Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, on Monday stated that the draft bill to give legal backing to the Western Nigeria Security outfit, codenamed Operation Amotekun, initiated by the six South West states would be simultaneously assented to on Friday, February 14.
Fayemi, who disclosed this while receiving proposed bill on Amotekun from the state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice , Olawale Fapohunda, said the bill when enacted will give the security outfit legal backing for sustainability.
The governor said the draft bill will be extensively discussed during the state’s Executive Council meeting on Wednesday, after which it would be immediately transmitted to the House of Assembly.
He pointed out that Amotekun was conceived by the six western governors as a regional response to curb the scourge of kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery and all forms of criminalities facing the region.
The governor added that Amotekun was in tandem with President Muhammad Buhari’s security initiative on community policing, primarily to curb the worrisome security challenges facing the country.
Fayemi debunked insinuation by those against the establishment of the security outfit that it was targeted at a particular ethnic group, noting that Amotekun was not to give exclusive protection for Yoruba people but every law abiding residents in the region, regardless of their tribe and ethnic affiliation.
His words: “A lot of people have misconstrued the essence of the Amotekun security network. It is not about an exclusive protection of indigene of the South West. It is about safety and security of every person resident in the six states of the South West, regardless of where they might have come from. As long as they are legitimately and legally resident in every part of the states, we consider it our duty, we consider it our responsibility to protect them as long as they are within the jurisdiction.
“Even though I have not read the bill , I am sure this is what this bill proposes. I am not sure the bill is for protection of Yoruba people living in the six states. It is going to talk on ensuring our highways are free from banditry, armed robbery , kidnappings and all forms of brigandage.
“To that extent, it is a logical extension of the community policing initiative that President Muhammadu Buhari has assented to that. The Inspector General of Police has already communicated to various police formations across the country.
“Together with my colleagues, we have promised ourselves that this bill will be given accelerated discussions in our various State Executive Council meetings this week and send it expeditiously to our various State Houses of Assembly this week. Our discussion with our speakers who have been waiting for the bill to the extent that they are recalling some of their members from recess in order to give this bill accelerated passage in the various legislatures.
“Latest by Friday,14th February, 2020 the bill that hopefully would have been passed into law would be assented to simultaneously in the six states of the South West and we hope the team in charge of it will start the implementation of the Amotekun corps immediately.”
While presenting the proposed bill, Fapohunda said the South West Houses of Assembly had promised to give the bill accelerated passage.
He added that the proposed bill was painstakingly prepared with specifications from each of the states which outlined the operational guidelines for the security network.
“The Attorney-General of the six states have been working on an enabling legal framework to give Amotekun legal strengthen.
“All of us would present the bill to our various governors for subsequent discussions at our various state executive councils.
“We have proposed 38 various provisions in the bill, key provisions in the bill include the establishment of Ekiti State Security Network Agency, including its functions and objectives, the creation and the composition of the governing board for the agency, establishment of Ekiti State Amotekun Corps, including powers, criteria for enlistment into the corps as well as several other needs.
“We have also included provision for Independent Amotekun Corps Complaints Board. The purpose of the board is to provide an opportunity for our people to report instances or possible cases of abuse of power, including violation of rights and corruption. We have also included copius provisions on the funding of the corps to ensure sustainability.
“And in line with the Fayemi led-administration’s policy of transparency and accountability, we would place a copy of this bill on the Ministry of Justice website by 5pm today to enable interested persons view the bill and possibly comment,” the commissioner said.