Malami, Minister of Justice declares Operation ‘Amotekun’ illegal

Issues In The News

Only a few days ago, the six Southwest Governors launched Operation Amotekun in Ibadan, capital of Oyo State. The initiative is aimed at tackling the problem of insecurity in the geopolitical zone. It was already receiving raving reviews when the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami issued an official statement, declaring Amotekun illegal.

Here is the full statement from the office of the Minister of Justice.

Read the full statement below.

Press Release on the Paramilitary Organisation named “Amotekun”

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 Second Schedule in Item 17 deals with defence. This is a

matter that is within the exclusive operational competence of the

Federal of Government of Nigeria. No other authority at the state

level, whether the executive or legislature has the legal authority

over defence.

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


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.

Signed, Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, SA Media and Public Relations (Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice)

Written by Atilade Atoyebi