by Leslie Jacks
In the aftermath of the declaration by the Federal Government that the newly launched security outfit in Western Nigeria, Amotekun, is illegal, top personalities and other influential figures have continued to react to the development.
Recall that in a 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.”
Reacting to the development, a legal practitioner, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), in an open letter to the Attorney General of the Federation stressed that “Amotekun is an initiative by the South-West governors to defend our people.”
He noted that the recent criminal vices in the West and other killings is enough to lead to the creation of the security unit.
Also reacting, Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, said, Amotekun, the regional security outfit in the south-west, has come to stay.
He expressed shock that the Federal Government could take such a position. “Our responsibility as a citizen is to take actions against events, phenomenon which militate against our existence, security, productivity and dignity as human beings,” he said.