It is no longer news that 2020 started on a high note in Nigeria’s political sphere, all thanks to the launch of Southwestern Nigeria’s security outfit codenamed ‘Amotekun’.
Since its launch, there have been mixed reactions, particularly among the Fulani people of Northern Nigeria, through their elders and their cattle association, Miyetti Allah who have engaged in continuous attacks on the Yorubas as an ethnic group and as a nation. Their fear? That the newly launched security outfit is targeted at them.
Interestingly, Miyetti Allah’s mobile cattle rearing division, popularly known as Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria has been branded as the fourth deadliest terrorist group in the world. Despite their rampage and bloodthirsty tendencies coupled with flagrant disregard for farmers and hosts, their excesses have gone unchecked and many have claimed that Buhari and his administration deliberately turned a blind eye because he is of the Fulani extraction and the Fulani have an expansionist agenda termed ‘Fulanization’.
CNN had reported in 2018 that Fulani herdsmen were six times deadlier than Boko Haram. Over 1,700 deaths were recorded in 2019 alone with Fulani herdsmen being the culprits across farmlands, with hundreds of rape cases as well.
The government, rather than check the excesses of Fulani mobile cattle rearers who invade people’s farms, destroy their crops and in some case rape and burn their victims’ farms did not waste time in branding the series of mishaps as ‘herders-farmers’ crises which it is working towards at curbing.
In a bid to curb these in the South West was one of the many reasons Operation Amotekun was launched in the first place. But then, what is Operation Amotekun all about? Why is the government quick to label the security outfit as illegal when Hisbah, a security outfit of the North is capable of arresting even policemen? Why are Miyetti Allah and Northern elites jittery over Amotekun? Find out and more below:
16 Things You Should Know about Operation Amotekun
Below is a list of 16 things you should know about Operation Amotekun:
1. Amotekun is a Yoruba word which means ‘Leopard’. The Amotekun logo depicts the image of a prancing, angry leopard in an attacking mode. This represents ‘Zero tolerance to crime’ in the Southwestern region, namely Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ondo, and Osun State.
2. The headquarters of Operation Amotekun will be located in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
3. Operation Amotekun is the first regional security outfit initiated by a geopolitical zone in Nigeria. Meanwhile, the local security initiative would complement the Police and other paramilitary organizations in curbing criminal activities in the South West, including Fulani herdsmen criminal activities in farms.
4. Each state in the South West (Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ondo, and Osun State) contributed 20 patrol vehicles, communication gadgets and other security gadgets to the central dispatch that is located at Gbongan in Osun State. Furthermore, each state will procure additional vehicle and gadgets for state-based operations. Also, each state procured 100 units of motorcycles making a total of 600 motorcycles to fortify the operation Amotekun in the six states of the South West.
5. Operation Amotekun is made up of specifically hired local hunters and members of vigilante groups in the South West who will work with government organizations.
6. In terms of personnel, 1,320 militiamen will be employed for this operation. Osun State plans to recruit 700 locals that would work with the conventional security outfits in the state.
7. Operation Amotekun officials will man 52 blackspots across the South-West geopolitical region.
8. The southwest governors cite rising insecurity in the region, kidnappings, and robbery as major reasons for the birth of Amotekun.
9. Amotekun won’t be modeled after the Odua Peoples Congress (OPC) security outfit. Amotekun personnel will sport uniforms and won’t rely heavily on charms and machetes on the job.
10. Amotekun operatives will bear arms, albeit Dane guns as they are composed of hunters and local vigilantes.
11. Quite contrary to the claims and fear of Miyetti Allah, Amotekun is not targeted at Fulani herdsmen but those on a mission to destabilize the peace and security of the South West.
12. Amotekun is supported by almost every Yoruba sons and daughters and has received the blessing of the Ooni of Ife.
13. The Amotekun is not any way at par or on the same level as the Nigeria Police force but will serve as a regional community policing.
14. Operation Amotekun is a product of the politics of protection and the failure of the Nigerian government to treat security issues, particularly curbing the excesses of Fulani herdsmen which seems to be growing on a daily basis across Southern Nigeria.
15. Amotekun vehicles were bought from local vehicle manufacturer, Innoson.
16. Operation Amotekun was formed through the joint initiative of governors of Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ondo, and Osun State and it was launched in Ibadan in January 9th, 2020.