Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, has warned that some individuals are spreading misinformation and fake news to ensure the failure of the State’s Security Network, better known as Amotekun Corps.
The Corps has been accused of highhandedness and extra-judicial killings in recent weeks.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, on Wednesday, the governor maintained that the community policing model remains the only way to solve the insecurity challenge in the country.
Makinde stated that the state will not sit idly and watch any Amotekun operative operate outside the ambit of the law and that it would also not yield to blackmail against the new agency.
He added that the state has identified that there is presently some friction between the Amotekun and Nigerian Police in the state, adding that the state will set up a committee to iron out the frosty relationship between the two institutions and bring about an alignment in their operations.
“Amotekun is not operating in a vacuum. They are a creation of the law of the state. The Nigerian Police is a creation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is normal that we have inter and intra agency friction where possible, but we will get everybody together and seek alignment towards the same end basically,” the governor said.
“For the past six weeks that the Amotekun was deployed, we have seen various reports in the news. Most of these reports are good and a few are bad. And of the bad, quite a number are false information and fake news. For example, some newspapers carried the news that Amotekun killed 7 Fulani herdsmen in Ibarapa.
“Such a story was circulated to stoke ethnic tension. Even some reputable media fell for this. Whereas, the real story was that Amotekun worked with the community members, including genuine herdsmen to flush out bad elements in that zone.
“It has, therefore, become necessary to put the good people of Oyo State on high alert.
“Each time you see a news item, you want to ask yourself if it is believable or just some no-good-people at work.
“I have to tell you that there are people among us that don’t want Amotekun to succeed and they will use lies and disinformation to push their agenda. We must realise where we are coming from and where we really want to be.
“Community policing is the way forward and we have to make it work. If somebody says he is abused by Amotekun and cannot pinpoint the Amotekun personnel in such an area, you are probably not from that neighborhood and you are a fake news carrier.
“So, as I always say, I know we do have trust-deficit between the people and the authorities, and this makes it easier to think the worst of people in authority. But we should not cut our nose to spite our face. We must find a balance so that we do not turn the people trying to protect us to our enemies.”
The governor charged anyone with a genuine case against the members of the Amotekun Corps to come forward with their grievances by using any of the feedback channels put in place by the government.
Makinde also declared that his government will do everything possible to end kidnapping and insecurity in the state by working with all security agencies including Amotekun.
The governor maintained that the safety and security of all residents of the state remains a top priority for his government.
Makinde, who appreciated all heads of security agencies for doing their best to secure the state, explained that the government is already setting up proper information channels for security agencies in the state in order for them to keep the information flow simple.
He went on to warn traditional rulers and village heads against allocating lands to undocumented foreigners, stating that some undocumented individuals had been contributing to insecurity in the state.
Meanwhile, the governor disclosed that government will go ahead to implement the N500 million MSME fund and employment of 5,000 young persons into government agencies as well as the engagement of youths into direct labour schemes to tackle youth restiveness in the state.
“We are also putting in place other policies to address insecurity, especially with regards to youth restiveness. Last year, after the ENDSARS protests, we talked about three things that we will be doing to reduce youth unemployment and improve the security situation in the state,” Makinde said.
“We talked about the N500 million MSME fund that we will set up, employment opportunities for 5,000 young persons across all government agencies and the provision for the direct labour agency.
“We could not do all of these towards the end of last year because we had budgetary constraints. But now, we have put these schemes in this year’s budget and we should be implementing them as scheduled this year.”