Residents of Southwest Nigeria has insisted that there is “no going back” on the implementation of Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN) Operation Amotekun by protesting on Tuesday.
Pressed to protect their people from unusual forms of criminality that crept into the region last year, the governors of the six Southwest states of Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti on January 9 launched the joint security outfit with the overwhelming support of all class of people – traditional rulers, hunters, the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), the intellectuals – among others.
But the Federal Government on January 14 declared the outfit illegal through Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami.
The Nation reports that to press home the support for the initiative, protesters were organised by non-government organisations and groups in all the six capitals of Ikeja, Abeokuta, Ibadan, Osogbo, Akure and Ado-Ekiti.
“We are not ready to abandon our people. We shall stand by the people of the Yoruba race notwithstanding the pressure,” Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, who is the Chairman of the Southwest Governors’ Forum, told protesters in Akure. He was represented by Gbenga Ale.
Security operatives cordoned off the venue of the rally in Lagos, but it held amidst tight security in the other capitals.
Scores of socio-cultural and militia groups under the aegis of the Yoruba World Congress (YWC) facilitated the protest to denounce Federal Government’s opposition to Amotekun and show their support for the initiative.
Some of the major groups involved in the rally are the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Agbekoya Union, Hunters Group of Nigeria, Yoruba Youth Socio-cultural Association (YYSA), Atayese, Yoruba Reconciliation Groups, Kaaro Ojiire group, Majiyagbe Vigilante Group, United Self Determination People, Oodua Liberation Movement, Oodua Sovereignty Defence Agenda, Ojulowo Omo Oodua Group and the Soludero Group.
The protesters displayed placards with similar inscriptions like “Yoruba Omo Oodua: Protect Yourself, Amotekun,” ”On Amotekun we stand”, ”We want to know who owns the land. Amotekun” and No Amotekun, No Hisbah.”