The palpable stagnancy in the takeoff of security network agencies in the six states of the South-West codenamed Amotekun has been attributed to the outbreak of COVID-19.
Coordinating body for the Amotekun Agencies, the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission, led by its Director-General, Mr Seye Oyeleye, stated this in a statement issued on Wednesday.
Concerns were already being raised regarding the failure of the states to commence training and recruitment of Amotekun personnel since the six-state Houses of Assembly in the South-West separately passed into law bills creating the security network agency in their respective states.
It would be recalled that Chairman of the Western Nigeria Governors Forum, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu had also set an April date for the takeoff of the security outfit and deployment of Amotekun vehicles across the region.
Residents of the South-West states had further raised concerns about what had befallen Amotekun following the increase in robbery incidents in Ogun, Lagos and other states in the region.
However, DAWN commission in a statement, on Tuesday, said though almost all the states had started recruiting personnel for the security outfit, COVID-19 outbreak had stagnated the process of ensuring that the six states have a common template for training and ensuring uniform mode of operation across the region.
Speaking with newsmen, Oyeleye explained that COVID-19 had made the gathering of personnel for training difficult and the states would not want to send out untrained people.
Though he noted that COVID-19 had affected the operational takeoff of Amotekun, Oyeleye assured that the training of Amotekun personnel will commence once COVID-19 is over.
Affirming that there was no going back on Amotekun, Oyeleye assured that it will see to the six states having a uniform training as agreed by the governors before sending out personnel and vehicles.
“Almost all the States in the Region have started recruiting prospective personnel for the security outfit. But as agreed upon at one of the meetings of the Special Advisers to the Governors on Security Matters, there has to be a common template for training, this is to ensure a uniform mode of operation across the Region.
“To make Amotekun strong and efficient when it eventually commences operation, DAWN Commission and the state representatives drew up a template for the recruitment and training of the Amotekun personnel. This is to ensure uniformity in the recruitment process and particularly, to instil in the personnel, the ethics of Omoluwabi through the training, as this is what WNSN symbolizes.
“Unfortunately, the whole process has been stagnated as a result of the COVID19 pandemic, which has made the gathering of the personnel for training difficult and unadvisable. The emergency situation posed by this deadly virus has also brought about some security challenges in some states in the Region as a result of some measures being taken by the Governors to prevent its spread. For instance, in the wake of recent activities of hoodlums and street urchins, some concerned Nigerians have asked why Amotekun has not been deployed to intervene.
“We also want to assure all that as soon as COVID-19 pandemic is over, DAWN Commission shall work with the States in continuing the process of recruiting, which has not been completed in the states and to ensure that the uniform training as directed by the Governors is conducted before the deployment of personnel and vehicles.
“DAWN Commission wishes to assure the general public that Western Nigeria Security Network (codenamed Amotekun) has come to stay. It is unfortunate that the COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted the operational take-off, but as soon as the coast is clear for resumption of activities and a return to our daily lives, the training of Amotekun personnel will commence in earnest and we shall soon be enjoying the services of the outfit across the Region,” the statement read.
Addressing increase in robberies in Lagos and Ogun states, DAWN Commission urged governors of the South West to work with security agencies in the state to flush out criminals.