…As South-West Development Commission Bill passes Senate’s 2nd reading***
Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State on Wednesday signed the Ondo State Security Network Agency, otherwise known as Amotekun Corp, Bill 2020 into law.
Amotekun gained legal teeth, just as a bill for the establishment of the South-West Development Commission on Wednesday, passed second reading at the Senate.
The corp, which was coordinated by Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN), was launched in Ibadan in January by the six South-West governors.
While signing the bill, Akeredolu explained that the outfit was strictly for the security of lives and properties of residents of Ondo State, stressing that it would not be used for political purposes.
“It will be wrong for anybody to call on the corp if they have political crises, call the police instead, they are in charge.
“The Amotekun corp will strictly be deployed for security. Members are to work with the Police on matters related, but not limited, to kidnapping, farmers/herdsmen clashes, sea piracy, and others,” he said.
The governor also said the corp was set up to collaborate with existing security, and not to compete with them.
He expressed the belief that there could not be an end to the nature of security outfits to be provided for the people
According to him, the corp has no party colouration or barrier because all the governors in the South West region worked together to protect their people regardless of party differences.
“We could not wait indefinitely for the issues of community policing to be resolved before we do what is needed to secure our peoples’ lives and properties.
“The Amotekun corp was borne out of necessity. Anything can happen in the country that could warrant beefing up security or need for a particular agency to support an existing one.
Also read: Oyo Assembly passes Amotekun bill
“It is a dynamic thing. There is no way a policing or security system can be enough in the nation where everything can change at any time,” he said.
Earlier, Hon. Bamidele Oleyeloogun, Speaker, Ondo State House of Assembly, congratulated the governor, describing the event as a milestone in the history of the state.
“I also commend members of the House for the speedy passage of the bill,” he said.
In the meantime, the bill for the establishment of the South-West Development Commission on Wednesday passed second reading at the Senate.
This was sequel to presentation of the lead debate by the sponsor of the bill, Sen. Ibikunle Amosun.
The bill is entitled “A bill for an act to establish the South-West Development Commission to act as a catalyst to develop the commercial and industrial potentials of the South-West to receive and manage funds from allocation of the federation for the agricultural and industrial development of the South-West.”
Leading the debate on the general principles of the bill, Amosun said that the objectives were to facilitate rapid and sustainable development of the South-West into a region that was economically prosperous and socially stable.
Amosun said other objectives of the bill included the reduction of unemployment while also providing skills to promote the development of the South West.
“To identify factors inhibiting the development of South-West and assist member states in the formulation and implementation of policies to ensure sound and efficient management of resources in the sub-region.
Supporting the passage of the bill for the second reading, Sen. Teslim Folarin (APC-Oyo) said that the bill sought to reset the South-West.
“The South-West is known as a leader in a good way. We have excelled in the past in the area of education, agriculture and infrastructural development. But what do we have today, it is all decayed.”
He said that the bill sought to have a development commission that would act as a coordinating point for all the South-Western states.
Folarin said that the major reason why the country was regressive rather than progressing “is this one side veto policy.”
“Take education for instance, we develop one curriculum in Abuja or wherever and we expect it to work in every state of the federation.”
Sen. Adamu Bulkachuwa (APC-Bauchi) said that “I have a completely different view on this bill. I rise not to support it, I rise to alert us here. I rise to alert the Senate, this chamber should not be the chamber where the basis for disintegration of Nigeria should be discussed.
“There was first Amotekun, now there is the South-West Development Commission. Now all the other commissions that were approved by this Senate, NDDC, North-East were actually borne out of circumstances.
“North-East was devastated by Boko Haram and they need rehabilitation. The same thing with Niger Delta, because of the oil exploration activities, the livelihood of the people was almost rendered useless and they could not go to the farm.
“I cannot see the reason why the South-West Development Commission should be created because South-West is the most developed sub-region in this country.”
Sen. Michael Opeyemi (APC-Ekiti) said that the bill was in overriding national interest.
Sen. Peter Nwaboshi (PDP-Delta) said that “if we balkanise Nigeria with what we are doing, we will be held responsible.
“What we are doing in this Senate; we passed two bills; the North-East Development bill and the South-East Development bill.
“The President in his wisdom did not sign one because he does not want Balkanisation.
“We should not sit here and divide the country,” he said.
In his remarks, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, referred the bill to the Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service Matters for further legislative action to report back to the upper chamber within four weeks