The Chief Press Secretary to Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, Mr Taiwo Adisa, has described the Oyo State Security Network Agency codenamed Amotekun as a security organization that is active, committed to duty, despite coming on board “in a hostile environment.”
Adisa, who said this on Tuesday while interacting with journalists in his office, added that the outfit, whose operation began about six weeks ago, should be commended for its recent efforts towards ensuring peace in the state, rather than being given a bad name.
He said: “The stories you have heard about Amotekun in Oyo State in the last six weeks are indicative of an active organization. If it is not active, the content will not be there to the fact that it is already generating national presence itself, particularly in Oyo State. It actually shows that the operatives are active, ready and committed to the work at hand. And what is the work at hand? To make sure there is peace in the city, in the towns, nooks and cranny of Oyo State generally, and to ensure that people can sleep with both eyes closed.
“So, it has been up and doing and we must commend the operatives of Amotekun because they came up in a very hostile environment. Hostile in the sense that the state and the community was willing to accept them but the environment within which they landed was very hostile.
The spokesman, who further debunked insinuations that that the recent actions of the outfit are similar to activities of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad SARS of the Police, urged the people to always hear Amotekun out on any of their action before drawing conclusions”
Adisa stated: “No, Amotekun won’t be another SARS. This is a responsible organization that was set up by the governor of Oyo State in collaboration with other governors of Western Nigeria to make sure that life goes on well with the people of this state and people of Yorubaland generally.
“The first week they started operation, we were seeing different complaints on social media that Amotekun beat up somebody at Mokola and some other places. And by the time we investigated, it was not true. We saw the incident in Oyo Town where the report came up to that one U.I student was shot by Amotekun but, by the time Amotekun came up with its own story, it happened to be that the person that was killed in that encounter was not a U.I student but a student of Federal College of Education (special), Oyo.
“The people who knew the suspect said he was a known cultist and, to cap it all, he was caught by Amotekun early in the morning around 1 a.m, blocking the road armed, actually to perpetrate crime. And the two other persons that were arrested alongside him when he was shot were handed over to the Police. So, people don’t want to hear Amotekun out before they pigeon-hole it into their own narrative, probably thinking that they are another SARS.”
Speaking further, Adisa maintained that the outfit has filled the vacuum created by the absence of the Police on the streets of the state.
He equally lamented that despite several appeals made to Police officers to return to their different duty posts and work together with Amotekun, men of the personnel are still not being seen on the streets.
“So, I will tell you that, in the past six weeks, Amotekun has been up and doing. They have been doing their best. We must also take note of the fact that Amotekun is filling the void created by the absence of the Police on our streets. The Police have been appealed to severally by a lot of well-meaning Nigerians. Even, the IGP was here to appeal to his men to start work and perform their duties diligently but we could see that they are still scanty on the roads and in so many of the points we used to see them.
“I can tell you that Amotekun has not allowed people to feel that void so much. That is why we have to give kudos to the Commandant of Amotekun and the Corps members because they are doing a good work.”
Adisa, however, urged the Police in the state to see Amotekun Corps as partners in progress, saying that the operation of Amotekun in the state demands a lot of cooperation with the Police.
“I want to say that the Police should welcome Amotekun as a baby that has come to join them to make their job better. The only thing that we will call for is for the Police to have open mind, work well with Amotekun. Amotekun is a baby that is trying to grow. So, the Police should help it to grow in the area of security. When the town is secure, even a policeman will be happy that his family is in a secure environment. He could carry guns but how much of protection will he be able to extend to his family when he is not there?” Adisa said.