YORUBA leaders, including Nobel lauerate, Professor Wole Soyinka, on Tuesday, described the statement of the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore on the establishment of the South-West security initiative, Amotekun, as reckless and coming from an ill-informed organisation.
The Yoruba leaders said there was the need to caution the Miyetti Allah as its outbursts on the creation of Amotekun were capable of causing confusion in the country.
Soyinka, who reacted to the comments of a former governor of Kaduna State, Balarabe Musa, on the issue, said the former governor was “sadly wrong” with his views on the matter.
The national secretary of the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Saleh Alhassan, had said the group was afraid that the Amotekun security outfit might be a disaster to the country if it was allowed to operate.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, the Miyetti Allah scribe said Amotekun was like the Oodua Peoples Congress (APC), which, according to him, had the history of heinous crimes and killings.
“We are afraid because if they don’t tame this monster at the early stage, it is going to be a serious disaster for the country,” he said.
Alhassan, who also described the initiative as a “threat to democracy,” said it was a deliberate attempt by the people of South-West to chase away herdsmen from the zone.
“For us, Amotekun, the Yoruba tribal militia, is one of the greatest threats to democracy we now have in place. You cannot empower an ethnic militia that has a violent crime.
“Essentially, what you have as Amotekun is OPC that have a history of ethnic crimes and killings. And the proponents of Amotekun have not hidden who their targets are. They have consistently said their target is to displace the herders from the South-West.
“The earlier we stem the monster, the better for this country. We the pastoralists will not allow an ethnic militia that has clear agenda to stop us from our economic activities. It is clearly stated that they are going after Fulani pastoralists and we will not sit back and allow them. No, we are seeking protection from the government.
“Goverment should take a step, government should not allow very irresponsible ethnic group to destabilise the country,” he had said.
Responding to a question to confirm or deny if he actually said that the South-West should forget presidency in 2023 if the region move on with the Amotekun initiative, Alhassan said, “it’s not a blackmail, unfortunately with very strong apology to my Yoruba friends, despite the education of the Yoruba people, they still remain the most primitive in terms of political culture. They have no tolerance for opposition.”
While reacting, however, the Pan-Yoruba sociopolitical group, Afenifere, expressed its displeasure over Alhassan’s comments.
Afenifere’s spokesperson, Mr Yinka Odumakin, in a statement made available to the Nigerian Tribune, said people like Alhassan had, in their thinking wanted the Yoruba to remain vulnerable, but the South-West governors instead? tried to put some token measure in place to secure the lives of their people as well as those of Hausa, Igbo, Ijaw and every other tribe living in the region.
He warned that the North would be making mistakes if they thought Yoruba had? become their slaves because the race? gave President Muhammadu Buhari the four per cent lead that gave him the Presidency in 2015.
“If they think because Yoruba gave Buhari the four per cent lead that earned him the Presidency in 2015 we have become their slaves, they are clearly taking their sacrifice beyond the junction,” Odumakin said.?
Also reacting, the Ondo State governor, who is also the chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, said Amotekun had come to stay, irrespective of the criticism from some parts of the country.
Speaking through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Ojo Oyewamide, the governor said all legal means would be deployed to ensure the success of the security outfit in the region.
He, however, maintained that the security outfit would operate within the region without necessarily affecting the oneness of the country as a nation.
The governor, who ignored the outburst of the Miyetti Allah scribe and restrained from attacking Alhassan over his comments, said “as usual, the issue was Amotekun. Rather than throwing same stones the arrogant miscreant threw at the governors, we will rather put the blame on the those internal collaborators whose parochial political pursuits have beclouded their sense of tomorrow.
“Yes, the possibility of an outburst as such can only be seen when a serving senator, because of his political ambition, would rather demonise Amotekun than support the scheme.”
The governor, who queried some moves against the Amotekun security outfit by some South-West lawmakers, asked: “Is it not curious that it was shortly after a supposed senator whose immediate environment is the most affected by insecurity pummeled Amotekun that the Attorney-General of the Federation came out that same evening to issue a statement?
“These are the internal collaborators whose vested interests have sold the South-West out. However, we must emphasise that our unity and cohesion as a nation are two cherished features that we can’t afford to undermine.”
Akeredolu maintained that “for the umpteenth time, Amotekun has come to stay and all legal means will be deployed to achieve same without necessarily affecting our oneness as a nation,” adding that like others elsewhere, “Amotekun remains complimentary; it’s not a regional force.”
Leader of the Yoruba, Professor Banji Akintoye, declared that there was no going back on Amotekun
In an interview with Channels Television on Tuesday, he stated that it was good that South-West governors had stepped forward to take the matter up.
“I’m sorry for those who are not comfortable with Amotekun, because we are not going back on it. We will do it to protect our people,” he said.
According to him, the Federal Government had done nothing to stop those who had been invading and disturbing the peace of the South-West zone.
“Since 2014, our land has been invaded by people from other part of Nigeria who have actually came to kill, to destroy farms, take our land, kidnap for ransom and bring their kinsmen from other part of West Africa to take our land and the Federal Government has done nothing to the people doing these to us.
“It has come to the point that our governors have stepped forward to take step on it and we are very grateful for this,” he said.
Also, the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Aare Gani Adams, enjoined South-West governors to commence process of ensuring that state Assemblies in the region pass bill to legitimate the establishment of Amotekun, while they sign the bill into law without delay, following with recruitment into the outfit.
He wondered if those labelling Amotekun as another OPC had any shame or conscience concerning the number of lives that had been lost in Yorubaland through the activities of herdsmen.
Adams urged Yoruba people to remain focused and ignore people who made disparaging comments on Amotekun as, according to him, the issue had been overflogged in the media.
“I listened to the interview [by Alhassan]. I realise that it is not necessary to be reacting to Miyetti Allah’s comment anymore. We have to be focused and we have overflogged this issue in the media.
“I think the ball is in the court of the governors to ensure that the state houses of Assembly should pass it into law and the governors should assent it. In-between, the recruitment can start,” he said.
According to him, the opposition to Amotekun could only have been because those opposed to it had a hidden agenda which the establishment of the security outfit had now made impossible for them to execute.
“I think we have one of the best legal luminaries who had commented on this issue on the basis of law and without going to court, he has already giving signal of authority that we are entitled to protecting our lives on the basis of self defence. It goes beyond rhetorics.
“Amotekun is just a security outfit that would be coordinated by the South-West governors,” he said.
Also speaking, a former Secretary of the Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), Dr Kunle Olajide, said Alhassan’s comments against Yoruba over the formation of Amotekun was an “act of ignorance and they? deserve no attention.”
Olajide who spoke to the Nigerian Tribune in Ado-Ekiti, noted that Amotekun was not in any way ethnic militia, but to complement efforts of the established security agencies in area of intelligence gathering, for the security of lives and property of residents in the region.
“I listened to the Miyetti Allah secretary this morning on national television and all I can see is an act of ignorance on his part. However, as leaders, we will continue to educate them.
“You don’t need any permission of anybody to preserve your life and the creation of Amotekun was an emergency that even some of us thought should have been done years ago, considering the challenges we are facing, security wise. The enabling law from the states houses of Assembly will follow in due course.
“Let me say this that the group (Miyetti Allah) is not different from the Barbers Union and Tailor’s Association. We should stop giving them unnecessary attention. They are better ignored,” he said.
A former senator representing Ogun Central senatorial district, Femi Okurounmu, said Amotekun is a response to the Federal Government’s negligence in looking after the security of Nigerians.
“When authorities that are supposed to defend the citizens fail to do their duties, when they side with the oppressors, the culprits who are the ones killing and maiming citizens and who have the support of the authorities, then the citizens have a right to defend themselves.
“Our governors in the South-West, their obligations are to protect us and they have risen to that responsibility of defending their citizens after a lot of demands and frustrations. Kudos to them.
“When people defend themselves, the authorities are always against those who defend themselves. The authorities will not go against those who are killing people. Should citizens now lay down their necks to be slaughtered? We should just ignore anything that anyone in Miyetti Allah is saying. They are just ranting. Amotekun is simply a response of the people of Yorubaland, their governors and their leaders in Yorubaland,” he said.
In the same vein, a leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun State, Senator Adegbenga Kaka, said any individual or group of people dissatisfied with the establishment of Amotekun should approach competent court of law.
Kaka noted that sections 24 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, provided that anyone aggrieved of formalisation and intensification of self preservation should proceed to the court for proper interpretation of the constitution.
Kaka urged the Federal Government to set aside special, motivational grant-in-aid with commendation for any responsive and responsible individual, corporate, private or governmental initiatives that help in the discharge of expected mandatory social responsibilities
In his submission, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State, Mr Segun Sowunmi, warned against any utterances that could set the nation of fire.
Sowunmi said, “we must not elevate a trade association to the status of a political party. Neither must we join issues with them. As stakeholders, we must be extremely careful how we manage our diversity as a people of many ethnic nationalities in Nigeria.”
Director-General, Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission, Mr Seye Oyeleye, described Alhassan’s position that Amotekun was target at a particular ethnic group as mischievous, untruthful and unpatriotic.
He decried that the Miyetti Allah scribe was playing up the ethnic card to destroy the functionality of Amotekun, pointing out that the outfit was created as a community policing scheme that would help secure every person living within the South-West geopolitical zone.
Asked when the outfit will fully get operational, Oyeleye allayed fears, adding that the vehicles belonging to the security outfit would soon become visible across the region.
“The Western Nigeria Security Network is not targeted at any ethnic group and at every opportunity, we have explained, the governors too have explained that Amotekun is for everyone that lives within the geographical space called Western Nigeria.
“So, anyone who lives within the six Western Nigeria states will enjoy the services of Amotekun. Anybody saying that it is targeted at any ethnic group is only being mischievous, untruthful and unpatriotic.
“That person does not love Nigeria because it is clear that they want to play up the ethnic card to destroy the credibility of an outfit that was set up purely as a community policing scheme.
“Whoever comes up with that kind of statement should be cautioned. Nothing is stopping Amotekun and you will soon starting seeing the vehicles around,” he said.
Meanwhile, Professor Soyinka in his reaction to the antagonists of Amotekun, has noted that the people were only entertaining unnecessary fears.
According to him, the proponent of the outfit had always made it clear that it would be an effort at curbing escalation of crisis in the country.
The Nobel lauerate opined that rather than castigating the governors of the South-West region, governors from other areas should be encouraged to emulate the move.
“Balarabe is sadly, but I hope not tragically wrong. I invoke the tragic dimension here because the making of tragedy, especially for nations, often begins when fears are mistaken, or promoted as facts, and governments, either by themselves, or together with interest groups, are enticed by fears into embarking on precipitate, irrational, and irreversible acts.
“Such acts turn out in the end to be based on nothing but fears, sometimes generated by guilt over past injustices, such as inequitable dealing. That is the basis of tragedy, towards which nations are propelled by a partial, or wrongful reading of socio-political realities and – history. I would like to see this nation avoid such a blunder.
“Raising the spectre of secession is a facile approach to the dangerous, self-evident lapses in governance which Balarabe himself acknowledges in his response to the Amotekun principle made flesh.
“The midwives of Amotekun have repeatedly acknowledged that theirs is only a contribution towards a crisis of escalating proportions. Other states should be encouraged to emulate, not misread such initiatives, then demonise them by false attributions. That is the certain recipe for tragedy,” he said.Read Full Story