The Lagos State House of Assembly on Thursday commenced the process of amending the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency Law 2019 to accommodate a section for Amotekun Corps.
The House took the first and second reading of the bill at plenary on Thursday and committed the bill to the Committee on Information, Publicity, Security and Strategy to report back to the House sine die, the House is to hold public hearing on the bill on Monday.
The Amotekun Corps when operational is to take charge of security in borders, forest, highways, nooks and crannies of the state to ensure protection against hoodlums, kidnappers, cattle rustlers, bandits etc.
The Corps can also collaborate with other security platforms in other neighbouring states to ensure strengthening of security network in Lagos and such other states.
The Clerk of the House, Mr. Azeez Sanni had informed the House that he received a letter from the state’s Commissioner for Justice, Hon. Moyosore Onigbanjo on Wednesday 19th February, 2020 on the amendment of the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency Law (LNSC), 2019.
The House subsequently took the first and second reading of the Bill entitled a House of Assembly Bill No. 5 Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC) Amendment Bill 2020 and for connected purposes.
The Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade (Ikorodu 1) said that the Bill is an executive bill, but that it is predicated on the private member bill that established LNSC, which he said has been working well.
Agunbiade added that the Bill is incorporating the concept of a more dynamic and more strengthened security platform than what they had in Lagos State before.
“The law only needs amendment to energise and strengthen the law owing to various challenges currently confronting the state and the South West region.
“It tries to create a unit out of the LNSC to be referred to as Amotekun Corps to take charge of security in certain areas such as in the forest, highway and other places to protect us against hoodlums, cattle rustling, kidnappers, herdsmen, bandits and others.
“The Amotekun corps is to take charge of security in borders, forest, highways, nooks and crannies of the state to be sure we are protected against hoodlums, herdsmen, cattle rustlers, kidnappers, bandits etc.
The bill provides for a commander for Amotekun Corps who will be a retired police or army officer, and would bear arms with the approval of the police. “They will cooperate with other security platforms in Ondo, Oyo, Ogun, Ekiti and Osun States,” he said.
In his contribution, Hon. Oluyinka Ogundimu, (Agege 2), while supporting the Bill, commended the foresight of the Lagos State House of Assembly on the security of the state.
Ogundimu stated that the law covers wider areas and made internal security a priority.
He called for local content in the bill, adding that they needed people with native intelligence, and that whoever would be appointed as the Head of the unit should be approved by the House.
In his view, Hon. Rotimi Olowo, (Shomolu 1) said that Amotekun started in Lagos with LNSC, and that the federal police lacked character as their structure has not helped to suppress crime.
“Security is local and it should be localized. The issue of kidnapping and others give credence to the need for community police.
“They should be allowed to use guns. They can reduce armed robbery attack, kidnapping and others. We should allow more money into the system.
“The recruitment of Amotekun should be localized. They should work in their neighbourhood so that they could apprehend criminals in their areas,” he said.
Also supporting the issue, (Hon.) Rasheed Makinde, Ifako/Ijaiye 2 stated that security is local and that the country was getting close to having state police.
“We are setting a pace for other political regions in Nigeria. They can assist when there is any accident on our highways. There would be a collaboration amongst the six western states and beyond,” he said.
While Hon. Setonji David (Badagry 2) said paper qualification must be de-emphasised in recruiting members of the corps, adding that recruitment must be locally based for people living in those communities.
Other lawmakers who contributed to the debate supported the amendment to insert Amotekun corps in the proposed law.