The Lagos State government would not establish an Amotekun outfit because it already has an operational Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has said.
Speaking on Arise TV’s programme, The Morning Show, on Monday, Mr Sanwo-Olu said unlike the other south-west states, Lagos has boundaries with only Ogun State and the Atlantic Ocean.
The governor said he was in the committee that agreed on the establishment of Amotekun, the south-west regional security network which has since become operational in the other five states in the region.
“We were together when we made the decision on Amotekun and I supported it,” Mr Sanwo-Olu said.
“But this is just the truth, Lagos is trying to have what we call the Neighbourhood Watch. The concept of Amotekun is to go to the bush and deal with our border patrol. What borders did Lagos have? Atlantic Ocean and Ogun State. Where is the border between Lagos and Ogun? You want to go to Berger where you don’t even know where Lagos or Ogun enter?
“So what I’m saying is that we just need to think out of the box and look at the local solution that is peculiar to every state. It’s not just in the fanciful name of Amotekun, it’s in the quality of what we’re seeking to achieve.
“So, my colleagues actually agreed with me that within Lagos, we have 6,500 strong people in the Neighbourhood Watch, which had started the year before, strengthen it, let’s collaborate. It’s all about intelligence gathering and ensuring that there are feet on the ground that can go with our various colleagues and they can bring intelligent information back to the table for the real security operatives to be able to deal with.”
The Lagos State House of Assembly passed the bill to establish Amotekun in March last year, two years after the establishment of the Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps by Mr Sanwo-Olu’s predecessor, Akinwunmi Ambode.
Mr Sanwo-Olu said the government had already volunteered 1,250 of the corps officers to the police to support community police efforts.
“The state is paying their salary. So I need to go back and recruit another 1,500 back into that and strengthen them.
“We’re going to the communities, we are talking to the traditional rulers, local government chairmen, give us men in your local governments who knows the community, who have intelligence. Just two days ago, they gave me a full compendium of abandoned buildings… by Neigbhbourhood Watch, about 250 pages with addresses and descriptions.
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So, we pass this on to the real security architecture that we have.”
The governor said he was vocal at the just concluded National Assembly Constitution Review events that state police is a force that its time has come.
“All of these things are because we have not agreed as a nation that we should have state police.
“Amotekun, the Neighbourhood Watch, these are all reflections of state police. I’ve got 6,000 of them. If you turn that into… and they are properly trained and kitted with body camera, by the way, we will be stronger. And all the challenges around kidnapping and the little we are talking about will be things that we can nip in the bud.”