Today’s occasion excites a sense of fulfillment, and justifiably so. We, that is, those saddled with responsibilities of steering the affairs of the South Western Region at this crucial period, must congratulate ourselves, not only for the initiatives conceived to secure our geo-political space, but, more importantly, for arriving at this point of execution. So palpable is this feeling of achievement, even among our people, that the take-off of this special intervention has remained in the media for quite some time till now.

It is an understatement to express delight at the presence of important dignitaries at this historic occasion of the formal launch of a Security Network, code-named Amotekun for the Southwest region of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.  I, therefore, welcome you all, most warmly, on behalf of the Governors of the Southwest States of Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo to this epoch-making event.   There is hardly any state that is immune from the negative impact of insecurity.  Until recently, it had become very embarrassing that reports of security breaches occurred, on a daily basis, that one could almost predict with exactitude where these unfortunate disturbances would take place.  From banditry, terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery, herdsmen-farmers clashes to ritual killings and cybercrimes, the current situation in the country demands pragmatic and proactive solutions.

The South West seemed to have been the focus of negative reports in recent times.   The frequency and ease with which criminal elements operated were of grave concern to the governments and people of the Region which had enjoyed considerable peace before the descent into the current barbarism.  The sustained onslaught on the lives and property of our people compels the adoption of serious counter measures which seek to stamp out the menace within a short period. We shall not relent until the entire space is secure.

We acknowledge the efforts of the Federal Government and its agencies in stemming the dangerous tide of insecurity in the polity.   It is comforting to note the significant strides recorded in curbing the menace.   It is our sincere hope that our contributions at the regional level will serve as effective complements to the security architecture put in place by the Federal Government.  It is not our intention to erect any antagonistic structures, whose operations will be at cross-purposes, to the existing templates of defence.

All those familiar with our rich heritage will agree that banditry, armed robbery, kidnapping and other vices are alien to our society.   We always triumphed after every act of sabotage.   We inherited an enviable heritage of magnanimity from our ancestors, trusting, accommodating, generous but not stupid. While rewarding friendship with limitless affection and benefits, there is a standard for treating perfidy and contemptuous indiscretion.

The protection of our people is paramount and all the Governors of the Region are united in the resolve to put in everything, including our God-given talents, to ensure that there is peace and security in the South West.  Our aspiration for a prosperous society is largely dependent on this anticipated achievement.

Consequently, the Governors of the Southwest States, considering the need to treat all matters connected with the challenges posed by the current insecurity in the Region as expedient, have decided to come up with practical strategies for combating the insidious criminal tendencies. 

Thus, we met on the 7th June, 2019, Abuja, to discuss the central issues of development and insecurity in the region.  At the end of the meeting, the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission was mandated to convene a Stakeholders Summit on security.  The Summit was held here in Ibadan from 25th-27th June, 2019. 

At the Summit, practical solutions were proffered to the rising incidents of kidnapping, banditry and armed robbery on various highways and rural roads within the Region.  It is important that we emphasise that Amotekun is one of the many solutions to the socio-economic challenges which the Region faces.  The setting up of a Joint Security Network by the Southwest States to combat insecurity is the most pragmatic solution at present as the country proceeds to tackle other issues of nationhood.

This initiative appears ambitious and its operations opaque to the skeptics.  We, on our part, are clear on the purpose and the set objectives for which the outfit was formed.  We must hasten to clear the doubt in the minds of the good people of the Region and indeed, the country.   This is not, in any manner, a body which will operate as an alternative Police Force in the South West. Its role is mainly complementary.

It is in the realm of intelligence gathering since its membership will be drawn, exclusively, from the indigenes in the various States in the South West.  Let me reiterate and assure everyone that Amotekun is an initiative of all the Governors in the geo-political space conceived to complement the efforts of the regular security agencies in the region.  The operational framework of Amotekun is being handled by the DAWN Commission which will be saddled with the responsibility of monitoring its activities to ensure that the outfit operates within its mandate.  It is, therefore, not a parallel security outfit to the constitutionally recognized security organizations in the country.   It will only play a complementary role and collaborate with the security agencies, especially in intelligence gathering in protecting lives and property across the region.  Its personnel will be deployed all over the South-west, especially at flashpoints to gather intelligence to ease the operations of the Security Agencies.   They will work with the regular outfits to provide the needed security in the region.   It is instructive to note that its personnel will not be given any room to harass any law-abiding citizen.  The operations of this outfit will be properly monitored and regulated within the ambit of the laws of the country.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, it is appropriate for me at this juncture, to state that the Southwest States of the Federation believe in the unity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and its indissoluble sovereignty.  We are committed, in all ramifications, to the ideals that will make the country stronger and more united.  The various nation-states within the Federation are diverse, yet almost all of us agree that our strength is in our unity.  Consequently, we shall continue to support the Federal Government, under the able and indefatigable leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari,GCFR, in its avowed commitment and determination to take the country to the next level. Let me on this note thank DAWN Commission for the wonderful job done in crafting the operational framework for Amotekun.   The Commission has taken care of all grey areas that could cause friction in the operations of the personnel that will be deployed for the programme.    As a matter of fact, the Nigeria Police will oversee and moderate the activities of Amotekun, thus making its operation conform to the acceptable standards.  Amotekun is the Yoruba name for the Leopard.   It is not the Tiger, Ekun.

It is also important that I allay the fears of all those who have expressed misgivings as regards the quality of the personnel to be recruited to serve in the outfit.  There is an adequate recruitment mechanism for the exercise.  The conventional security agencies will participate, actively, in profiling the recruits. Nobody with questionable character will participate in the programme. We will make it difficult for undesirable elements to compound the challenges being encountered.  Proper background checks will be carried out on personnel to be recruited while the needed registration/identification of such personnel will be done to ensure accountability.

Let me seize this opportunity to once again appreciate the Nigerian Armed Forces, the Nigeria Police, State Security Services, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and other security agencies for their unrelenting efforts in combating the various crimes threatening peace and security in the entire country.  Your patriotism in keeping the territorial integrity of our dear nation is acknowledged.   The establishment of Amotekun, is without prejudice to the expectations of patriotic discharge of your mandates as provided in our laws. We depend on you, mainly, to secure our territory.  You are the experts with the requisite trainings.  Your patriotic zeal must not wane as a result of this necessary intervention.

The Governors in the Southwest Region will provide all the logistic support that will enhance seamless operations of the programme.  Each of the six States has procured twenty (20) Pick-up Vans equipped with communication gadgets and one hundred (100) motorcycles for the take-off of the Security Network.  I wish to enjoin all those that will be in charge of the vehicles and motorcycles to ensure their adequate maintenance and use them only for the intended purpose.

On this note, I wish to thank all my brother Governors for the support extended to me as the Chairman of the Governors’ Forum in the Region. I must not fail to congratulate all of us on the successful launch of the Amotekun programme today.

I thank you for your patience.

A speech by Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, Governor of Ondo State. Read more speeches