JUST IN: Amotekun is illegal, Nigerian govt insists
NEWS DIGEST – The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami has restated that the South West Security Network (SWSN) also known as Amotekun was not backed by any known law and remains illegal.
Malami’s spokesman, Umar Jibrilu Gwandu quoted the AGF as stating, in a radio programme on Thursday, that the Federal
Government has already issued its stance through a statement rooted in the law and the constitution.
Gwandu said: “According to Malami regional security architectural arrangement by states is not tolerated by the Constitution of the Federation and hence cannot be rooted in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or in any of the extant law.”
Gwnadu further quoted Maina as saying : “The planning, execution, consummation of whatever security arrangement must be naturally grounded in law, rooted in the constitution and tolerated by the Law” maintaining that “for any arrangement to stand within the law, the bottom line is that constitutionality and legality must be factored.
“Provided that there is an aberration relating to constitutional compliance, I think the right thing to do is to ensure constitutionality and legality both in spirit, planning, concept and consummation.”
He added: “On the issue of state governments making efforts towards legislation that would back the operation of Ametokun, the AGF said that the Federal Government’s stance revolves around the legality and constitutionality elements that should be factored into the planning, conceptualization, consummation and execution of the operation.
“If you are taking of regional arrangement, for example, at what point did the state assemblies come together as a region for the purpose of coming up with a statue or a law that can operate within the context of the Constitution taking into consideration the Federating arrangement that does not allow or tolerate a regional state house of Assembly arrangement,” he said.
Gwandu added that AGF said the Federal Government does not oppose a working arrangement with the institution established by the Constitution for the provision of security and in this case with particular reference to the police.
He further quoted the AGF as saying “You cannot independently, unilaterally operate in the provision of the Constitution without recourse to the constitutional authority that is the bottom line.
“Working together, helping the Federal Government in the provision of security is indeed a welcome development but it has to be rooted in the law and within the context of working arrangement with institutions constitutionally established and not a unilateral exclusive arrangement by a regional body”.
“In the circumstances of Ametokun, it is the idea of unilateral control that it is the problem without recourse to the institutional and constitutional arrangement that is put in place by our constitutions.
‘You can, indeed provide whatever support and consideration but definitely it must be rooted in the Constitutional arrangement and so self-help by way of unilateral arrangement cannot be tolerated with particular reference to regional arrangement which is not rooted in the Constitution within the context of security.
“Responding to claim that some state governors from some regions have *been* making efforts to establish regional security apparatus in their regions, the Minister said the “the law is universal. It is not exclusive to a zone or a region in its application.
The universality of the law will naturally prevail in ensuring that due processes are indeed complied with.”
In an earlier statement, Gwandu argued that a recent statement attributed to Femi Falana (SAN), to the effect that he advised the South West states to enact laws to back the security outfit, was a vindication of the Federal Government’s position on the legal status of Amotekun.
He said: “By asking for the state governments of the Southwestern Nigeria to ‘proceed to enact the necessary laws,’ in justifying the legality of the establishment and operation of Amotekon, Mr. Femi Falana is reaffirming and reiterating the Federal Government’s stance that the establishment of the operation currently is illegal.
“No amount of effort to hide the truth will work. People could be carried away by sentimental or emotional inclinations, but truth remains apparently palpable.
“The bottom line is that the current Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria does not accommodate formation of regional security architecture. This is a fact which is undisputable and undeniable.
“Mr. Falana was prevaricating and circumlocuting using evasive techniques when he was asked by the media to justify the presence of lacuna within the law which could establish or protect the concept of regionalism in any operation in the country.
“He was unable to supply answer to the question and failed to cite relevant laws that back the argument.
“It is interesting that no matter the situation truth prevails. This arrangement called Amotekun is not backed by any law neither at the State nor at the Federal Government level. Amotekun, therefore, remains unconstitutional and illegal as already indicated.
“The Federal Government appreciates that legally minded Nigerians have start to eschew emotions by offering legal comments on the matter as against being carried away by other inclinations.
“The Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice is committed to the rule of law and a constitutional democratic Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Gwnadu said.