ANALYSIS: Two years after launch of Amotekun, Southwest Nigeria still grapples with insecurity

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Two years after the six governors of the Nigerian southwest states established Amotekun as a regional security outfit to stem the tide of attacks and kidnappings in the region, citizens are still apprehensive as marauding criminals are not giving up. 

The governors launched Operation Amotekun in January 2020 in response to worsening security challenges in the region after their respective state Houses of Assembly passed the bill for the security outfit establishment into law.

But residents in the region are not safe yet, as kidnapping and attacks along highways, communities, and hamlets have continued to rise. 

Unsafe roads

On Oct. 27, 2022, some travellers were kidnapped on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. According to one of the victims, Aminat Taiwo, her father had to pay ₦3.2 million ransom before she was set free alongside her friend, Tobi Orekoya, two days later.

She also said that those whose families could not pay ransom to the kidnappers were shot dead.

Another victim Adigun Agbaje, a former Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, who was also released after two days in captivity, recounted how he escaped after being shot.

“I was shot in the head during the abduction process. I thank God that the bullet that went through my car’s windscreen left only a skin-deep wound on my head, even though it left a gaping hole in the cap I was wearing,” Agbaje narrated his ordeals in a statement issued in Ibadan, Oyo State capital.

“…My heart goes to those young female undergraduates, the young men and the middle-aged person I left behind with the kidnappers. I may not be reachable now but as soon as I get medical clearance from my doctors, I will be thanking all of you personally.” 

In another incident, a terror group kidnapped four travellers along Irele-Ekiti road on Oct. 28, 2022, showing how travelling across the region considered the safest in the country is becoming a risk.

What is hindering Amotekun?

Security sources in the Southwest hinted TheNigerian News that the security outfit is handicapped by alack of manpower. The commandants in the troubled states did not respond to enquiries on the subject matter.

“We can’t say that Amotekun operatives have failed. They need intelligent security architecture to operate well, said Tunji Muraino, a hunter in Osogbo, Osun State. 

“Kidnappings are still rampant in many parts of the region, but they will function well if properly funded.” 

A top official of Amotekun in Ogun State who spoke anonymously said the ineffectiveness is because the federal government is not supporting Amotekun.

“When terrorists started invading the South-west, the federal government did not show a willingness to secure lives and properties, and now Amotekun is finding things difficult just like every other security operative.”

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