THE Ondo State governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has restated his resolve to arm the state security outfit, the Amotekun Corps.
Akeredolu said the corps would be armed with the most sophisticated weapons to fight insecurity.
He described the Federal government’s sanctioning of “differing rules of engagement for different sub-national governments,” as unacceptable.
Speaking today at the passing-out parade of courses three and four of the corps in Akure, the state capital, the governor, who doubles as the Southern Governors Forum’s Chairman, said there was an increasing need to strategize and tackle insecurity, which he said had been left to snowball into existential crises across the country.
The ICIR reports that following worsening insecurity in Nigeria, governors in the South-West established the Southwest Security Network, Amotekun, in January 2020. But the Federal government challenged the initiative, leading to each state in the region enacting a law to set up the corps within its jurisdiction.
Ondo State has had its share of insecurity ravaging the nation.
In 2019, gunmen killed Funke Olakunrin, daughter of Reuben Fasoranti, the national leader of the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere.
In June this year, gunmen also attacked the St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo and killed dozens of worshippers.
In a statement by his chief press secretary, Richard Olatunde, Akeredolu said at the parade that “the incontestable authority of the state must be imposed in the country, which is under threat by brazen conflict entrepreneurs and armed, audacious non-state actors.”
The governor said state security outfits backed by law anywhere in Nigeria must have access to the same sophisticated weapons that the marauders have.
He vowed that his administration would continue to support the operational capacity of all security agencies in the state, both in terms of equipment and the welfare of their personnel.
While charging the new officers to do nothing to soil the corps’ image, he reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to the safety and welfare of the people of the state.
Akeredolu noted that the current internal security framework in the country was ineffectual.
He argued that the response of the sub-nationals by setting up their outfits was welcome, necessary, and indispensable.
“The Amotekun Corps must be given the tools to carry out its now pivotal, indispensable duties. For centuries, we have been admonished that a bad workman blames his tools; in the case of Amotekun Corps the workman is expected to function without good tools.
“It is not only absurd but also a dereliction of duty and a cause of disaffection. Dissatisfaction is induced by a feeling of unfairness. The crisis in conventional wisdom is life-threatening and nationwide. Therefore, it is unacceptable if the state sanctions differing rules of engagement for different sub-national governments,” he said.
According to him, without providing the sub-national security forces to be a counter-balancing force, the Nigerian state would face a perennial threat.
“The modern state is defined by Treaties. The conception of the modern state beatified by these treaties gives it an incontestable monopoly of the means of violence, intimidation and coercion.
“Those passing out today have undergone rigorous training at great expense to the state. The training will not end here, it will be continuous. However, no amount of training will mask the debilitation of fighting with one arm tied against implacable foes.
“Amotekun must, therefore, be armed and will be armed and be backed by law. Otherwise, the training will be inadequate and we will be placing the lives of these great patriots in danger,” the governor stated.
Akeredolu had last Wednesday slammed the Federal government for approving arms-bearing for local security outfits in Katsina State, the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He accused the government of double standard by denying the Amotekun Corps a similar approval.
In August, Benue State governor Samuel Ortom inaugurated the Benue Community Volunteer Guards and promised to get arms approval from the Federal government.
In June, the Zamfara State government vowed to arm its citizens because of deteriorating insecurity. But the Federal government faulted the decision.
Until recent weeks, insecurity had nearly made Nigeria a failed state.
The situation has, however, improved after the National Assembly threatened to impeach President Buhari because of the crisis.