Being the Remarks of His Excellency Seyi Makinde, the Executive Governor of Oyo State During the First Anniversary Celebration of the Oyo State Security Network Agency (Amotekun Corps) on Thursday, November 18, 2021
It is almost impossible today to think of an Oyo State without members of the Oyo State Security Network. Amotekun have become so integrated with our state’s internal security that it is hard to believe that they were operationalised just a year ago, on November 18, 2020. We see them parked everywhere, in the city and rural areas, ready to respond to distress calls.
Although the Oyo State Security Network is part of the wider Western Nigeria Security Network, we knew how important Amotekun would be in securing our state from the outset. That is why we were at the forefront of working with the Dawn Commission to ensure that the other five southwest governors bought into the vision.
Once that vision became a reality, we signed the Oyo State Security Network Agency (Amotekun) Bill, 2020 into law in March 2020. We then embarked on recruiting 1,500 personnel for the corps.
As you well know, most of the people recruited were already part of various vigilante and neighbourhood watch groups. However, guided by the Amotekun Act, the recruits were subjected to training on operating procedures.
Since then, they have been working under Retired General Ajibola Kunle Togun and Retired Colonel Olayanju Olayinka as Chairman and Commandant. Both former officers of the Nigerian Armed Forces and fine gentlemen.
Well, there were a few hitches along the way. At some point, people even called for the scrapping of the corps. This was not unexpected. Remember that Amotekun was operationalised just as Nigeria was recovering from the EndSARS protests. There was already a lot of bad blood against anyone who represented or worked as a security agent.
So, it became imperative for us to ensure that the corps members never acted beyond their constitutional powers and authorities. From time to time, we have had to punish errant officers. However, for the most part, members of the Amotekun Corps have served our state diligently. Some of them have even lost their lives in a bid to secure our lives and properties.
I want to acknowledge these 13 fallen heroes:
- ADENRELE MURITALA ADEYEMI (42) – IBARAPA CENTRAL
- ADEWUYI NURUDEEN OLAYIWOLA (63) – OLUYOLE
- FALOLA FRIDAY (60) – IBARAPA NORTH
- MICHEAL SEGUN EWERINDE (56) – IWAJOWA
- SULAIMON QUADRI (33) – ATIBA
- ADEAGBO IBRAHIM (55) – IBARAPA NORTH
- TAIWO OLAGBAMI (35) – AFIJIO
- SALAWU TAJUDEEN IDOWU (53) – KAJOLA
- BELLO ADIJAT ASUKE (31) – OYO EAST
- KAMORUDEEN ABIOLA (32) – OYO EAST
- AZEEZ IBRAHIM – IWAJOWA
- TIJANI SODIQ BABATUNDE (34) – ATIBA
- SALAU SUKURAT (35) – ATIBA
May their souls rest in peace and may God continue to comfort their families and friends.
Let me also use this opportunity to convey the heartfelt appreciation of the government and people of Oyo State to you serving members of the Oyo State Security Network. We say thank you for your continued and sometimes thankless service. While we sleep, you help keep us safe, but we hardly remember you guys when we are awake.
I read your reports and see your daily and weekly activities. We know you expose yourselves to high-risk situations. You confront ritualists, armed robbers, kidnappers, bandits and other criminals. Despite the constitutional restrictions on the kind of weapons you can carry, you have chosen to do your part to keep us safe.
Know this: Each time you respond to a distress call, make an arrest and hand suspects over to the police, you play a big role in making Oyo State safer for all of us. You make it possible for investors to have confidence in our state. Ultimately, you do your part to ensure that we grow Oyo State’s economy. You are truly heroes, and today, we celebrate you.
On our part, we will continue to support you with the necessary equipment you need to carry out your duties.
As we celebrate your first anniversary today, let us again be reminded that even though we have the Amotekun Corps supporting other security agencies in keeping Oyo State safe, security is still everyone’s business. As we always say here in Oyo State, “If you see something, say something. And the authorities will do something.”
Don’t forget that we have the number 615 for security emergencies. It is free to call anywhere in Oyo State. We continue to work to ensure that anyone who calls that number gets a swift response.
Conclusively, we still believe that community policing is one of the best ways of tackling insecurity in our state. The past months have seen Oyo State begin to enjoy relative security thanks to Amotekun, the security agencies and all who have worked hard in this sector. You will agree that even the rate of crime reportage in the rural areas of Ibarapa Zone has reduced.
Let me end these remarks by thanking you all for coming here to be with us on the first anniversary of the Oyo State Security Network codenamed Amotekun.
We will continue to invest in security to ensure that security challenges do not disrupt the economic prosperity we are enjoying now.
Thank you, and God bless you.
~ Governor Seyi Makinde, November 18, 2021