Wole Soyinka, Nobel laureate, says the Western Nigeria Security Network, Amotekun, must not transform into another form of the special anti-robbery squad (SARS).
There have been allegations of high-handedness and extrajudicial killings against the security outfit.
Speaking when he featured on Arise Television programme on Saturday, Soyinka said Amotekun operatives must be trained on ethics so that they do not end up on the wrong side of history.
“Community policing like Amotekun is a recognition of the fact that the civic part of the entire national polity has got to wake up in not just its own defense but survival,” he said.
“I have told them anytime you want us to come and assist, we will come even if it is just on the ethical session so that as you are training them to defend us, we are also training their minds so that Amotekun does not become another SARS, very important. We must do everything together.
“It is about time the public examined itself; what are we made up of? Are there those among us who, if they got into power, will behave exactly as those kinds of agencies which we are repudiating and against which we are protesting? There is absolutely no excuse for the brutality that occurred in the wake of the noise, rumour, reality of people being shot at the Lekki tollgate.”
Clarifying his recent statement that talking about the existence of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is not good for his sanity, Soyinka ask Nigerians to learn to take responsibility for their own survival.
He also urged other states yet to launch their security outfits to do so quickly as the insecurity in the country has reached a “stage of desperation”.
“I can tell you exactly what I meant by that. I meant that we citizens have got to take a very good look at huge gap in governance, the lacuna in governance in this nation, and then take responsibility for their own survival,” he said.
“This is what makes our own responsibilities for ourselves as citizens even more difficult because when drama like that happens we go to the very heart of our existence as human beings to see our children have been swept up not for the first time and we cannot have a clear sequence of events articulated by the security agencies, by the government so that we can even take on our own against such events happening in the nation.
“But when we reach that stage you no longer talk of a nation but of a contraption struggling along. The sovereignty of this nation is in the hands of murdering herdsmen; the sovereignty of this nation has already been taken over by Boko Haram, Islam, those who do nothing at the slightest respect for what is called national integrity.
“I am very glad that northern elites are now speaking out boldly and practically and at the same time all these states, I’d like them to come out, passing these message to those who have not yet launched their own Amotekun. If they don’t hurry, I will launch my own o.”