By Dayo Johnson
THE Chairman of the South-west Governors’ Forum, Rotimi Akeredolu has said that the Amotekun Security outfit would not be collapsed into the Community Policing recently approved by the Federal Government.
Akeredolu also insisted that south-west governors would not pay community policemen.
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu says the Ondo State Security Network Agency, also known as Operation Amotekun, will not be subsumed under the community policing arrangement of the Nigeria Police Force.
He also insisted that governors would not pay community policemen.
He said this today while featuring on Channels Television’s Programme, Sunrise Daily.
“I am going to tell you straight away. By the time the community policing strategy and implementation come fully into operation, everybody will follow suit. Everybody will join us and follow what we are preaching and what we practice,”
“It will never be accepted, it is not our thinking. We have a law that sets this up. If the DIG feels otherwise, there is always a place for us to ventilate it. We are not afraid of this. The law says Amotekun will operate under its own law; it is not going to be subsumed under any setup. No.
“We will not collapse Amotekun for community policing. It will stand on its own. There is no intimidation. We are not people that can be intimidated (or) that the IG will give orders to. We will not. Amotekun is different. Community policing is different. If the IG does not understand, he will leave one day and other people will understand.
“We will work together, it is collaboration, not that it will be subsumed. The law is there and if anybody finds a fault in that law, we can go to court and ventilate whatever position in it. The DIG is totally wrong, Amotekun will not be subsumed under the community policing.”
According to him, the Amotekun Security outfit has come to stay and fully ready to protect the lives of the Southwest people with the use of Non-Prohibited ammunition.
He, however, noted that the Inspector General of Police should call for a discussion on the need for collaboration between the two, rather than collapsing Amotekun which was being backed by law, into Community Policing strategy.
He said: “We have a President who has a listening ear, if IG is not ready to listen to us, we will go and meet the President; we will continue to make the case, we will not collapse Amotekun into Community Policing”.
The chairman of the south west governors also disagreed with the DIG who said the governors would be responsible for the salaries of community policemen.
He declared “I am sure that they are taking this thing too far. Governors will have to pay? We have discussed this thing before and we told them it is not going to possible. Are you increasing our allocations? Which state governor will accept that? Other states might say, ‘Yes, we will pay’, but we will not pay.
“Let’s be fair to ourselves, we are running a federal system. Where is that money going to come from when we are struggling to pay salaries? Nobody has ever come to us to say we will pay salaries (of community policemen) anyway and if they come, we will write to say, no, we don’t have extra money to do that.”
Speaking on the use of arms by security outfit, Akeredolu pointed that “We are trying to make a case but we’ve not yet agreed as to what should be with the issue of ammunition. For now, we allow Amotekun (cops) to carry non-prohibited ammunition.
“There are some ammunition that are non-prohibited. But we know it can look suicidal trying to confront these criminals with non-prohibited ammunition, so, we are looking at other means.
“These are disciplined people and if they carry arms, it will be for protection. We will keep having this discussion with the police and at the national level. But if the Nigerian Police find it difficult to prevent herders who carry weapons with their cows, some of them have prohibited arms like AK-47 and you have not been able to prevent that, so, what stops disciplined people like Amotekun (operatives) to carry arms for protection?.
“At least when civil defence started, they were not carrying arms, they didn’t allow them carry arms but a case was made and they now carry arms. We will continue to discuss this.”
Akeredolu also explained the need for multi-level policing to effectively confront the security challenges in the country.
“No state takes pride in insecurity and the governors will be committed to (state policing) because most governors are elected to secure the lives and property within their domains. So, which state will now have the police of its own and not deploy it to good use?
“Multi-level policing is the best for this country. I am one of those who believe we cannot have central police and that security will continue to suffer until we devolve multi-level policing.
“Maybe people are afraid that the governors will take charge of it. No, the governors will not be the ones who will be solely responsible for state police.
” It will be a police council at the state level, the composition will be spelt-out and people will be there by the virtue of their offices. So, it is not going to be a command that will be headed by a governor but by the functionality of the state police council.”
Speaking on his reelection bid, Akeredolu described it as a God’s project.
On the declaration of support to his ambition by co- aspirants, Akeredolu said “it was a new phenomenon in the Political history of the state for co-aspirants to declared their support for the Party’s candidate.
While thanking the aspirants for their unprecedented support, the governor said that he had a perfect relationship with the National leadership of the All Progressive Congress party and that the state chapter is peaceful.
On the issue of his deputy who is contesting against him, Akeredolu described it as a common habit found in most all Second in Command, due to unbridled ambition to overthrow their Masters.