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Amotekun: Issues Of Legality – Ghani Rotimi



1. Such a regional outfit can only be created by a regional legislative body and administered by a regional structure since from the outset it was designed as a regional force. We do not have any regional legislative body in Nigeria as of today having discarded the 1963 constitution since 1979.

2. No Governor in Nigeria has powers over any region. All regional platforms by Governors are fora of convenience to coalesce and synthesize ideas before returning to their respective bases to implement individually. Therefore, while consultations among Governors can be done regionally, implementation MUST be done within the specific State. Amotekun therefore represents a legal quagmire having been set up from the get home as a regional force to be administered regionally!

3. For any entity to have application beyond the justification of a state where it is set up, it must enjoy legal support of the Federal in the form of Registeration. Entities are created through the Corporate Affairs Commission. Was Amotekun which was design to have application and jurisdiction beyond one state registered with CAC? It ought to be at least under part C. Who are the TRUSTEES? Where they cleared by State Assemblies?

4. If this entity lack legal backbone, should an Amotekun officer from Oyo State on patrol in Ondo State assault my Client in Akure, who do I sue for redress and breach of fundamental rights?

5. The distinction between hisbah in Kano or Zamfara and Amotekun is that those vigilante groups operate in a State pursuant to a legislation by the State Assembly whose jurisdiction covers the State. Once it goes beyond an individual state, then such an enterprise becomes a legal contraption in view of the State of our laws ala Section 214 of the 1999 constitution.

I am not unmindful that there are real security challenges faced across the country and the Police has so far failed to get it under control hence the need for proactiveness on the part of State Governors. However, there exist a greater risk of abuse where structures like Amotekun are created without properly digesting the concomitant legal issues arising in consequence thereof. So what do I propose?

A. The various States of Assemblies in the South West should pass a uniform vigilante law with express provision for information and resource sharing among States.

B. Pursuant to this provision for collaboration among States, the Governors can develop and sign a Enforcement Protocol which demonstrates uniformity in the operation of these vigilantes.

C. The protocols which shall be adopted as a document of each State will spell out the functions of this outfit, set up, personnel qualifications among others. In essence, every State is responsible and liable for its own Amotekun and the actions they undertake.

D. The regional nature of this outfit will not be in its name but in its operations which is precisely where it matters the most. It is only where political mileage is the objective that one will insist on Amotekun as a Western Nigerian Security Force.

This proposition is not new in the world of security. It is merely an adaptation of the structure known as “Five Eyes”. You can read up on it’s operational collaboration via protocols.

About Tony Nwanne

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