotekun at the security meeting in November 2019 in Ibadan, was absent.

Fayemi said: “Amotekun is not a duplication, neither is it a replacement for the Nigeria Police Force and other statutory security agencies. Amotekun is a complement that gives our people the confidence that they are being looked after by the people they elected into office”.

The Ekiti State governor added that the magnitude of insecurity witnessed in the Southwest last year which led to the need for Amotekun could not be ignored.

He said there was a need for additional support for security agencies.

Fayemi added that enemies of Amotekun went on social media to give wrong interpretations of the security outfit.

He said: “We were daily assaulted by armed robbers, bandits and kidnappers. The mainstream security agencies did their best. It was in that circumstance that we lost Funke Olakunrin, the daughter of our leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti. All these mounted pressure on political leaders because our people could not sleep with their two eyes closed.

“So, our primary responsibility to provide security and welfare of the citizenry led to this. Though criminal activities were all over the country then, our people in the Southwest, a relatively peaceful zone, became agitated over the increasing insecurity.

“I am pleased that Amotekun, whose idea has come, has been endorsed by the police in the country.

“The IGP has announced its endorsement. Amotekun is nothing but a community policing response to the yearning of our people.

“It will fill the void pending the time community policing structure being planned by the police will be ready. It is a confidence-building strategy for our people in the Southwest.

“When elements that will work in a joint task force are ready, they will do it with the knowledge of the language and culture and terrain of the places where they will work.

”So, we do not want this to create any fear in the mind of anyone. We have seen all manners of things in social media. It is an attempt to sabotage what we are doing.

“We are not creating a regional police force. We are not oblivious of the steps we must take to have state police.

“Some of us are unapologetic in our belief in state police but we are also-law abiding citizens. We know the lawful steps to be taken to achieve that but that won’t stop us from taking steps to provide security for our people.

“As long as they are close to our people and they can be held accountable, we are okay by it. So, this should not be misconstrued. They will operate independently but relate regionally. Most importantly, this is not an attempt to undermine the Federal Government of Nigeria. We will do everything to protect the integrity of our country. Our primary interest is the security of our people and we will do everything to push this frontier.”

Akeredolu promised that they would not deploy Amotekun for political purposes.

He said: “We acknowledge the efforts of the Federal Government in providing adequate security.

“It is our sincere hope that our efforts at the regional level will be useful for the Federal Government in the future.

“All we want to do is to protect our states. We are not coming up with an antagonistic structure. We are just working together. Criminality is alien to Yoruba. We always triumph over negative issues.

“We must emphasize again that this is not in any manner a body which will operate as an alternative to the Police. It is in the realm of intelligence gathering.”

“The Southwest leaders believe in the unity of Nigeria. Some of us cannot afford to break this country. We are committed to a more united and stronger Nigeria. Almost all of us agree that our unity is our strength.”

Akeredolu (SAN), warned criminals to stay away from the Southwest because” we now have our men who know the land, way, and roads who will follow and track them.”

The governor thanked the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission for a job well done. He said the commission was still working on the grey areas in Amotekun’s operational guidelines.

He added: “We will make it difficult for undesirable elements to compound the problem on ground. You can’t use Amotekun to feather your own nest. You can’t use it for politics. No governor can deploy them for politics. Members of Amotekun will be accountable. We will depend on them to protect our territory.”

Akeredolu assured that all the governors would continue “to provide logistic support to statutory security agencies and Amotekun.”

Oyetola described the outfit as a fulfillment of the responsibility of the governments in the Southwest. He advised the personnel to operate within limits.

Makinde said it was an honour for Oyo State to host the launch of another first-of-its-kind project in Ibadan.

He said it was time for Southwest to be brave, stressing that Amotekun was in the direction of achieving that.

Firing at critics of the initiative, Makinde said: “Traditionally, humankind has always been afraid of what they do not understand. Sometimes, people throw out revolutionary ideas because people either do not understand it or are not willing to understand it.

“But, as an African proverb says, ‘the brave man is not he who doesn’t feel afraid, but he that conquers that fear.’’’

“It is therefore is time for us to be brave. Six months ago, we met, right here in Oyo State and decided to set up a regional collaborative security agency. I am happy that we followed through. With our sister states of Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, and Osun, Oyo State in launching Amotekun.

“As governors of these states, it is our priority to ensure that both indigenes and settlers within the boundaries of our various states can carry out their legitimate activities in a secure environment.

“The security of their lives and property should be of paramount importance. When we discuss the development potential of our states and talk about investment opportunities as well as growing our Internally Generated Revenue by exploring areas of comparative advantage, we remain keenly aware that we cannot achieve anything in a state of insecurity.

“To those who are afraid, I say, when we assumed office, we all took the Oath of Office and promised to be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria; To follow the dictates of the Constitution and protect the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We have not forgotten our oath.”

Makinde said the Southwest regional integration project should be seen “in one light and one light alone: that 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 the borders of our states and threaten our peaceful coexistence.”

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi and the leader of the Yoruba World Congress, Prof. Banji Akintoye, commended the governors for the initiative. They called on all residents of the Southwest states to support Amotekun to succeed.

Oba 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”.

Minister of Sports Sunday Dare; Chief Tola Adeniyi, Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly Adebo Ogundoyin, and other top government functionaries in the six states were also present.

The Aare Onakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams, was represented by Mr Gani Kayode-Balogun.

After the branded vehicles were inaugurated, they were driven by the governors. Thereafter, the drivers took over and drove them around Ibadan City.

BIG STORY

Nigerian Government Demands Apology From UK Over Claim That Gowon Looted Central Bank

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The federal government has demanded an apology from the British government over the “unsubstantiated” claim by a member of its parliament that Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria’s former head of state, looted the public treasury.

Ferdinand Nwonye, spokesman of the ministry of foreign affairs, in a statement on Friday, said Nigeria has also demanded that the statement be retracted.

Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the UK parliament foreign affairs committee, had accused Gowon of looting half of Nigeria’s central bank when he left office.

Speaking at the parliament’s recent debate on the #EndSARS crisis, Tugendhat said: “Some people will remember when General Gowon left Nigeria with half of the Central Bank, so it is said, and moved to London.”

However, the MP did not provide any evidence or source to support his claim.

Nwonye said the ministry, upon learning of the claim, “immediately sought an apology and retraction of the unsubstantiated allegation from the British Government”.

He said the federal government also consulted with Charlotte Pierre, head of Africa Department of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, who “expressed strong reservations on the comment of the Parliamentarian”.

The statement quoted Pierre as saying “the said comment of the MP does not reflect the views of Her Majesty’s Government and the British Government has no mechanism for controlling the actions and speeches of members of the Parliament.”

It added that she urged Nigeria to “discountenance the said comment of the MP, as Her Majesty’s Government has nothing to do with it”.

Gowon had “described the MP’s claim as “rubbish”.

He had told the BBC: “What the MP said was just mere ridicule and I don’t know as to where he cooked up such statement. I served Nigeria as much as I could and my achievements during those years are available to everyone.”

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JUST IN: Amotekun Rescue Wife Of Akeredolu’s Chief Of Staff

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Barely two days after her abduction, the wife of the Chief of Staff to the Ondo State governor, Olugbenga Ale, has regained her freedom.

We had earlier reported that Mrs Sade Ale, alongside one other person, were kidnapped on Thursday evening along the Ondo-Akure Expressway while travelling from Lagos to Akure.

It was, however, gathered that the victims were rescued on Saturday morning by men of the Ondo State Security Network also known as Amotekun Corps in collaboration with local hunters and vigilantes in the area.

The Commander of the Amotekun Corps, Adetunji Adeleye, who confirmed the release of Mrs Ale to newsmen, said it was too early to disclose details of the rescue operation.

He said, “We thank God for the achievement, it was not easy. But we are able to arrest some persons in connection with the matter.”

Adeleye also said some suspects have been arrested in connection with the murder of the Olufon of Ifon, Oba Israel Adeusi, who was killed by some gunmen on Thursday.

“We are closing in on the hoodlums. We also arrested some persons at Elegbeka in connection with the killing of the monarch. But they are under interrogation and they are helping us with useful information,” Adeleye said.

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City People Magazine Honours Akogun Lanre Alfred

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A goldfish never has a hiding place and when one is exceedingly good at what he does, he will always be fished out for honours that will spur to him to greater heights and exploits.

Perhaps, it’s recognition time for cerebral and prolific top-notch society and lifestyle writer and author of five books, Akogun Lanre Alfred, as adorns the garb of ‘Lifestyle King’- (Highlife and Society Reportage) at the 2nd City People Magazine Online Fashion and Beauty Award courtesy top of the range soft-sell tabloid, City People Magazine.

The prestigious honorary award comes up this Sunday 29, November 2020, and it will be attended by the cream of the society as sensational singer SBLive will be on the bandstand, while Lanre’s friends in the business world will be in attendance.

The ‘African Prince’, as he is fondly called by his friends, is the head honcho of Seafrills Energy International, The OldEnglish Bakery with branches in Lagos.

Akogun Lanre Alfred, who is also Executive Consultant to Governor Dapo Abiodun on Reputation Management, has been on the scene for over two-decades and very meticulous in his unique and uncommon style of society and lifestyle journalism, with a couple of aptly concise books on highlife styles of top society players.

Interestingly, there is no gainsaying Alfred possesses admirable poise and panache; a man of venerable taste in fashion, he effortlessly depicts style as an outward and inward sign of grace and character. He has got the money habit, and an enduring flair for the modish and timeless, in repute and colossal proportions.

Unlike several dudes of his ilk, he is neither tormented nor overwhelmed by his love for the classy and urbane. Such habit and love are practicable at a steep price and he rises to the measure and monetary worth of his taste for high fashion and art.

Many rich, privileged men stumble into vogue but it takes a discerning man of class and élan to mirror the girth and depth of burgeoning trends to the world.

Lanre Alfred without doubt epitomizes such an exclusive breed of manhood; among other traits, he flaunts immaculate flair and charisma to often lead and set the pace in whatever social circuit he inhabits. He effortlessly characterizes the essence and refinement, exemplary of intensely constituted men of style.

Little wonder he cuts a perfect portrait of a man fully at home and at peace with his inner grandeur.

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