The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has described the reported cattle rustling scandal involving the Ekiti State commandant of the Western Nigerian Security Network, Amotekun as a vindication of their challenge to the outfit’s formation and called for its immediate proscription.
Recalled that one of the senior officers of the Western Nigeria Security Network, code-named Amotekun, Chief Johnson Ogunyemi, reportedly petitioned governor Kayode Fayemi over his alleged removal from office by the cCommandant of the corps, Brig. Gen. Joe Komolafe (retd) on the account that he allegedly failed to supply him cows for his personal business.
Ogunyemi in the petition dated, October 25, 2021 and copied Ekiti State House of Assembly, alleged that he was deliberately witch-hunted because he could no longer meet up with the number of targeted cows as instructed by the commandant.
In reaction, the CNG, in a statement by its spokesperson Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, made available to LEADERSHIP yesterday in Abuja, said it is ridiculous, as revealed by Ogunyemi for every local government commandant to be forced to steal a minimum of 10 cows in a day, while the arrested cows are allegedly traded and the money goes into the coffers of the state commandant.
He said, “The fact that the focus of Amotekun has shifted from tracking and arresting criminal herders, bandits and kidnappers to forceful theft of cows from innocent pastoralists has vindicated our opposition to the formation of the outfit on the grounds that it was meant to humiliate, harass and intimidate innocent citizens particularly northerners.”
He noted that no power, not even the federal government has the constitutional prerogative to confiscate citizens’ properties without the leave of court.
“We call on the federal government to take immediate steps to disband Amotekun and all militias and armed groups in Nigeria by resort to the use of force if needs be, to ensure that no group has the capacity to intimidate innocent citizens and challenge the State in its prerogative to maintain law and order, and protect citizens’ lives and properties.
“With regards to the current revelation, government should take further steps to ensure that innocent herdsmen are given adequate protection by state agencies and proper investigation conducted, culprits prosecuted and the victims compensated.”
CNG then called on the federal government to reconsider its current attitude towards the injurious and vindictive anti-grazing laws that are not only in conflict with the supremacy of the nation’s Constitution, but also repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience.
“We ask that the presidency, northern federal legislators and northern governors show more zeal and effort at protecting the lives and property of peaceful everyday pastoral communities everywhere, and ensuring their right to free movement is not impeded by any legislation or obstacle imposed by a state or a community,” Suleiman said.
He lamented what he called the bankruptcy of most northern governors that categorically rejected the initiative for a northern security outfit that could have anticipated and checkmated the excesses of the Amotekun and other state sponsored armed gangs.