Former Lagos State Commissioner of Police and now Fatai Owoseni, Special Adviser on Security Matters to Oyo State Governor, Fatai Owoseni, says there is nothing wrong in operatives of the State Security Network Agency, popularly known as Amotekun, fortifying themselves with charms or in other ways they find acceptable.
Owoseni stated this while speaking on a PUNCH Online interview programme, The Roundtable, on Wednesday.
Violent clashes between Amotekun operatives and herdsmen in Oyo in recent times have been generating concerns. Members of the Amotekun security outfit have also been accused of recklessness and extra-judicial killings.
There have also been concerns about the modus operandi of the Amotekun operatives, who have yet to be legally permitted to bear prohibited firearms.
When asked during The Roundtable whether Amotekun officers empower themselves with charms, the governor’s aide said, “I won’t be able to answer that question because I am not an Amotekun operative.”
But Owoseni said, “Everyone including yourself (the interviewer), if you don’t use charm, you will have Bible or you have Qur’an with which you use to protect yourself. So, don’t let us fool ourselves in Africa and in this country.
“If you are going to work every morning and you kneel down and read Psalms, that is your charm. So, if the man that is recruited into Amotekun thinks he needs to fortify himself one way or the other, that is his Bible or the Holy Qur’an.”
Amotekun, which was inaugurated last November has recorded a pocket of successes, including the arrest of some kidnap suspects who were in possession of superior weapons.
According to Owoseni, “Weapons that require permit and license are the prohibited firearms. If you are not using the prohibited firearms, you don’t need a license. There are dane guns that people use to do their hunting. So, we have not reached the stage where they want to use those firearms that they require a license for.”
Asked how Amotekun operatives confront and conquer criminal elements when they have not been licensed to bear prohibited or sophisticated arms, the former police chief said, “It is not Amotekun alone that goes into the bush. It is a collaborative effort, an hybrid solution, using the conventional security and the non-state actors altogether including members of the occupational groups –Miyetti Allah; and elements of the people of the Fulani ethnic group in the state.
“Everything work together. What the Amotekun do mostly is they serve first as elements that gather intelligence and when all of them go out together, everyone knows his capacity.
“Even the law that created Amotekun said they will work in collaboration to support the national security agencies, especially the police that is most widely spread.”