Human Rights Activist Femi Falana (SAN) on Thursday said the statement credited to the Attorney General of the fedration, Abubakar Malami, suggesting that the newly lauchued South West security network, Amotekun, is illegal is hypocritical and diversionary.
Falana made this known while featuring as a guest on Channels Televison’s Politics Today.
Reacting to the AGF’s claim, Falana said “Mr. Malami’s purported proscription of Amotekun is hypocritical and discriminatory on the grounds that the Civilian JTF operating in Yobe and Borno states is constituted by 26,000 well-armed volunteers who have been assisting the armed forces to combat terrorism in the northeast region.
“Similarly, the governments of Kano and Zamfara states have established the Hisbar Commission. It is common knowledge that the HISBAH operatives in Zamfara state recently arrested a policeman who was alleged to have been caught in the company of three women.
“The Lagos State government has equally established the Neighbourhood Watch to assist the Police and other security agencies in protecting the life and property of every person living in Lagos.
“No doubt, section 214 of the Constitution stipulates that there shall be only one police force in Nigeria. But the federal government has breached the Constitution by setting up other police forces. For instance, the Nigerian Security and Defence Corps is another police force established by law.
“The State Security Service is also a police force established by law. Its operatives are well-armed. They wear masks even in broad daylight. The federal government has also authorised the officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Offences Commission, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Correctional Service, and other paramilitary agencies to bear arms.
“To that extent, the federal government cannot stop any state from setting a security outfit. In fact, having lost control of the monopoly of violence to armed gangs in the various parts of the country the federal government lacks the legal, political and moral right to challenge security outfits set up by state governments and individuals to protect the lives and property of the people of Nigeria.
“Mr Falana submitted that since Amotekun is not an outfit set up by southwest governors to harass or intimidate political opponents it cannot be prohibited under section 227 or any other provision of the Constitution.”
Falana argued that the Constitution has not prohibited the establishment of security outfits for the defence of the people of Nigeria, adding that if Mr. Malami is convinced that his position is backed by law he should approach the Supreme Court to test the constitutional validity of Amotekun.
He advised the governments of Ekiti, Ondo, Osun, Ogun and Oyo states to ignore Mr. Malami’s purported proscription and proceed to enact the necessary laws similar to the Neighbourhood Watch Law of Lagos State.
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