By now, we ought to have seen the widely acclaimed Western Nigeria Security Network (Amotekun) getting about their duties, if of course it wasn’t declared illegal and unconstitutional by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
The Federal Government’s insistence on monopolizing the welfare and technicalities of Nigeria’s security system would make sense if they have a record of being good at it. It is no news that the domestic arm of the Nigerian armed forces which is the police has been underperforming and the chief reason behind this is the minimal funding allocated to maintaining formidable security standards and trainings, with budgets for running police stations just at N15,000 per month. With a system like this, police officers are bound to be overworked, poorly equipped to respond to and manage domestic crisis and will remain grossly ineffective.
What the ‘Amotekun’ initiative simply represents is a means of lessening the burden on the federal government, which before now hasn’t shown to be easy to carry.
Where we are as a country right now in the sense of security requires an overlap of functions between people who have been vested with the power to protect the people they represent. While the constitution doesn’t explicitly afford state governors the right to create other armed forces as it is a power embedded in the exclusive list, the same constitution require that governors safeguard the lives of their electorates.
Instead of shunning what really is a brilliant idea, in how the locally penetrative power ‘Amotekun’ will have in rooting out crime, the federal government should instead look into collaborating with the governors who have kick-started this initiative in ways that can allow them control the distribution of arms – a valid fear the police force has expressed.
Segmenting security into an exclusive, ineffective list will only set us back and remove the focus of this initiative from the need that will be speedily met to focus on who has power and who shouldn’t.
At the end of the day, vulnerable Nigerians are at the end of this power flips and insecurity on the domestic level is still a problem, unsolved. Protecting lives should be the priority of everyone in power and this includes governors irrespective of the region they come from.