Three Southwest governors on Monday clarified the status of Operation Amotekun, the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN), which is at the centre of a raging controversy.
They spoke at separate fora.
Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola faulted the Supreme Council for Sharia of Nigeria’s claim that Amotekun is a subtle way of ‘Christianising’ the Southwest.
In Akure, Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu said recruitment into the security outfit will soon start.
Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi dismissed the claim that Operation Amotekun will set the stage for Southwest’s secession from the country.
Oyetola, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Ismail Omipidan, said: “If you sit down with those peddling the misinformation they probably do not understand the basis of the argument they are making.
“Apart from the social media misinformation about Amotekun being taken from the Bible or whatever, there was no time the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) was part of the meeting when most of these decisions were taken. And if CAN has never been part of the decision, how will you ascribe it to a particular religion? I think it is important to make that clear that there is no recruitment based on church birth certificate.”
“I may not be able to speak for people but I’m speaking for Osun State because they have been addressing the press on the last three weeks, they have been doing so in Osun and I ask, why Osun? Is there any special interest in Osun?”
“Because if you notice, the two releases that have come out so far are from this place and I’m not sure Osun is the headquarters of the Supreme Council for the Southwest. I am not sure of it. Why Osun?”
Oyetola was reacting to the statement by the Muslim group President, Sheikh Abdur’rasheed Hadiyatullah, who told reporters in Osogbo that “Amotekun is a subtle method of further Christianization of the Southwest by its promoters in their usual manner of having political and power dominance over the Muslims in the region.”
“It is another elusive way of establishing a ‘Christian-dominated State Police Force whose affairs would be designed and determined from the Church at the expense of the Muslims majority in the region.”
He added: “Amotekun is a coinage from Jeremiah Chapter 5: Verse 6 of the Holy Bible, reads, “Wherefore a lion out of the forest shall slain them, and a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them, a leopard shall watch over their cities: every one that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces: because their transgressions are many, and their backslidings are increased.
“It was once advertised that any applicant for the purpose of recruitment into the Outfit
should produce a birth certificate from a church as a precondition for qualification.”
Akeredolu said Operation Amotekun, will soon begin recruitment.
The Southwest Governors’ Forum chairman said those employed will be trained by certified security experts.
Akeredolu, who spoke through his Special Adviser on Security Mr Jimoh Dojumo, said the governors were working on recruitment modalities.
“We are working round the clock for the commencement of Operation Amotekun.
“The recruitment exercise will soon commence in the six states and the personnel will commence work soon as well,” Dojumo said.
According to him, consultations were made before the launch of the security outfit.
According to him, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu was carried along in all stages before the outfit’s launch.
Besides, he said the IGP sent a representative to the Southwest security summit held in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, where the six governors agreed on Operation Amotekun.
Fayemi said the Southwest had no plan to secede from Nigeria.
According to him, the region remains committed to a united and indivisible Nigeria.
The governor spoke when he hosted a pan-Yoruba development interest group, the Oodua Progressive Union (OPU) Worldwide, led to his office by the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams.
Adams was in Ado Ekiti to attend the Annual World Conference of the OPU.
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, Dr Fayemi said nobody should entertain any fear of secession.
He said Operation Amotekun was designed to protect all Nigerians in the region.
Adams welcomed the agreement between the Federal Government and Southwest governors on Operation Amotekun.
He said: “If the Southwest is safe, entire Nigeria is safe. So, I think the President should complement the initiative of Amotekun.”
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