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Why Amotekun bill was not signed in Oyo

By Yinka Adeniran, Ibadan

*Passed first, second reading as Oyo Assembly sends it to Cmmttee

*To hold public hearing in about two weeks

The Amotekun bill was not signed into law as expected by some stakeholders as the proposed law is expected to be subjected to public hearing.

But, the bill which is for the establishment of Oyo state security network and Amotekun Corp on Thursday passed through the first and second reading at the Oyo State House of Assembly.

The bill christened Oyo State Security Network Agency and Amotekun Corps bill, 2020 was sponsored by the House Majority leader, Mr Sanjo Adedoyin.

As it stands after Thursday plenary, the people might have to wait up till March before the bill can be assented to and become operational as the House said it will also take input from all relevant stakeholders through a public hearing before passing it on to the Executive arm for assent.

The speaker, Mr Adebo Ogundoyin, explained that the essence of subjecting the bill to public hearing is aimed at getting more ideas from stakeholders in the society with a view to ensuring that Amotekun corps’ operations in the state are guided by a holistic law.

While forwarding the bill to the House Committee on Security and Strategy, Ogundoyin however assured that the public hearing is likely to be staged next week to ensure accelerated passage of the bill into law.

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Ogundoyin said, “What is worth doing at all is worth doing well. We have just passed it for second reading and it will go into public hearing. After public hearing, we will get everybody’s ideas together and sit on it for third and final reading before assent by the governor.

“Everything will be accelerated. We should do the public hearing either ending of next week or beginning of the upper week depending on how fast the committee can work on it. By first or second week in March, we should have the bill assented to.”

Other lawmakers in their various contributions after the second reading, noted the need for scrutiny of the bill to make provisions for checks and balances by the legislature and prevent excess powers on the agency allocated to the Attorney General of the state.

Read Also: Updated: Ekiti Assembly passes Amotekun bill into law

As contained in the bill, the Amotekun corps is to collaborate with security agencies in gathering information about crime, the arrest and prosecution of persons suspected or involved in kidnapping, terrorism, cattle rustling, cultism, highway robbery among other criminal activities.

The Agency when set up will also have power to undertake day and night patrol on land and water, disarm unauthorized persons in possession of arms and other dangerous weapons, render prompt assistance to crime and accident victims, give report of suspicious activities and undertake joint operations with the police and other security agencies.

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As stated in part IV of the bill, anyone who willfully hinders, delays, obstructs or assaults a member of the Oyo state Amotekun corps in the course of the duties shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of one month or to a fine not exceeding N250,000 or both.

Also the bill provides that any member of the board, staff of the agency or member of the Amotekun corps is excluded from liability or being sued in his or her personal capacity, but only the Agency can be sued.

The bill prescribes the setting up of a governing board to approve programmes of training for members of the Agency and empowered to remove the name of an Amotekun corps member found unfit to discharge their functions by reason of infirmity or misconduct.

The Amotekun corps shall be composed of members of registered vigilante groups, statutory security agencies and headed by a corps commander who is a retired law enforcement officer or military officer.

To be enlisted with the Amotekun corps, the person is expected to apply in writing, receive confirmation from the divisional police officer in his local government area and be endorsed by Chairman of his local government area.

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