The Myetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Oyo State chapter has called for the inclusion of its members in the proposed Amotekun initiative in the state.
Alhaji Yaqub Bello, a former Chairman of MACBAN in the state, made the call on Monday during a public hearing on the Oyo State Security Network Agency Bill, 2020, also known as Amotekun Bill.
Bello, while expressing the support of the association to the Amotekun initiative, insisted that only haters of truth would oppose such a move.
He said: “Some of us have been in Oyo State for over 40 years, cohabiting with the natives, married Yoruba women and have children.
“So, our request is to include Myetti Allah as members of Operation Amotekun to enhance the job of the outfit, since we know the terrain of where we rear our cattle.
“Having Fulani among the outfit will make it easier for Amotekun men to distinguish between genuine herdsmen and the criminals while on patrol.
“A Fulani man can also serve as an interpreter while interrogating any suspected herdsman.”
Bello admitted that the major objective of the initiative was to curb criminal activities in the society and not to witch hunt any particular body or ethnic group.
Describing his members as law abiding, he said none of them had been involved in any form of criminal activity, adding that rather they had been carrying out their legitimate business, that is, cattle rearing.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that other speakers at the public hearing included representative of the Nigerian Police Force, the Peace Corps and the Agbekoya Farmers’ Association.
Others were the Local Hunters’ Group, Vigilante Group of Nigeria, Political Awareness Group and representatives of Iba Gani Adams, the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland.
Funke Fawole, who represented the Commissioner of Police, Mr Sina Olukolu, said that the outfit should act in accordance with the provision of the Fire Arms Acts, if the personnel must carry arms.
Fawole also said men of the outfit should be properly trained on the use of arms and ammunition to avoid its misuse.
In his contribution, Chief Gboyega Adejumo, who represented Iba Adams, said issuance of licence for firearms was very vital for the operations of the security outfit.
He said the use of Dane gun would not be effective for their operations, adding that hoodlums and criminal-minded persons might use the chance of not carrying arms to attack the operatives.
Also, Prof. Abideen Olaiya, representative of the Muslim community in the state, urged the operatives of Amotekun not to use it to settle political scores or as an avenue for jungle justice.
Earlier, Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo, the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, said part of the objectives of the security outfit was to share intelligence report about crime, crime in progress, suspicious activities and other criminal activities.
Oyewo said: “Others include collaboration with similar security agency, particularly in Ogun, Lagos, Ondo, Osun and Ekiti States, to deter kidnapping, terrorism, cattle rustling, cultism, highway robbery and other offences, and also to assist the police in apprehending such criminals.
“It is also meant to protect lives and property within the state and ensure that people travelling on the highways, major roads, remote areas, hinterland, forest and inland waterways carry out their normal socio-economic activities without fear or hindrance.”
NAN reports that the Amotekun bill committee, headed by Akeem Obadara, the State House of Assembly Committee Chairman on Security and Strategy, received 22 memoranda.
NAN also reports that Abiodun Fadeyi, the Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, presided over the public hearing.