The Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde has said that there are people who want the Oyo State Security Network Agency, also known as Operation Amotekun, to fail.
Makinde who spoke to Vanguard said such people are willing to use lies and disinformation to push the agenda against the outfit.
The Governor also spoke about the good effort of the outfit in the fight against insecurity in the state.
He said, “Any killing by Amotekun, especially when it happens in error, is regrettable. The case of the 23-year-old Tosin Thomas in Mokola area of Ibadan is condemnable. As a government, we have made it abundantly clear that we do not want any life to be lost in any avoidable circumstance and that is why we won’t hesitate to impose punishment on any Amotekun operative that is caught doing things against the law that set up the organization. As you may be aware, the officer who pulled the trigger has been dismissed and handed over to the police while his entire team has also been dismissed for being found culpable. For the past six weeks that Amotekun has been deployed, we have seen various reports in newspapers. Most of these reports are good but a few are bad. And of the bad, quite a number are false information and fake news. For example, some newspapers carried a report that Amotekun killed seven Fulani herdsmen in Ibarapa.
“Such a story was circulated to stoke ethnic tension. Even, some reputable media houses fell for this whereas the real story was that Amotekun worked with community members, including genuine herdsmen to flush out bad elements from the forests of Ibarapa and a part of Oke Ogun. Each time you see a news item, you want to ask yourself if it is believable or just some no-good-people at work. I have to tell you that there are people among us who don’t want Amotekun to succeed and they will use lies and disinformation to push their agenda. We must realise where we are coming from and where we really want to be.
“Community policing is the way forward and we have to make it work. If somebody says he is abused by Amotekun and he cannot pinpoint the Amotekun personnel in such area, the person is probably not from that neighbourhood and he is a fake news carrier. On a general level, whether it is the police or Amotekun, I know we do have trust deficit between the people and the authorities, and this makes it easier to think the worst of people in authority.
“But we should not cut our noses to spite our faces. We must find a balance so that we do not turn the people trying to protect us to our enemies. We are aware that the trust deficit exists and we have to do more to bridge that gap and to earn the trust of the people.
“But to address your question directly, we are going to put in place measures to ensure that Amotekun adheres strictly to standards and ethics that will continue to foster public confidence in the outfit. In fact, I have said it that anyone who has a genuine case against members of the Amotekun Corps should come forward with their grievances. You can use any of the channels we have put in place to make your case known and I can assure you that the case will be pursued to the full extent of law.”