The police on Sunday strongly warned the South-West Stakeholders Security Group working with the Western Nigeria Security Outfit code-named Operation Amotekun (leopard), against any breach of security.
The SSSG, comprising the Oodua Peoples Congress, the South-West Agbekoya Group, Agbekoya Farmers Society Group, the Vigilante Group of Nigeria, the South-West Hunters Association, Yoruba Youth Council and the Community Security Awareness Initiative Corps of Nigeria, is led by Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams.
Lagos, Ekiti and Osun state governments had, on Friday, said they would recruit about 1,320 operatives from the OPC and other groups for the Operation Amotekun, which was launched by the South-West states on Thursday.
Following serial killings and kidnapping in the South-West, governors in the zone had at a meeting in June decided to set up Operation Amotekun.
Mr. Sunday Abutu, The Police Public Relations Officer for the Ekiti State Police Command, said any OPC member that had prohibited firearms would be arrested.
Abutu said it was the responsibility of the police to arrest and prosecute any individual or group bearing arms illegally.
The police spokesman, who said the community security outfits like the vigilantes and hunters could not carry prohibited firearms, said, “The approved local vigilante groups can only carry Dane guns.
“Even people that are going to use those ones (Dane and local guns) have to be approved by the police. The police know those ones that are prohibited and the ones that such groups can use.
“Once we see anybody or group with prohibited firearms, we will arrest them because they are not allowed to carry such.”
Mr. Abimbola Oyeyemi, The Police Public Relations Officer in Ogun State, also warned that any civilian member of the Operation Amotekun found guilty of using unlicensed firearms would be arrested.
He said the command would not allow any form of possession of prohibited firearms from members of the Amotekun security operation.
According to Oyeyemi, He said, “You cannot be in the possession of prohibited firearms and you expect us to allow that. For example, somebody who does not belong to any security agency such as the army, the police and the customs cannot carry an AK-47 rifle. You can’t carry a pump-action.”
The Northern Youths Council of Nigerian led by Alhaji Isah Abubakar, had on Thursday, urged President Muhammadu Buhari, not to allow what he described as “unconstitutionality” to prevail.
But Abdullahi on Sunday said, “I should support anything which enhances the security of Nigeria and Nigerians anytime, anywhere.”
The National Public Relations Officer of the SOKAPU, Mr Luka Binniyat, in a statement on Sunday, called for the establishment of a similar security outfit in Southern Kaduna and the Middle Belt
The union said this became imperative in view of the spate of killings, kidnapping, arson and looting in the North-Central zone.
It disclosed that the ransoms paid by Christian families, churches and communities in Kaduna had risen from N300m to N400m as of January 11, 2020.
SOKAPU said, “The recent attacks underscore the urgent need for a vibrant, government funded vigilante organisation for every community in Southern Kaduna and indeed the entire Middle Belt.”
“Adopting this security measure for our communities will not only improve security but also ensure greater safety for our people.
“We look forward to Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the Niger Delta leaders toeing the same path of the Yoruba states to assist security agencies in protecting their communities.”