We have observed patiently, the varied reactions to the formation of South West Nigeria security Network, condemned ‘Amotekun’ (Leopard).
ORIGIN OF AMOTEKUN
In Yoruba mythology, history has it that, due to reports of various crimes of kidnapping, banditry and terrorism from foreigners against his people. When news reached Oyo, a skillful hunter, Aro, with his Leopard (Amotekun) along with his private armies left Oyo in the 18th century and settled down at Igbo-Aje to flush out the foreign intruder terrorists French and British, kidnapping Yoruba for slavery, using Benin Republic route. Aro flushed them. Peace and happiness returned without fear of kidnapping any longer, at that time.
Aro founded Ilaro, at his old age. It was reported that, he later disappeared into the ground along with his leopard.
Amotekun also has its origin in the Bible:
Hosea 13:7 – “So, I will be to them like a lion; like a Leopard by the road, I will hurt”
Jeremiah 5:6 – A Leopard (Amotekun) shall watch over” their cities. wherefore a lion out of a forest shall slay them, and a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them, a leopard shall watch over their cities, every one that goes out hence shall be torn in pieces because their transgressions are many and their backsliding are increased.
The formation of DAWN (Development Agenda for Western Nigeria) Commission in 2013 was premised on making the South West of Nigeria, the preferred investment destination for both local and international investors. To achieve this, of course, safety comes first. Hence, security is expected to be on the front burner;
The present security arrangement is strictly controlled at the federal level as, Defence, is in the Exclusive Legislative list in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
However States are presently allowed to have their own security arrangements making use of federal agencies like the Military, Police, DSS and Civil Defence.
The States are allowed to equip these outfits with vehicles and state-of-the-art security and communication gadgets;
States also have Community Development Associations (CDA), Community Development Councils (CDC); Vigilante Groups, etc.;
There are also local hunters who have access to the thick forests, and could obtain information for use by the government security outfits, in combatting crimes;
Each locality has Kabiyesis, Mogajis, Baales and Community leaders, in even the remotest parts of each State;
The locals know every resident and all strangers coming in and going out of their localities;
Local Governments hold Peace and Security meetings on a monthly basis;
The DSS office is ever alert in intelligence gathering, using all the afore-listed paraphernalia.
An ethnic militia such as Amotekun initiative is a breeding place for anarchy. It is an anathema to sustainable peace and good of the society. Other zones have already started agitating for their own, apparently with a view to balkanizing Nigeria;
We see Christianization in the Amotekun agenda
Five (5) State co-ordinators out of the (six) 6 are Christians. Of course, this is done covertly to relegate Muslims to second fiddle position, which has, over the years, been the practice in South Western establishments;
Until they bowed to pressure, requirements for enlisting into Amotekun militia were Reference Letters from the Church and Church-issued Birth Certificates;
The word ‘Amotekun’ (Leopard) is chosen from Jeremiah 5:6 and Hosea 13:7, all from the Bible, to tell the Muslims that, what we are talking about here is Church and State, Muslims are not relevant;
The description of the Leopard itself, the animal which ‘lurks’ in a corner to attack its prey, portrays “stealth”, which is, pushing one idea forward, whereas there is a sinister one that will manifest later, which is proclamation of a Yoruba nations (through the back door);
The pettiness of some Christians in the corridors of power who could not masquerade their islamophobic tendency is worrisome. How can one fathom that an infinitesimal issue like Hijab would be loathed by some Christians in this Country, where as in Europe and U.S.A, Police Officers, Customs Officers and Immigration Officers wear Hijab;
It should also be pointed out that previous regional Corporations have never worked; Oyo and Osun established Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH, Ogbomoso. Today, the University is a shadow of its old self because of lack of cooperation between the governments of the two states.
The same problem of funding that bedeviled LAUTECH may be the fate of Amotekun.
The Amotekun recruits would be given Military Training. After accomplishing the task of flushing out criminals, what becomes of the militia, called Amotekun: the States will become wary of further funding and the Amotekun men would be discharged and unleashed on the society. The ranks of ‘trained’ Armed Robbers, Kidnappers, Bandits and Miscreants will swell up. Then we are back to square one.
The question should be asked here, as in the Yoruba mythology story, what happened to Aro’s Armies after containing the criminals – they became problem for society until Aro himself “disappeared into the ground”.
That is still the trend today, everywhere militia is used for emancipation – they end up becoming albatross to the society.
Except there is an ulterior motive, let the present security arrangement suffice, Let states, fund the Security Outfits they presently have; let there be synergy among the States even beyond the South West. Do we forget that, most of our states have borders with other geo-political zones, where South West indigenes also reside? “If we throw stones to the market, it hits members of our household”, so a Yoruba adage says;
if there must be restructuring, let there be a round-table discussion, not this anarchical method, called Amotekun;
As we always posit in Yorubaland, every family has both Christian and Muslim faithfuls, yet we co-exist harmoniously. Let us halt the idea of subjugating the Muslims:
He, who must come to equity, let him come with clean hands;
Happily enough, the Federal Government has come up with the idea of Community Policing, which will start immediately? It will achieve all that Amotekun aims to achieve, on a more global scale, without resulting into anarchy;
We appreciate that, security of our people is paramount in the thinking of the Governors, but it is the ethnic approach that is wrong;
Let us use the opportunity of this medium to also advise our State Governors to be wary of technocrats in the public service, who are religious bigots. They see a window of opportunity in every policy of government, to oppress Muslims;
It should also be pointed out here that, geo-political sentiments should be placed side by side with religious considerations, in all selections, appointments and policies of government.
We say NO to Ethnic militia codenamed Amotekun, without being oblivious of the fact that, that move may have led to the Federal Government expediting action on Community Policing.
Long Live, the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Alhaji Ishaq Kunle Sanni
Alhaji Murisiku Abidemi Siyanbade