By Dayo Johnson and Adeola Badru
Amid expectations that the draft bill of the South-West security outfit will be tabled before the six Houses of Assembly in the region, this week, for approval, Sunday Vanguard, yesterday, gained insight into how Amotekun will relate with locals, the police and other security agencies.
“The security network will be working in collaboration and as a complementary network with the police and other security agencies and the armed forces,” Oyo State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Professor Oyewole Oyewo, said.
“We will be depending on our local people because of local intelligence. You can say it is community policing, vigilante, but this security system has come to stay”.
Oyewo spoke against the backdrop of the legal framework for Amotekun, which has now been drafted and approved by the Attorneys General of the six South-West states for submission to their respective Houses of Assembly for legislation.
The legal framework has been the main issue after Amotekun was launched amid fanfare in January by the region’s governors to combat worsening insecurity in the South-West.
After the launch, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, said the security outfit was illegal as security under the Constitution is the exclusive preserve of the Federal Government.
The Malami pronouncement generated outrage in many quarters, especially on the Southern part of the nation, where it is believed that the police and other security agencies lack the capacity to curtail worsening insecurity and hence need help.
Subsequent meetings between federal authorities and South-West governors led to a deal that Amotekun should be legalised through the provision of a legal framework.
Penultimate week, the six Attorneys Generals in the region commissioned some of their colleagues to fashion out a draft bill on the security outfit.
Rising from a two-hour meeting on Friday in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, the Attorney Generals said they had completed work on the draft bill and were set to send it to the Houses of Assembly for approval.
Those present at the meeting were the Attorneys General of Ondo State, Adekola Olawoye, SAN; Osun, Oluwafemi Akande; Ekiti, Olawale Fapohunda; Ogun, Akingbolahan Adeniran, and Lagos, Moyosore Onigbanjo, represented by S.A. Quadri (Director of Civil Litigations).
Also in attendance was the Director-General for Development Agenda For Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission, Mr Seye Oyeleye.
Standard operational procedure
Their host, Oyewo, said the bill would be through once it is signed into law by the state governors after approval by legislators.
Oyewo went on: “Each South-West state would have to own its legislation and its own security network corps that would be bearing ‘Amotekun Corps’. By next week, it will go to the state Houses of Assembly after it has passed through the exco of each of the states.
“We deliberated on the plan to evolve a collaborative security network/agency in the South-West. We have been able to come up with a legal framework to back up the establishment of the security network in each of the states.
“Each of the states will have its own legislation and its own security network outfit that will bear the name Amotekun Corps. There will be a standard operational procedure that will also be in common and there will be an avenue for collaboration between the states.
“The draft bill will proceed to the House of Assembly of each of the states and will be signed into law by the governor of each state. That is where we are now.”
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When asked if the new security outfit will be licensed to carry arms, ammunition and wear uniforms, Oyewo said: “Yes, of course, the carrying of arms is legislated by law and the Amotekun outfit will comply with all the laws of the land.
“We just want to allay the fear of anybody that has a fear that this is just part of the ways to impact the security architecture in Nigeria, to protect lives and property.
“We have been emphasising that Section 14 of the Constitution imposes a duty, a primary duty, on the federal, state and local governments to secure lives and property and that is exactly what the states here present are doing.”
Asked if the AGs will write to officially inform the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, on the new development, the Oyo AG noted: “We run a federal system. As long as laws are passed within the competence of our legislation, we don’t need the permission, authority or even the counsel of anybody other than the operators set under the Constitution.
“As I have stated and I reiterate, the law is to establish a security network with Amotekun Corps and that is what will be presented to the state Houses of Assembly and that will be passed into law”.
Meanwhile, Oyewo denied the speculation that the meeting failed to hold on Thursday as earlier announced because of political constraints, noting: “Logistics and the challenges of the offices of Attorneys-General in the various South-West states necessitated the change in the meeting day.”
Also speaking with Sunday Vanguard, the Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Bamidele Oloyelogun, said the lawmakers in the state, who are presently on recess, would be recalled to attend to the bill.
Oloyelogun, who is also the Chairman of the Conference of Speakers in the South-West, said all the Houses of Assembly in the region would accelerate the passage of the bill on the security outfit as soon as it is forwarded to them by the executive arm of government.
He said Amotekun is an idea whose time has come and there was no going back.
“We are anxiously awaiting the bill from the executive arms of government across the states”, the Speaker said.
“All the Houses of Assembly are ready to see that the bill when forwarded by the executive arm of government, is given accelerated passage.
“We can’t delay this bill, more so we don’t delay bills. This particular bill is very important to our people in the South-West and we are ready to do the needful to ensure Amotekun sees the light of the day.
“The Houses of Assembly in the region are expectant to see this initiative through. It is an idea whose time has come and nothing can stop it. It is very important to us. Our six governors have keyed into its success, we the legislative arm of government across the region are equally in total support of Amotekun.
“All we are waiting for it for the executive in the six states to forward the bill to the state Houses of Assembly and pronto it will be given speedy hearing and passage”.