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AMOTEKUN: AGF has no power to proscribe any group in Nigeria – Falana

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THE controversy trailing suspension of Western Nigeria Security Network also known as Amotekun took a fresh dimension on Wednesday night as Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) disclosed that the law forbids the Attorney General of the Federal Government, Abubakar Malami from proscribing any group in the country.

“The Attorney General of the Federal Government, Malami SAN, has no power whatsoever to proscribe any organisation in Nigeria,” the activist and human right Lawyer said during an interview in a popular television programme on CHANNELS, Politics Today.

He spoke while reacting to the position of the Minister of Justice who had on Tuesday declared Amotekun security outfit as illegal.

Falana said the statement credited to Malami is divisionary and hypocritical, considering the existence of security groups in the northern part of the country which the minister is yet to pronounce illegal .

“In this case, the statement credited to the Attorney General of the Federal Government is clearly diversionary and hypocritical. Hypocritical in the sense that the governments of Kano and Zamfara states have set up Hisbah Commission and just recently, the Hisbah operatives in Zamfara State arrested a police officer alleged to have been caught in the midst of three women.”

He cited several other instances of paramilitary groups recognised by the government including the recent neighbourhood watch set up by the Lagos State government, adding that the federal government had to approach the court before it could proscribe the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).

He said the minister should have advised the government appropriately stressing that while Malami occupies the position of an attorney general, the concerned states also have their independent attorney generals.

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Falana, however, advised the South West state governors to meet with their respective State House of Assemblies to enact laws to back up the initiative.

He said such law should spell out operational models of Amotekun, the funding strategies as well as areas of partnership with the Nigerian police.

But, in his remarks, Rotimi Akeredolu described the controversy as a minor issue that would be resolved in no time.

He said though the south-west governors are yet to meet on the matter, it is nothing to worry about.

“If the Attorney General made a statement, we will not go and say we want to be confrontational but after our meeting, we will take decisions as to what we will do.

“We don’t want any confrontation as such but we know that it is not in the place of the AGF to interpret laws. It is for the court,” Akeredolu said.

However, he insisted that the constitution does not forbid the states from running Amotekun, thus states have the right to establish the security network.

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“We are elected as governors to protect our people and that’s why we are the chief security officers in the state. So, it is for us to determine what we want to do for our people and we have taken that decision.

“Amotekun is going to go head, but like I said, we will meet and get back to you”.

Olugbenga is an Investigative Reporter with The ICIR. Email address: [email protected] Twitter handle: @OluAdanikin

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