Written by Michael Afuye
It is no longer news that internal security has always been a hard nut to crack for the Nigerian government with incessant broad day acts of terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, rituals amongst others, thereby instilling fear in the minds of the Nigerian citizens.
Nelson Mandela once said “safety and security don’t just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear.”
In a reactive response to these rising issues of insecurity, the governors of the south-western states of Nigeria launched a security initiative christened “operation Amotekun “ to allay issues bothering on insecurity in the south-west region. This is a great development in the political structure of the south-western region of Nigeria because notwithstanding the fact that these governors belonged to different political parties, yet they came to a consensus which has birthed the “Amotekun” initiative.
Without disrespect, I find the comment of the Attorney general of the Federation in person of Justice Abubakar Malami rather myopic and hypocritical. Myopic in the sense that the Nigerian Police Force being the exclusive reserve of the Federal government has a staff strength of about 371,800 officers in a nation-state with over 200million citizens, with this statistics, I do not see the federal government in the right track of putting a lasting end to insecurity. Hypocritical in the view that “Amotekun’s” sister initiative, the HISBAH POLICE in the north and the CIVILIANS JOINT TASK FORCE in the south-south regions of the country exits without so much fuss.
Consequent to the provisions of the 1999 Nigerian constitution which the Attorney general of the federation seems to hold so dearly, Section 14 paragraph (b) provides that “the SECURITY AND WELFARE of the people shall be the primary purpose of the GOVERNMENT”. Government pursuant to Section 318 of the 1999 Nigerian constitution means Government of the Federation, or of ANY STATE, or of a local government council or any person who exercises authority on its behalf.
Governors as the first citizen of their respective states and Chief Executive Officers have the right as the Chief Security Officer to adopt security measures within the ambit of the law to ensure the maintenance of law and order. This view was upheld in the case of ATTORNEY GENERAL ANAMBRA STATE v ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION where the supreme court held that “the constitution in Section 215 Subsection (4) clearly gives the Governor of Anambra State the right to give lawful orders to the Commissioner of Police, Anambra state in connection with securing public safety and maintaining order in the state. Section 24 paragraph (e) of the 1999 Nigerian constitution also provides that it is the duty of every citizen to render assistance to lawful and appropriate agencies in the maintenance of law and order.
The “Amotekun” initiative as a paramilitary body has not come to displace or replace the police rather, it has come to complement its statutory duty of securing public safety and maintaining law and order. And as to whether or not the operatives of Amotekun can bear firearms, as a paramilitary body whose intent is to secure public safety and not for the purpose of display of physical force or coercion in promoting any political objective or Interest, I hold the view that it has not crossed any red line of section 227 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution and therefore the operatives of Amotekun can be equipped with firearms.
However, if the issue is as to whether or not the operatives of Amotekun will misuse firearms or that it is to be used for political objectives or interests against other regions rather than as to whether or not this initiative is a reactive measure cum a lasting solution to the insecurity menace in the south-west region of the country, then I don’t see a progressive Nigeria. Even the Nigerian Army, Police force, DSS, SSS, SARS misuse firearms.
This is a call to true federalism!
This is a call to constitutional review!!
This is a call to having a one and peaceful Nigeria!!!
NECESSITY THEY SAY, IS THE MOTHER OF INVENTION.
AMOTEKUN IS HERE TO STAY.
This article does not express the opinion of OldNaija or any member of our staff.