Governor Seyi Makinde has declared that the security of life and property in Oyo State remains extremely important to his government.
The governor stated this while addressing chairpersons of the 68 Local Government and Local Council Development Council Areas (LCDAs) in the state, at a meeting held inside the House of Chiefs, Secretariat Ibadan.
According to a statement by his Chief Press secretary (CPS), Taiwo Adisa, in Ibadan, Makinde stated that the Oyo State Security Network codenamed Operation Amotekun had come to stay in the state, adding that the outfit would not be under the control of federal establishments but the state, as according to him, it is impossible to achieve any meaningful development in an atmosphere of insecurity.
Makinde’s statement reechoed an earlier resolution by Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu who insisted on Wednesday that the security outfit will not be brought under the control of the Inspector General of Police, Daily Times gathered.
Akeredolu made this known after President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, said Amotekun would be supervised by the police boss.
Makinde said: “We want our people to sleep with their two eyes closed. Of course, security is one of the pillars of this administration and we must do everything possible to invest in the security of lives and properties.
In Okeho the other day, armed robbers went to rob and the community rose against them and apprehended them.
They combed the forests and they got them. “This is why I will continue to say it and I am saying it for the whole world to hear; Amotekun is here to stay with us. And it will not be under the control of federal establishments.
It will be under our control. Security of our people is extremely important, because nothing can take place, as far as we are concerned, in an atmosphere of insecurity,” he said.
The statement also indicated that the governor gave marching orders to the caretaker committee chairmen to immediately go back to their domains to set up Security Committees with a view to tackling the security challenges in their localities.
He maintained that the state government would provide all enablement for them to succeed in the task.
The governor said: “From where we are here, the biggest challenge we have seen so far is in the area of security.
We are getting close to the ‘ember’ months, a period in which some people who have not worked all year and want to have a Merry Christmas, commit all sorts of crimes.
“So, we expect that there will be a spike in criminal activities. I want to, as a matter of urgency, urge you that you all go back to your areas to set up your Security Committees. It must be done almost immediately.
And I will be happy to release funds and to give approval for you to spend some money on security within your domains.
“Oyo State is very large; in terms of land size, we are more than all the states of South-East Nigeria put together. So, we have a lot to do to protect the state. We have international borders. So, there is smuggling taking place.
They killed a Customs official in Saki a few weeks ago; those things are not acceptable to us.
“As the government that is the closest to the people, you have to take control of the challenges of insecurity in your various domains and you should please, once those committees are set up, any enabler that you need, let us know.
We will work with the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, to make sure those enablers are provided.”
Makinde commended some of the local government chairpersons, whom he noted had been doing their best despite limited resources, while urging everyone of them to sit up and link up with the party men and women as well as residents of their localities ahead of plans for local government election, which he said will be made public once the House of Assembly screens and clears the nominees for the Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC).
The governor also hinted that the state government will set up an evaluation committee to vet the performances of the local government chairmen as well as the challenges they are facing, stating that his administration remains determined to give the state true democracy and to meet the yearning and aspirations of the people.
He said: “Also, our party, the PDP, is supposed to be solid at the local level and some of you are lagging behind.
Some, the party leaders told me, are doing well; you are linking up with the party and encouraging them to put up activities for the party.
I want to say if the party is doing well at the state level. It starts from the local government level. So, you will have to do more.
“I remember in 2019, when we were running for the office, we didn’t have anyone at the local level while the APC had the so-called ALGON, but they are ALLGONE, because they are gone. But they were rejected even up to the local level, because they were not performing.
Let us even say they were not performing at the state level, if at the local levels, they were able to level up with our people, perhaps things would have been a little different for them.
“We don’t want our situation to be like theirs. But we want to reach out to our people and ensure that the welfare of our people at the local level becomes top priority for us.
“Yesterday, I sent the names of our nominees to be screened and cleared for OYSIEC and you all know the meaning of that, OYSIEC are the ones to conduct local government elections.
So, as soon as they are cleared and we swear them in, I am sure they will swing into action and they will let us know their plans. “So, watch out, because things will happen and they will happen rapidly.
Our people want to elect their leaders, because they want them to be accountable to them. You know that it is not just chairmen and chairpersons that will be elected, each ward will have a representative.
We want real and true democracy at the local government level in Oyo State. So, you should all be prepared for that.” Earlier, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matter, Chief Bayo Lawal, charged the local government chairmen to be good ambassadors in their local governments.
He said that the Makinde-led administration would not tolerate any failure from the chairpersons, urging them to emulate the state government by making sure that the dividends of democracy get to the people at the grassroots.
The meeting was attended by top government functionaries including the deputy governor, Rauf Olaniyan; chairman, State Advisory Committee, Senator Hosea Agboola; the deputy chief of staff, Olawale Mogbonjubola; and the Special Adviser on Strategy and Political Affairs, Babatunde Oduyoye, among others.
Meanwhile, Adetunji Adeleye, the Commander of the Ondo State Security Network Agencies, also said the Amotekun Corps cannot be subsumed under the guise of community policing by the Federal Government.
Mr. Adeleye, who spoke in an interview in Akure, explained that the Amotekun Corps is a grassroots security outfit that already has its own legal backing. He stated this in a reaction to the comments credited to Mr. Garba Shehu, Spokesperson to the President.
On a Channels TV’s programme, ‘Sunrise Daily,’ Mr. Shehu Garbage had said the structure of the regional security outfits would be determined by the police authority through the IGP.
But responding to Shehu’s comment, Adeleye said Amotekun has its own law of operation that could allow it to fight crime effectively and cannot be collapsed into another legal structure.
He said the local security outfit was only established to complement the efforts of the existing security agencies in the southwest region to curtail crime.
Adeleye said: “The Amotekun Corps is a baby of the law set up for policing and protection of its own people.
You cannot subject the structure of the Amotekun Corps to the directive from the Inspector General of Police or any other legal entity.
All Amotekun does is to provide complimentary to all the existing security agencies in the country including the police itself.”
According to him, the constitution guarantees the state to also have its own security outfit so far they are backed up with laws guiding their operations.
“There is a law put in place which has even been passed by the States Houses of Assemblies, guiding the operation of the Amotekun Corps.
And we have even decentralized the operations of the Corps in the way the federal government wants it to be structured and we are fighting crime already in the state.
So, the issue that the structure has to be put in place by another entity is simply impossible and I am sure there is no argument about that.”