Oil not Important Than Lives’ — Akeredolu Asks FG to Allow Amotekun Carry Weapons

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Rotimi Akeredolu, governor of Ondo, has asked the federal government to allow operatives of the Western Nigeria Security Network, codenamed Amotekun, to wield weapons.

Akeredolu made the call on Wednesday during the inauguration of the newly reconstructed office complex of the Ondo State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (OSOPADEC).

The governor seized the occasion to clarify misconceptions on his stance on the recent renewal of the oil pipeline surveillance contract reportedly worth N48 billion annually awarded to an ex-militant warlord, Government Ekpemupolo.

The contract had raised dust in many quarters, as diverse groups have called for its termination.

Akeredolu, at the inauguration, said he had no issues with the oil pipeline surveillance contract awarded to private contractors by the federal government.

He, however, argued that if militant groups in the Niger Delta could be allowed to wield weapons to protect oil assets, Amotekun should be allowed to do the same as a security outfit.

“Most of the people and even some of my colleagues didn’t really understand my position on the oil pipeline surveillance contract,” he said.

“I have no issue with the federal government awarding surveillance contracts to anybody. It is the federal government’s money. They can use it anyhow they want.

“Here, we are spending our money on Amotekun. And what I said in my statement titled ‘Who Actually Needs Weapon’ was that the federal government should allow Amotekun to carry sophisticated weapons like those they awarded pipeline surveillance contracts.

“If you can allow individuals to carry heavy arms to protect pipelines, why won’t you allow Amotekun to carry sophisticated weapons to protect the people? The oil facilities are not important as the lives of the people.”

In June 2021, Seyi Makinde, governor of Oyo, said if the law permits, he would prefer that operatives of Amotekun carry AK-47 rifles to boost security operations.

Earlier this year, Adegboyega Oyetola, governor of Osun, made a similar call, saying he believes operatives of Amotekun should carry arms.

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