The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami has exposed himself to intense and widespread criticisms for a statement by him declaring illegal, Operation Amotekun that was launched recently by the six Governors of the Southwest.
The Chairman of the Southwest Governors Forum, Rotimi Akeredolu who is the Governor of Ondo State and the first to wade into the matter challenged Malami’s competence and authority to stop the operation of the security outfit. He called the attention of the Minister to the fact that laws are not made in the office of the Minister of Justice.
Chairman of the Governors Forum, a national body of Governors, Kayode Fayemi who is the Governor of Ekiti State told newsmen, “If what you are saying is true, there will be an appropriate reaction to it,”
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State was in Abeokuta yesterday to confer with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria (1999 – 2003). He told newsmen after the meeting: “This outfit is complementary to the effort of the Nigerian Police and other security agencies. In Oyo State, the government has four pillars, namely education, health, security and expansion of our economy through agribusiness. So, security is a major pillar for us and we believe we cannot have any development in an atmosphere that is not secure.”
Read more responses and opinions on the brash statement from Malami as follows:
“Likewise, Amotekun is established on complementary basis, to give localised intelligent information. And that is the meaning of Amotekun in Yoruba – like the animal masters its terrain, they have mastered the security intelligence of their terrain.” Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi.
“The Inspector-General of Police was involved when they started but I don’t know what happened and he backed out. Maybe they had a re-think. Maybe, the association of Attorney Generals would need to go to court on the matter to determine who is wrong”, Olisa Agbakoba, Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
“Some people who have been sleeping all this time, taking belated actions, watching the people being decimated and telling us that this initiative is illegal. They should go back to sleep. Amotekun has come to stay.” Professor Wole Soyinka
“The point I’m making is that the Nigerian state has collapsed. We are deceiving ourselves. What the governors are doing is not more than the neighbourhood watch in Lagos. The only prohibition against any kind of group is in Section 227 of the Constitution. Nobody shall set up a military wing for political reasons.” Femi Falana, civil rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria. He asked the Minister of Justice to obtain court order to implement his threat against Operation Amotekun.
Cultural organizations across the country have criticized Abubakar Malami over his statement against the formation of the outfit, Operation Amotekun in the Southwest. They have asked him to give reasons why he had tolerated similar outfits in some States in the North. The frequently asked questions is whether or not the Civilian Joint Task Force, CJTF in the Northeast where the armed forces are fighting Boko Haram insurgents is sanctioned by the Constitution.
A lot remains to be said about this matter in weeks ahead.