The governors of the South-West recently launched Amotekun, a local security outfit, to protect the region from incessant attacks supposedly by armed herdsmen and other criminal elements. It was widely celebrated in the national media and drew support from other regions of the country except, understandably, the north, which controls the Federal Government.
Unsurprisingly, the Federal Government, few days after Amotekun was launched, proclaimed the outfit illegal and banned it.
Miyetti Allah, a Muslim group that deals with cattle and which sees itself as the unofficial mouthpiece of the Buhari Administration, was among the first to condemn the formation of Amotekun and calling for its ban. Its leader, Bello Abdullahi Bodejo, described the Yoruba leaders behind Amotekun as having evil hearts and plotting to divide Nigeria.
Bodejo, who is the National President General of the Fulani herdsmen’s group, also urged the Federal Government to arrest leaders from the South-West behind the security outfit.
But some leaders of the South-West had insisted that the outfit must carry on with its operations, not minding the position of the Federal Government.
The Yoruba leaders cannot be blamed for setting up Amotekun. Happenings in the country over the past one year, especially, have shown that the Federal Government has proved incapable of providing security to her citizens. All across the country, people are being kidnapped and killed on a regular basis, with the government looking clueless.
Just recently, the country witnessed the resurgence of the terror group, Ansaru, which the Yoruba leaders gave as evidence of the need for Amotekun. Ansaru had claimed responsibility for the attack on the convoy of the Emir of Potiskum, Umaru Bubaram, on the Kaduna- Zaria road last Wednesday. Six persons died in the attack while the emir narrowly escaped. It was yet another development that showed that the nation’s security architecture could no longer cope with the security challenge facing the country.
Ansaru last carried out an attack in February 2013 in which seven foreign nationals were kidnapped from a compound owned by the Lebanese construction company, Setraco, in Kano.
Commenting on the incident, Afenifere’s spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, said the attack indicated the collapse of the security system in the country. He further stated that those opposing Amotekun simply wanted to make the South-West vulnerable to attacks by bandits, kidnappers and other hoodlums.
Well, the South-West leaders have responded to the exigencies of the time at their place and nobody can fault them for their proactive stance. What leaders in government owe their people the most is security of life and property. To this end, we give a thumbs up to the Yoruba leaders.
In the same token, it is our view that Southeast leaders should borrow a leaf from their Western counterparts by setting up a regional security apparatus that will complement the ones already existing in individual states. The need for a central security arrangement cannot be over emphasized. Chiefly, a regional security arrangement will ensure that criminals are squeezed out from the zone to other places.
There is no doubting the fact that with the enthronement of a regional security network in the West, criminals there will migrate to other parts of the country, including the Southeast which is seen as juicy.
We therefore need our own regional security network to avoid a cat and mouse scenario where criminals escaping from Imo get into Anambra and then escape from Anambra to Enugu. There needs to be a central security network that will ensure that there is no hiding place for criminal elements in the zone.
While we hail the various Southeast governments on their security efforts, we notice that they are not enough; hence the need for a centrally controlled security like the one launched by the South-West leaders. It will be in every one’s interest if such is put on ground so that the Southeast Zone will become impregnable by criminals.