By Adekunle Williams
Lagos State House of Assembly on Thursday says it has received an Executive Bill on Amotekun from Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led government, and consequently fixed Monday for public hearing.
The Clerk of the House, Mr Azeez Sanni, had informed the House that he received a letter from the State Commissioner for Justice, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo, on Wednesday.
Sanni said that the bill is seeking for the amendment of the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC).
The clerk was subsequently ordered to read the Bill entitled: “A House of Assembly Bill No. 5 Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC) Amendment Bill 2020 And for Connected Purposes for the First and Second times.
The Speaker of the House, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, committed the bill to the House Committees on Information, Publicity, Security and Strategy for public hearing during plenary on Thursday.
Obasa noted that the committee would be headed by Mr Tunde Braimoh and was directed to report back to the House at a date yet to be fixed.
The House Majority Leader, Mr Sanai Agunbiade (Ikorodu I), said that the bill was predicated on the private member bill that established LNSC, which he said, had been working well.
Agunbiade added that the bill was incorporating the concept of a more dynamic and more strengthened security platform than what they had in the state.
“It is meant to energise and strengthen the security that we have in Lagos State based on the challenges in the state and in the South-West.
“It tries to create a unit out of the LNSC to be referred to as Amotekun Corps to take charge of security in certain areas such as in the forest, highway and other places to protect us against hoodlums, cattle rustling and others.
“It will have a commander and Amotekun Corps will bear arms with the permission of the police.
“They will cooperate with other security platforms in Ondo, Oyo, Ogun, Ekiti and Osun States,” he said.
The majority leader stressed that LNSC had a clause that would provide for Amotekun Corps.
Commenting, Mr Oluyinka Ogundimu, (Agege II), while supporting the bill, commended the foresight of the state House of Assembly on the security of the state.
Ogundimu stated that the law covered wider areas and made internal security a priority.
He called for local content in the bill, adding that they needed people with native intelligence and that whoever would be appointed as the head of the unit should be approved by the house.
Also, Mr Olumuyiwa Jimoh, (Apapa II), said there was a problem of nomenclature in the bill.
Jimoh said the Nigerian Police had been existing before independence and the people had been talking about their reforms.
“The colonialists formed the Nigerian Police for us in 1930 and we have not made efforts to form our own security force.
“The population of men of the Nigerian Police is small. We should empower Amotekun Corps to be armed and to be able to arrest and prosecute.
“South Africans have their own native police that checkmate other security forces. We can have the military wing of Amotekun in Lagos,” he said.
In his view, Mr Rotimi Olowo, (Shomolu I), said that Amotekun started in Lagos with LNSC, and that the federal police lacked character as their structure had not helped to suppress crimes.
“Security is local and it should be localised. The issue of kidnapping and others give credence to the need for community police.
“They should be allowed to use guns. They can reduce armed robbery attacks, kidnapping and others. We should allow more money into the system.
“The recruitment of Amotekun should be localised. They should work in their neighbourhood so that they can apprehend criminals in their areas,” he said.
Also, Mr Tunde Braimoh (Kosofe II), said governance was about giving meaning to the yearnings and aspirations of the people.
Braimoh explained that what the people of the South-West wanted now was security of lives and property.
“People keep talking about Amotekun because that is what they want now. Amotekun emanated from the House with the LNSC, which has now transformed to Amotekun.
“Section 14 (2B) of the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 emphasises security. There are issues in the bill, but they will be looked into later,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that three state House of Assemblies- Ekiti, Oyo and Ondo -had passed the Amotekun Bill.