Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, on Monday, declared that Amotekun, as a security outfit, in the state and the South West has come to stay.
Speaking at a public hearing on a bill to establish Amotekun in Lagos State, Obasa said the outfit had become important for the security of lives and properties of the people.
“I’m sure we all recall the incidents before the establishment of Amotekun, the killings, maiming, kidnapping and their likes. “In the wisdom of our governors, they decided on Amotekun,” Obasa said.
The Speaker noted that the idea had resulted in different reactions from Nigerians, but that the South West cannot relent in the zone’s bid to ensure people are safe. Obasa said in Lagos, the Neighbourhood Watch was put in place in 2016 and that some states have copied the idea thus making it important for it to be amended to accommodate Amotekun.
The speaker said the bill on Amotekun would be accommodated in the existing law. “Amotekun has come to stay and we must stand by it,” he said. According to him, Amotekun has been supported by over 40 million Yoruba people and, as a result, it would only be wise to favour the bill. “Our race has spoken and we must stand by it but in line with the constitution,” he said. In an opening remark, Hon. Tunde Braimoh, chairman of the committee on Information and security, said the protection of lives and property is the most important responsibility of government as stipulated in the constitution. Braimoh said the exercise is not new but that it is an amendment to the Neighbourhood Safety law which has been in existence for since 2016.
The lawmaker added that the laws guiding Amotekun are all embedded in the Neighbourhood Safety Corps law and this is the reason for the decision to amend it. He commended the Speaker Obasa for his foresight in sponsoring the law that created the Neighbourhood Safety Corps upon which Amotekun is to be birthed in Lagos state. In the review of the amendment bill, the majority leader of the House, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, announced that Amotekun corps would be depicted by the image of a leopard, an animal with the capacity to penetrate anywhere.
The lawmaker said the outfit would perform same functions like the Neighbourhood Safety corps. However, the operatives would be made to carry licensed arms subject to the approval of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and collaborate with security agencies in Lagos and other states.
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