The federal government has described the newly launched south-west security outfit codenamed: “Amotekun”, as illegal.
In a statement on Tuesday, Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, said security remains the exclusive preserve of the federal government.
Malami said governors lacked the right to float the outfit.
“The setting up of the paramilitary organisation called Amotekun is illegal and runs contrary to the provisions of the Nigerian law,” Malami said in the statement which Umar Gwandu, his spokesman, issued on his behalf.
“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) has established the army, navy and air force, 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 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.”
Governors of the south-west states had said the group was established to tackle the rising cases of criminality in the region.
Kayode Fayemi, governor of Ekiti state, had also made it clear that the outfit is not regional police.
Also, Chairman of Afenifere Renewal Group, Chief Olawale Oshun has described Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami’s statement that a regional security outfit, Amotekun, is illegal as rubbish.
Chief Oshun said Malami should also declare Hisbah Corps, (a religious police force responsible for the enforcement of Sharia) and Civilian Joint Task Force in the Northeast illegal.
“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,” Chief Oshun said.
The former Chief Whip of the House of Representatives urged the governors of the Southwest to go ahead with the implementation of the Amotekun.
“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,” he said.
Leader of the Yoruba World Congress, Prof. Banji Akintoye, said Malami’s statement shows one thing very conclusively that the people controlling Federal Government do not have the welfare of the people Southwest at heart and “we will look at that and decide what we want to do.”
Akintoye, a renowned historian, the Northerners have created many society-controlled organisations in the north.
“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 all. The Yoruba people must be ready to defend their interest under the law,” he said.
He told the southwest governors to hold the bull by the horn.
“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 assure of our supports,” he said.