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We cannot be distracted by cheap blackmail, Ondo Amotekun fires back at Northern group

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The Ondo State unit of the Western Nigeria Security Network, codenamed Amotekun has reacted to an allegation by a Northern group that the corps was intimidating and harassing Northerners in the state.

The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) had reportedly warned Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State to tread cautiously, alleging that the governor was using the regional security outfit to harass and intimidate northerners living in the state.

The group, which described the Amotekun corps as an illegal armed militia group, argued that the Police, the Department of State Services (DSS), the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) “and some others are the only recognised enforcers of law and order”.

According to a statement signed by the forum’s National President, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, it would no longer condone further harassment of northerners in the state.

Shettima said: “We wish to sound a strong note of warning that the Ondo State Government should stop turning a blind eye to the attack on innocent Nigerians from the North, who are doing legitimate business in the state.

“If the people of Northern Nigeria had taken the same path of extra-judicial harassment, by now no indigene of Ondo State would have been living and doing business in the region.”

Meanwhile, the Amotekun Commander in Ondo state, who doubles as the Special adviser to the governor on Security matters, Adetunji Adeleye, has described the allegation as pure blackmail, with an intent to distract the corps.

Adeleye, in a telephone interview with Ripples Nigeria, said the local security outfit was committed to fighting crime and criminals regardless of ethnicity.

Read also: Amotekun intercepts trailer with 63 people, 25 motorcycles, rams in Ondo

“Amotekun, in Ondo state, we arrest criminals, in whatever colour – Northerners, Southerners, Westerners – it doesn’t matter. Our slogan of zero tolerance for crime is resolute and we will not stop at anything in ensuring that the Southwest, especially Ondo state is safe. So, all those cheap blackmails are just rabbles.”

Adeleye, while maintaining his unbias for any ethnic group, stated that he had helped Northerners to recover rustled cattle in the past. “We refuse to be distracted by such unfounded allegation,” he declared.

He narrated what he perceived as the reason for the outburst from the AYCF. He said some Northern youths were arrested with motorcycles suspected to have been stolen.

“Are you saying that it is wrong for somebody to be in possession of stolen materials, and for law enforcement agency to ask questions. The particular issue at question, we found them with 25 motorcycles without valid papers, and these motorcycles were broken down into pieces.

“We found Ogun and Lagos states numbers on all of them, and they claimed they were bringing them from Jigawa state. Why is it that not even one of them bore the number of Jigawa state. When we saw that these things were not proper, we profiled them, and because the offense was bailable, we granted them bail and handed them over to the leadership of Miyetti Allah in the state.

“What else do they want? Have we not been arresting Southerners? Have I not gone out of my way, to go from Ondo state to Ijebu Ode to receive rustled cattle of Northerners and bring them back for them. Nobody saw that. Now we arrested criminals, they are now making insinuations,” he narrated.

By: Oluwatobi Odeyinka…

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