SWITZERLAND, JANUARY 16 – Leaders in the South-Western part of Nigeria have vowed to go ahead with the establishment of regional security outfit codenamed; Operation Amotekun, despite the the Attorney-General, Abubakar Malami’s comments that it is illegal.
On Tuesday, Abubakar Malami, declared the regional security outfit illegal, saying security remains the exclusive preserve of the federal government.
But on Wednesday, Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, argued the constitution does not prohibit the establishment of a regional security outfit.
“The Constitution does not prohibit us from doing what we are doing,” he said.
Akeredolu said the south-west governors will not adopt confrontation in resolving issues with the federal government.
However, he said it is the duty of the governors to protect their people, adding that the AGF should go to court if there is a perceived problem with the outfit.
“If the Attorney General made a statement, we will not go and say we want to be confrontational but after our meeting, we will take decisions as to what we will do. We don’t want any confrontation as such but we know that it is not in the place of the AGF to interpret laws. It is for the court,” he said.
“We are elected as governors to protect our people and that’s why we are the chief security officers in the state. So, it is for us to determine what we want to do for our people and we have taken that decision. Amotekun is going to go ahead, but like I said, we will meet and get back to you.”
Femi Falana, human rights lawyer and prominent Yoruba indigene asked the governors to ignore Malami, adding that the proscription of “Amotekun” by the federal government is hypocritical and discriminatory.
Likewise, in a letter on Wednesday, the aare ona kakanfo of Yoruba land, Gani Adams described the declaration of Malami as “illegal in itself”.
He said the problem of kidnapping, banditry, and other forms of insecurity in the south-west led to the creation of the outfit by elected governors.
Citing the killing of Funke Olakunrin, daughter of Reuben Fasoranti, Afenifere leader, Adams said the people have a responsibility to defend and protect themselves.
“I find it disturbing your statement of Tuesday, January 14, 2020, declaring the security initiative of South-West governors ‘Amotekun’ as illegal. You also threatened that the full course of the law will be applied to anybody promoting the Amotekun security initiative. Maybe you have forgotten. I need to remind you that you are the Attorney-General of the country, not a section of the country,” he wrote.
“Your outburst against the governors who were elected, not selected or appointed, is against the spirit of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“The right to life is universal and no government can legislate against that. I don’t need to bother you about killings, kidnappings, banditry and other criminal vices in the South-West recently. Even Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, the daughter of Yoruba leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, was killed and nobody has been arrested in respect of all these killings.
“One thing is clear: Nigerians have the right to protect themselves. Not only that: South-West people have a right to protect and defend themselves against attacks. Amotekun is an initiative by the South-West governors to defend our people. I want to establish this fact that the Yoruba have a right to protect themselves from attack or violence of any sort.”
Adams said “Amotekun” is not concerned with the territorial integrity of the country, but focused on keeping citizens lives and properties safe.
He asked the AGF not to consider himself as a court of law, adding that it is only the court that can declare the joint security outfit illegal.