Southwest governors have kicked against the plan to put the Operation of the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN) under the Inspector-General of Police.
The WNSN code-named Operation Amotekun, was inaugurated last year to respond to the surge in insecurity, killings and kidnapping in Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti – the states in the Southwest geo-political zone.
The Federal Government stalled the plan for a central control of the outfit, leading to breaking it down to state commands.
The outfit is already operating under the law as passed by the Houses of Assembly.
But the Federal Government is seeking to integrate Amotekun, such security outfits into the new community policing arrangement which President Muhammadu Buhari has endorsed with a N13 billion vote.
Speaking on a television programme on Tuesday, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said Amotekun cannot operate outside the structures laid down by the police authorities.
He said: “Whatever name they go by, Amotekun or whatever, they will be streamlined and they will be run in accordance with the structure as defined by the Inspector-General of police.
“They can choose their own nomenclature but it doesn’t make a difference. There is a general structure for all state and local council community policing mechanisms and this should abide in the states.
“So, we are going to have a single-type structure community policing across the country and whatever is not in line with this does not have a place in the new scheme of things.”
Chairman of the Southwest Governors’ Forum, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (Ondo State) said on Wednesday that Amotekun would not be subsumed into the community policing programme.
Akeredolu said Amotekun Corps would operate within the confines of the law setting it up.
He said anybody not happy with the decision should approach the court.
He spoke on a television programme monitored in Akure.
Corroborating Akeredolu’s stance, Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde said Amotekun will not be under the control of the federal structure but fully owned, managed and controlled by the state government.
The governor gave a marching order to Caretaker Council Chairmen to urgently set up security committees in their various areas.
The governor spoke during a meeting with Caretaker Chairmen from the 33 local government areas and the 35 Local Council Development Areas.
Akeredolu kicked against having a central command structure for the community policing because no agreement had been reached on its operation and command.
The Ondo governor noted that in creating state police, there must be corresponding responsibility by sending more funds to states.
He insisted that security would be guaranteed in the country with a multi-level policing approach.
The Ondo State governor said: “The operation and command of the multi- level of policing cannot be central. It is an idea that will come to be. There will be state police and at a point, the local government will have theirs. All of us combined will ensure security of lives and property. Community policing is a good idea. Who will be in command, the community will own. We must work towards having multi-level policing.