Yoruba Legal Big-guns Rally Behind Amotekun, Say No Matter What It Is Here To Stay
A slew of prominent Yoruba lawyers including Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) yesterday responded to the declaration by Abubakar Malami, Attorney General of the Federation and Justice Minister, that the southwest’ security outfit, Amotekun, is illegal.
Malami had announced that:
“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 many legal luminaries from the South West, disagree
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For starters, Aare Afe Babalola (above) faulted Malami’s pronouncement, saying Amotekun “is absolutely constitutional and legal.”
In a statement titled, ‘No law prohibits the establishment of Amotekun,’ Babalola shared:
“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.
“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.”
Also agreeing was Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN) (below) who said the Attorney General does not have the power to declare Amotekun illegal.
He advised Malami to go to court if he feels strongly about the matter.
He explained :
“I see no controversy about this matter. Do I need court pronouncement to engage private security guards and provide them with vehicles and uniforms? There is nothing strange in what the southwest governors did. They can see Malami’s comment as his opinion and not the position of the law, which only the court can interpret.”
Oladipo Olasope (SAN) (above) was of a similar opinion voicing:
“It is just a statement and he lacks the power to declare Amotekun illegal. The highest he can do is go to court. The attorney general’s statement cannot be the law. Only the court can declare Amotekun illegal.”
Also in consent was Dr Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) (above), who said: “What thee (governors) are doing is not policing but security measures,” implying they have not breached the constitution.
Big gun Femi Falana (below), said the governors are only trying to protect their people in line with the constitution. According to him, what the law expressly forbids is the establishment of a military wing.
Meanwhile, Kunle Edun (below), the publicity secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), opined: “In civilised climes, security is everyone’s concern and not the exclusive responsibility of a particular organ of government."
“Similar outfits exist in the north and they were reported to have assisted the Nigerian military to stem the tide of armed banditry and insurgent activities.” Edun concluded by pointing out that since the floaters of Amotekun have “promised to work with the official regular security apparatus for proper coordination and collaboration, what is needed now is collaboration and partnership on security between the southwest governors and the Federal Government.”
The FGN has yet to respond.