Oyo governor Seyi Makinde says a lot of the negative reports about the state chapter of the Western Nigeria Security Network, Amotekun, are false.
Officials of the outfit have been accused of unjust harassment and extra-judicial killing.
Wole Soyinka, nobel laureate, had warned that Amotekun should not be allowed to degenerate into the defunct special anti-robbery squad (SARS), following reports of killings involving its operatives.
Addressing journalists at the government house, Agodi, on Wednesday, Makinde said people who want Amotekun to fail are those spreading lies against the security outfit.
The governor, who had said he should be held responsible for the actions of the corps, asked anyone with evidence of any wrongdoing against them to speak out.
“Amotekun is not operating in a vacuum. They are a creation of the law of the state. The Nigerian police is a creation of the Constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria. It is normal that we have inter and intra agency friction where possible, but we will get everybody together and seek alignment towards the same end basically,” Makinde said.
“For the past six weeks that the Amotekun was deployed, we have seen various reports in the news. Most of these reports are good and a few are bad. And of the bad, quite a number are false information and fake news.
“For example, some newspapers carried the news that Amotekun killed seven Fulani herdsmen in Ibarapa. Such a story was circulated to stoke ethnic tension. Whereas, the real story was that Amotekun worked with the community members, including genuine herdsmen, to flush out bad elements in that zone.
“I have to tell you that there are people among us that don’t want Amotekun to succeed and they will use lies and disinformation to push their agenda. We must realise where we are coming from and where we really want to be.”
Makinde, who noted that Amotekun has to work as community policing, added that it is the solution to insecurity in the country.
“Community policing is the way forward and we have to make it work. If somebody says he is abused by Amotekun and cannot pinpoint the Amotekun personnel in such an area, you are probably not from that neighborhood and you are a fake news carrier,” he said.
“So, as I always say, I know we do have trust deficit between the people and the authorities, and this makes it easier to think the worst of people in authority. But we should not cut our nose to spite our face. We must find a balance so that we do not turn the people trying to protect us to our enemies.”