SWITZERLAND, JANUARY 14 – The Southern and Middle Belt leaders have rejected the directive of Abubakar Malami SAN declaring Operation Amotekun as illegal, describing the statement as an abuse of office.
Barely a few days after the inauguration of a security outfit known as Amotekun by South-West states, the Federal Government declared the paramilitary outfit as illegal as it is not backed by any known law in the land.
In a statement signed by Yinka Odumakin (South-West); Gen CRU Iherike (South-East); Senator Bassey Henshaw (South-South) and Dr Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt), the leaders said the right to preserve one’s life cannot be under any exclusive list.
“The attention of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) has been drawn to the illegal diktat by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami SAN declaring Amotekun, the South-West security (not military or police) outfit illegal.
We consider his action as an abuse of office to suppress the rights of federating units to secure themselves and in furtherance of the widely – held suspicion that sections of the country are deliberately being rendered vulnerable for herdsmen and other criminals by the Federal Government.
“We ask the Governors of the South-West to ignore Malami and allow him to go to court to challenge their decision as he cannot constitute himself as a court over elected governors. We are not under military rule.
The right to preserve your life cannot be under any exclusive list other than the list of those who have no value for human lives.
“The ultra vire action of the AGF has further exposed Nigeria as a country under command and control and governed by a conquest mentality.
“We ask Malami to tell us what makes Amotekun illegal and Hisbah legal.
“He should further explain to us what makes Civilian JTF legal in the North East where there is war and in Zamfara and Katsina and Kano where there is no war, while Amotekun is his only illegal take.
“This is a defining moment to decide if we are under segregation and different laws in the country,” the statement read.
The Attorney General of the Federation made the feeling of the government known in a statement made available to Vanguard on Tuesday.
In the statement signed by the Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Dr Umar Gwandu, the government said the issue of defence and security fell under the exclusive list and not with the state.
The statement reads in part: “The setting up of the paramilitary organization 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 Airforce, including 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 organization 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) authorizing 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 organization, 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.