Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka on Thursday cautioned the newly inaugurated officers of Ogun State’s wing of South-West Joint Security Outfit codenamed Amotekun, not to trample on the rights of citizens in the discharge of their duties.
The security outfit was inaugurated by the state government on Thursday.
Speaking at the event, Soyinka, who was decorated as the Super Marshall of Amotekun Corps in the state, said that the security outfit was not being commissioned to replace or fight the regular police but to complement their efforts in the fight against insecurity.
“The unique swagger stick of the Governor Abiodun and the head of Amotekun, differs drastically from either the police or the military swagger stick.
“It is symbolic, it’s unique, it’s aesthetic and it just says we are different and I think that message, the aspect of it I want the security to understand is that it is not a replacement for you,” he said.
Speaking to police he said, “You are too jealous of your position, of your uniforms and everything and where there should be cooperation, there is competition, that is silly, let us now go beyond that and recognise that this unit is simply to complement what you are already doing adequately, that is to the best of your ability, inadequately as far as you are supposed to protect are concerned, the way we feel it.
“So, be happy and welcome them within your ranks and work with them.
For the Amotekun corps he said, “What we need to contribute to this initiative is monitoring, advice, designs.
“I want the Amotekun team to understand that we will be watching you as representatives of the civil society group, we will be watching you very closely to make sure that you do not trample on the rights of citizens”.
“You have been created to assist them, to protect them, to be part of them, to live inside them, to gather information, to say to the police, the military, we cannot handle this, but we have seen this, would like to take a look and assist?
“You are not here because you now have a uniform to start behaving like some other security agencies. You have to set an example to say that you are a civic unit.”
On the recent attacks at his home Soyinka said, “I am glad the commissioner of police is here. My home in this place has been burglarized, I don’t say anything, I won’t say much, we have been hit several times, look in your records you will see how they broke into that place when I was away, very sensitive material was carried away, both security and everything, till today, even this case I was told went to SARS and also went to NSA, the Kabiyesi knows about one of the most serious ones, till today, I have had no feedback that sorry we didn’t make any headway so I’m compelled to resolve to do it myself and since then I have not been troubled but why? I pay taxes, why should I not rely on the protective services of the State, of my nation? It is absurd.
“And so I hope that you will be able to work with Amotekun and give me a clue about what really happened to things that were stolen from my house and who these people were, who got away with it.
“So Amotekun, we are watching you, if you abuse your uniform before Ogun strikes you, we would have dealt with you.
In his speech at the event, Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun said: “Let me note that the inauguration of the Amotekun in Ogun State is not to create unnecessary competition with other security agencies in the State. And this is why everybody must work together to further strengthen the security of lives and property in the State.”
Noting that the setting up of the joint security outfit was agreed on by leaders and governments of the six south-west states in June 2019 as a means to tackle the rising wave of insecurity in the region, Abiodun said that the delay in the establishment of the outfit in Ogun was borne out the need to be meticulous and inclusive by allowing the people to participate in the decision-making process that affects them.
“We cannot but factor our economic status and other peculiarities into any security machinery we want to put in place. That is why the operation of the Amotekun in Ogun State looks delay. For us, it is never a delay; it was a calculated and methodical process in thoughts, action and to ensure a hitch-free service delivery”, he said.