AGF lacks power to declare Amotekun illegal – Makinde

…says ‘Malami can’t just wake up and make his own laws’ 

Akeredolu: Amotekun created in South-West’s interest

 

Kunle Olayeni and Adewale Momoh

Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, has told the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), that he lacks the power to declare the South-West security outfit, Operation Amotekun, as illegal.

Also, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has hinted that the South-West security outfit codenamed ‘Operation Amotekun’ will go on as planned.

Operation Amotekun was launched last Thursday in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, by South-West governors.

Makinde said though the AGF may interpret and advise the President if there are legal issues, he is not empowered to make his own laws.

He spoke in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, during his visit to a former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday.

The governor was accompanied by his Special Adviser on Security Matters and former Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni; the Chairman, Advisory Council, Senator Hosea Agboola; and former Secretary to the Oyo State Government, Chief Layiwola Olakojo, among other aides.

Fielding questions from reporters, Makinde, who stated that he was in Abeokuta to greet Obasanjo for the New Year, frowned at Malami’s position on Operation Amotekun.

The governor insisted that the AGF does not have the powers to label the regional security outfit illegal.

He, however, stated that Malami had yet to officially communicate to him on the matter.

Makinde said: “My personal position is that you actually don’t run government on the social media. If I see a letter or if I get a call from the Attorney-General of the Federation telling me what you just said, then it would be a different fact of reaction.

“So, I’ve been reading just like you read on the social media; I haven’t seen anything official to that effect. And besides, I don’t think for a country like Nigeria, the Attorney-General will 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 gave that power to the Attorney General to make such declaration.”

The governor explained that Operation Amotekun was conceived to complement the police and other security agencies.

According to him, the regional security outfit is expected to narrow the existing gaps in security in the six South-West states.

He said: “I did say that this outfit is complementary to the Nigerian police and other security agencies. In Oyo State, the government is being placed on four major pillars: education, health, security and expansion of our economy through agri-business.

“So, security is a major pillar for us and we believe you cannot have any development in an atmosphere that is not secure. If you look at investments, money coming into an economy, such money is a coward. If such money sees anywhere that is not secured, they would fly and run away. So, security is key.

“The security agencies are doing their best, but there are still gaps. Just like in most sectors of our body polity, we do have gaps in education, in healthcare delivery. So, in security also, there are gaps and we believe that playing complementary roles will also help to narrow those gaps.”

On his part, Akeredolu, who is the Chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum, gave the assurance of continuation of Operation Amotekun yesterday during the commemoration of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day held at the Akure Cenotaph, Ondo State.

Akeredolu said that governors in the region are committed to the success of Amotekun to check incidences of banditry, kidnapping and farmers-herders clashes. While reiterating that Amotekun is not a paramilitary outfit, Akeredolu noted that the introduction of the security outfit is to complement the efforts of other security agencies. His words: “I wish to use this medium to thank the entire members of the Nigerian Armed Forces most sincerely for controlling the crime before, during and after the Yuletide period through ‘Operation Crocodile Smile.’ “You will agree with me that your relentless efforts towards ensuring peace and order are beginning to yield positive results in Ondo State and our dear country in general. “It is in our quest to further curtailing the menace of kidnapping, banditry and other crimes in Ondo State and the entire South- West that we launched ‘Operation Amotekun’ in Ibadan on Thursday, 9th January 2020. “It is one of the many solutions being proffered to our security challenges in Western Nigeria. We want to assure you that the activities of the personnel working for the outfit will be monitored and streamlined along their mandate of securing the lives and property of people of Ondo State and the entire Western Nigeria and it will not be used for political purposes.”

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