A former Lagos State Police Commissioner, Fatai Owoseni, says the new South-West security outfit, Amotekun, will be allowed to carry Dane guns just like the way hunters are allowed to do.
Owoseni, who is the Special Adviser to the Oyo State Governor on Security, said this during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Friday.
When asked if the Amotekun would be allowed to use Dane guns, he said, “(Yes) if it is necessary for them to use in some instances because hunters do carry their Dane guns with their dogs. Those are their tools and it is not illegal.”
He, however, explained that the Amotekun would not run a detention facility but would purely be an intelligence-gathering group.
When asked if they would be allowed to make arrests, the retired CP said, “The power they have to make arrests is the same power you have. Every citizen has the power of arrest. When you arrest, you take to the police station. That is the same power. They are not going to operate a detention facility. It is non-state actors participating in security.”
The governor’s aide said the idea of Amotekun originated from a paper presented by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development.
He said the paper was adopted by the Nigeria Police Force and was thus not inimical to the security structure of the country.
The governor’s aide said Amotekun would act like CCTVs and be a source of intelligence to the conventional security forces.
The retired officer said Amotekun was not different from the local vigilantes like the uniformed neighbourhood watch in Lagos State.
Owoseni said the North-Central states had also operated a similar outfit known as the G8 in the past.
He added, “They (Amotekun) are vigilantes but South-West is just formalising them like different states have one vigilante group or the other. Even in Oyo State, the police command had been working with the vigilantes who are registered at every area command.
“The procedure and the guidelines for the support and harnessing them with the non-state actors and the conventional security were drawn by DFID the Force headquarters bought into it. A strategic paper was prepared and it was out of that the Nigeria Police issued the Force Order guidelines on community partnership with the police.
“So, it is not a new thing. The networking thing is not new. There used to be a G8 for the North-Central when I was in the FCT command. The G8 then was formed by the governors of the North-Central as the conventional security people but this one being done with the South-West are the community people, non-state actors.”