Politics

South-West governors berate Malami for declaring Amotekun “illegal”; prepares to meet President Buhari

Amotekun, South-West Security Outfit

Following the declaration of Operation Amotekun, a South-West Security outfit, as illegal by the Federal Government, the governors in the region are reportedly set to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari.

Abubakar Malami (SAN), the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, had in a statement declared that Amotekun is illegal and the governors in the region did not carry the FG along.

Amotekun was established following killings and kidnapping linked to Fulani herdsmen in the region. The South-West governors agreed to setup the security outfit which comprises of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), vigilante groups and local hunters) to fight against the ugly development in the region.

The FG appears however not happy with the creation of Amotekun to protect the lives and properties of the people in the South-West.

Malami noted that although Nigeria is a federation of states, the FG still superintends over matters of national interest.

A statement from the Office of the AGF reads; “The setting up of the paramilitary organisation called Amotekun is illegal and runs contrary to the provisions of the Nigerian law.

“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) has established the Army, Navy and Air Force, the Police and other numerous paramilitary organisations for the purpose of the defence of Nigeria.

“As a consequence of this, no state government, whether singly or in a group, has the legal right and competence to establish any form of organisation or agency for the defence of Nigeria or any of its constituent parts.

“This is sanctioned by the provision of Item 45 of the Second Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) authorising the Police and other Federal Government security services established by law to maintain law and order.

“The law will take its natural course in relation to excesses associated with organisation, administration and participation in  Amotekun or continuous association with it as an association.

“Finally, it is important to put on record that the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice was not consulted on the matter.

“If it had, proper information and guidance would have been offered to ensure that Nigeria’s defence and corporate entity are preserved at all times.”

“The division of executive and legislative authority between the Federal and state governments has been clearly defined by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).

“It is against the same background that matters relating to the peace, order and good government of the Federation and in particular, the defence of the country, are enshrined in the Exclusive Legislative List.

“The Second Schedule in Item 17 deals with defence. This is a matter that is within the exclusive operational competence of the Federal Government of Nigeria. No other authority at the state level, whether the executive or legislature, has the legal authority over defence.”

Reports however shows that Governor Kayode Fayemi, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, had met with the Inspector General of Police, Mohammad Adamu, even before the establishment of Amotekun.

But some heavyweights at the presidency however allegedly consider Amotekun as part of the restructuring agenda being advocated by the South-West.

The Governors is the region have however declared that there is no going back on the establishment of the security outfit and are prepared to challenge the Federal Government in court.

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State in his reaction to the declaration of the FG noted that the governors in the region will reach a logical conclusion. He noted that Amotekun is not a paramilitary outfit as being labelled by the FG.

“The security of our people is very paramount to us. That is why you voted us in. Operation Amotekun is to complement the efforts of the armed forces and the police,” Governor Akeredolu said at the 2020 Armed Forces Remembrance Day in Akure.

“So we are on very sound legal grounds, and we will pursue this to a logical conclusion. Operation Amotekun is one of the solutions we can proffer to the security challenges in the South-Western Nigeria.

“The activities of the personnel working for the outfit have not come out and someone sat in his office and said they are paramilitary. How did he come to that conclusion?”

During an interview on Channels TV, Akeredolu also defended Amotekun, saying that Nigeria is a federation and not a military government.

He noted that the region would seek a political solution to the problem.

“If that fails, we will go to court and allow the court to decide.

“We do not have to consult with the AGF to set up Amotekun. The President and the IG were already informed. The AGF should have been more circumspect before making the statement he made yesterday.”

Speaking on why Amotekun had to be established he said; “The police will tell you that they are not to go into the forests. Our youths and hunters are to operate in the forests. When they kidnap people, the kidnappers will go into the forests.”

Also, the Government of Ogun State in its reaction to the FG described it as a reaction from another government official.

The Ogun State Government noted that Amotekun is a reality already and there’s no going back.

“It is a mere statement by another government official. Other political leaders across the South-West have spoken in favour of Amotekun. Other regions are planning to emulate South-West governors on the ideas and ideals of Amotekun,” the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Ogun State said (as seen on Punch).

“There’s no going back. We can challenge it in the law court. The AGF must know the truth that  Amotekun is a reality, nothing is changing it. There’s no going back on Amotekun.”

Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State in his reaction berated Malami for declaring Amotekun illegal, saying that the AGF lacked the power to make such declaration.

Makinde stated this after a closed-door meeting with former President Olusegun Obasanjo at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta on Wednesday.

“My personal position is that you actually don’t run a government on the social media. If I see a letter or a call from the Attorney General of the Federation telling me what was circulated on the social media, then, it would be a different type of reaction.

“Besides, I don’t think for a country like Nigeria, the Attorney General will just wake up and make his own laws.  He may interpret and advise the President if there are legal issues, but I haven’t seen anything that gives that power to the Attorney General to make that declaration.”

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State in his reaction to the development said that the governors in the region would meet and decide on the next line of action.

No doubt, the governors would try a political solution and if it fails, would seek redress in court.

Sanwo-Olu in a statement through his Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, said;

“The South-West governors did come together to form Amotekun. If there is anything that wants to run against the security outfit like the pronouncement made by the AGF, the governors will come together to have a common stand,” Akosile told The Punch.

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