Jide Ajani, special adviser on media to Seyi Makinde, governor of Oyo state, says some people are peddling lies about the Western Nigeria Security Network better known as Amotekun to discredit its successes and create tension.
There have been allegations of extrajudicial killings levelled against the security agency.
Seven people, including a man and two of his sons, were killed on Saturday after officials of the state chapter of Amotekun clashed with gunmen in Aiyete, Ibarapa north local government area of Oyo state.
In December, its operatives killed a student it claimed was an armed robber. On January 4, a policeman was shot by Amotekun corps in Sanga area of Oyo town.
Reacting to the criticisms that have trailed the corps, Ajani said those “weaponising ethnicity” against Amotekun are seeking to destroy it.
He said the narrative circulating online about the clash in Ibarapa is misconstrued and targeted at distracting Makinde.
“Why are some people weaponising ethnicity against AMOTEKUN’s onslaught in its war on criminals? Do they want to destroy it? They will fail. The people pushing false narratives simply want to distract Governor Makinde. They are wrong and totally miscalculating because it is a faulty narrative. Weaponising ethnicity with a view to destroying AMOTEKUN will meet with a solid brickwall and it will, also, not work,” Ajani wrote.
According to him, the exercise carried out by the corps in four local government areas which led to the death of seven persons was done in collaboration with vigilantes, hunters and Miyetti Allah.
He said there is no truth to the claims that a certain ethnic group was targeted.
“That AMOTEKUN strategically launched six counter-banditry, counter-kidnapping and counter-terrorism operations in four local governments, simultaneously, on Saturday, deserves credit,” he said.
“Yet, more deserving of credit is the inclusive nature of the rainbow coalition that went after the criminals. It comprised Amotekun, Vigilantes, Hunters and Miyetti Allah Vigilante. In fact, not just members of Miyetti Allah, but some Fulani were part of the operations, with the Seriki being fully briefed about the operations.
“Some lives were lost; some sustained injuries. Those killed in the process were criminals and not herdsmen.
And, the coalition, led by men of AMOTEKUN, succeeded in sending a very clear message to criminals terrorising the people: that enough is enough.
“But strange and stranger narratives are being woven round AMOTEKUN’s noble effort to rid the thick forests of Ibarapa East, Ibarapa Central and Ibarapa North, as well as Iwajowa Local Government Areas, of kidnappers and bandits.
“Some of the victims of the criminals have been Fulani as well as Yoruba and other tribes. Which explains why AMOTEKUN worked in concert with Miyetti Allah and Fulani supporters who have been victims of kidnapping. Those who are struggling to sell the lie that AMOTEKUN killed Fulani are doing so with the wicked intent of creating ethnic tensions.”
During the inauguration of the outfit in November, Makinde had said he should be held responsible for the action of the corps.
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