The demand by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria(MACBAN) to participate in the operations of the South West regional security network, Amotekun, has been turned down by the Houses of Assembly of the respective states.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the houses of assembly of the states had concluded work on the bill after the public hearings without making any input to give MACBAN a place.
At the moment, Ekiti State has passed the bill, even though a meeting of speakers of the respective houses held in Ibadan on Thursday to harmonise the positions of the respective states.
The necessity of the harmonisation arose from the different public hearings held across the states to get inputs from the different stakeholders and citizens of the state.
During one of the public hearings organised by the Oyo State House of Assembly, MACBAN expressed its support for the establishment of the security outfit, but proposed that it should have its members participate in the Amotekun corps.
A former chairman of the association in Oyo State, Yaqub Bello, who spoke on behalf of MACBAN at the public hearing by the Oyo State House of Assembly, had expressed the support of the association to the Amotekun initiative, noting that only haters of truth would oppose the initiative.
“Some of us have been in Oyo State for over 40 years, cohabiting with the natives, married Yoruba women and have children,” Mr Bello.
“So, our request is to include Miyetti Allah as members of Operation Amotekun to enhance the job of the outfit, since we know the terrain of where we rear our cattle.
“Having Fulani among the outfit will make it easier for Amotekun men to distinguish between genuine herdsmen and the criminals while on patrol.
“A Fulani man can also serve as an interpreter while interrogating any suspected herdsman,” Mr Bello said. He admitted that the major objective of the initiative was to curb criminal activities in the society and not to witch hunt any particular body or ethnic group.
He described his members as law abiding, adding that none of them had been involved in any form of criminality.
He said, instead, his members had been carrying out their legitimate businesses, which is cattle rearing.
The chairman of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Olayanju Qozeem, told PREMIUM TIMES that the request was not even considered in the final analysis.
“No, capital no,” was his response to PREMIUM TIMES inquiries whether the House had given consideration to the request by MACBAN.
Also the chairman of the House Committee on Information, Ekiti State House of Assembly, Yemisi Ayokunle, said the house found no place for the request.
“We are not thinking in that line at all,” he said. “There is a bill and it did not include Miyetti Allah or whoever.”
Mr Oyokunle noted that Amotekun was meant for the south west citizens and would remain so following content of the bill passed by the house.
“Wherever the Miyetti Allah is coming from, its tribe is not included there, so we are not thinking in this line at all,” the lawmaker said.
“We have done all it takes, we have passed it into law and there is no Miyetti Allah in our bill which has been passed into law.
“It is now for the governor to sign it into law. We have not heard and we are not interested in listening to that or reacting to that. It is not our business at all. Anybody is entitled to say anything.
“There is freedom of speech, probably that is what they are exercising but that is not included in the bill.”
He argued that what the bill specifies was that whoever would be a member of Amotekun would be a native of that area where he is going to work as an Amotekun person.
“He must be a native of that place who knows the nooks and crannies of that area,” Mr Ayokunle said.
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The Osun State House of Assembly said MACBAN did not make such submission to it and so had no reason to deliberate on it.
The press secretary to the Speaker of the House, Kunle Alabi, told PREMIUM TIMES that the bill however, was silent on including non-indigenes, but there could be a case where a person who had lived in a community for a very long time, could be trusted with such responsibilities, even if he is not an indigene of the south west region.
However, a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, in a recent tweet, condemned the proposal by Miyetti Allah’s leadership for the inclusion of its members in Amotekun.
In a recent post on his twitter page, @realFFK, he said such inclusion would amount to “recruiting demonds into an army of angels.”
“Recruiting Miyetti Allah into Amotekun is like recruiting hyenas into an army of lions,” said Mr Fani-Kayode. “It’s like recruiting vultures into an army of eagles. It’s like recruiting sharks into an army of dolphins.
“It’s like recruiting Nazis into the Israeli Defence Force. It’s like recruiting the Ku Klux Klan into the ranks of the Black Panthers. It’s like recruiting Hutus into an Army of Tutsis. It’s like recruiting the white Boers into Nelson Mandela’s ANC.”
The bill is yet to be passed by five of the six houses of assembly, but could be passed next week following a conclusion of harmonisation done by the speakers in Ibadan on Thursday.
A meeting of Attorneys General of the states is expected to hold before a final passage is done and the signing of the documents by the state governors.