The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami may have stirred the hornets’ nest with his proclamation that the recently launched Operation Amotekun in the South-West is illegal. Renowned lawyer, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), without mincing words immediately told South West governors to treat the minister’s statement as the ranting of an ill-informed legal officer, telling the governors to ignore the directive ..
He said governors have no business consulting Malami before coming up with an idea of how best to secure their states or region
His view tallied with that of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) which said action of the AGF had 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.”
The group charged Malami to explain what makes Civilian JTF legal in the North East where there is war and in Kaduna and Kano where there is no war, while Amotekun is illegal.
“This is a defining moment to decide if we are under segregation and operating different laws in the country,’’ the group said.
In a statement jointly signed by Messrs. Yinka Odumakin, representing the South West, Gen CRU Iherike South East, Senator Bassey Henshw from the South South and Dr. Isuwa Dogo Middle Belt, the group said it suspected that sections of the country were deliberately being rendered vulnerable for herdsmen and other criminals by the Federal Government.
“We insist that what the governors have done is what individuals and neighbourhoods can legally do to secure their lives and property. The right to preserve life cannot be under any exclusive list other than the list of those who have no value for human lives,’’ they said.
Another pro-Yoruba group, Oduduwa United People Association, said there was nothing illegal in the constitution of a security network by governors of the South West.
“Amotekun must be allowed to stay. There is nothing illegal about its formation. So the Federal Government should allow it to be as it will help security challenges in the country, particularly in the Southwest.”
Also, a rights activist and legal practitioner, Kunle Adegoke, declared that the Federal Government was not being realistic with the security situation in the country.
“I don’t want to read motives into the declaration of purported illegality of Amotekun by the Federal Government; it is clear that nothing prevents a state government from forming a security outfit when private companies even run security business.
“It’s clear that the elements at the level of the Federal Government do not realise that Nigeria is grossly under-policed and that is why security of lives and property has become a joke in the country.
“The idea of state police is part of the restructuring requirements that Nigeria urgently requires and until this is achieved, the nation will be a security risk to its citizens,” he said.
The lawyer said the spate of killings and kidnappings in the country should worry any sane government.
He said declaring Operation Amotekun illegal was tantamount to saying that security of lives did not matter.
“For the Federal Government that has woefully failed in securing lives and properties to turn around to say a body designed by the states to secures the lives of the people is illegal is tantamount to insisting that security of lives does not matter and it delights in bandits, brigands and terrorists violating our daily existence at will. There is nothing illegal in Amotekun.