The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, on Tuesday explained why the new security outfit put together by southwest governors to address security challenges in the region, “Operation Amotekun” would not be validly allowed to operate, saying the arrangement was illegal and a nullity.
Malami also accused the governors of not consulting the Federal Government before launching the security outfit, thereby bringing avoidable trouble upon their shoulders.
The AGF said in a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr. Umar Gwandu, that the defence of the country is expressly vested on the federal government through the Exclusive List and that no other tier of government has been saddled with any power to act in that direction
He said: “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, but with the Federal Government superintending over matters of national interests. 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. The Second Schedule in Item 17 deals with defence. This is a matter that is within the exclusive operational competence of the Federal Government of Nigeria. No other authority at the state level, whether the executive or legislature has the legal authority over defence.
“The setting up of the paramilitary organization called ‘Amotekun’ is illegal and runs contrary to the provisions of Nigerian law. 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.