National leader of Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has finally broken his silence on the raging debate around the South-West Security Network codenamed ‘Operation Amotekun.’
Tinubu declared that ‘Operation Amotekun’ is a laudable initiative but needs some operational and conceptual modifications or else it will fail.
Tinubu stated this in a press release on Wednesday, days after coming under intense criticism for failing to speak on the matter.
The former governor of Lagos State, who is rumoured to be nursing a Presidential ambition, refused to take sides on the matter.
He wrote, “As I understand it, Amotekun is to be another set of eyes and ears to assist the police. As such, it is but the second generation of Neighbourhood Watch expanded to a regional scale. Conceptually, there is nothing wrong with this. It does not appear to insult the constitution.
“However, my position regarding Amotekun is not blind or uncritical; there are several organisational and functional aspects of the proposal that could cause some problems if left unresolved.”
Tinubu said Amotekun should have been fashioned to the peculiarities of each state rather than having a regional structure.
He wrote, “Amotekun should have focused on grassroots local organisation at the state level without a regional command hierarchy. The regional approach may undermine efficiency. There is no compelling logic why the same personnel providing security informational assistance in Ado-Ekiti should be under the same functional and operational leadership as those providing assistance in Lekki or Akure. This will not lead to optimal performance.
“The regional approach has only limited benefit with regard to the procurement and maintenance of vehicles and communications equipment because this wider approach allows for economies of scale.
“The regional approach also helps tackle the growing incidences of interstate criminal activity. Some things need to be corrected before Amotekun becomes operational. If not, it will not live up to expectations. Thus, the current formulation of Amotekun is in need of repair before it takes to the road only to quickly slip into a ditch.”
He criticised the South-West governors and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), for the controversy over the initiative, which is heating the polity.
The APC leader said the governors should have consulted the AGF when the organisation was being formed.
Tinubu, however, criticised Malami for issuing a statement condemning the initiative when he could have simply reached out to them and handled it internally and more amicably.
He added, “The governors state that they consulted regularly with the police and security agencies. This was the right thing to do. However, their failure to include the office of the Attorney-General in these discussions is the fount of the current public uproar. This was an unfortunate omission the governors should regret and seek to remedy. However, the conceptual merits and positive functional aspects of Amotekun should not be tainted by this procedural defect.
“While the Attorney-General is a conscientious public servant, he is also human. Not having been consulted, he was suddenly faced with an unexpected public announcement regarding a matter within his official ambit. He likely feared the failure to consult him meant that federal prerogatives were being encroached. To blame him for this conclusion would be to blame human nature itself. Though his negative reaction was understandable it was also unhelpful.
“The Attorney-General acted hastily in rendering a public statement that was more inaccurate than it should have been. Amotekun was never proposed as a ‘defence’ agency; the Attorney-General erred in using this description. The use of uniforms and brightly coloured vehicles may not be the best ideas but they do not render Amotekun a defence agency or paramilitary group any more than a designated school van carrying uniformed students constitutes a paramilitary deployment.”
He said in the coming days, he would meet with the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), who is also the Chairman, South-West Governors Forum, on how best to implement the Amotekun initiative.
Categories: National Security