By Benjamin Omoike
The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu and the South-West Governors have unanimously agreed that the security outfit codenamed ‘Amotekun’, be coordinated by the Nigerian police and backed up by the right legal framework.
The IGP backed the establishment of the South-Western Security Network, saying it is not a Regional Police, stating that its framework will be domesticated within the states.
Speaking to journalists at the end of a closed-door meeting with Governors of the Six South Western States of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti States, Adamu called for the infusion of Community Policing structure, powered from the grassroots.
According to him, the Police is ready to partner with state governments who are willing a to assist it in tackling insecurity, be it on Capacity Building and other areas of mutual interest.
He revealed that the outfit – which represents a partnership with the federal police – is not a regional security arrangement, but rather, a state effort put in place to take policing back to the communities and the people.
Also, Chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum, Rotimi Akerodolu, said that it was now clear to the South-West governors that the community police, which the Nigerian Police was anchoring, was one that would truly benefit the region, every stakeholder and citizens from the different Units, Wards and Local Governments in various States.
He hinted that they have chosen to follow the path of Community Policing in its entirety, confirming that ‘Amotekun is not a Regional Policing, because Nigeria operates a Federal System of Government.
”We have chosen that we will embrace community police in all its entirety. In addition, we have made things clear that when we said we are having Amotekun, it is not that we are creating a regional police.
”Amotekun is not regional police. It is state based and we have all agreed that if you have laws in your respective states backing any security outfit, then you can go ahead for as long as it is within the legal bounds,” Akeredolu, who is also the Governor of Ondo State said.
On his part, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, said that the meeting was the second one held with the South-West governors concerning Amotekun.
Adamu said Operation Amotekun was not different from what had been existing, in terms of ensuring security in the states and country.
”So every state is having its own structure and it is agreed that these structures that they are creating, that the community policing strategy is infused into it. This so that policing the community will be the initiative of the community, the public, as the public is the Police and the Police is the public. So this area must be clarified.
”It is not a regional structure, it is a state structure and it must be backed by law for it to be effective. The structure will be in tandem with the structure of community policing,” he said.
Meanwhile, speaking earlier today during his welcome address, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who is the host said he was happy that the conversation around Community Policing started from Lagos and the South-West, promising more support and collaboration with the Police.
It will be recalled that the Conversation has continued since the establishment of the Western Nigeria Security Network, code named ” Amotekun, following different reactions and concerns about the need for a proper framework to guide its operations.