The Western Nigeria Security Network’s designated Amotekun Corps officers must carry weapons in order to protect themselves from non-state actors, according to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, who also stated that life security takes precedence over pipeline protection.
“Most of the people and even some of my colleagues didn’t really understand my position on the oil pipeline surveillance contract. I have no issue with the Federal Government awarding surveillance contracts to anybody. It is Federal Government’s money. They can use it anyhow they want.,” Akerodolu said, according to a statement released on Wednesday by his Chief Press Secretary, Richard Olatunde.
“Here, we are spending our money on Amotekun. And what I said in my statement titled, ‘Who Actually Needs Weapon’ was that the Federal Government should allow Amotekun to carry sophisticated weapons like those whom they awarded pipeline surveillance contracts.”
“If you can allow individuals to carry heavy arms to protect pipelines, why won’t you allow Amotekun to carry sophisticated weapons to protect the people? The oil facilities are not more important than the lives of the people,” he said.
The statement was reportedly made by Akeredolu, the chairman of the 17-member Southern Governors’ Forum and the South-West Governors’ Forum, at the commissioning of the recently renovated office complex at the Ondo State Oil Producing Area Development Commission in Oba-Ile, in the state’s Akure North Local Government Area.
As revealed by the Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Mele Kyari, on September 30, 2022, during the 49th session of the state house briefing at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Akeredolu last week criticized the Federal Government’s decision to award a contract for the protection of pipelines in the South-South to a private security company.
Although Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo, a former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, has a stake in the business granted the contract for pipeline protection, the government is not dealing with him, according to the NNPC CEO.
The 17 southern governors have constantly supported state police and fought for decentralization of the nation’s policing system.
The South-West governors had established the Amotekun organization, and the South-East governors had also developed a regional security organization, Ebube Agu, in an effort to stop the rising number of homicides in their states. Governor Samuel Ortom established the Benue Guards in the North Central area, but none of the regional or state units had received a license from the federal government’s Inspector General of Police to use assault guns.