The community policing initiative of the South West Security Network (SWSN), codenamed ‘Operation Amotekun’ (Leopard) will cost the participating states a whopping N30 billion per year, Sunday Telegraph has learnt.

A competent source in one of the participating states, who made this known to the newspaper, said that each of the states would need at least N5 to N6 billion to execute its security concern, based on its operational needs.

Our source, who spoke with the newspaper on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak on the issue, also said that there was no need for the furore over the comment attributed to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN) that the regional approach to tackling the insecurity bedevilling the residents of Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Ekiti and Lagos states was illegal.

According to our source, establishing ‘Operation Amotekun’ depends on the type of operation each state wants to go into.

He said:  “As it is anyway, Amotekun is not being wholly fUnded by state governments. The money will come from Security Trust Funds and Local Government Funds. If the personnel are local vigilante, the state government cannot take control of them. It is only the local governments that will do that.

“Under that arrangement, the state assemblies can make laws in their own states that will set them up. It will also depend on the personnel, salary and the operational base they want to set up. Those determine the cost. However, by our own estimate, it will cost each state at least N5 – N6 billion per year to successfully run the operation.

“The operational vehicles they bought so far are for the purpose of the launch. When fully operational, each local government will need at least two of such patrol vehicles for decent coverage of the local government.

“For instance in Oyo State, where they have 33 local governments, they will need at least 66 vehicles. It also depends on the operational command that they want to establish.”

On the controversy generated by the January 9, launch, our source said: “The controversy generated by the launch of Amotekun is not necessary. When the Kano State government launched Hisbah, the Federal Government made the same pronouncement. As a matter of fact, Hisbah was proscribed. That did not stop them from going ahead with it. The government wanted to ensure that they did not constitute a parallel force to the Nigeria Police.

“That has been adequately addressed. But the mistake they made in setting it up is that there is no enabling law to set it up and if this is not done, every miscreant can call himself an Amotekun. The best way to go about it is for each participating state to enact a law setting up Operation Amotekun. When that is done, they can now sign a memorandum of joint operation.

“Honestly, they cannot make a joint law. Each state is independent, they can collaborate operationally. After establishing it individually, in their respective state, each operational command can now be mandated to collaborate with their colleagues in the other states.

“The Yoruba race is known for value, decency, diligence. If not, there is nothing new in what the Attorney General said. It is not out of place.  He is stating the fact. Assuming there is an enabling law setting them up, he cannot say it is illegal. He will only tell them about the operational guidelines that they cannot bear arms and other things.”

Weighing in on the matter, the Special Adviser to Ondo State Governor on Security Matters, Alhaji Jimoh Dojumo, disclosed that aside from the already purchased 20 vans and 120 units of motorcycles, more would be procured for the operation in the state.

“The outfit will work as a joint task force with the mainstream security agencies. Those to be recruited are those with deep knowledge of the terrain, language, culture, and history of the communities where they will work. The outfit will be set apart from other agencies they will work with.

“In Ondo State, we have purchased 20 vehicles and 120 motorcycles and we are planning to buy more. All the vehicles are fitted with security and communication gadgets to cover the region under a central command.

“The headquarters will be in lbadan. The operation will be controlled from Gbongan in Osun State. But the local level of the security outfit with be handled by individual states. The two levels will work in collaboration,” he explained.

However, when contacted, Commissioner for Information in EKiti State, Mr.  Muyiwa Olumilua said he could not give details of the amount.

“Each state provided 20 vehicles, but I don’t know how much they cost,” he stated.

In Oyo State, where the operation was launched, mum is the word. Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Governor Seyi Makinde, Taiwo Adisa, didn’t respond to the question on how much it would cost the state to fund the scheme. He did not answer the WhatsApp message as well as the telephone calls made to his line.