Oyo Affairs Opinion on the Recent Social Media Calls for the Dissolution of Amotekun

We live in exciting times. Citizens are embracing the power of social media to shine a spotlight on issues. Various social media platforms, especially Twitter, have become veritable tools for change. We saw how useful social media was in the coordination of the #EndSARS protests. It was possible to have decentralized, yet coordinated, action against police brutality because there was a command centre beyond the authorities’ influence.

However, like every tool, social media can be abused. The strength of the medium is also its weakness. Individuals of influence, or persons who can pay for influence, can also use social media to push false narratives, disinformation and sometimes outright lies. As long as they can gather a critical mass and get enough people to believe what they are saying, a mob can be formed, and an e-lynching would be a few keystrokes away.

Therefore, it is against this premise that Oyo Affairs feels obligated to perform its role as the fourth estate of the realm. We call attention to a recent event that got well-meaning members of the public played by some elements in the society seeking selfish outcomes.

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Multiple stories of shootings by the newly inaugurated Oyo State Western Nigerian Security Network (Amotekun) has led many to lend their voices to a call to scrap the outfit. However, these stories on social media tie back to one event which occurred in Oyo Town on December 17,2020.

Students led by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) claimed that a 400L student, Akolade Gbadebo, was shot by Amotekun corps members. According to them, while students of the Federal College of Education (Special) in Oyo Town (affiliated to the University of Ibadan) were having fun around 10:30 p.m. officials shot at them and killed one extrajudicially.

However, the Commandant of Amotekun Corps, Col. Olayanju Bisiriyu Olayinka (retd) maintained they only had records of a shoot-out between team members and a three-member robbery gang. He said they did not kill a student, but rather the leader of a gang which terrorized the neighbourhood was killed during the shoot-out.

Oyo Affairs investigation has revealed that the gang leader is the same person as the 400 Level student of the Federal College of Education (Special) Oyo with affiliation to the University of Ibadan, Akolade Gbadebo also known as Akin Sarz. The two arrested members had upon interrogation named Akin Sarz leader of their gang.

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We await the results of the police investigations into the matter.

In retrospect, however, it becomes more apparent that there was undue eagerness to call a dog a bad name to hang it. Without confirming the facts of the case, the press had already carried stories casting the Amotekun corps in a bad light. The presentation of the multiple accounts appears too contrived to be coincidental. Might there indeed be a coordinated media attack on the Oyo State Government as alluded to by the governor’s SA on Social Media?

One thing is sure, as long as insecurity remains an issue, the authorities have to find ways to tackle it. They will use people who may sometimes exercise poor judgements. However, the solution is not to call for scrapping at the first sign of trouble.

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We can only build strong systems when we use the channels provided to pursue disputes to a logical conclusion. The Commandant of the Amotekun Corps has been forthcoming with their operational methodologies and chain of command. Members of the press especially, should use and exhaust these resources to present balanced stories.

It is imperative that a middle ground be found between calling the authorities out when all avenues of engagement have been exhausted, and joining in sponsored/targeted attacks because social media influencers feel they have the power to force narratives.

Conclusively, the people remain the recipients of the results of either insecurity or abuse of authority. So, they must be careful lest they become tools in the hands of individuals who have no qualms jumping on trending issues to discredit the ruling authority and causing further mayhem for their own selfish reasons. Let all be guided not by emotions but by facts.


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Oyo Affairs is an independent news media with the main focus on Oyo state news, politics, current events, trending happenings within and around Oyo state, Nigeria

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