Amotekun personnel to bear arms with IGP’s approval — S/West AGs
Written by Esther Omonegbe on February 13, 2020
THE Attorneys General of the six South West States have agreed that the operatives of the Security Network Agency codenamed Operation Amotekun, will be allowed to bear licenced arms subject to the approval of the Inspector-General of Police.
Section 18 of the Amotekun draft bill states that:
(1) “The Ekiti State Amotekun Corps shall, subject to the approval of the Inspector General of Police have the power to bear licensed arms in the performance of its duties and as may be incidental to the operation of its objectives under this Law.
(2) The Ekiti State Amotekun Corps shall also have power to:
(a) collaborate with similar security agencies, particularly in Ogun, Lagos, Ondo, Osun and Oyo states in the enforcement of the provisions of this Law; and
(b) share intelligence, equipment and resources with similar security agencies, particularly in Ogun, Lagos, Ondo, Osun and Oyo states. Fire Arms Act According to the Fire Arms Act, only the President and Inspector General of Police are authorized to issue license for firearms.
Part Two of the Fire Act states: No person shall have in his possession or under his control any firearm of one of the categories specified in Part I of the Schedule hereto (hereinafter referred to as a prohibited firearm) except in accordance with a license granted by the President acting in his discretion.
No person shall have in his possession or under his firearms control any firearm of one of the categories specified in Part II of the Schedule to this Act (hereinafter referred to as a personal firearm) except in accordance with a licence granted in respect thereof by the Inspector-General of Police, which licenses shall be granted or refused in accordance with principles decided upon by the National Council of Ministers.
A senior security agent who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said, If their law runs foul of the firearms law, then it will be void to the extent of the inconsistency.” So, I wonder how they are going to get the license for those arms if they don’t bring their operational modus in line with the federal government’s position.
Meanwhile, the Ondo, Ogun, Oyo and Ekiti state governments have approved the proposal for the creation of Amotekun. At press time yesterday, the Lagos and Osun state governments were yet to approve the Amotekun bill .
Meanwhile, as the Ekiti State House of Assembly considers the bill that would give legal backing to Amotekun Corps, an aspect of the bill stipulates that the operatives cannot be sued. Article 34, Part IV, under Miscellaneous provisions in, states: Acts done in the course of duty by any member of the Board, staff of the Agency or member of the Ekiti State Amotekun Corps is, hereby, excluded from liability and shall not be sued in his or her personal capacity for any lawful act done in the course of duty.
It was gathered that the drafters deliberately inserted this section to insulate officials from the encumbrances of legal procedures in the course of discharging their duty. Another part of the bill that gives enormous powers to Amotekun operatives is in article 36 under the title: Obstruction of Amotekun Corps Member in the performance of his duty. This article stipulates: “Any person who willfully hinders, delays, obstructs or assaults a member of the Ekiti State Amotekun Corps in the course of the exercise of his lawful duties under this Law shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of one month or to a fine not exceeding N250, 000 or to both such fine and imprisonment.”
A security expert, Mr. James Ajulo, said: “Beautiful as this section of the bill may look, there is a need for the legislators to give the whole bill a holistic and specific review, to reduce these powers. Insulating them from prosecution has removed checks. When you give guns to people they need constant checks. Ondo exco approves bill After the approval by the State Executive Committee, the Ondo State Commissioner for information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo, said the bill will be transmitted to the State House of Assembly for legislative scrutiny and passage into Law.
Ojogo said: “In an exhaustive session of deliberations, Council took time to peruse every detail contained in the Bill that was presented by the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Kola Olawoye, SAN, and now it is ready to be transmitted to the state House of Assembly for passage. “The Draft Bill has six parts and 44 Sections. It is also gratifying to disclose that every apprehension or fear expressed has been adequately looked into.