The Pan Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has expressed dismay over the double standards being flagrantly displayed by the federal government in its dealings with States in the Southern and Northern parts of the country.
In a statement by the organisation’s national publicity secretary, Comrade Jare Ajayi, Afenifere stated that although there are many instances to be cited, “we want to restrict ourselves to the most recent one for now because of the serious implications it holds for our security, political and socio-economic well-being”.
According to Ajayi, the recent disclosure that Katsina State Government has been granted the permission to equip its Security outfit with sophisticated arms including Ak47 while denying same for other states is unacceptable.
News have it that earlier this month, September, Katsina State Government announced its plan to recruit 3000 individuals into its Special Vigilante Corps to combat terrorism in the state. 600 have been trained in the usage of sophisticated weapons including Ak47. It would be recalled that Governors in the South West, about two years ago, established States Security Network which they codenamed Amotekun. It was to combat the festering insecurity in the region. The states’ security network, Amotekun, was however hamstrung by the federal government in two major areas that were critical.
“Amotekun is denied the licence to be equipped with sophisticated weapons that would be capable of confronting the terrorists and bandits.
“The second point mentioned by Ajayi as contrived by the federal government to hamstring Amotekun is operational.
“Amotekun is robbed of the power to prosecute suspects apprehended; notwithstanding the evidences they marshalled. They must hand the culprits over to the police that is in firm control of the federal government. Complaints are rife that many cases handed over to the Police by Amotekun ended up without proper prosecution, if at all. Rumours had it that some culprits ended up being released by the police – a reason being given for the rise in people taking laws into their own hands.”
Speaking further on the alleged double standard of the federal government, Afenifere spokesman recalled that it took a lot of pressures mounted by the people before bandits, mostly of northern extraction, were declared as Terrorists whereas the Government wasted no time in using the strong arm against groups in the South who are agitating for self determination.
He also cited the case of the Benue State Governor Samuel Orthom who has, since August, unsuccessfully been seeking licence from the federal government to equip the state’s Vigilante Group with needed weapons.”This, along with the experience of the South West Governors in regard to Amotekun, was what made Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State to speak angrily on the preferential treatment given to Katsina State Government. His angst is highly justified.The attempt by Katsina State Police Command to debunk Gov Akeredolu’s claim fell flat on its face.
The Command, through its spokesman, Gambo Isah, stated that Katsina State Vigilante Corps was not given AK 47.
He however admitted that members of the Corps were “trained on how to defend themselves because bandits and terrorists are using Ak47 riffles'”.
“In the first place, Governor Akeredolu never said that the Police issued AK 47 to the Vigilante Corps. But, assuming, without conceding, that this claim was made, is it not plausible to conclude that the Corps would have access to the said weapons, otherwise why would they be trained with it?
“Beyond that, the police spokesman stated that the Corps members were trained on how to deal with bandits carrying Ak 47. Would they be dealing with the AK 47 weilding bandits with bare hands or dane guns? The Police Command should remember that we too have some level of intelligence.
“Finally, Afenifere spokesman maintained that the issue presently goes beyond allowing Amotekun to carry AK 47.
“We have reached a juncture that State Police is inevitable. States that are willing must be allowed to set up their own Police Services with all the apertaining powers and authority. After,all, we claim to be operating a federal system of government. Time to do it is now”, Ajayi concluded.