Nigeria’s government late Tuesday clamped down on the South-West joint security outfit, Operation Amotekun, declaring it illegal.
Governors of the South-West states involved in the security arrangement have indicated that they would resist federal government’s disposition towards the outfit after a meeting to be convened on the matter in the next few days.
Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, in a telephone interview with Channels Television, said the South-West governors would meet to deliberate on Malami’s statement.
He said, “We have not met. When we meet, we will react appropriately, but one thing is clear, laws are not made in the office of the AGF. He is only meant to interpret the law.”
One of the actions being considered is going to the court to challenge the federal government on the matter.
The South-West governors, at a summit convened by the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria in June agreed to set up Operation Amotekun, and last Thursday, they kick-started the security outfit which was to involve the Oodua Peoples’ Congress, vigilante groups and local hunters.
But the federal government yesterday declared the outfit was unacceptable.
The attorney-general said in his statement that, “The setting up of the paramilitary organisation 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 Air Force, 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 organisation 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) authorising the Police and other Federal Government security services established by law to maintain law and order.
“The law will take its natural course in relation to excesses associated with organisation, 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.”
Malami said because Nigeria was a sovereign entity, only the federal government superintends over matters of national interest.
“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 Government of Nigeria. No other authority at the state level, whether the executive or legislature, has the legal authority over defence.”