Operation Amotekun, Not Regional Police
Regions are not federating units in Nigeria, so how should anyone expect Amotekun, a regional security network bringing state and non-state security actors together be registered. It does not have to be, and even if it is, may be as an NGO. The Western Nigeria Security Network involve independent and sovereign states, so there is also no need for a commandant, or what or who will you call the commandant.
Some said Mr. Gani Adams is the anointed commandant, how and where? Someone must have attended the conferment ceremony. Amotekun is not designed in the mould of Hisbah for example, it is a collaboration platforms for the existing 'hisbahs' and the formal policing architecture in the region. That also should be corrected.
The people of Western Nigeria are law-abiding and will not condone any illegality in what is presently constituted as Nigeria, hence no Governor has donated arms or ammunitions to any group to combat crime. What has happened is the provision of logistics to the network to enable mobility into areas that have proven difficult for the formal security architecture to navigate.
The DAWN Commission, our pride, the organization set up to manage the regional aspiration is the coalescing point for all these actors to brainstorm and discuss how the collaboration will work seamlessly.
The core of any security architecture is the system of collecting and processing intelligence - that is the software of any security system. Amotekun will help address this gap and once again, make our region the preferred place to visit, live, invest and work.
Amotekun will leverage existing formal and informal security architecture in the six States, providing a platform for our State governments to collectively compare notes, share and collaborate to combat crimes that have ravaged our region in recent past.
States have duly registered and functional informal security architecture - the voluntary policing network. DFID, a UK department for international department at some point worked with the Nigerian Police Force to develop a guideline for the Voluntary Policing Sectors which include the vigilantes, self-help groups and others.
Amotekun is designed, leveraging on some of these guidelines to promote a healthy and productive handshake among the various security outfits ( both formal and informal) and across the six states.
You can call it an ad-hoc arrangement. Not every association can and should be stringed together by the force of law, especially such that is hinged on moral persuasion or obligation, which this is all about. Why then does it need a law. Perhaps, depending on how it shapes out, there might be need for that, but for now, it is an arrangement that the governments of the six States have bought into and are committed to.
It is not out of place to read the initiative from a political lens, that is subjective, but what is important is that there is a response from the government, there is a collaboration happening and they are committed to it. States will appraise their internal structures and capability and determine whether they need to recruit like Lagos state recruited into it's neighbourhood watch, and those recruited will be paid according to the State's standard. Amotekun is not an organization, not regional police, it is not an entity, it is an initiative, and at best a network.
Adedotun writes from Atlanta, Georgia State, US.