AMOTEKUN: Controversy as AGF disagrees with Vice President, Southwest Governors
…Insists regional security outfit remains illegal
By Anthony Okafor
There seems to be drama over the regional security outfit, Amotekun (Leopard), declaration, following the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami statement issued shortly before the National Executive Councils, NEC meeting in Abuja.
Malami said that this arrangement called Amotekun is not backed by any law neither at the state nor the federal government level. Amotekun, therefore, remains unconstitutional and illegal as already indicated.
Amotekun, an initiative of Southwest Governors, was first declared illegal last Tuesday.
However, the Federal Government and Governors of the South West States, agreed that necessary legal instruments will be put in place by each of the States to give legal backing to the initiative and address all issues concerning the regulation of the security structure on the establishment of the regional security outfit.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo met with the South West Governors and the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami as well as the Inspector General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu at the Presidential Villa, Abuja after the expanded National Economic Council, NEC, meeting.
It would be recalled that the AGF had declared the regional security initiative of the South West Governors aimed at curbing security challenges in the zone as illegal. President Muhammadu Buhari recently announced that his administration was coming up with Community Policing policy to fight the insecurity in the polity.
Meanwhile, Malami said the U-turn made by legal icon, Mr Femi Falana, justified Federal Government’s stance that the establishment of the operation of “Amotekun” was illegal.
In a statement issued on Thursday by Dr Umar Gwandu, Malami’s Special Adviser on Media and Public Relations, made available to iBrandtv, he reiterated that Nigeria’s constitution does not accommodate formation of regional security architecture.
“Falana, a human rights lawyer, who earlier asked the governors to ignore Malami, had asked Southwest governors to enact laws on Amotekun.
The statement read: “By asking state governments of Southwestern Nigeria to “proceed to enact the necessary laws”, in justifying the legality of the establishment and operation of Amotekun, Falana is reaffirming federal government’s stance that the establishment of the operation currently is illegal.
“No amount of effort to hide the truth will work. People can be carried away by sentimental or emotional inclinations, but the truth remains palpable.
“The bottom line is that the current Nigerian constitution does not accommodate the formation of regional security architecture. This is a fact which is undisputable and undeniable
“Falana is prevaricating and circumlocution using evasive techniques when he was asked by the media to justify the presence of lacuna within the law which can establish or protect the concept of regionalism in any operation in the country.
“He was unable to supply an answer to the question and failed to cite relevant laws that back the argument.
“It is interesting that no matter the situation, truth prevails. This arrangement called Amotekun is not backed by any law neither at the state nor the federal government level.
“Amotekun, therefore, remains unconstitutional and illegal as already indicated.
“The federal government appreciates that legally minded Nigerians have started to eschew emotions by offering legal comments on the matter as against being carried away by other inclinations.
“The office of the attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice is committed to the rule of law and a constitutional democratic Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The response came 24 hours after the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, said Amotekun was not a threat to national unity.