Amotekun: Wither Akwa Ibom?


Daily, Nigerians wake up to the sad reality of the helpless security situation in the country. It now takes the lion – hearted to venture out by road to several localities and long distant traders and travellers are the worst hit as they cannot predict what danger lies ahead on their routes since kidnappers have laid down a marker in their new line of business of abduction of innocent persons for ransom.

Recently, the corpse of an innocent Seminarian who was kidnapped and murdered was buried at Kaduna and one of Nigeria’s most outspoken religious philosophers and Catholic ArchBishop of Sokoto , Bishop Hassan Kukah, at the funeral spoke graphically about the hopelessness in the land. The Prelate bemoaned the helplessness of the security agencies, especially the total capitulation of the Police Force and others charged with the challenging responsibility of maintenance of law and order and safeguarding the personal security of citizens in the country.

RELATED: Amotekun is Complimentary To Security Agencies

This is the situation which forced the States in the South West zone to take the destiny of the security of lives and property of their people into their hands by setting up AMOTEKUN, a security network. As at today, the Legislatures in the South West states have passed laws to give legal teeth to the initiative. In taking this bold step, the Governors and leaders in the South West have displayed an uncommon understanding and respect for the lives and dignity of their people. Even though there are political differences in that zone, Amotekun has engendered unanimity of support from all stakeholders in the Yoruba states. According to the promoters of that outfit, it “is designed to complement the efforts of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) in tackling insecurity in the zone.

Truth be told, the regular Police Force is overstretched and has lost its way. The Nigerian Police force has taken on too much including mounting of road blocks at night to harrass “Keke” drivers. The Police, presently, is no longer a well motivated internal security outfit and their morale is at its lowest ebb. Most in the rank and file have lost the appetite for basic policing functions and most do not have a stomach for the job. It is still a byword for corruption and an Institution of the rich, for the rich against the poor.

This can be seen in the sheer number of police personnel who have been deployed as sentries and orderlies to guard politicians and top business people in the society while the various police commands, Divisions and posts remain empty. It is this exposure to politicians and the rich that has taken the desire and interest of police personnel away from their basic policing responsibilities.

This explains why Amotekun has become a creative answer for self help in the South West and other parts of the country. Amotekun would not have been established if the Nigerian Police were up and working.

The setting up of Amotekun is a display of strategic thinking and the fact that it has caught on like wild bush fire is an indication that it is an idea whose time has come. Again, it shows that the political class in the South West are on the same page with the people because once the initiative was announced, they got a buy in from every citizen and that galvanized all stakeholders to stand in defence of the outfit. If it is true that true leadership is an aggregation of the collective will and wishes of the people, it means that the Governors of the South West have risen to the challenge of true leadership in their zone.

Such a regional outfit is also possible in the South East because of geographical contiguity and socio – political cum economic and cultural commonality.

However, lacking in such good fortune, a common security outfit is not feasible for the entire South South zone.This leaves each State in the zone to take its destiny in its hands and design an internal security service to complement a tired Police Force.

Fortunately, Akwa Ibom state has a population of educated teeming youths who can be tapped and organised to man its borders and farmlands from infiltration besides supporting the regular Police Institution as informants to help them nip crime in the bud.

The government of Akwa Ibom should take proactive measures and not wait until there is a serious security breach before a response.

On the whole, the formation of Amotekun and the response of the Federal Government points to the reality that the existing federal structure can no longer be sustainable going forward .Concrete steps should therefore be taken to unbundle Nigeria by devolving more powers to the states as federating units.

The federal government should not leave this initiative to the states or zones as Amotekun shows that sooner, the falcon will no longer hear the falconer.

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