FULANI herdsmen’s body the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (Macban) has voiced its objection to the regional security outfit Operation Amotekun saying its creation could cost the southwest geo-political zone the presidency in 2023.
Over recent years, heavily-armed herdsmen have been running riot across southwestern Nigeria, engaging in kidnapping, armed robbery and banditry. To address the problem, the governors from across the geo-political zone decided to launch a regional security outfit named Amotekun, which translates to leopard in the local Yoruba language.
Within the last fortnight, the six governors have supplied Operation Amotekun with vehicles and equipment. Under the arrangements drawn up, the governments of the six states will train vigilantes, hunters and members of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) to provide security to provide intelligence for the official security services like the police, military and civil defence corps.
However, government supporters have opposed Operation Amotekun, with the Northern Youth Council of Nigeria saying that the creation of the body is a threat to national security. Also, earlier this week, the attorney-general of the federation Abubakar Malami said the federal government considers Operation Amotekun as an illegal police force.
Mr Malami’s words have attracted widespread condemnation by society groups and legal experts who say there is nothing in the constitution prevents state governors creating regional security outfit. Several state governments in other parts of the country, have said they are looking at how Operation Amotekun works with a view to introducing it themselves.
Macban, who has been accused of being behind the Fulani herdsmen killings, has said it opposes Operation Amotekun, warning the governors of the southwest that its creation
may cost the geo-political zone the presidency in 2023. In three years time, the presidency will be zoned back to southern Nigeria with the southeast, south-south and southwest expected to vie for the office.
Alhaji Alhassan Saleh, Macban’s national secretary, warned that the southwest governors must withdraw their support for Operation Amotekun for the region to stand a chance of taking a shot at the presidency come 2023. He expressed his disappointment with the southwest intelligentsia for supporting the outfit.
“This Amotekun scheme is political and is not the solution to the problem of insecurity, as what the southwest governors should have done is to continue to push for state police. Where do they expect to get the funding from at a time some of them are struggling to pay salaries?
“It is best they give up on this idea because it may affect the chances of the southwest to produce the president in 2023. The thinking is that if the southwest, a major stakeholder in this government, can be toying with this idea now, they may do worse when they get to power,” Alhaji Saleh said.
He backed Mr Malami, for describing Amotekun as an illegal outfit. According to Alhaji Saleh, Mr Malami should have spoken out a long time ago instead of waiting for things to have reached an advanced stage.