The Federal Government on Tuesday said that the setting up of Amotekun paramilitary organization by the governors of the South-West is illegal and runs contrary to the provisions of the Nigerian law.
Dr Umar Gwandu, the Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice said this in a statement he issued in Abuja.
Gwandu said that the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a sovereign entity and is governed by laws meant to sustain its corporate existence as a constitutional democracy.
“It is a Federation of states with the Federal Government superintending over matters of national interest.
“The division of executive and legislative authority between the Federal and State Governments has been clearly defined by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
“It is against the same background that matters relating to the peace, order and good government of the Federation and in particular, the defence of the country, are enshrined in the Exclusive Legislative list’’.
According to him, “The Second Schedule in Item 17 deals with defence and this is a matter that is within the exclusive operational competence of the Federal of Government of Nigeria.
“No other authority at the state level, whether the executive or legislature has the legal authority over defence.
He said that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) has established the Army, Navy and Airforce, including the Police and other numerous paramilitary organisations for the purpose of the defence of Nigeria.
“As a consequence of this, no State Government, whether singly or in a group has the legal right and competence to establish any form of organization or agency for the defence of Nigeria or any of its constituent parts.
“This is sanctioned by the provision of Item 45 of the Second Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of
Nigeria (as amended) authorizing the Police and other Federal
government security services established by law to maintain law and order.
“The law will take its natural course in relation to excesses
associated with organization, administration and participation in “Amotekun” or continuous association with it as an association.
“Finally, it is important to put on record that the Office of the
Attorney General and Minister of Justice was not consulted on the matter.
“If it had, proper information and guidance would have been offered to ensure that Nigeria’s defence and corporate entity are preserved at all times’’.
It was reported that in 2019, six governors from the zone; Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo) Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Gboyega Oyetola (Osun), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos) and Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti) and Dapo Abiodun (Ogun) agreed to establish Amotekun, aimed at strengthened the security situation in the six states of the region.
Fayemi, who doubles as Chairman, Nigerian governors Forum (NGF) while speaking at the launch on Jan.9, said that the establishment of “Amotekun” was born out of the spark of increased armed robbery, banditry and kidnappings across southwest region.