NBA faults AGF, Fayemi says security agencies partnered govs on Amotekun

John Alechenu, John Ameh, Sunday Aborisade, Success Nwogu, Ade Adesomoju, Dayo Ojerinde, Abiodun Nejo and Tony Okafor

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.”

Nnamdi Kanu promises one million men for Amotekun

Also, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu,  supported  the Operation Amotekun regional security outfit of the South-West geopolitical zone.

Kanu, in a state statement he personally signed, said  the arrangement was laudable.

The statement read in part, “The final and definitive stance of the Biafran people is that IPOB will support Operation Amotekun with all our might.

 “I will support this generation of the Yoruba that set up Amotekun. IPOB will work with them. If they want one million men, I will give them to ensure this expansionism is stopped. We will support the Yoruba in all forms and by every means necessary.”

On its part,  the Ekiti Council of Elders urged the Federal Government to fashion out a harmonious working relationship between Operation Amotekun and security agencies.

The elders stated this in a statement in Ado Ekiti by their President, Professor Joseph Oluwasanmi; General Secretary, Niyi Ajibulu; and Public Relations Officer, Dr Bayo Orire.

They wondered if Malami’s pronouncement represented “the true feelings of the Federal Government”.

The statement read, “The Ekiti Council of Elders has lent its weight behind the South-West governors for establishing the Amotekun outfit. The council salutes the courage of the governors for rising stoutly to the security challenges that engulfed the entire zone.”

In a related development, the Senator representing Lagos West, Solomon Adeola, has asked the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.)-led All Progressives Congress regime in the country to start the implementation of the restructuring agenda it promised Nigerians.

Adeola, in a statement on Thursday by his media aide,  Kayode Odunaro, said the establishment of state police, remained the only acceptable way to stop Operation Amotekun.

The senator said, “Part of the APC promised agenda in government is restructuring of the federation.”

He, therefore, asked the Federal Government to look into all recommendations by bodies set up by the government with a view to starting their immediate implementation.

Amotekun: We have embraced community policing, says Nasarawa gov

After a meeting with Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) in Abuja on  Thursday, the Nasarawa State Governor, Alhaji Abdullahi Sule, said that the state had  introduced community policing to complement the police and other security agencies in combating criminality.

He disclosed that all local governments and  communities in the state had one form of vigilance group or another.

Sule was responding to questions from State House correspondents on the launch of Operation Amotekun by the South-West.

The governor stated that Nasarawa already had state community policing in place, but hoped that it would transit ultimately to state police.

He stated, “We believe in community policing and already we have community policing in the state.We hope that along the line it will go into state police.” Sule neither spoke for nor against Operation Amotekun.

However, he claimed that crime had reduced “drastically” in the state, known for regular clashes between local farmers and marauding herdsmen.

Banditry, kidnapping and armed robbery are also common occurrences along Nasarawa’s common boundaries with Benue State.

Sule and the Governor of Benue State, Mr Samuel Ortom, had held several meetings in the past in the hope of ending the attacks by criminals in both states.

For instance, he said the latest meeting between the two of them addressed the frequent skirmishes between the Alago of Nasarawa State and the Tiv of Benue State.

Sule praised the President and the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, for establishing a riot police training base in the state.

He noted that the presence of the school would help improve security in the area and scare criminals away.

Recall that in August 2019, about 40 bandits had attacked the convoy of Sule’s deputy, Dr Emmanuel Akabe.

The bandits had killed three of the policemen attached to the deputy governor and a civilian driver.

Reports indicated that the deputy governor was travelling to Abuja for an official engagement when the bandits rained bullets on the convoy around Akwanga.

Sule had in August confirmed that his deputy was indeed attacked, though he escaped unhurt.

The National Coordinator of the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, Emmanuel Onwubiko, in an interview with The PUNCH in Abuja, asked  Malami, to take into account the fact that the lives of Nigerians living outside the North also mattered.

We will support any initiative that will improve security – NMA

The First Vice-President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Dr Mingeh Tijo,  said the medical doctors would support any initiative that would improve the security situation in the country.

In an interview with one of our correspondents on Thursday, Tijo said the NMA might not be able to comment on the pronouncement of the AGF.

He said, “The NMA may not be able to make a specific statement on Operation Amotekun, because we are not privy to the content of the operational logistics. But on the issue of attacks on our members, we will support whatever the government (whether at federal, state and local government level) will do in terms of helping to protect the lives and property of the citizens.”

Security agencies collaborated with us in forming Amotekun – Fayemi

The Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Dr Kayode Fayemi, at a function in Abuja on Thursday, said the security agencies were informed and collaborated with the South-West in establishing Operation Amotekun.

He stated that the outfit was a complimentary security outfit, adding that there were possibilities and opportunities in the security outfit.

Fayemi insisted that the police authorities specifically were involved in the setting up of Amotekun. He added said the South-West governors had made it clear that it was in response to the security challenge in the zone.

He said, “The Amotekun vision is a logical end product of President Buhari’s compelling vision on community policing and bottom-up approach to security sector governance across the length and breadth of the country.

“Far from being a competitor with the existing national security platforms, it aims to complement them in the areas of neighbourhood watch, information and intelligence gathering, detection of early warning signs and engaging in early response in a pro-active manner, apart from acting as liaison between the conventional security outfits and the local population.”

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