There’s been a plethora of concerns, criticisms and outright condemnations both on this space and in traditional media against the South West Initiative to curb crime and insecurity in the zone, Amotekun.

While I can understand the genuine skepticism of a few who are wondering what mechanisms have been put in place to guard against abuse of the Initiative, I will not waste a breath on those whose fury lacks reason and substance such as the Miyetti Allah group whose expressions reek of some superiority complexed entitlement. They even issued a warning!

To genuine critics, let me remind you that you cannot tell a couple that has tried to have children for years without luck that the child they eventually have is a bastard. Nor do you admonish a starving man not to eat food set before him because it was cooked by a witch. These are figurative expressions and shouldn’t be translated literally.

Those who have welcomed Amotekun are not oblivious to the fact that it is not a perfect solution to the problem of ravaging insecurity in the region. Especially kidnapping.

The last time I travelled to see my mom, I went with my daughter. I had my heart in my mouth from the start of the journey until we got to Owi’s. On return journey, I had no peace until we got home in one piece. For one who loves road trips, it wasn’t such a good experience because the harmony I always seek to have with nature while admiring our rich and beautiful landscapes was lost to fear.

Whilst the fear of the possibility of losing one’s freedom unless ransomed is crippling enough, what made me horrified and caused my heart to skip several beats at any suspicious movement on the highway was the sheer thought of being sexually defiled by those depraved elements. Stretch that thought to a minor under your protection and your blood boils and you recoil whilst instantly casting the thought out of your head. Yet, it was a possibility. A high one every time one had to travel on road. Indeed, we have heard horrifying tales from travelers who fell victims.

I will therefore applaud and support any Initiative which will give travelers some respite and peace of mind when they pass through roads that have hitherto been turned to valley of the shadow of death.

We can raise concerns, give recommendations on how to ensure Amotekun remains strictly at the service of the Masses and its sustainability without discarding it as “just another initiative waiting to be bastardized by politicians”. What would you have us do? Be prisoners of an inadequate, defective security system until it gets better or until a constitutional review births state policing? Or to move out of our homes on journeys not knowing where we will end up?

There are times when half a loaf of bread is better than none or puff puff. And this is one of such times.


PetraAkinti Onyegbule (c) 2019