• Six governors from the South-West geo-political zone of Nigeria came together to launch the Western Nigerian Security Network (WNSN)
• The WNSN is also known as Operation Amotekun (the Yoruba word for Leopard)
• The purpose of the security outfit according to the governors was to complement the efforts of the federal government in combating insecurity, kidnapping
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Six governors from the South-West geo-political zone of Nigeria came together to launch the Western Nigerian Security Network (WNSN) on January 9th,
also known as Operation Amotekun (the Yoruba word for Leopard), in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital.
The purpose of the security outfit according to the governors was to complement the efforts of the federal government in combating insecurity,
especially armed robbery and kidnapping-for-ransom.
hence, Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Oyo and Ondo states each acquired 20 trucks and 100 motorcycles for the WNSN,
which has its headquarters at Gbogan in Osun state.
Supporters of the regional security outfit include the Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, who described it as a ‘desirable New Year gift’ that satisfied the ‘yearning of the people.’
Groups across Nigeria, including the Igbo social-cultural group, Ohaneze; the Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere; likewise the Northern Elders’ Forum, came out in support of the South-West governors.
However the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, declared the establishment of the ‘paramilitary organization’ illegal and running contrary to the provision of the law, claiming the governors did not consult him before making their decision.
Even if, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and the federal government gave Amotekun their blessings.
Some social commentators have compared setting up Operation Amotekun to the adoption of Sharia in the first decade of the 21st century by Northern states.
Meanwhile then the argument was that Sharia was a form of campaign of ‘true federalism’
in which the federating states would be allowed to operate their own social, religious and political system within the limits of federalism.
Similar arguments have been adopted by the defenders of Operation Amotekun,while stating that a ‘true federation,’ should states be allowed to ensure their own security, especially when Federally controlled security agencies are overwhelmed like in Nigeria’s case.
Yet, sceptics of the initiative, like the AGF, have called the WNSN is an ethnic militia in disguise,
saying it might be the first step towards weakening the federal structure, laying the groundwork for the eventual balkanization of Nigeria.
The debate continues.