The decalaration by Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, that the newly launched South West security outfit codenamed Amotekun is illegal, is drawing the anger of Yoruba leaders, sociopolitical groups and stakeholders.
On Tuesday evening, Malami, declared Amotekun as illegal, saying security remains the exclusive preserve of the federal government.
But he is getting knocks from various quarters.
He has no right! – Ayo Adebanjo, Afenifere leader
In an interview with TheCable, Ayo Adebanjo, a leader of Afenifere, Yoruba socio-political organisation, said the AGF has no right to make such pronouncement.
His words: “He (Malami) has no right to declare the authority of state governments as illegal. If it is illegal, he should take them to court and beg the court to declare it illegal under the constitution of the country. He has no authority to do so at all.
“Civilian organisations in Kano and other places in the north, they are not illegal, how are they now illegal in the south? For me I am not surprised, any dictatorial tendency from the federal government is welcomed because I have predicted it so they are only confirming all that I have said about Buhari’s dictatorial tendency.
“The judiciary is established to adjudicate between persons and between governments. I have said it before that this is not a government of the people, it is the military government of the north by Buhari. It is a dictatorship per se.”
He is talking arrant nonsense! – Chief Olawale Oshun, Chairman of Afenifere Renewal Group
According to the Chairman of Afenifere Renewal Group, Chief Olawale Oshun, Malami “is talking rubbish”
He said: “He is talking arrant nonsense. Let him declare Hisbah police in the 10 Northern states illegal and also let him declare the Civilian Joint Task Force in the Northeast. He is talking rubbish, arrant nonsense. Those are not Nigerian police institutions and they are not Nigerian security institutions but they were created because there is a need; Amotekun was created because there is a need for it. He is talking nonsense.
“That is what the people of the region want. The governors must go ahead. This country belongs to all of us. They must go ahead”
Yoruba must defend interests – Prof. Banji Akintoye, leader of the Yoruba World Congress,
Renowned historian and leader of the Yoruba World Congress, in his comments, said Malami’s statement shows the need for Yoruba people to defend their interests in Nigeria.
His words: “They went to create Sharia policemen that can arrest anybody. We, in the south, never questioned that; nobody in Nigeria questioned that. What we have set up is not another police force. We have not set up anything that conflicts with what the constitution provides for and so, we are in a good condition to defend our interests now, that’s all. The Yoruba people must be ready to defend their interest under the law.
“This does not mean a confrontation with the Federal government. Lead us now, and we will follow you. Can a man elected by a people from x states refused to defend his people when they are under pressure? The answer is No. the governors have a job to do and we look forward to them to do it and as they do it, they are assured of our supports”
Ignore Malami, Southern and Middle Belt leaders tell South West governors
The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) has advised the South West governors to ignore Malami’s statement, sayng he lacks the power to go against the decision of elected governors.
The statement signed by Yinka Odumakin, South West; Gen CRU Iherike, South East; Senator Bassey Henshaw, South South and Dr Isuwa Dogo, Middle Belt, reads: “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 Malamu and allow him to go to court to challenge their decision as he cannot constitute himself a court over elected governors.We are not under military rule.
“We insist that what the Governors have done is what individuals and and neighborhoods can legally do to secure their lives and property.
“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 Katina 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 declaration may well precipitate unpredictable seismic national tremors – Farooq Kperogi
According to popular columnist and social critic, Farooq Kperogi, “the federal government’s declaration of Amotekun as “illegal” was predictable. But the declaration may well precipitate unpredictable seismic national tremors that could convulse the very foundation of Nigeria. For one, it will certainly ignite soul-searching conversations, such as why the federal government has no problems with Hisbahs and so-called civilian JTFs in the North, which are no different from Amotekun, and why people who feel unprotected by evidently compromised and inept federal security agencies shouldn’t band together to preserve their lives. Self-preservation is the first law of nature.
“No sentient humans voluntarily choose to make themselves defenseless victims of armed, murderous criminals, irrespective of what the law says. A government that has shown itself,
time and again, to be either unwilling or unable to protect lives is taking umbrage at people’s decision to safeguard their lives, to refuse to be collective sitting ducks to homicidal marauders. The cheek! This may well turn out to be the moment Nigeria has been waiting for.
It may be the jolt we need to get out of our accustomed national complacence and self-imposed suspended animation. Or not.
If Hisbah is not illegal, Amotekun cannot be drowned – Oyesoji Aremu, Professor of Counselling and Criminal Justice, University of Ibadan
In his reaction, a professor of Counselling and Criminal Justice, Oyesoji Aremu, said the federal government’s declaration “has shown that all is not well with the Federal structure.”
In a statement titled Between expediency and legality of Operation Amotekun, Aremu said: “The declaration of the Attorney General of the federation declaring Southwest Security Network, codenamed Operation Amotekun as illegal is a de javu given the fact that the body language of the Presidency on insecurity in the Southwest long before the launch of Operation Amotekun was worrisome. The Federal Government’s chicken has not only come home to roost, it has also portrayed the Federal Government to be pandering to a known theory of regional dominance. The popular dictum says what is good for the goose is good for the gander. In this wise, the pronouncement of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice has shown that all is not well with the Federal structure. The declaration of Amotekun as illegal is uncompllimentary to the security wellness of the people of the Southwest. In the face of daunting insecurity in the Southwest which represents the failure of internal security architecture, Operation Amotekun is expedient and should be made to stand and succeed. In this wise, the spirit of the law is expedient and dynamic because it is a question of securing people practically and seamlessly. If Hisbah is not illegal, Amotekun cannot be drowned. If Joint Task Force creation was a response to some security challenges in the North East, Operation Amotekun is also a response to security concerns in the Southwest, Nigeria. God bless Nigeria.