Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, has said the Federal Government should allow members of the Amotekun Corps to bear sophisticated weapons in order to be more effective in tackling criminals, who go about with AK-47 rifles and other weapons.
Makinde said the South-West governors had resolved to call on the Federal Government to allow Amotekun to bear arms because it was ridiculous for security agents with locally-made guns to face criminals, who bear superior weapons.
Makinde said this in his goodwill message at the opening of the 2021 Law Week of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ibadan.
The governor, who was represented at the event by the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof Oyelowo Oyewo (SAN), spoke on the theme for the week, ‘Unity in diversity and sustainable security in Nigeria: Any role for the law?’
He said governors of the South-West states, based on the advice given to them by the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria, created the Western Nigeria Security Network, popularly known as Amotekun, to respond to the security problems in the region.
He, however, said although Amotekun had contributed in no small way to the relative peace being enjoyed in the states, the personnel needed to be upgraded with sophisticated weapons so as to be much more effective.
Makinde stated, “With the recent experience in Oyo State, it has become necessary to call upon the Federal Government to recognise the need to upgrade the capacity of Amotekun in providing security.In Oyo State, Amotekun has become the first responder and this was demonstrated during the jailbreak in Oyo town, where Amotekun suffered loss of lives because there was a disparity between the firepower of the Amotekun and the criminals.
“The South-West governors have resolved to call upon the Federal Government to allow for increased capacity so that there can be a meaningful role being played by Amotekun in the provision of security.
“The era of facing criminals bearing AK-47 and X15 with sakabula (Dane gun) and pump action gun in the modern time is a ridiculous error. Therefore, Amotekun must be allowed to play the role that it can provide security, because as of today, the presence of Amotekun in all areas of Oyo State has brought about improved security that is being enjoyed.”
Asked in an interview on the sidelines of the event if the state had applied to the Federal Government to give Amotekun the licence to carry sophisticated weapon, Oyewo said everything concerning the corps would be done under the auspices of the South-West Governors’ Forum because the security outfit was created out of a collaborative effort of the governors, adding that only the governors could state when next they would meet.
A prominent lawyer, Chief Joe Gadzama, SAN, said in his keynote address that the constitution must be amended to allow for state police to be created.
He said the central police structure could not effectively address security issues in a large country such as Nigeria.
Gadzama noted that regional security outfits in the country appeared to be doing well in providing security in their areas of operations, while calling for more training for them to be proficient and professional.
He said there were sufficient laws in the country, but they needed to be well implemented to improve the security situation. He, however, explained that some of the existing laws needed to be amended, including the constitution.
The lawyer also said although Nigeria needed good leaders at the federal, state and local levels, each person must also strive to become a good leader in their areas of operations.
“Nigeria, without a doubt, has a leadership crisis. But, rather than waiting for good leaders to fall from the sky and do the necessary, every Nigerian should become the good leader he or she desires. To be a credible leader and follower, one must be open to genuine change and not just the mantra of it,” Gadzama said.
The Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice Munta Abimbola, said the issue of division and insecurity had become so serious and they needed urgent action.
He said, “Undoubtedly, it is a notorious fact that at no time in the nation’s history has the issue of division and security posed serious challenges as we have.
“As a judicial officer, I hereby refrain myself from commenting on the topic beyond the instant statement. But it is my opinion that for the law to be functional, it must have organs of motion.
“The bar and the bench, to me, are the organs of motion for the law to work in any society. Unless the law rules, the rule of anarchy will prevail and the state of nature as postulated in the Hobbesian theory of social contract may become the order of the day.”
A former Attorney-General in Ondo State, Mr Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, called for review of the constitution and the legislation for improved security.