The Director-General, Development Agenda for Western Nigeria, Seye Oyeleye, has said the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic is responsible for the delay in the take-off of Amotekun Corps in the South-West.
Oyeleye, who expressed frustration at the delayed take-off of the local security outfit, said no state had chickened out of Amotekun as being peddled in some quarters.
He said, “All the states are nearly ready; just that we need to send out trained personnel. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has delayed the full training of the personnel. Unless they have the full training, there is no point rushing things. How has the pandemic affected training? There is a number of people that can gather together at a place.
“You can see that states like Osun and Ekiti are inaugurating their boards for their Amotekun to come on board. It shows they are ready; even Osun State that is working in conjunction with the existing security agencies, you could see that on a very small scale, their own Amotekun has somehow started operating.
“The uniform training for all the Amotekun across the six states has not taken place solely because there is a ban on large congregation. Once there is lifting on the ban, the training will take place and then the full operations of the vehicles and the personnel would commence. We understand that people are anxious; we know there is a rise in insecurity, but we would rather send out trained professionals out there to represent that Omoluabi value that we expect of the Amotekun personnel.
“Until we do that, we don’t want to send them out. We don’t want stories of misdemeanor from our personnel; they have to be different. Our personnel should be above board. That is what is causing the slight delay; we are frustrated. No state has chickened out. That states have chickened out is not true. Six states would not put money together to buy 140 vehicles and chicken out.
“All they are waiting for is to make sure that the recruited personnel are properly trained; that is all.”
When asked, Taiwo Adisa, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, said, “Work is ongoing in that respect.”
Special Adviser to the governor, Fatai Owoseni, said, “That Oyo State has yet to do what other states are doing does not suggest that we are not ready or serious about ensuring adequate security of lives of the residents. Security is of the essence to the state government.”
The Ondo State Government has said the suspended state security network agency will soon take off.
The Ondo State Security Network Agency Bill had been passed by the state House of Assembly and shortly after, signed into law by the state governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, few weeks ago.
It was gathered that the process of recruitment and appointment of officers of the agency were ongoing when coronavirus disease broke out in the country.
The government also said that coronavirus disease ravaging the country was delaying the take-off of the security operation.
The Special Adviser to the governor on Security Matters, Alhaji Jimoh Dojumo, who spoke with our correspondent on the development, said the state would soon take off the Operation Amotekun.
He said, “It is this coronavirus issue that is delaying Amotekun. We won’t say because some states are taking off that we too have to take off, no. We are trying to study the situation properly.
“Amotekun is known for crime and crime control; Amotekun is purely for security issue while coronavirus has to do with social issue. We should be able to separate one from the other. We are still seeking ways to enforce our border closure properly, then move to the Amotekun per se.”
On when the director general for the operation would be appointed, Dojumo simply said, “Very soon. We are going to appoint our own director-general.”