– PACAC chair: police lack adequate men

PRESIDENTIAL Advisory Committee against Corruption (PACAC) Chairman Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN) on Sunday gave his backing to the establishment of Operation Amotekun.

Governors of Southwest states of Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti last week inaugurated the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN), a regional security outfit, to battle criminality in the zone.

But there has been a barrage of criticisms and applause for the initiative. One of the critics is the Northern Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) which described the security initiative as “Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) military wing in disguise”.

Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN), said the Federal Government was yet to decide on the legality of the outfit.

“It is about analysing the scope of the functions of Amotekun with the constitutional spirit of exclusive legislative list or otherwise,” he said.

But Sagay said Amotekun was established by the governors in line with their constitutional role as chief security officers of their states.

Besides, Sagay said the Police lack adequate manpower to effectively secure a country of nearly 200 million people.

The eminent professor of law urged the Police to cooperate with the security outfit, adding that with time, men of Operation Amotekun could be allowed to bear arm.

Sagay said: “I am positively disposed towards it. I think it is a good beginning not to depend completely on the Federal Government for our security.

“We should begin to rely more and more on ourselves so that those who feel the pain are those who try to take control of the security situation.

“We know that the Police are few; they are stretched; we have about 250,000 policemen in a country of almost 200 million. So, I think these regional security institutions are necessary.

“I believe the police should cooperate with them and help with their training. And I believe eventually, they should even be armed so that we can have a lot more hands and local people involved in security.

“Perhaps that can lead to other benefits, such as economic cooperation and wealth creation; and gradually, we’ll begin to regain what we lost when we lost the regions in the 60s. So, yes, I support it.”

Asked if the law backs such an outfit, Sagay said Operation Amotekun was not the same as state police.

“It’s not state police. I think the people who created it have been careful. Yes, there is a security outfit, but there is nothing in the Constitution that precludes either states or association of states from taking care of their security.

“There is this popular saying that the governor is the chief security officer of a state. That’s not an empty statement.

“They get a lot of money for security, and I look at this as part of the responsibility of the governors acting jointly to provide greater security in the Southwest,” Sagay added.

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