Governors of the six states in the South-west that promoted Amotekun, a regional security network to complement the federal government’s efforts in battling crime in the geopolitical zone, are soon to meet to decide how to respond to yesterday’s declaration of the security outfit as unconstitutional, reporters has gathered.
Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), had earlier yesterday declared Amotekun illegal, saying the governors lacked the legal authority to form it.The reporters had reported exclusively on Sunday that Malami would issue a statement on the position of the federal government shortly.
However, the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, has urged the governors to ignore Malami and called on the federal government to go to court if it felt the governors were wrong.
While Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said he could not react since he had not been briefed, Osun State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mrs. Funke Egbemode, told the reporters that all the South-west governors would soon meet to review the federal government’s position and chart the way forward.
Egbemode noted that all the necessary things were done to kick-off the security outfit in order to facilitate developmental efforts in securing lives and property of all the citizens.
According to her, the governors put in place the security outfit to ensure protection of lives and property of the people.
Special Adviser to Ondo State Governor on Security Matters, Alhaji Jimoh Dojumo, corroborated Egbemode’s statement, saying the governors would have to meet on the development.
“We are yet to be informed, but if truly the federal government declares it illegal, my principal (Governor Akeredolu) and other governors in the South-west would have to meet and decide on what to do next,” he said.
However, Malami in a statement by his media aide, Dr. Umar Gwandu, said he was not consulted on the matter, adding that if he had been consulted, proper information and guidance would have been offered to preserve Nigeria’s defence and corporate entity at all times.
He said: “The Federal Republic of Nigeria is a sovereign entity and is governed by laws meant to sustain its corporate existence as a constitutional democracy.
“It is a federation of states, but with the federal government superintending over matters of national interests. 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 federal government added that the Second Schedule in Item 17 deals with defence, saying this is a matter that is within the exclusive operational competence of the federal of government.
He said according to schedule, no other authority at the state level, whether the executive or legislature, has the legal authority over defence.
He added: “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, 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.”
Malami said the law would take its natural course in relation to excesses associated with organisation, administration and participation in Amotekun or continuous association with it as an association.