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21.01.2021 EndSARS Watch Three Weeks, 11 Extrajudicial Murders — Is Amotekun the New SARS?

Published 21st Jan, 2021

By Ibrahim Adeyemi

In three weeks, between December 2020 and January 2021, operatives of the Western Nigeria Security Network, codenamed Operation Amotekun, have been accused of killing more than 10 innocent youths in Oyo State.

On December 24, 2020, a student of the University of Ibadan was shot dead by a member of the Amotekun corps invited to clear a road barricaded by some students in Oyo.

Less than two weeks later, on January 6, 2021, two other persons were killed by the operatives during a clash with some youth in Ibarapa town of the same state. Witnesses said they invaded the youth during a community carnival.

And three days later, on January 9, seven lives were lost during a clash between Amotekun operatives and some herders, still in Ibarapa town. Despite public uproar over the incessant killings by the local security group, another man, Tosin Thomas, was killed by one of the corps, at a Total Filling Station in Oyo state.

This brings the total number of persons killed by Amotekun in less than three weeks to 11.

LIKE SARS, LIKE AMOTEKUN?

There are indications that the high-handedness that necessitated the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) will consume the Amotekun security outfit, especially in Oyo state.

The south-west local security outfit was established to compliment the work of security agencies and bridge the gap of insecurity ravaging the geopolitical zone.

Modelled after the Civilian Joint Task Force in the war-torn north-eastern zone, Amotekun officers are drawn from the Oodua Peoples’ Congress (OPC), Agbekoya groups and other notable Yoruba militia groups within the south-west region.

But since beginning operations, the security outfit in Oyo has trod on the paths of killing at will and operating extrajudicially, the same reasons for the public calls for the end of SARS.

Recently, Nigerians trooped out to the streets to demand the eradication of SARS. But while many are yet to recover from the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests, the Amotekun operatives are adding more to their pains.

They are now being likened to the disbanded SARS. Now notorious for their excessive use of force on armless and harmless citizens, the King of Oyo land, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi said the operatives are doing “jobs God doesn’t like”. He also noted that the access of Amotekun operatives to uniforms is not a licence to terrorise communities.

Similarly, Nigerian youths have lamented, on social media, about how the Amotekun operatives are violating citizens’ rights and going overboard as local security agents.

“So this afternoon, I had a horrible experience with the Amotekun gang! We can’t just arm these uneducated folks with guns! No training, nothing,” said, a Twitter user who identified himself as @highfee_nonii.

‘AMOTEKUN MIGHT OUTCLASS SARS IN BRUTALITY’

Social media users have expressed their displeasure with the recent violation of human rights perpetrated by the Amotekun corps. One Twitter user, Morris Monye, said: “Amotekun might outclass SARS in brutality.”

“It’s a Journey, NPF never started well too. Today, it took an #EndSARS protest to correct somethings. Probably we might need an #EndAmotekun in the future if nothing is done,” another Twitter user, Matthias Eke, said.

Reacting to the subject matter on Twitter, Alao Abiodun, a writer, said the south-west is “sitting on a time bomb with this security outfit especially in Oyo state”.

“They must be checkmated,” he said. “While they’ve largely recorded success stories in Ondo, Ekiti in terms of going after kidnappers, other states must ensure these corps members act within their duties.”

However, reacting to the illegal killings of the citizens by the corps, Taiwo Adisa, spokesman to Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, said: “ Stories you’ve heard about Amotekun in Oyo state in the last six weeks are indicative of an active organisation. If it is not active, the content will not be there to the fact it is already generating national presence.”

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Published 21st Jan, 2021

By Ibrahim Adeyemi

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