Operatives of the Ondo State Security Network Agency, codenamed Amotekun have come under fire for indiscriminately checking of mobile phones and laptops of residents of the state.
They were also accused of arresting drivers without licenses and impounding vehicles without tinted permits.
“This stop and search of phones and laptops by Amotekun in Akure has led to extortions, illegal arrests and harassment of youths,” a resident told SaharaReporters.
In a letter to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, Oluyemi Fasipe, the State Youth Representative at the Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police brutality and Related Matters said, “It is however worthy of note that Amotekun members must continuously be reminded of the need to stick to their operational scope and professional conduct. It is my honest opinion that the security architecture of Ondo State may take a turn for the worse if Amotekun members overzealously veered out of their clearly defined and unambiguously spelt out operational scope.
“I have been inundated with various reports in the last one week that Amotekun Corps members have resorted to searching and confiscating the mobile phones of youths in the state, particularly in Akure the state capital. I have likewise been told that different vehicles belonging to some youths had also been seized by Amotekun operatives. Although I very much doubt if any of these overzealous misadventures is part of the operational scope of Ondo State Amotekun Corps.
“I had a slice of Amotekun excesses forced down my throat yesterday, Tuesday, December 7, 2021. I was utterly shocked and disappointed with the unprofessional manner in which the Amotekun operative practically pointed his gun at me while driving through the Alagbaka area of Akure. Agreed that Amotekun operatives were on red alert on account of a security report, but they should have at least discharged their duties professionally without resorting to intimidation of innocent and law-abiding citizens.
“Your Excellency will recall that the Nigerian youths eventually revolted against SARS operatives because of their notoriety for extortion, maiming, brutalization, extrajudicial killing and unlawful searching and seizing of mobile phones of the citizens. It is however necessary to rein in the operatives of Amotekun before they unconsciously begin to toe the inglorious path of SARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squad) that was eventually banned by the federal government.
“While the youths of Ondo State truly appreciate the efforts of Amotekun operatives in crime bursting and crime prevention; it is however considered necessary that the leadership of the corps should retrain and re-orientate the operatives on the need for professional conduct strictly within the powers and scope of their operations.
“On behalf of all the youths of Ondo State, I passionately plead with our dear governor to please impress on the state leadership of Amotekun, the need for maintaining a good relationship with the citizens, particularly the youths as well as the importance of professional conduct by the operatives of Ondo State chapter of the South West Security Network.”
Another resident of the state, Abidakun Odunayo said, “It will be very unwise if the Mr Govenor cannot take any decisions as per this incessant misconduct on the path of Amotekun security operatives, particularly here in the capital city of Akure. It baffles me seeing them holding guns as if they are in the war front struggle for a victory, I passionately plead with Mr governor to act very fast to combat this ‘I don’t care’ attitude on the path of this operative system most especially in the city of Akure before the saga gets out of hand.”
A Facebook user, Olufemi Mobalaji wrote, “Exactly, you’re on point. Their activities in recent times have been against the formation of the security outfit, harassing and intimidating innocent citizens. It is a crime for young guys or youths to drive a car? Either it belongs to them or their parents or relatives?”