Less than two months after commencing operations, officers of the Oyo State Security Network named Amotekun have reportedly killed at least three citizens, injured a number of them and shot a police constable – a record that has put the security network under fire.
Officially launched on January 9, 2020, the journey to create Amotekun, a regional security arrangement, began in July 2019 after governors of the six Southwest states, namely Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, and Oyo agreed to its creation.
Seyi Makinde, Governor of Oyo State signed the bill for its creation in the state into law in March 2020, four days after the state House of Assembly passed the Oyo State Security Network Agency Bill 2020.
The security network was created to curb rising cases of insecurity in the Southwest. Speaking during the official flag-off, Kayode Fayemi, Governor of Ekiti State, explained that the creation of Amotekun was informed by the need to arrest the menace of insecurity that has afflicted the country.
Echoing Fayemi’s argument, during the inauguration of Amotekun in Oyo State, Makinde said the security network was inaugurated because the ‘security of lives and properties of residents is not negotiable’.
However, less than two months after the agency commenced operations in November 2020, residents have started raising eyebrows about highhandedness of officers of the outfit and some questionable incidents involving its officers.
While they have not really secured their terrain, they are currently receiving knocks for fast becoming a monster.
Kolade Gbadebo, a 27-year-old student of the University of Ibadan, went to eat at Sabo area of Oyo town, on Friday, December 18, 2020, but never returned home. He was reportedly gunned down by Amotekun officers.
After initially denying the involvement of its men in the death if Gbadebo, the security network later confirmed that one of its officers killed him.
It however, alleged that Gbadebo and others mounted roadblocks and were extorting money from motorists. It said the late undergraduate and his colleagues opened fire at its officers.
Barely two weeks later, another Amotekun officer, Ibrahim Ogundele shot a police constable, one Yekini on his left leg at a very close range during an operation to stop an ongoing carnival in Oyo town.
On Wednesday, January 6, two youths, Razak Odugbemi and Lekan Ogunlade, reportedly lost their lives when Amotekun officers clashed with the organizers of an ongoing carnival around 10 pm at Tapa community, Ibarapa North Local government, Oyo State Southwest Nigeria.
The Amotekun officers had upon their arrival ordered the carnival to be halted immediately. This order did not go down well with some of the youth which led to an argument with the officers before two were shot dead and many others sustained injuries.
At least three of those injured were still receiving treatment at a hospital in Igboora town as of Friday morning.
Morufu Smith, a Public Affairs Analyst, told HumAngle that the porous recruitment of unscrupulous elements into the security network made him unsurprised that officers of the security outfit have “become a monster, killing, maiming and oppressing people it was created to secure.”
Smith contends that the officers were poorly trained noting that members of the public have become disillusioned about the monstrous activities of the security outfit.
“If Amotekun could be using the dane guns they carry about to unleash violence on the people they’re meant to safeguard, what would have happened if they were allowed to bear full arms?” he wondered.
Like Smith, many other residents and social media users in the state have expressed dissatisfaction about the activities of the security outfit with some using the hashtag #EndAmotekun.
Ebomah Henry wrote that it is important to #EndAmotekun now before it becomes a bigger problem that the disbanded Police Anti-robbery squad, (SARS).
“Within a year of operating, they’re already acting worse than SARS. It’s better we end this upcoming Virus. #EndAmotekun,” Henry wrote.
Olaifa Olaleye likened the security outfit to a ‘terror organization’ in the state. “I just heard Amotekun opened fire on some people in Ibarapa and killed three. Whether you like it or not Amotekun is a terror organization in Oyo state,” he tweeted.
We Are Investigating Issues Against Amotekun – Makinde
As allegations of highhandedness continue to mount against Amotekun officers, Seyi Makinde, Governor of Oyo State Governor Friday afternoon said his administration has opened an investigation into the activities of the security network.
“The welfare and security of the good people of Oyo State remain our top priority. We will not sit back and watch any harassment or intimidation of members of the public or our security officers,” Makinde said.
The governor had stated that security had always been an issue in the state, the reason security was made one of the pillars of his administration. While calling for calm among residents, the Governor vowed that any corps member found guilty of abuse of power will be dealt with accordingly.