Governors of the South-west states have received copies of a bill to establish the South West Security Network in their respective states which would oversee the planned regional security corps also known as Amotekun.
The Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, has taken the lead in the move by forwarding the bill to the state’s House of Assembly for passage.
The Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Kunle Somorin, told PREMIUM TIMES on phone on Tuesday that the document was forwarded to the state legislature on Monday.
“Yes, we are discussing the bill right now, it was sent to the House of Assembly yesterday(Monday),” said Mr Somorin.
The document was formally presented to the Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, on Monday in Ado Ekiti after the bill was harmonised by the attorneys-general of the states in Ibadan on Saturday.
An official of one of the states told PREMIUM TIMES that final meeting of the attorneys-general in Ibadan ensured that the bill was harmonised and devoid of ambiguities and contradictions that may create conflict in the implementation of the document.
While receiving the draft bill from the Ekiti State Commissioner for Justice, Wale Fapohunda, Mr Fayemi said the security network was designed to protect both indigenes and residents in the six states of the South-west.
The governor pledged commitment to facilitate the speedy discussion of the bill at the executive council meeting and its subsequent passage at the State House of Assembly.
Mr Fayemi said the initiative was a logical extension of the community policing initiative recently assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari and which the Inspector-General of Police had communicated to all police formations across the country.
“The bill when passed into law would ensure that our highways are free of banditry, of armed robbery, of kidnapping, of all forms of brigandage and criminality in our states,” the governor said.
“The bill is not likely to propose an exclusive protection for Yoruba people living in the six states, it is going to talk about ensuring that our highways are free of banditry, of armed robbery, of kidnapping, of all forms of brigandage and criminality in our state and to that extent it is a logical extension of the community policing initiative that President Muhammadu Buhari has assented to, that the Inspector-General of Police has communicated to all the formations of police force across Nigeria.
“My colleagues and I were still in discussion about this yesterday and we have promised ourselves that this will be given accelerated discussion in our various State Executive councils this week and we will also send it expeditiously to our various houses of assembly this week, our discussions with our speakers who had been really waiting for this.
“Some of them had been recalling other honourable members from recess in order to give this an accelerated passage in their various legislature, so that by Friday the 14th of February, the bill that hopefully would have been passed into law would be accented to simultaneously in the six states of the Southwest.”
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Chief Press Secretary to the Osun State Governor, Ismail Omipitan, also confirmed that the bill had been received by the state government. He said justice would be done to it in ensuring a speedy passage at the House of Assembly.
Commissioner for Information in Ondo State, Donald Ojogo, also confirmed the receipt of the bill but said he could not speak in detail on the document until tomorrow.
But PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the bill would be officially discussed at the Ondo State Executive Council on Wednesday before it would be sent to the House of Assembly.
In Oyo State, the state government is likely to send the bill to the House on Wednesday, after consideration by the state executive council.
Taiwo Adisa, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, said the document was still going through the procedures and would likely be enacted before the end of the week.
Mr Fapohunda had earlier given a few highlights of the bill, stating that it contains the operational guidelines for the proposed security network agency.
He said the bill contained key provisions that spelt out the establishment of Ekiti State Security network agency, including its functions and objectives, the establishment and composition of the governing board of the agency and the establishment of Ekiti State Amotekun Corps, including power and criteria for enlistment into the corps.
He said other provisions of the bill included the establishment of an independent Amotekun complaint board to address possible cases of abuse of power, including violation of rights and corruption.
He added that there was also provision for the funding of the corps to ensure sustainability.
The noise over the establishment of Amotekun by the South-west governors had died down after they reached an agreement with the federal government to enable the security network with a law.
Other regions have since mooted the idea of floating their own regional security network as the security situation in the country worsens.
The Amotekun bill is expected to be simultaneously passed by the respective state assemblies and signed into law by the governors.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported that the takeoff of the outfit had been put on hold until the law comes into force in all the six states of the region.