The Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation was right only to the extent of tagging the outfit “Amotekun” as presently constituted as being illegal. However, he has no rights or powers whatsoever to declare it illegal as only a court of competent jurisdiction can do that.
The South-West Governors ought to have sought and received legal opinions and advice from their respective Attorneys-General before embarking on such a laudable move but which they have done in an illegal manner.
It does not matter that one of the South-West Governors is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. In the Ondo State executive council or cabinet as it is presently constituted, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, though a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and a Past President of the Nigerian Bar Association is not the Chief Legal Officer or Chief Legal Adviser to the Ondo State Government. Aketi is just the head of the executive there as the Governor of the State and not a legal practitioner for now in the state. The only person who can speak authouritatively when issues and or matters relating to laws arise in Ondo State or in any other state is the State’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice. Besides that, any other opinions or views expressed officially in any state by anybody other than the Attorney-General are mere orbiter dicta and are of no moment.
In 2012, when Oyo State Government under the father of the modern Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi wanted to change the face of the state’s security architecture to an enduring and lasting legacy one, after we have perfected the blueprint of what we codenamed “Operation Burst”, a crack joint security outfit, we sought and applied for the consent of the President and the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, the then President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who graciously approved same for us. The achievements of that efforts are there for posterity to judge, but it is on record and undeniable that Oyo State after the launch of Operation Burst moved away from being a state hitherto known for brigandage and chaos where lives were brutish, short and nasty (Hobbesian state) to become the most peaceful state in Nigeria till 29th May, 2019.
Had it been that we wanted to use our own personnel for the Operation Burst Model instead of relying on the conventional security apparatus of the Federal Government, we would have firstly forwarded a bill for a law to birth same to the Oyo State House of Assembly for passage and subsequent assent by the Governor.
In the Amotekun’s case, same was not done and I make bold to say that all the Governors of the states in the South-West who were parties to the operations goofed in that respect as they have placed the cart before the horse. But it is not too late for them to do the needful.
In 2013, when the security agencies in the state alerted us of the existence of a budding terrorist group in a camp along Iseyin- Shaki road, we got a court order to proscribe the group and same was declared by court to be an illegal outfit and they were dislodged from the camp.
As Hon. Attorney-General of Oyo State at that time, I did not use my discretion as Mr Mallami SAN did and neither were the functions of court usurped by our government.
The Hon. Attorney-General of the Federation obtained a court order to proscribe the El-Zakyzaky’s group which was the way to go and he was applauded by all and sundry for that.
However, his recent pronouncement on the Amotekun security model in which he declared same as illegal is clearly ultra vires of an Attorney-General who knows his onions and worth.
Afenifere and all other groups, bodies and persons goading the South-West Governors should please thread cautiously legally as their various comments are nothing but mere expressions of emotions, sentiments and sensationalism which have no legal basis, and if we may be blunt they are politically jaundiced motivated opinions.
Undoubtedly, South-West and indeed every part of Nigeria need to be secured in view of the total breakdown of security in Nigeria, but must it be done haphazardly and in an illegal manner without doing all things that are necessary for its take-off? It is even clear that the SW Governors are merely playing to the gallery because they are yet to have any framework for the operations of the much touted Amotekun. And if I may ask-
*where is the operational headquarter of Amotekun?
* Where are the respective States’ headquarters?
* Who is the Commander In Chief of the operation or its head?
* Who are the Operational Commanders?
*And who are the footsoldiers or the field officers? And I can go on and on.
Besides the vehicles and the drivers that are displayed, where are the other ingredients?
Don’t let us be emotional and we must do away with that feeble defence that because the Hisbah in Kano State did not have any law that birthed it, then, must we also go lawless? Have we forgotten that the Yorubas are the Pace-setters in Nigeria and we are always known and associate with the Rule of Law and the Due Process of Law? Hence we must not lose that prime position in the scheme of doing things rightly.
Also, we must be very wary of further raising militias and bandits that we won’t be able to control in the nearest future as we should remember how a North-East Governor nurtured and midwifed the now dreaded Boko Haram into a full blown terrorist group. We should not forget the numbers of innocent souls that were gruesomely murdered by the activities of the Oodua People Congress during their factional rifts under Dr. Fredrick Fasheun and Aare Ona Kakanfo Gani Adams. The South-West Governors can partner with OPC under Aare Gani Adams or with any other group or body for that matter, but it must be well-thought out.
Let us thread softly and follow the laws and the Constitution in heralding the Operation Amotekun to secure the South-West. It must be wholesomely and comprehensively packaged rather than the present fire brigade Amotekun as outfit.
DATED this 18th day of January, 2020 at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, Kenya.
Asiwaju Mutalubi Ojo Adebayo,
Asiwaju Ita-Ege & Idi-Aro, Ward 5 of Ibadan South-East Local Government Area of Oyo State of Nigeria.
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Opinions expressed in this article are solely the writer’s, not ALEDEH’S