A large crowd of people in the Southwest of Nigeria came out across the six states in the zone for solidarity walks for the Western Nigeria Security Network popularly known as ‘Amotekun’.
The protesters, mostly youth groups, came out in the capital cities of the six Southwest states, stating their support for the initiative.
In Ibadan where the operation was launched with fanfare two weeks ago, the people gathered at the front of the Government House in Agodi, singing solidarity songs and voicing their support for the initiative which they said is aimed at tackling the various security challenges facing the people.
In Lagos, though men of the Nigeria Police Force took over the venue of the rally at the Gani Fawehinmi park in Ojota, the protesters under the aegies of Yoruba Worldwide Congress and other groups, still staged the solidarity rally outside the venue.
Leaders and members of the group expressed support for the Southwest Governor over the initiative which they said is to restore sanity by curbing growing crimes especially, kidnapping in the zone. They said despite the voice of opposition to the initiative from different quarters, the idea has come to stay and urged the Governors not to back down.
In Ado-Ekiti, the crowd was equally large as the people took to the streets of the capital city in a peaceful walk to show support for the creation of ‘Amotekun’. The rally commenced from Fajuyi area with the protesters moving round major roads before terminating the procession at Ijigbo roundabout. One of the leaders of the group, Odeyemi Adebayo, said they embarked on the walk to show solidarity because of their firm belief that the introduction of ‘Amotekun’ will go a long way in securing lives and property of the people of the Southwest region.
Different interest groups also trooped to the streets of Akure, Ondo State capital, to show solidarity for ‘Amotekun’. The groups included, the Yoruba World Congress, Farmers Association, Hunters Guide; Ondo State Youth Security Affairs, Ooduwa Redemption Farmers, among others. They marched through major streets of Akure to sensitize the people on the need to support ‘Amotekun’. They said Governors in the south West region have taken the right step to reduce and check incidents of banditry and kidnapping in the region. They later moved to the Governor’s office where they were addressed by the Chief of Staff to the Ondo state Governor, Gbenga Ale, who said Governors in the region cannot abandon the operation at this critical time.
In Oshogbo, the Osun State capital, the situation was the same. Protesters armed with placards with different inscriptions in support of ‘Operation Amotekun’ staged a solidarity walk along the streets. Like in other cities, the people were mostly members of the Yoruba World Congress along with other youth groups in Osun state. They called on Governors in the Southwest not succumb to pressure coming from different quarters for them to abandon the idea. Members of the the group said they were not protesting but holding a sensitisation rally to call on the people of Southwest to throw their support behind the Governors as they make the move to stamp crime and criminality out of the zone