CHAIRMAN of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, yesterday, called for a constitutional amendment to accommodate the Western Nigeria Security Network, codenamed Amotekun, as state police to tackle the security challenges confronting the country.
Governor Fayemi said this at the 7th Annual Lecture Series in commemoration of the Birthday of former Minority Whip of the House of Representatives, Babatunde Oduyoye, held at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan.
The governor, who spoke on the theme: ‘Security and National Unity in Difficult Times’, noted that the challenge of insecurity in Nigeria has become frightening and is getting all concerned.
Fayemi, who was the guest speaker, said it was imperative to amend the Constitution to empower the various security initiatives to be able to respond to the current challenges in the country.
His words: “The challenge of insecurity in Nigeria is frightening and is getting all of us concerned.
“At the dawn of the current democratic dispensation in 1999, the major concern of security experts was the staccato of ethnic and religious violence that was common then, which was before the dawn of the Niger-Delta militancy which took almost a decade.
“A new phenomenon in insecurity however waded in with the violent campaign of Boko Haram activities in many parts of the north.
“Added to this is Nigeria’s extensive and porous borders covering over 4000 kilometres littered with illegal entry points and routes totalling 1500 points.
“With the porous borders, criminal gangs and terrorist insurgents could easily stroll in with smuggled weapons into the country, which in turn are sold to sea pirates, cultists, armed robbers, kidnappers, bandits and other purveyors of violence in the Nigerian state.
“The creation of Amotekun can only be a precursor to this.
“We need a security system that is localised, knowledgeable about the culture and security situation of a particular community.
“But we need to amend the constitution to empower the various security initiatives to be able to respond to the current challenges.
“For example, despite not possessing Ak47 which the bandits possess, Amotekun operatives have been courageous to confront them in the forest and have successfully rescued victims of kidnapping and arrested the criminals in some instances.
“Yet, these people are at best, volunteer corps with encouragement stipend paid to them. They don’t earn as much as the conventional police, yet they are better motivated to throw themselves to the protection of the community where they have their wives, children and families.”
Besides, Fayemi urged Nigerians to be united to defeat the evil merchants who have no respect for children, old age, women, clergy or traditional authorities.
He said: “They are unsparing and are callous. They have no sympathy for religion, ethnicity or authority and are undiscriminating in the pursuit of their satanic enterprise.
“We must not be ashamed to call for assistance from wherever we can get it in terms of technology, equipment and personnel.
“In addition, there are two things that we need to address quickly to bring the current wave of insecurity to a halt.
“We need to have a conversation on how we can recruit a large number of people to join the police and the military even on a short service or otherwise.”
Also speaking, the co-chairman of the event, Senator Adolphus Wabara, urged the Federal Government to decentralise security apparatus in the hands of one ethnic nationality.
Wabara, a former Senate President, said: “Every morning when I have to open the pages of newspapers or read through posts on the social media, my heart cut at the extent of violence being unleashed on citizens of Nigeria.
“There are stories of killings, kidnapping, banditry, cattle rustling and herders’/farmers brouhaha from the North East, North West and North Central part of the country, the same way we are bombarded with stories of violence, armed robbery, kidnapping and herdsmen infractions from the South West, South East and South-South.
“It is just like, everywhere you go, there is violence and killings.
“Besides, there have been growing agitations for self-determination from the South East and South West in recent years.
“Rather than adopting the knee-jerk approach in tackling the myriads of security problems facing the country currently, the government at the centre needs to look deep down and design solutions.”