National security upheavals and Amotekun

By Samuel Oluwole Ogundele

 

 

Security is a complex aspect of human life and living, with a considerable degree of antiquity. No human group can successfully navigate the contours of socio-economic growth and development at any point in time and space without adequate safety and security. These scenarios have local, sub-regional, regional, and trans-oceanic underpinnings. Fine-grained intelligence gathering and management including strict discipline are at the core of the actions and activities of such security agencies as the police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, State Security Service, and Nigeria Immigration Service.

The 1999 Constitution puts safety and security of lives and property of the citizens at the centre in the scheme of things. Only the living can contribute to national development. President Muhammadu Buhari is the Chief Security Officer of Nigeria. Therefore, no excuses for him!  Nigerians did not vote for any cabal, if indeed, such a faceless group of monsters exists. The president is ultimately accountable to the Nigerian people. Consequently, the National Assembly has to ask questions about his stewardship whenever there is need to do so. This is with a special emphasis on the state of the security among other foundational issues like the economy of the country. This is the beauty of justice and democracy as opposed to monarchy.

It seems to me, that there is a gross lack of synergy or inter-communication between the above security agencies. The Nigerian leadership class continues to play smelly, irritating politics with security. Not unexpectedly, banditry, kidnapping, and armed robbery go on unabated. Things are rapidly falling apart in the face of the seriously troubled centre. Nigeria-the rhetorical lion of Africa is in a coma. Contrary to the position of the Nigerian military oligarchy, the Boko Haram group is getting stronger daily. Nobody needs the presidential aides or ministers to confirm this. The Boko Haram overlords, sometimes masquerading as bandits, are threatening lives of innocent Nigerians across the board. Although Nigeria is a sovereign state, many of its activities and/or operations have to be legally located in the global domain. No absolute or infinite sovereignty in the political geography of the modern world. Therefore, any political leadership that tramples upon the fundamental human rights of its followers, must be brought to justice at the local and global levels, in the overall interest of our common humanity. African Union and ECOWAS, why are you not helping Nigeria now as it bleeds? Are the leaders of these international/sub-regional bodies merely for self-preservation? The Nigerian government has become a drama, full of lies and deception. Good heavens, what are you doing?

As bold as brass, insurgents and bandits mount roadblocks day and night in parts of the country to maim or kill people. Sometimes, the victims are ransomed and/or raped. This is not Nigeria of our dream! There were allegations in the public space, that huge monies usually followed every round of negotiations with the above evil-doers from within and outside Nigeria. What a monumental shame! The government has blatantly broken the social contract between it and the Nigerian people. This scenario also discourages both local and foreign investments. It is against the backdrop of these upheavals in the country’s security system, that the Southwest Security Network Agency christened, Amotekun was founded in January, 2020 by Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, and Ondo states. Thumbs up for the Southwest governors for this great initiative. It is a fact, that these governors cannot control the police in their states. Orders come from Abuja. This makes nonsense of the position of each one of them as the Chief Security Officer.

The Amotekun security outfit is supposed to play a complementary role. It is not a rival organisation to the old security agencies. Members of this group must have a zero tolerance mindset for corruption, in order to successfully identify and respond to security issues. As superb surveyors of their local geographies, the Amotekun men should focus extensively on intelligence gathering and management. They need to know how to use drones for aerial reconnaissance of the bush where these terrorists/criminals play a deadly game with innocent Nigerians. Indeed, Amotekun is not a cosmetic security organization for the sake of exhibitionism and extortion of money from road users.  Consequently, the outfit has no business with such mundane things as the arresting of ladies in skimpy dresses, pursuing motorcyclists on our roads and checking of documents of vehicles.

The logo of the Amotekun is an angry leopard (amotekun among the Yoruba). This is a symbol of seriousness, bravery, and zero tolerance for crimes. This is why the officers have been given immunity in the course of their operations. This is aimed at paving the way for maximum efficiency as opposed to the commitment of human rights abuses. According to the Ekiti State governor-Dr. Kayode Fayemi, erring Amotekun officers would be dealt with accordingly. No room for sacred cows. The governors must not play politics with the matter. We all live in unprecedentedly troubled times and Nigerians are in dire need of a messiah. This is a fact.

The Amotekun officers have to be monitored regularly by a small but result-oriented intelligence group. Security sabotage cannot be ruled out in a matter of this nature and magnitude. But the Amotekun officers need to be well remunerated and motivated in order to perform maximally. Paying poor salaries to them is an invitation to colossal failure. This is largely because currently, the Nigerian economy is in an inflationary spiral of wage and price increases.

A desperately hungry Amotekun is highly prone to bribery and corruption.  Reasonable salaries have to be paid to these security people as a pre-condition for a robust performance devoid of extortion among other acts of sabotage and/or treachery. Thumbs up for the governors for providing many trucks and motorcycles as well as items of equipment this security outfit. But relatively fine emoluments are critical to the boosting of the morale of the officers and men of this agency. It is better not to have an Amotekun than to be parading an ill-motivated group who would eventually deepen the security crisis. Security must take priority over all other official engagements by the affected state governments. Fiscal discipline and unalloyed patriotism are of the essence. Where there’s a will there’s a way. A #ENDAMOTEKUN protest should not be allowed to happen now or in the future in the interest of the Southwest and Nigeria as a whole.

  • Prof Ogundele writes from University of Ibadan.

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Source: The Nation

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