…Amotekun must stay—Adebanjo, Fasanmi, YCE
…We’re all Amotekuns in Yorubaland – Muyiwa Ige
…Declare Hisbah police illegal—Rep
…FG’s stance does not make sense – Elebuibon, Ifa priest
…’We’re solidly behind S’West govs—Yoruba youths
By Dayo Johnson, Dapo Akinrefon, Rotimi Ojomoyela & Shina Abubakar
ANGRY reactions have continued to trail the declaration by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, that the South West security outfit Amotekun is illegal.
The announcement drew the ire Yoruba elders, leaders and groups, who expressed anger over the Federal Government’s directive.
Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, had commended governors of the South West for initiating and launching the security outfit codenamed: Operation Amotekun.
READ ALSO: Why Amotekun is illegal — AGF
Soyinka, who said he had earlier given up on the governors, commended them for listening to the yearnings of the people.
He said the launch of the security outfit should be commended.
Also, Oba Ogunwusi, described Amotekun as a complementary on the basis of an already established forum.
The monarch said: “People are just causing rouse unnecessarily about Amotekun. Just as we have most breakthrough attacks against insurgent Boko Haram by the Nigerian Army intimated by local vigilantes. The same applies to Amotekun.”
Meanwhile, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, the Yoruba Council of Elders, politicians and notable leaders lampooned the Federal Government for picking holes in the outfit.
FG has no right —Adebanjo
Firing the first salvo, Afenifere chieftain, Pa. Ayo Adebanjo, said the Federal Government has no right to declare Amotekun illegal.
The elder statesman said the Federal Government ought to have gone to the court if it had anything against the outfit.
Adebanjo said: “The AGF has no right to make such pronouncement.
“He (Malami) has no right to declare the authority of state governments as illegal. If it is illegal, he should take them to court and beg the court to declare it illegal under the constitution of the country. He has no authority to do so at all,” he said.
“Civilian organisations in Kano and other places in the north, they are not illegal, how are they now illegal in the south? For me I am not surprised, any dictatorial tendency from the federal government is welcomed because I have predicted it so they are only confirming all that I have said about Buhari’s dictatorial tendency.
“The judiciary is established to adjudicate between persons and between governments. I have said it before that this is not a government of the people; it is the military government of the north by Buhari. It is a dictatorship per se.”
AGF’s statement, an affront, aberration—Olajide, YCE Scribe
Also, Secretary-General, Yoruba Council of Elders, Dr. Kunle Olajide, said: “The statement of the Attorney General was an affront on the integrity and mandate given to the South west Governors by the Citizens of their states.
“The Governors were elected principally to guarantee the security of lives, property and welfare of the citizens, as stipulated in Section 14b of the constitution and for the Attorney General, an appointed officer to make such a release questioning the legality of the decision of the Governors to protect their people is an aberration.
“The Attorney General is an appointed officer, he can be relieved of his position anytime, the Governors are elected, they coordinate with the President and as such, they are enjoying the mandate that they have.
“So, all Yoruba support our Governors’ initiatives, we are solidly behind them. I’m convinced they have not broken the law at all. Initially, I thought the Attorney General was merely exercising his freedom of speech to write what he wrote but I’m beginning to have an inkling that that must be Federal Government position and if it is, they are very wrong. The press release was a complete aberration. Does it then mean that the Federal Government wants our people to be serially murdered by herdsmen who have completely destroyed the means of livelihood of our people? Do they want our people to be kidnapped at will and our women to be raped?
“I was expecting the Federal Government to commend the Governors and infact offer whatever assistance they can by way of training to the Amotekun outfit but for them to want us exposed to this invasion is totally unacceptable to us. They have not breached any law. If Malami believed they have, then he can challenge our Governors in court but we are not going to court because we have not violated any law.”
It has come to stay— Ayo Fasanmi
Also flaying the action of the Federal Government, Pa Ayo Fasanmi, has urged those antagonising the outfit to forget it because it has come to stay.
Fasanmi said it is tantamount to “beating about the bush for anyone to attempt to abort already delivered baby.”
He said: “Instead, the South West governors should be commended for the initiative which is not only novel but responsive of them in securing the region, from marauders. What else should they have done? Should they just fold their arms looking with long faces?”
Senator Fasanmi admonished the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Malami, to tread softly in handling the sensitive issue for it not to escalate beyond the ordinary.
Rep member berates Malami
Also, a member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Taiwo Oluga, described the action of the Minister as an abuse of office and a deliberate attempt to suppress the initiative aimed at fighting kidnapping and banditry in the region.
Oluga, who represents Ayedaade/Irewole/Isokan Federal Constituency in Osun State, said: “It is a rude shock for the Attorney-General, Malami to declare the outfit illegal. Without apology, Malami declaration is an abuse of office to suppress Amotekun outfit from performing.”
She said: “If you have been terrorised or a victim of an attack, you won’t say that Amotekun is illegal. Every citizen has the right to protect himself or herself. I find it unbelievable for him not to have declared the civilian JTF in the northeast and Hisbah police illegal, so why will he declare Amotekun in the southwest illegal?
Oluga posited that the Attorney General ought to have approached the court to seek an interpretation of the law rather becomes the judge himself.
“Malami is knowledgeable. He should go to court. If as a citizen, we can’t protect ourselves again, if we can’t defend our interest. He wants to rubbish the effort of the southwest governors which he must apologise to the southwest governors.”
“He would have called them to a meeting rather than going to the public to declare it illegal. The southwest governors should be commended for meeting and reasoning severally because of the insecurity in the southwest which gave birth to an outfit that will secure us as indigenes.”
Amotekun has come to stay— Yoruba group
A Yoruba youth group, Oodua Youth Coalition, OYC, lambasted the Federal Government for declaring Amotekun illegal.
A statement by its National President, Oluyi Tayo and National Publicity Secretary Oluwagbenga Ajongbolo, the group described the Federal Government as insensitive to the plight of people suffering from insecurity.
“We, hereby, reject in its entirety the illegal tag placed on the Western Security Network, codenamed ‘Operation Amotekun’ by the Federal government of Nigeria through the Attorney General, Abubakar Malami.
“We won’t wait till insurgents, kidnappers, highway robbers, ritualists, armed bandits and other criminals run over us and turn us into refugees in our own land.
“How the Federal Government is very comfortable and unconcerned about the unending crisis in the Northern part of Nigeria remains a mystery and puzzle no one is ready to solve.
“Operation Amotekun has come to stay in our land. We will do everything to support these brave governors as they work tirelessly to see to a more secure Southwest people and states. We won’t wait till you allow these criminals to turn our homes to refugee homes and our schools to IDP camps.”
We’re all Amotekuns in Yorubaland – Muyiwa Ige
On his part, son of late Chief Bola Ige, Mr. Muyiwa Ige submitted that nobody can rubbish the Western Nigeria Security Network codenamed ‘Amotekun’.
Ige, a former commissioner in Osun State, noted that the Amotekun project symbolizes everything that is good that a Yoruba man represents.
His words: “We are all Amotekuns. Each Yoruba person, each citizen of Nigeria living in Yoruba land is an Amotekun. Each citizen that is well behaved, that conforms to the laws, that is not criminal, we’re all Amotekun.
“Amotekun is a child of circumstance in my own view because all these killings and attacks and the robberies- they are not only limited to high way robbery, everything criminal – they are not desirable.
“Yoruba land is taking its place back as the place of safety, so, we must think out of the box. Well, our Policemen and other security operatives have tried their best to tackle this issue but all efforts have proved abortive so we have to go back to local intelligence and it is within us that we know who’s doing what is right and doing what is wrong.
“So, it has come to stay. Hopefully, ‘Irunmoles’ will be coming out soon. You see, it’s not everything one does that must be divulged publicly and then also, we must be our brothers’ keepers.
“There’s also the fear of the unknown, some people are saying it won’t work out. We don’t need to make excuses for people; it shall be possible and shall workout.
There must be a focus, everybody is an Amotekun, if you see anything that is not right in your area, tell somebody. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong. Alert someone, let them tell someone else, let the security operatives come in then there’ll be a handshake.
“So let’s remove the issue of impossibility, the people saying it will not work will be surprised by God because God is involved in this.
And overwhelmingly in Yoruba land today, there is a heightened sense of confidence and security that the people are satisfied with what is on the way.”
FG’s stance does not make sense – Elebuibon
For Ifa Priest and cultural enthusiast, Araba Ifayemi Elebuibon, the Federal Government’s position on Amotekun is ‘nonsense’.
He said one would not cease to wonder the rationale behind the declaration of the federal government, wondering if it has become illegal to seek to complement the efforts of the FG to ensure the security of lives and properties in the region.
Elebuibon said: “There was a time we condemned the governors in the region for not doing anything with regards to the security situation in the region and now that they took pragmatic step to breathe new lease of life to issues of insecurity, someone said it is illegal.
“For me, the Federal Government’s position defies logic and is a sort of nonsense to common sense. I implore the governors to subject the constitution to credibility test and should approach the Supreme Court to interpret the relevant sections of the constitution on the matter.
It is even absurd that the Attorney General ought to have even approached the court rather than taking the position of the court himself. It is, however, important to put the people at the core of that decision and if the people are supreme, Amotekun has come to stay.”
Pitching FG against S-West govs not good—Monarch
Also, the Onibala of Ibala Ijesha, Oba Adegboyega Ariyo, said the monarchs are behind the South West governors, noting that the attempt to pitch the Federal Government against the Southwest is not a good thing.
Oba Ariyo said: “The Governor of a State is the Chief Security Officer of his/her State in accordance with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The presence of the agents of all the federal security organizations in the States is to assist the Governor to execute his/her security responsibility to the people of the State.
“Where the Governor felt the need to establish further security structure to help secure the people of the State, the Governor has the responsibility to emplace such a structure.
“I can attest that policing in my domain is nothing to write home about. The community suffering the lack of proper policing knows what they are facing. It will not help the Federal Government to write off the wishes of the people of the South West as the Minister is suggesting.”
Besides, he said: “This is sad. The unity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not being served by this approach. Whatever guidance and step to sustain the Amotekun structure by the Office of Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, should be taken now and urgently too, to erase the impression that what the people of the Southwest want doesn’t matter to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
Amotekun, not a police or army outfit— Oguntimehin
In his remarks, a politician, Mr. Ola Oguntimehin, said: “Amotekun is neither police nor army outfit but a community response to protect lives and means of livelihood of the people, to which the SW Governors have responded.
“Amotekun is in tandem with the dictum of self-preservation is the first law of nature. When formal defense institutions fail us, informal structures cannot but come to the rescue; except there is a deliberate plan to annihilate a section of the country by another.
Amotekun, by its structure, is not in breach of the constitution as mouthed by AGF Malami. It does not arrogate police or army functions to itself.”
FG’s position is hypocritical—Akindele, ex-Ondo Speaker
For the immediate past Speaker of the Ondo State Assembly, Jumoke Akindele, the position of the Federal Government on Amotekun is hypocritical.
Akindele said: “It is as insincere as it is hypocritical. Why has it been okay to have the Hisbah police corps, which is the Sharia enforcer in some states in the north? Why would a government that has failed in every facet of security provision to a people begrudge them the chance to provide security for themselves?”
A legal practitioner, Tolu Babaleye, said: “The Attorney General with that statement is trying to take the place of the Law Court by saying that Amotekun Security outfit is illegal without taking the matter to court for legal and constitutional test.
“Someone should tell the AGF to take a chill pill as Amotekun is already here and kicking. I have not seen a singular thing that unites South West in recent times like Amotekun and there is nothing anyone can do about it.
“AGF should be told the South West is tired of security breaches which include but not limited to kidnapping and unresolved murders that happened in South West while still depending on the Federal Police hundred percent. “
Similarly, Director of Media and Publicity of the PDP in Ondo State, Mr. Zadok Akintoye, said: “It is instructive that the same Federal Government has remained mute when it comes to its statutory obligation of protecting the territorial integrity of this country against internal and external aggression as occasioned by the visible and open threats of violence by herdsmen and Miyetti Allah against the lives and properties of citizens but very vocal in threatening citizens empowered initiatives like Amotekun which would have been needless if the government had not failed in protecting the lives of citizens.
“It is shameful, to say the least for a failed entity like the APC-led Federal Government to be making threats against initiatives aimed at covering their failure.”
But a delegate to the 2014 Confab and former commissioner in Ondo State, Chief Sola Ebiseni, said the Federal Government’s position on Amotekun is not backed by law.
Ebiseni said: “The parlous state of security in Nigeria is an eloquent testimony of the incapacity of the Federal Government to ensure the security of life and property of the citizenry and a huge indictment of the unitary security architecture in a supposed federation.
“The fact that, even before it formally takes off, Amotekun has registered itself positively in the minds of the people of the South West is a referendum on the inadequacy of the present security arrangements.
“The Amotekun outfit falls far short of this expectation of the people, yet it is a relief that our governors are attentive to the yearnings of the people. When Security went beyond the capacity of the police and the armed forces in the North East, the Federal Government looked the other way when governments of the affected states embraced Civilian JTF of the local youths, hunters and gave them arms which proved most lethal against Boko Haram.
“Is it not better to have an open arrangement for which the State governments can be held to account than an amorphous outfit that may soon be imposed on us by the continued insecurity to which we are exposed? From the legal point, the view of the Federal Attorney General is not law.
“The Federal Government should rather challenge the South West government in Court rather than the threat infested statement issued by a Federal Minister against governments of the constituent states of a federation.”