Ondo state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu has stated that the state’s Security Network Agency, Operation Amotekun, will not be subsumed under the community policing arrangement of the Nigeria Police Force.
He also said that governors will not be responsible for the pay of the community policemen.
He stated this on Wednesday while speaking with Channels Television on Wednesday while recating to the claim of the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of Research and Planning, Adeleye Oyebade, that the community policing programme will be above any other security oufit in the country and the governors will pay for it.
Reacting to this, Akeredolu said: “It will never be accepted, it is not our thinking. We have a law that sets this up.
If the DIG feels otherwise, there is always a place for us to ventilate it. We are not afraid of this. The law said Amotekun will operate under its own law; it is not going to be subsumed under any setup. No.
“We will not collapse Amotekun for community policing. It will stand on its own. “There is no intimidation. We are not people that can be intimidated that the IG will give orders to. We will not. Amotekun is different. Community policing is different. If the IG does not understand, he will leave one day and other people will understand.
“We will work together, it is collaboration, not that it will be subsumed. The law is there and if anybody finds a fault in that law, we can go to court and ventilate whatever position in it. The DIG is totally wrong, Amotekun will not be subsumed under the community policing.”
On the use of arms by Amotekun corps, Akeredolu said, “We are trying to make a case but we’ve not yet agreed as to what should be with the issue of ammunition. For now, we allow Amotekun (corps) to carry non-prohibited ammunition. There are some ammunition that are non-prohibited. But we know it can look suicidal trying to confront these criminals with non-prohibited ammunition but we are looking at other means.
“These are disciplined people and if they carry arms, it will be for protection. We will keep having this discussion with the police and at the national level. But if the Nigerian Police find it difficult to prevent herders who carry weapons with their cows, some of them have prohibited arms like AK-47 and you have not been able to prevent that. So, now, what stops disciplined people like Amotekun to carry arms for protection? We will continue to discuss this. At least when civil defence started they were not carrying arms, they didn’t allow them carry arms but a case is made and they now carry arms.”
He also clarified that the governors would be in charge of the salaries of community policemen.
He said: “I am sure that they are taking this thing too far. Governors will have to pay? We have discussed this thing before and we told them it is not going to possible. Are you increasing their allocations? Which state governors will accept that? Other states might say yes, we will pay but we will not pay.
“Let’s be fair to ourselves, we are running a federal system. Where is that money going to come from when we are struggling to pay salaries? Nobody has ever come to us to say we will pay salaries anyway and if they come, we will write to say, no, we don’t have extra money to do that.
He said: “No state takes pride in insecurity and the governors will be committed to that because most governors are elected to secure the lives and property of within their domain. So, which state will now have the police of its own and not deploy it to good use.
“Multi-level policing is the best for this country. I am one of those who believe we cannot have a central police and the security will continue to suffer until we devolve multi-level policing.
“Maybe people will be afraid that the governors will take charge of it, no, the governor will not be the ones that will be solely responsible for state police. It will be a police council at the state level and the composition will be spelt-out and people will be there by the virtue of their offices. So, it is not going to be a command that will be headed by the governor but by the functionary of the state police council. State police cannot be answerable to the governor.”