Nigerians, especially from the middle belt forum, has shown solidarity with the concept and modus Oprandi behind the creation of Amotekun even with a stand of emulating the idea and implementing in its region. In a statement, the middle belt forum believes the whole idea is more indigenous and with the capacity to know those who are strangers and inhabitants of every remote community
On the part of the Nobel Laureate and social critic, Prof. Wole Soyinka, at a media briefing in Lagos yesterday, said a serious government that cares for its citizens would not object to Amotekun.
“The initiative is quite legal and constitutional and in any case, the Federal Government should go to the court,” he said.
Soyinka said having “some people who have been sleeping all this while, taking belated actions, who watched all the security threats that citizens suffer saying the initiative is illegal and unconstitutional is unacceptable.”
According to him, Amotekun is not only appropriately required, but also long overdue. He said: “I’ve always believed passionately in self-policing. If it is possible to eliminate any kind of formal policing, I will be forward. But there is a need for organised security.
“To say that the people do not have a right to defend their lives, secure a livelihood and flush out the evil elements and pick up the slack that existing securities are unable to fulfil is an enemy action and inhumane.”
In an open letter to Malami yesterday, the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams, said: “It is unfortunate that rather than praise the governors, you are condemning their action, thereby strengthening the hands of those who believe the Federal Government is against some sections of the country.”
He said: “As a lawyer and a Senior Advocate, you should know that you are not the law. You are only the attorney general, not a court. It is only a court of competent jurisdiction that will decide if what an individual, group of individuals, an entity or a state does is legal or otherwise.
“I don’t need to bother you about killings, kidnappings, banditry, and other criminal vices in the southwest recently. Even Mrs Funke Olakunrin, the daughter of Yoruba leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, was killed and nobody has been arrested in respect of all these killings.
“One thing is clear, Nigerians have the right to protect themselves. Not only that, southwest people have a right to protect and defend themselves against attacks. Amotekun is an initiative by the southwest governors to defend our people.”
Showing solidarity with Amotekun, a legal luminary, Aare Afe Babalola, faulted Malami’s the pronouncement, saying Amotekun “is absolutely constitutional and legal.”
In a statement titled, ‘No law prohibits the establishment of Amotekun,’ Babalola said, “The issue of Amotekun is an issue of public safety and protection of property. There is no law in Nigeria, which prevents citizens from being able to secure their life and property. The Nigeria Police does not enjoy exclusive jurisdiction when it comes to the protection of life and property. As a matter of fact, in many parts of Nigeria, various outfits such as Civilian JTF, Hisbah Police and vigilantes have been performing the duty of protecting life and property.”
He added: “Given the provisions of the Criminal Code in Sections 272-275, the right of citizens to arrest any person for committing an offence is legal and maybe exercised individually or communally. In any event, the regional community security outfit known as Amotekun cannot be set aside by oral pronouncement by the Attorney General or any other body. Only the court of law can declare the establishment illegal.”
The Attorney General of the federation, Abubakar Malami’s dagger down came as a result of his stand regarding the creation of “Amotekun” in the southwestern region which according to them was made to complement government efforts in tackling kidnapping and banditry within the region
But Mallami in its objection said 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.”
But in an interview on Politics today, a channel television broadcast yesterday, human right lawyer, Femi Falana, (SAN) said governors are only trying to protect their people in line with the constitution, and that what the law expressly forbids is the establishment of the military, he remarked; all that the south-west need to do more is to approach their houses of assembly and get the law passed.
The chairman of the south west governors forum and Ondo state Governor Rotimi Akeredolu said the six governors of the region were committed to the success of Amotekun
According to him, the declaration by Malami that the security outfit is illegal would not impede its full operation.
The governor, who stated this during the 2020 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration in Akure, maintained that Amotekun would complement the efforts of other security agencies.
His Oyo State counterpart, Seyi Makinde told journalists after a closed-door meeting with former President Olusegun Obasanjo that Malami “cannot just wake up and make his own laws. He may interpret and advise the president if there are legal issues but I haven’t seen anything that gives power to the AGF to make such a declaration.”