Amotekun: IBB speaks on South-west security initiative, Boko Haram, Nigeria’s unity


January 15, 2020

Former Nigerian military ruler, Ibrahim Babangida, has criticised the recent setting up of the South-west regional security initiative, Amotekun, saying it is not sustainable.

Mr Babangida also dismissed the current government’s claim of curbing the insurgency in the North-east.

Amotekun was set up by the South-west governors to combat the security menace in the region.

‘Not sustainable’
Mr Babangida commended the initiative but faulted its sustainability even though many Nigerians have said the initiative is an appropriate solution to the country’s security challenges.

He said the governors may not be able to foot the needed expenses for this new security outfit on the long run.

“They must equip them, you must pay them salaries. You must give them all the welfare they need. That is going to be a problem for the states. Where will they get the money to foot those bills?

“If they have succeeded in convincing the federal government to put out some part of the revenue for the purposes of that, I can understand that, but if they take it on themselves, it is going to be a problem,” the ex-military president said Monday night during an interview programme, Newsnight, on Channels Television.

He described the initiative as an “overstretch of security functions” and suggested the revitalisation of the existing security forces in the country.

“What we need to do is to have a closer look. We have a lot of security outfits; we have the army, the mobile police, the National Defence security, we have a whole load of them. I think they should be assigned specific responsibilities to lessen the financial burden this initiative would cost the government of the states in the long run,” Mr Babangida, who annulled the June 12, 1993, presidential poll, said.

Mr Babangida also dismissed the federal government’s claim of winning the war against insurgency as he quoted the recent complaints of a governor from the region.

“I think a lot needs to be done, quite frankly, because if what we read in the papers or listen to on radio are true, there are still some challenges in most of these areas assumed to be security stabilised.

“What they need to do is to get a lot of intelligence information. It looks to me that there are people who are thinking for the insurgents. We need to find out who are thinking for them, who are leading them, and who are supplying them weapons and ammunition to put a stop to this. That is probably the way I assess it,” Mr Babangida said.

Nigeria’s unity
Mr Babangida, in the same interview, said Nigeria has done well even though its choice of leadership in this democratic dispensation still left much to be desired.

He said Nigerians need a reorientation of what politics is, to be able to select leaders beyond political or ethnic affiliations.

“The unity we sowed from fighting to remain united, we didn’t do much in trying to get people to indoctrinate them through political interactions. So, the moment we reintroduced politics, the first thing that came to our mind was what political parties or political system used to be before the civil war. We saw that as a starting point, and once we see that we could hardly change it,” he said.

- Premium Times


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