President Muhammadu Buhari government has explained why it declared Amotekun, the recently launched security outfit in southwest Nigeria as illegal.
Amotekun, a initiative of Southwest Governors, was first declared illegal last Tuesday.
Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, states that the security arrangement was not supported by extant laws.
A statement by Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, his Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, indicated that Malami reaffirmed the declaration on Thursday.
The Minister made the statement during the Radio Nigeria programme “Nationwide Politics” maintaining that the federal Government has already issued its stance through a statement rooted in the law and the constitution.
According to Malami, regional security architectural arrangement by states is not tolerated by the Constitution of the Federation and hence, cannot be rooted in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or in any of the extant law.
Malami said “the planning, execution, consummation of whatever security arrangement must be naturally grounded in law, rooted in the constitution and tolerated by the Law” maintaining that “for any
arrangement to stand within the law, the bottom line is that constitutionality and legality must be factored.
“Provided that there is an aberration relating to constitutional compliance, I think the right thing to do is to ensure constitutionality and legality both in spirit, planning, concept and
consummation,” the Minister has said.
On the issue of state governments making efforts towards legislation that would back the operation of Ametokun, the Attorney-General of the Federation said that the Federal Government’s stance revolves around the legality and constitutionality elements that should be factored into the planning, conceptualization, consummation and execution of the operation.
“If you are taking of regional arrangement, for example, at what point did the state assemblies come together as a region for the purpose of coming up with a statue or a law that can operate within the context of the Constitution taking into consideration the Federating arrangement that does not allow or tolerate a regional state house of Assembly arrangement,” he said.
The Attorney-General of the Federation said the Federal Government does oppose a working arrangement with the institution established by the Constitution for the provision of security and in this case with particular reference to the Police.
“You cannot independently, unilaterally operate in the provision of the Constitution without recourse to the constitutional authority that is the bottom line”.
“Working together, helping the Federal Government in the provision of security is indeed a welcome development but it has to be rooted in the law and within the context of working arrangement with institutions constitutionally established and not a unilateral exclusive arrangement by a regional body”.
“In the circumstances of Ametokun, it is the idea of unilateral control that it is the problem without recourse to the institutional and constitutional arrangement that is put in place by our constitutions”.
“You can, indeed provide whatever support and consideration but definitely it must be rooted in the Constitutional arrangement and so self-help by way of unilateral arrangement cannot be tolerated with particular reference to regional arrangement which is not rooted in the Constitution within the context of security”.
Responding to claim that some state governors from some regions have been making efforts to establish regional security apparatus in their regions, the Minister said the “the law is universal. It is not exclusive to a zone or a region in its application. The universality of the law will naturally prevail in ensuring that due processes are indeed complied with”.
The response came 24 hours after national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, said Amotekun was not a threat to national unity.