The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) has kicked against the declaration by the Federal Government through the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, that the newly created South-West security outfit, Amotekun is “illegal.”
The forum in a statement issued on Tuesday, and signed by Yinka Odumakin (South West); Gen. CRU Iherike (South East), Senator Bassey Henshaw (South-South) and Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt), described the declaration by the AGF as an “illegal diktat”.
Reacting further, the forum said that the AGF’s action was an abuse of office and an attempt to suppress the rights of federating units to secure themselves.
“We consider his action as an abuse of office to suppress the rights of federating units to secure themselves and in furtherance of the widely-held suspicion that sections of the country are deliberately being rendered vulnerable for herdsmen and other criminals by the Federal Government,” the statement said.
The forum challenged Malami to explain what “makes Amotekun illegal and Hisbah, legal.”
“He should further explain to us what makes Civilian JTF legal in the North East where there is war and in Zamfara and Katsina where there is no war, while Amotekun is his only illegal take. This is a defining moment to decide if we are under segregation and different laws in the country,” it said.
The forum asked the South-West Governors to ignore Malami and “allow him to go to court to challenge their decision as he cannot constitute himself a court over elected governors.”
“We are not under military rule,” the forum added. They insisted that the governors had done “what individuals and neighborhoods can legally do to secure their lives and property.”
The statement added: “The right to preserve your life cannot be under any Exclusive List other than the list of those who have no value for human lives.
The AGF had on Tuesday explained why the new security outfit put together by southwest governors to address security challenges in the region 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 in 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