Governors of the six South-West states have been urged to empower the South-West Security Network (SWSN), codenamed ‘Amotekun’ towards curtailing the challenges facing the zone.
A Pan-Yoruba group, the Majeobaje Movement, made the call in a letter addressed to the governors and made available on Thursday in Ibadan.
The Majeobaje Movement is a group of professionals, entrepreneurs, policy specialists and academics concerned with and working for improved governance in Nigeria.
The letter, dated December 12 and jointly signed by the group’s steering committee members, was addressed to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, who is the Chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum.
The signatories to the letter included Chief Akintayo Akin-Deko, Sir Gbenga Adebusuyi, Revd. Muyiwa Bamgbose, Mr Ibukun Fakeye, Dr Dolapo Sikuade, Mr Deola Kumapayi, Mr Yomi Layinka and Mr Ayo Oyerinde.
The letter, addressed to Akeredolu, was copied to all the five other governors in the zone.
The group accused the governors of ‘grossly abdicating’ their primary constitutional duties of protecting the lives and property of their citizens, judging by the escalating security crisis in the zone.
It decried the spate of killings, kidnappings, rape and sundry criminal activities ravaging the region, with attendant loss of lives of many illustrious citizens and destruction of their means of livelihood.
The group wondered why the much-trumpeted Amotekun had yet to be effectively pressed into the service of protecting lives and property in the zone, against the high expectations of the citizens.
It highlighted several unresolved security breaches in the region, especially in different parts of Oyo, Ekiti, Osun, Ondo and Ogun states, which had caused anguish to many families.
The group said the governors had made no significant effort to mitigate the sufferings of residents in the hands of kidnappers, rapists and armed robbers or bring the criminals to justice.
It presented a five-point recommendation in the letter to stamp out criminal activities within the zone and ensure that citizens slept with their eyes closed, especially as end-of-the-year festivities had peaked.
“Our governors should urgently allocate more funds to Amotekun for the outfit to be fully equipped and recruit more personnel to improve their operations. The ongoing assistance to conventional security agencies should also be enhanced and sustained”.
The group recommended the use of new and existing laws to revamp neighborhood associations and strengthen local government area security committees to include traditional rulers, Amotekun/police and vigilantes.
According to it, the two units will help deter criminals and collate data to monitor the activities as well as the welfare of itinerant workers, such as Okada riders, farm workers and herders, among others.
“We encourage the setting up of private security companies that will specialise in intelligence gathering services and the use of drones for aerial surveillance and investigation of kidnapping cases. They should also set up or reboot Security Trust Fund in each state in such a way that will encourage and compel the private sector to support with funding and management of the security initiatives”.
The group enjoined the governors to demonstrate leadership by physically leading the charge to secure their states and mobilising resources at the frontlines.
This, it said, would rekindle the hopes of farmers, their families and other residents that their governors had not abandoned them to the impunities of marauding forces.
The group cautioned that before apocalypse arrived, the governors must urgently act to prevent the long-suffering people of the zone from resorting to self-help, which, it said, could lead to unbearable consequences.
“We, therefore, call on you and your colleagues to rise up today, take the leadership and fulfill your primary purpose of protecting and defending the lives and property of your people. If you fail to urgently do the needful by pushing back the marauders, we are concerned that our anxious people may regain their composure and be left with no other option than to defend themselves”.