*South-West to Enact Enabling Laws
*Others Zones Waiting to Join
*Tinubu in Limbo
President Muhammadu Buhari gave his consent and accord to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to meet with South-West governors on Thursday to resolve the controversies surrounding the security outfit called Amotekun.
Mr Osibanjo’s senior special assistant on media and publicity, Laolu Akande said in a press release he issued after the meeting that the governors had sort to meet with the president over the issue but due to the president’s foreign engagement, he had asked the vice president to host the meeting.
Thursday’s meeting had the governors of Ondo, Rotimi Akeredolu; Ekiti, Kayode Fayemi and Osun, Gboyega Oyetola. The governors of Oyo and Lagos were represented by their deputies.
The attorney-general of the federation, Abubakar Malami, who was initially quoted to have declared the initiative ‘illegal’, was also at the Thursday meeting.
Mr Malami had earlier on Thursday denied that he dismissed the Amotekun Initiative ‘illegal’, explaining that he only requested that the initiative be backed by proper legal framework. The attorney-general insisted that he was misquoted and misunderstood in the first place.
It would appear, surprisingly, that the South-West governors kick-started the operation without enabling laws by the states involved, making it susceptible to questions of legality and operational misplacement.
The Thursday meeting at the presidential villa came up with unanimous resolutions, including the agreement that the security concerns across the country requires concerted measures and the involvement of all stakeholders.
Amotekun therefore gained the nod of the federal government which already had in its reckoning the community policing strategy.
The presidency wants Amotekun to forge an alliance with the federal government’s community policing strategy and have the necessary legal instruments that will wrap it with the toga of legality.
The governor of Ondo state, Rotimi Akeredolu, who spoke with newsmen on the outcome of the meeting, said they had resolved to articulate a legal framework that would provide backing to the operations of the security outfit.
He said, “… we are going to have legal framework to back this Operation Amotekun. And this legal framework is going to be one which we all are going to look at and will be sure to go without any hindrance.”
While the governors were engaged with finding means to make Amotekun operational by insisting that it gains the federal government’s acceptance, former governor of Lagos, Mr Bola Ahmed Tinubu was seen by politicians in the South-West as being indifferent to the security challenges of the zone.
The Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) for instance condemned what it called the nonchalant attitude of Tinubu to the Amotekun initiative, saying he did not appear to be concerned with the pains of his Yoruba kinsmen.
Secretary-General of the council, Dr. Kunle Olajide, told journalists that, “We expect him to be there when Amotekun was launched. So, for him now to be reacting two to three weeks after the launching is belated and we are not excited.”
Operation Amotekun was launched on January 9, but was subsequently said to have been declared illegal by the attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, Abubakar Malami.
Malami’s declaration attracted condemnations from the six states of the South West.
Already, other zones of the federation have been indicating interest in floating similar outfits, with the South-East and South-South saying it was imperative for the wellbeing of their citizens. The North-Central also wanted to adopt a similar measure while governors in the North-West have separately said they are looking for ways to operationalise community policing measures in their states.
The North-East, which is decidedly the most afflicted with security challenges, already has a huge military presence. The zone is said to be looking for ways to incorporate perfect community policing and vigilante operations into its security responses.
While the South-West goes back to draw up its legal framework, others are waiting in the sideline to see how issues around firearms, operational modules and funding would be addressed.