Brigadier-General Bashir Adewinmbi (rtd) is the Corps Commandant of the Osun Security Network, codenamed Amotekun. In this interview with ISMAEEL UTHMAN, he speaks on the ongoing recruitment process into the Amotekun Corps, operations of the security outfit and security challenges in the state.
HOW far have you gone on the recruitment process into the Amotekun Corps and how many people applied?
We are still on the recruitment process. We have started screening the applicants. Actually, 50 application forms were given to each of the 30 local governments in the state. We printed 2,000 forms and we distributed them to the local governments in the state; and people turned out to collect the forms. We have started screening since Monday and two local governments are being attended to per day. The screening will come to an end by 12 or 15 of May. After that, we will shortlist successful candidates and move to camp straightaway for training. The training will not be less than three weeks duration.
Does that mean 2,000 candidates actually applied or you have leftover forms?
Less than 2,000 candidates actually applied. The accurate figure of those that applied cannot be disclosed now but we distributed 50 to each of the local governments. That is what I can give you for now.
What will the training involve?
The training entails all what the corps members need to carry out their job effectively; and that includes intelligence gathering, tactics, Civics and ethics, report writing, minor combat, communication drill and all other things required to carry out their job successfully after training. Weapon handling will also be included in the training.
Amotekun has always been actively involved in anti-kidnapping efforts and restoration of peace to any troubled area in the state.
What is the motivation behind your operations?
Yes, we are motivated. Security job these days should not be perceived as a rewarding job. Security involves money but at the same time you must be committed in safeguarding your society, whether you are motivated or not. Once you are given the necessary logistics to carry out your work, you should not wait for any reward because you are protecting yourself, family, colleagues and the investments of the state. So, we should be able to do what we are expected to do, which is providing security to the state and that is the mandate of the Governor who is the Chief Security Officer of the state. And the Governor has given us the necessary support to carry out our duty effectively.
Some of the Amotekun corps, who are ad hoc members are carrying guns, which some people believe are not licensed. What explanations have you on this?
Amotekun is not working alone; we have other security outfits working with us, like O’odua Peoples Congress (OPC), Hunters and Vigilante groups. And they have their locally-made guns. The guns they are carrying are those they use for hunting animals in the bush because they are hunters.
There seems to be rivalry between Amotekun and the Police. What is responsible for this?
There should not be any conflicts of interests between the Police and the Amotekun because we are working to achieve same objectives, same goal of securing lives and property in the state. There should not be any conflicts of interests in securing the state. Our focus is to secure the state, any other thing is not important and that is what is guiding our operations. So, there would not be any clash of interests. And more so, Amotekun is established to support the Police in enhancing community policing. We will manage ourselves. We have been working together in all our operations. We worked together at Ilobu and Erin-Osun during the communal clash, also in Ikire and during all the kidnapping issues. So, we have been working together. I don’t see us having any clashes of interests. We will manage the situation; there is no doubt about that.
What do you think is responsible for rising insecurity in Osun?
I see it as a spillover effect of insecurity situation in Nigeria. What is happening is not peculiar to the State of Osun. Osun is relatively peaceful, compared to most of the states in the country. Look at what is happening in Niger and Imo states where they are attacking security structures and personnel. And if that is happening, Nigeria is drifting to a state of anarchy which should not be allowed to happen.
Most of these things happening are attributed to economic hardship, bad leadership, lack of interest to work on the part of the youths. Most of the youths are jobless and are doing things to aggravate security issues. We need to look into the way our youths are being brought up. We need to appeal to every family and society to look after the children, educate them properly and put them on the right path to know that there are things that should not be done. The issue of cultism has been on for a while, but it is escalating now. All these crimes taking place now have their roots from cultism. It is from cultism that the criminality graduates to bigger crimes. The bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, rapists, belong to one cult group or the other. The government is making efforts to crack down on all these through Amotekun. And I want to assure you that Osun will overcome the security challenge very soon.
What should people expect from Amotekun after the recruitment?
After the recruitment, the Amotekun corps members will be deployed to various local government areas to curb crimes and maintain peace. Amotekun will have zero tolerance for any act of criminality.
We have a standard operational procedure we will teach our corps members: how to deal with civilians, how to conduct themselves, how to maintain Amotekun’s integrity because this is the first time we will have a formal recruitment. So, we want to lay a solid foundation for Amotekun and we will have zero tolerance for any act of criminality. We are achieving these with the support of the Police.