Following the meeting of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo with South West Governors, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Inspector General of Police, the Federal Government has gave ‘go-ahead’ to the Southwest governors to carry on with their security initiative, Amotekun.
This is even as the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN has reiterated the position of the Federal Government that any security arrangement not supported by extant laws remained illegal.
But, a statement from the Office of the Vice President, the meeting with the South West governors was at the instance of the Governors who had asked to see President Muhammadu Buhari over the controversy surrounding the Amotekun Initiative.
However, due to the President’s foreign engagement, he asked the Vice President to host the meeting.
The statement signed by Mr. Laolu Akande a special aide to the Vice President, suggest that the meeting was very fruitful.
It (the statement) revealed that unanimous resolutions were made on the way forward.
“Having regard to the need for all hands to be on deck in addressing the security concerns across the country, it was agreed that the structure of Amotekun should also align with the Community Policing strategy of the Federal Government.
“It was also agreed that necessary legal instruments will be put in place by each of the States to give legal backing to the initiative and address all issues concerning the regulation of the security structure,” the statement read in part.
Meanwhile the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN has reiterated the position of the Federal Government that any security arrangement not supported by extant laws remained illegal.
This was contained in a statement issued by Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations to the HAGF indicating that Malami reaffirmed the declaration on Thursday, 23rd January, 2020.
The Minister made the statement during the Radio Nigeria programme “Nationwide Politics” maintaining that the federal Government has already issued its stance through a statement rooted in the law and the constitution.
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”.
He said, “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,” the Minister explained.
On the issue of state governments making efforts towards legislation that would back the operation of Ametokun, the Attorney-General of the Federation 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 talking 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.
The Minister said the Federal Government does 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.
“You cannot independently, unilaterally operate in the provision of the Constitution without recourse to the constitutional authority that is the bottom line”.
He explained, “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 Amotekun, 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”. n
“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 that “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 complies with”. Ogundoro Modupe Deputy Director ( Information )