Governors of Southwest states declared on Thursday that the zonal security outfit is neither a replacement for the nation’s security system nor a state police.
They also assured that the outfit will not be deployed as a political tool.
The governors gave the assurance in Ibadan as the novel zonal security initiative – The Western Nigerian Security Network (WNSN) was inaugurated. It is code-named Operation Amotekun.
All the six states in the region – Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti – are jointly funding the outfit, which will involve local hunters, vigilantes and designated members of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) as personnel. The police will drive the process.
Each of the states contributed 20 patrol vehicles – Oyo gave 33 – all fitted with communication gadgets to cover the region under a central command.
The local level of the security outfit will be solely handled by individual states. The two levels will work in collaboration.
While the headquarters will be in Ibadan, the operation will be controlled from Gbongan in Osun State.
Chairman of Southwest Governors Forum, Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, performed the inauguration of the equipment in the presence of Governors Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti) and Seyi Makinde (Oyo).
Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola was represented by Deputy Governor Benedict Alabi while Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun was represented by Deputy Governor Noimot Salako-Oyedele.
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was part of the decision to create Operation Amotekun at the security meeting in November 2019 in Ibadan, was absent.
Fayemi said: “Amotekun is not a duplication, neither is it a replacement for the Nigeria Police Force and other statutory security agencies. Amotekun is a complement that gives our people the confidence that they are being looked after by the people they elected into office”.