The Nigerian Bar Association has cautioned the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), about his opposition to the South-West security outfit, Operation Amotekun.
The National Publicity Secretary of the NBA, Mr Kunle Edun, stated this in an interview with one of our correspondents on Wednesday evening, while responsible on behalf of the association to Malami’s statement that Operation Amotekun was illegal.
Faulting the AGF, Edun said Malami should not be too legalistic on protection of lives and property, saying in “civilized climes security is everyone’s business.”
Prominent Nigerians, including the Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka; an ex-Chairman of the NBA, Mr Olisa Agbakoba, SAN; human rights lawyers, Femi Falana, SAN, and Ebu-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), had kicked against the AGF’s pronouncement.
The South-West governors on Thursday last week, launched Operation Amotekun, to tackle a series of killings and kidnapping in the zone by Fulani herdsmen.
But following Malami’s pronouncement, the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, who is also the Chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum, on Wednesday, said the zone would first seek a political solution to the AGF’s opposition. “If that fails, we will go to court and allow the court to decide,” he added.
The NBA spokesman, in the interview with The PUNCH, advised Malami to drive collaboration between states and the Federal Government instead of being too legalistic over security issues.
Edun expressed worry about the deteriorating security situation in the country, which he said must have driven the six South-West governors to come up with the Amotekun security arrangement.
He stated, “For many years, the Federal Government has been assuring Nigerians of community policing. Nigerians are still expectant of it coming to reality.
“Nigerians can no longer sleep with their eyes closed. No one can travel safely on our roads again without the fear of being kidnapped or killed by bandits.
“I think that it is out of concern for the security of lives and property of the residents in the states that constitute the South-West that made the governors of the South-West states to come up with the Amotekun security initiative. Similar security outfits exist in some states in the North.
“The law allows a person or group of persons to protect themselves within the framework of the law and/or report untoward activities to the police. What is needed now is collaboration and partnership between the South-West governors and the Federal Government to agree on the best security formula. It should be a win-win situation.
“The honourable Attorney General of the Federation may have his reasons for saying that Amotekun is an illegal outfit. However, it would be helpful if he helps drive the process of partnership and collaboration on the security initiative. It is in this wise that we advise extreme caution and restraint.
“We should not be too legalistic on processes that are intended to protect lives and property of Nigerians, provided it does not constitute a threat to the existence of the country. Should the parties feel strong about the position taken by each of them, resort should be to the courts to determine the rights of the parties.
“Governors of the states of the federation are the chief security officers of their states and huge security votes are expended in addressing security issues, for the protection of lives and property,” adding that “ in civilized climes security is everyone’s business and not the exclusive responsibility of a particular organ of government.”