Against the background of the Federal Government’s decision to declare South-West’s security outfit codenamed Amotekun illegal, President Muhammadu Buhari met with service chiefs on Friday, at the end of which they vowed to deal with threats and keep the country safe.

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, who briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, called on Nigerians to support the security forces rather than do anything that negates the approved community policing.

He said the meeting was called to evaluate what the armed forces as well as other security and intelligence agencies are doing to ensure that the territorial integrity of the country is not undermined by any individual or group.

“We will ensure that nobody undermines the territorial and national sovereignty of Nigeria. Our appeal is for all Nigerians and other stakeholders to join hands with the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security and intelligence agencies to ensure that our country is secured rather than looking at other methods that are likely going to negate the national policy and community policing policy that the Federal Government has approved.

“What we expect is for all stakeholders, local government, state government, other stakeholders to join hands with us, let us work together to ensure that our country is secured,” Abubakar said

The meeting, he said, evaluated the readiness of the military and other security agencies to deal with various threats and keep the country safe.

Abubakar gave the assurance that given the effort to acquire new platforms for the security services, they would be able for protect Nigerians and defend the nation’s territorial integrity.

He stated: “You will recall that we had a meeting on the 30th of December, 2019 and today we held another one. The whole essence of the meeting is to critically evaluate what the armed forces of Nigeria as well as other security and intelligence agencies are doing with regard to ensuring that the territorial integrity of Nigeria is not undermined by any individual or group of individuals.

“We also looked at the emerging situations in some of our areas, particularly acts of banditry in some of the north-western states and other parts of the country and we have critically looked at everything and we are satisfied with the progress we are making. We are satisfied with the support the Federal Government is giving the armed forces and other security agencies in terms of procurement of platforms.

“Substantial number of these equipment are expected by the end of February. Some of the equipment we are acquiring have started arriving for the Nigerian Air Force, two helicopter gunships arrived on the 15th of January and we are now in the process of putting them together which will add to whatever we have.

“We are equally expecting other equipment, like I said, that are meant for the armed forces of Nigeria which we are hoping to get by the end of February.

“I am sure you are also familiar with the equipment acquisition by the Nigerian Police Force. I am sure you are also aware of the policy on community policing that was approved by Mr President and it is going to be funded.

“The whole idea is to ensure that Nigeria is secured and Nigerians can go about pursuing their legitimate aspirations without any hindrance.

“I think basically that is what this meeting was all about and what we want to do here is to reassure Nigerians that the armed forces of Nigeria and indeed security and intelligence agencies in Nigeria are going to continue to work round the clock to ensure that our country is secure and to ensure that nobody undermines the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of Nigeria.

“We are going to keep a very close watch on what is going on and with the equipment that we are getting, definitely, the challenges we are facing in some of the theaters of operation, particularly the North-East, will be addressed adequately.

“We are working with the other sister countries in the Lake Chad Basin to ensure that the Boko Haram terrorism is brought substantially to an end as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, youths in Yorubaland have asked the Federal Government and the Attorney General of Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to apologise to people of the South-west for declaring the region’s security network, Amotekun, illegal.

While asking the Justice Minister to withdraw the declaration, the youths under the aegis of Yoruba Youths Assembly warned against any attempt to cancel Amotekun.

The group spoke through a statement on Friday signed by its national president, Olarinde Thomas; vice president/Oyo State coordinator, Idowu Dennis; national publicity secretary, Nathaniel Oduyemi and coordinators in Ekiti, Osun, Lagos and Ondo, Williams Akingbola, Olaoye Joseph, Afolabi Akeem and Olugbode Fadekemi, respectively.

It said: “The security of the South-West region should be the priority of any responsible government and not be politicised as being done by the Federal Government and Miyetti Allah.

“Linking our security to politics is a height of aberration and for this reason, we smell breakup in this country.”

While stating that the Federal Government stood helpless as insurgency and insecurity dissipated the North, the group said it could not stand idly while those in the South-West are turned into displaced persons as a result of insecurity in the region.

The statement reads in part: “The recent pronouncement by the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to us, is evidence that the northerners are truly and deliberately behind insecurity across the country.

“This Federal Government’s stand also shows that President Muhammadu Buhari is only interested in securing the northerners and is not really concerned about what happens to other regions.

“If not, why would he not raise eyebrows against the already existing security groups operating in the North but would be all out to quash our own security in the South. We will stop at nothing to ensure that the South-West security network codenamed Amotekun works in the Yoruba-speaking states.

“It is in their domineering thought to relegate the said security outfit and politicise the security of the Yoruba nation.

“We are using this medium to tell the Federal Government and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to withdraw the threat on the Yoruba governors and allow the smooth operation of Amotekun. The AGF should apologise to Yoruba people for attempting to block the security of our people.

“We believe we are not wrong when we organised a group that will protect the lives and properties of our people. Because we won’t wait till insurgency, kidnapping, highway robbery, ritual activities and banditry make our territory unsafe for us all.”

In the same vein, the Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, declared that Amotekun is targeted at Miyetti Allah if the group’s intention is to trouble Yorubaland.

Making a case for the security initiative on Thursday at the second anniversary of the installation of Chief Gani Adams as the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland held in Lagos, the spokesman for the organisation, Mr Yinka Odumakin, noted that Amotekun was established to combat insecurity and put under control, anybody or group of persons that threaten the peace and harmony of the south-west region.

He said: “Miyetti Allah said Amotekun is targeted at them. Yes, it is targeted at those behind the killing and kidnapping of our people. But if they are not and desire to live with us in peace and harmony, Amotekun will protect them because the security outfit was established to combat spate of insecurity and go after criminals who trouble the south-west region.

“It is for the protection of Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba and other tribes living in the South-West.

“It is not the intention of South-West governors to trouble the unity and peace of the country through the establishment of Amotekun. The security outfit is not for war. If this is the cae, it will reflect in the sophistication of the rifles they bear.

“They bear cheap rifles unlike Miyetti Allah whose members carry AK47 rifles and trouble the peace of the country.

“This is a defining moment for us. We have heard Miyyetti Allah saying that the Federal Government should arrest Amotekun. We are waiting for them. We have accepted Amotekun 100 per cent, while we continue to fight for the actualisation of state police.”

While urging the governors to go ahead with the initiative, Odumakin advised Amotekun personnel to be professional in their conduct.

He said: “Security is both individual and collective responsibilities. As individuals, we have the right to protect ourselves and employ guards. You can even go as far as getting a duly registered rifle to protect your homes. You don’t need any permission from the attorney-general to protect yourself.

“But for those that want to make us vulnerable so that herdsmen will continue to kill us freely. And when they kill us, they would write our governors telling them to learn how to live with their neighbours in peace.

“Therefore, the way forward is for our governors to go ahead with Amotekun. They should try as much as possible to organise it professionally. Amotekun personnel should comport themselves very well and be sure to go after criminals and not cause trouble with anybody.

“But if the Federal Government wants the South West to stop Amotekun, they should disband Hisbah and the Civilian JTF. They should declare them illegal.

“When this is done, we will tell our governors to stop Amotekun but without this being done, Amotekun has come to stay.”

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