Senior Advocates of Nigeria have expressed their views over the stance of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, declaring “Operation Amotekun” as illegal.

Challenge Malami in court, Olisa Agbakoba advises SW govs

Agbakoba said, “This decision of the Attorney General ought to go to court, so that we can challenge it and know who is right and who is wrong. If the President is right, let My Lords pronounce it; if he’s wrong, let’s know.

“For me, I think what the states have done is correct because strictly speaking, what they’ve done is not policing. I think it’s more like security measures or communal police. In any event, the IG was involved.”

Malami’s position discriminatory – Falana

Femi Falana, described Malami’s position on Amotekun as discriminatory, noting that northern states were operating similar security outfits such as Hisbah and the Civilian Joint Task Force.

Falana said, “In the North-East region, particularly Yobe and Borno, there is a civilian JTF, well armed; and sometimes when the soldiers are afraid they ask the civilian JTF to go and confront Boko Haram.

“In Kano and Sokoto, you have Hisbah. Three weeks ago, Hisbah in Zamfara arrested a policeman. They said the policeman was caught in a hotel with three women and they said that was an abomination.

“The point I’m making is that the Nigerian state has collapsed. We are deceiving ourselves. What the (South-West) governors are doing is not more than the Neighbourhood Watch in Lagos. The only prohibition against any kind of group is Section 227 of the Constitution – Nobody shall set up a military wing for political reasons.”

Falana said if an individual could apply for a licence to bear arms, he saw no reasons why a state governor could not apply for firearms for local security arrangement.

He added, “You can go to Abuja today, as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, and apply to the IG for a licence to bear arms; he will give you. And I have asked the governors of Lagos State since 1999, ‘Please, if I can ask for a gun to protect my family and myself, why can’t you ask for 10,000 licences for young men and women to protect 20 million people?’ We have to go back to court.”

AGF can’t take over judiciary role – Adegboruwa

On his part, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa chided Malami for arrogating to himself the power of the court to make a pronouncement on the legality or otherwise of Amotekun.

He said, “We cannot allow the Attorney General of the Federation to take over the role of the judiciary. Whether Amotekun is legal or illegal is a declaration by court. It cannot be an Attorney General sitting in his chambers saying so because the Attorney General of the Federation is not competent to sit in his chambers to make a law for states of the federation. That is total disrespect to the concept of federation.”

He also described Malami’s position as discriminatory, arguing that states in other regions of the country had similar security arrangements.

In a telephone conversation, the Head, Special Projects and Funding, DAWN Commission, Prince Adetayo Adeleke-Adedoyin, said the commission could not react to the AGF’s declaration on Operation Amotekun until the major stakeholders had spoken.

But the Secretary-General of the Arewa Consultative Forum, Mr. Anthony Sani, in an interview with The PUNCH, said the only option left for the South-West governors was to either accept or challenge the AGF’s position in court.

culled from the Punch