By: Femi Peters
(MSc International Police Science, UK; UK International Security & Intelligence Consultant; Specialist in Clandestine Ops)
Reading through the Op guideline for AMOTEKUN, I couldn’t but help praise the brains behind the framework because of one, it’s unambiguous, two, it’s practicable and three, operatives cannot act carte blanche.
Please see below, key takeaways from the guideline and comment if so strongly inclined :
*AMOTEKUN corps in each state operates independently under the management of a corps commander
*Zonal and State commanders can collaborate with their counterparts in other states especially as it relates to sharing Intelligence on criminals and their activities and joint operations. This is a very good step in the right direction as it reduces crime displacement from a state to the neighbouring one and so on and so forth that eventually the 6 contiguous states in the system will see their crime stats tumbling down like a badly arranged pack of cards. This is however, feasible in theory but unrealistic if the application is flawed and compromised for whatever reason
*Checks and balances are required to curtail Ops excessive use and/or abuse of power. This restriction is present in the guideline and taken care of by setting up of a 3 member complaints committee superintended by a magistrate or retired judge
*Corps membership/staffing. Any interested person can apply to join AMOTEKUN irrespective of state of origin or ethno-religious background in as much as the applicant has no criminal record, of good behavior and can obtain character reference from their local government
*AMOTEKUN has power of arrest and containment before handing over a suspect to the nearest police station for further interrogation and subsequent actions
*The security outfit complements the work of the Police as the constitutionally permitted first responder law enforcement agency and other security agencies as stipulated in the 1999 constitution
*AMOTEKUN can operate in the hinterlands, highways and in the neighbourhoods to fish out and apprehend persons who on investigation prior may have committed or suspected of committing criminal acts of terrorism , kidnapping, cultism, highway robbery and other miscellaneous as so stated in the guideline
*Funding. AMOTEKUN will be primarily and jointly funded by the government of the 6 participating states and from donations to the outfit from benevolent individuals and corporate bodies
*Issue of Arms Bearing. AMOTEKUN by it’s law of creation is allowed to bear Arms but with a caveat :
Approval must be sought from and granted by the President and the Inspector General of Police. However, such process is not required for bearing of Protective Equipment as long as this is not offensive , lethal and/or of assault nature
*CONCLUSION. The foregoing is outcome of a people’s determination to protect lives and property in their region where the main law enforcement agency seems to have been overwhelmed by challenges within and without. The constitution perfectly provides a platform for AMOTEKUN and similar security formations nationwide, be it at local government and state levels, thence to regional cooperation.
I must admit that I feel seriously apprehensive about AMOTEKUN derailing in its primary duties just as existing law enforcement agencies are pervaded by bad eggs. The caution is getting it right from the beginning with strong and purposeful background check on corps applicants, employment strictly based on merit, remunerations in line with and above national minimum wage, good conditions of service, constant on the job training and re-training to infuse modern realities of law enforcement techniques and enhance operational capacity and excellence.
Here’s Wishing AMOTEKUN All the Success in Crime Fighting in Nigeria’s Western Region States to usher in a near-Crime Free and Peaceful Society.