There are high expectations coming from many inhabitants of the southwest region regarding the take-off of western Nigeria security network (WNSN) codenamed operation Amotekun as findings reveal none of the governors had penned their signatures on the proposed bill legalizing the operation of Amotekun.
The governors were said to have set yesterday as the deadline to sign the much-awaited Bill into law in their respective states, but that was yet to materialise, no thanks to the seeming foot-dragging modus operandi of some of the House of Assembly that is still working on the Bill.
While Ekiti State House of Assembly made record yesterday as the first to pass the Bill, Osun State lawmakers had been on a six-week recess since last month but may cut short their vacation on February 24 to work on the bill already approved by the state executive council. However, the Bill has already passed Second Reading in Oyo, Ogun and Ondo states.
For those who might want to be recruited into the security outfit in Oyo State, the Divisional Police Officers (DPO) and their council chairmen must endorse their application form to attest to their character and eligibility to join.
According to the Amotekun Bill that just passed Second Reading in the state, Section 19(1) says: “A person may qualify to enlist into the Amotekun Corps if the person- (a) has applied in writing to the Agency; (b) has received confirmation from the Divisional Police Officer in his Local Government Area of residence that he is of proven character and integrity and has no criminal records and (c) has been endorsed by the Chairman of his Local Government Area of residence or the traditional ruler of the community where such a person resides.”
Section 14(1) says: “There shall be appointed by the Governor, a Corps Commander for the agency, who shall be a retired Law Enforcement Officer or Military Officer not below the rank of a Major or its equivalent in other Security Service.”
Section 14(4) says: “The Oyo State Amotekun Corps Commander may be removed from office by the Governor if the Governor is satisfied that it is not in the interest of the public that he should continue to be in office.”
Section 5(1)(a) says: “The functions of the Agency are to collaborate with and assist the Police and other Security Network Agencies in gathering information about crime, crime investigation, arrest, and prosecution of persons suspected or involved in kidnapping, terrorism, cattle rustling, highway robbery, and other criminals activities.
“(b) collaborate with and assist the Police and other Security agencies I maintaining law and order within the state.”
After the lawmakers deliberated on the Bill, the Speaker of the House, Adebo Ogundoyin, said members of the outfit should be recruited from the same localities where they would work, adding that vigilantes, hunters, and guards should be integrated into Amotekun.
Before passing the Bill in Ekiti, the House received the reports of the Committee on Security and Special Duties, which conducted a public hearing on Thursday.
Speaker, Funminniyi Afunye led the members in committee of the whole House to consider and approve the Bill, clause by clause, after which the Clerk, Tola Esan, read the Bill for the third time.
Highlight of the committee’s recommendation for amendment includes that Section 5 (I) of the Bill on the Governing Board should be headed by a retired law enforcement agent, who should be a man of proven integrity or equivalent in the Nigerian Army not below the rank of Maj- General.
Members were of the opinion that the rank should be lowered to Colonel or Brig-General or equivalent in other security forces.
Other amendments effected on the Bill were mere use of words, phrases or letters in some clauses.