By John Akubo, Abuja
In this interview, Second Republic lawmaker and elder statesman, Junaid Muhammed, said Amotekun is politically motivated and a ploy for secession by the Southwest
Recently, governors of Southwest states came together to set up a security outfit called Amotekun to check insecurity in their region. This comes as the national security architecture seems overwhelmed, but the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, said it is unconstitutional. What is your take?
First and foremost, a line has been drawn among most conscientious and not reasonable Nigerians. A line has been drawn on the question of the desire or otherwise of what people call state police. The agitation for state police started from the Southwest. It was purely political; it had nothing to do with security. It started long before this Fourth Republic and the main purpose for the agitation for state police was that some political elements among the elite of the Southwest believe that somehow they would be in a position to exercise political power to their own satisfaction, unless they control those elements of national police, particularly the police and the secret services.
This is not new. So, they kept on the agitation until this republic, especially from 2009 when the security situation became much dire with the emergence of Boko Haram. So, you can see clearly they use the dire state of insecurity in the country as an alibi. There was a political intent; there was a political purpose. They needed to create a regional police, not just state police emanating from that part of the country, because of the idea of seceding to create Odudua Republic for a very long time. So now that the Federal Government, using the president, as one single spokesperson on the issue, has yielded to them on the idea of state police, they quickly went round, rediscovered their old agenda of having their own regional police and now they came up quickly with this Amotekun.
The way things happen quickly in Nigeria it must be a surprise to us who are observant that within a very short period that they have been given the right to do it they have come up with the structure; they have bought vehicles and they are planning to buy arms. So, if people are concerned they are justifiably concerned, because this is nothing new but a rediscovery of an old agenda, which is tied up with the idea of seceding, because they have gotten everything they wanted from Nigeria. They control the economy. Lagos alone controls over 50 per cent of the economy and they believe that they can do without Nigeria even though, in their own view, to rubbish everything that is national; they forget the fact that even if they have the manufacturing base, they don’t have the market to sell. Without the market I don’t see how their economy can thrive. Everything in Lagos today was done by the Federal Government. Somehow they believe that they can get away with it, retain what is their own, let the rest of us all go and wallow in poverty. Good luck to them.
I don’t want to speak to what the attorney-general has said because I am not a member of his party neither am I a member of his government. I am completely persuaded that it was wrong to have allowed the idea of a state police. Some of us have been talking against it for over two decades. Now that it has come to pass, the hidden agenda has now come out. Nigerians should now open their eyes to see what is afoot. As I said, when General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida’s regime decided to create Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and he appointed Professor Wole Soyinka, one of the prior statements of Soyinka was that he was going to arm most of the officers, who came from among his boys, errand boys many of who came from background of drama and fine arts. How do you think they could take charge of the extensive road network in Nigeria? Nobody cared to ask. The idea of arming FRSC died only because the seed money given for the takeoff of the project was said to have allegedly been put in somebody’s personal account and it became a national scandal.
Is Amotekun any different from Hisbah and Civilian JTF?
Why are they comparing the issue of Amotekun with Hisbah? It is a programme I have spoken against for over 20 years. My views about Hisbah are negative views wherever it exists. The head of Hisbah in Kano under former Governor Ibrahim Shekarau was the one that was inciting people not to allow children to be vaccinated, but when he was arrested and taken to Kuje Prison, we had peace and later Shekarau had to issue a statement and allow the vaccination to continue. You can see that they are all political creations. If you want to believe that this wonder organization can solve your security problem then you are making a blunder. To solve security problem you have to be sincere, study the problem and have a national consensus about the problem, especially what are the real issues confronting us in terms of security? But don’t tell me about what (Femi) Falana has been saying; he knows he is lying.
I recall vividly he coming to congratulate me about what I said on Hisbah and even about the introduction of Shari’a. Bala Usman and I had a reason to go and tell (former President Olusegun) Obasanjo not to get involved in it, because they will drag it into the worse politics. We warned late Bola Ige that anybody who is not a Muslim and is looking at this issue, the same Muslims will teach those governors using religion to win election, only to get there and do nothing but corruption.