Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has advised other regions in the country to adopt the Amotekun model in tackling the various security challenges confronting them.
The Governor gave the advice on Monday as one of the speakers at the Annual Conference of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Section On Public Interest and Development Law held at the Jogor Center, Ibadan.
Governor Akeredolu noted that local vigilantes or state security structures are very effective in tackling crime when viewed against the current national security architecture, especially the Police Force.
He stressed that the experiences in Ondo State have confirmed that security issues are best handled with a large dose of local content.
Akeredolu said posting of personnel from any part of the country who may not know the terrain of the community where he is to operate can never help in tackling insecurity in the nation.
The Governor stated that Amotekun Corps has on several occasions discovered the hideouts of crime syndicates within some of the forests in Ondo State.
“The efficacy of a State-owned security agency like Amotekun in checking crime cannot be overemphasized. The success of this security unit goes to underscore the importance of State Police in a federal system of government.
“It is only people living in a community that have access to the best intelligence report. It is they who understand the terrain. They know the network and will be able to apprehend suspects and criminals within the local community.
“Apart from these facts, issues as to language barrier deter exchange of intelligence report between the communities and “alien police officer,” he said.
Akeredolu added that it is also fundamental for the Federal Government to champion the creation of State Police as a way of reducing reliance on vigilance groups for protection.
According to him, the ratio of Police to civilians in Nigeria falls far below the recommended international standard which has left many communities without security cover and has promoted the setting up of various criminal locations in such unsecured communities.
“Consequently, with a State Police coming on board and managed by the State Government which is actually closer to these communities without adequate presence of security, insecurity in such communities will be tackled and addressed,” he stated.
The Governor recommended the decentralisation of the Nigeria Police Force to allow its regional headquarters to be more effective in tackling security challenges.
“The over centralisation of the security apparatus around the Inspector General of Police is hampering prompt response to security challenges in the country.
“The model used in the structure of the Judiciary, which allows Governors to appoint High Court Judges while the issue of their discipline is handled by the National Judicial Council, can provide the proper checks and balances if used as a template to reorganize the Nigeria Police Force.
“This will enable the Governors to be able to exercise more control over security structure in their State while the Federal Government is allowed to check the exercise of such powers by the State Governors.
“A Police Commissioner who knows that although he owes his appointment to a Governor but can only be removed by the Nigeria Police Service Commission will be assertive in carrying out his functions,” he said.
Governor Akeredolu called on the people to be active partners of government in the area of security, adding that there can not be development without the input of the people.
Other dignitaries who spoke at the event include; Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde; Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed; Senator Rochas Okorocha, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, first female Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Folake Solanke,SAN, Pat Utomi among others.