In the last two weeks, the excesses of the Ondo State Security Network, popularly known as Amotekun has drawn tears from the eyes of several families in Ondo State.
In the month of May alone, Amotekun has been responsible for the death of two persons- a final year Economics student of Federal University of Technology Akure, and a 14- year old boy who the stepmother handed over to Amotekun for “more punishment” for allegedly stealing five hundred naira.
The initial excitement and hope that Amotekun corps will be an effective check on herdsmen and kidnappers rampaging the forests and streets of Ondo state have paled into frustration and misery.
Tope Elijah, a final year Economics student of Federal University of Akure, was mowed down by the bullet of a yet to be identified Amotekun corp member around Shoprite in Akure. It was reported that, this incident occurred via a stray bullet during a burial ceremony. Was Amotekun contracted as the undertakers?
Students of the University out of anger shut down Akure, protesting this murder in cold blood. Up till this moment, no official statement has been issued by the leadership of Amotekun under Adetunji Adeleye.
Just last week, a 14-year old boy, Ayomide Adeghalu was allegedly tortured to death at an Amotekun facility in Ondo town. The little boy was handed over to his killers by his stepmother, who claimed she wanted more punishment for the victim over N500 that was supposedly missing from the wares he was given to hawk.
In July, 2022, students of Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo bombarded the Governor’s Office, Akure protesting the killing of Folarera Ademola, an ND1 student in the Department of Science Laboratory Technology. The residence of the deceased was besieged by Amotekun Corp members where he was shot in the leg, kept at Amotekun facility in Owo for more than eleven days until his condition deteriorated and moved to Federal Medical Centre, Owo. By that time, it was already too late.
These series of killings by a security outfit of government, maintained with public funds is to say least, very devastating. The families of the deceased are crying for help and calling for justice. Only God knows, if help will ever come their way.
The deep concern and outrage over these killings have made non-sense of the marginal gains recorded by Amotekun since its coming. The grievous disregard for human life and the reckless actions of those entrusted with public safety cannot be ignored. It has become necessary to urge Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu to address this matter with utmost urgency.
Amotekun is meant to ensure the safety and well-being of our local communities. However, the tragic events that unfolded recently demonstrate a severe deviation from this noble purpose. This dangerous trend of abuse and impunity should not be tolerated in any civilized society.
These incidents have eroded the trust and confidence that the community once had in Amotekun. Rather than fostering a sense of security, their actions have instilled fear and apprehension among the people they are meant to protect. It is essential to hold those responsible accountable for their actions and restore faith in an Agency that was initially celebrated.
What has come to the fore is the apparent lack of training for the Amotekun members and the quackery associated with its leadership. Otherwise, how does one explain this level recklessness and lack of respect for human lives.
The current situation raises serious doubts about the training, supervision, and discipline within Amotekun.
There is the urgent need to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incidents in question. The government must ensure that this investigation is carried out by an independent body, free from any potential conflicts of interests. Hold all individuals involved accountable for their actions if found responsible for the unnecessary loss of life. This should include a fair legal process and appropriate disciplinary measures.
It has also become necessary to re-assess and enhance the training programs provided to the members of Amotekun. Emphasize the importance of de-escalation techniques, human rights, and community engagement to prevent future occurrences of excessive use of force.
Improve transparency and accountability mechanisms within Amotekun. Establish robust systems for monitoring and reporting incidents of misconduct, and provide avenues for the public to voice their concerns and file complaints against any misconduct they witness.
Foster community dialogue and engagement between Amotekun and the residents they serve. Encourage open discussions, community meetings, and initiatives to bridge the gap and rebuild trust.
It is imperative that immediate action is taken to rectify these grave issues within Amotekun.
The people deserve a security force that upholds the principles of justice, respects human rights, and operates with the highest level of professionalism.
We cannot allow Amotekun to continue to take laws into their hands and except that the people will not resist them. It is only a matter of time.
The tears from the eyes of the families of the victims should not be allowed to dry before they get justice. No society can run freely on indiscipline, recklessness and lawlessness.