South West plans legal action as FG declares Amotekun illegal

Written by on January 15, 2020

The Federal Government has declared the South-West security outfit, Operation Amotekun, illegal.

The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), made the government’s position known in a statement on Tuesday by his spokesman, Dr Umar Gwandu.

But it was gathered that the South-West governors would in the next few days meet and might resort to legal action against the AGF’s pronouncement.

The Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, and groups, including the Ohanaeze Ndigbo; the Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, and Southern Kaduna Peoples Union, lauded the governors for setting up the security outfit.

According to the report, some elements within the Presidency and the police high command are not favourably disposed to the regional outfit because they consider it as part of restructuring agenda which the South-West has been clamouring for.

On Tuesday, the Federal Government finally came out with its verdict on the outfit about one week after its inauguration. It said it was not carried along while the outfit was being put in place.

The statement read, “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 there was no prior consultation with the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice 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.”

Malami noted that Nigeria was a sovereign entity governed by laws meant to sustain its corporate existence as a constitutional democracy.

He added, “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.”

It was learnt that one of the options the South-West governors were considering when Malami made the pronouncement was a legal action.

The Chief Press Secretary to Ogun state governor, Kunle Somorin, The Special Adviser to ondo state Governor Rotimi Akeredolu on Security Matters, Alhaji Jimoh Dojumo, and The Chief Press Secretary to Osun State governor, Ismail Omipidan when contacted on the statement made by the AGF.

They said, “Amotekun is a joint operation. The decision was taken jointly. And I believe the governors will also meet to review whatever position or react appropriately, but one thing is clear, laws are not made in the office of the AGF. He is only meant to interpret the law,” Omipidan said.

Somorin said, “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.

“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.”

When contacted, the Ogun State Government described the AGF’s position as “a mere statement from another government official.”

The Chief Press Secretary to the state governor, Kunle Somorin, in an interview withour correspondent, said the AGF might be taken to court.

“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.”



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