Human Rights lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, has advised the six governors of the southwest region to immediately forward bills for the creation and operation of Amotekun, the security outfit they recently launched, to their respective state assemblies.
An enabling law in all the states, he said would allow the governor’s to effectively take on the federal government if it challenged the constitutionality of the security outfit in the Supreme Court.
In a statement released to the public, Falana also suggested that the Lagos State Neighbourhood Watch Law coupled with the Lagos State Security Trust Fund Law may be modified or adopted for Amotekun.
Since the launch of Amotekun on January 10, 2020 and its subsequent rejection by the federal government, there are been a populist rise in ethnic nationalism in the southwest region of the country with sentiments running high.
Apart from those who are strenuously opposed to Amotekun, Falana said, “the concerned people in the south west zone who have embraced the security initiative are entitled to know the law setting it up.
He said, “In the absence of an enabling legal instrument for the establishment, structure, functions, control, funding and operation of Amotekun various interest groups in the country have continued to express divergent views on the needless controversy that has trailed the official inauguration of the security outfit.”
Passing individual laws in the southwest states may however limit the regional ambitions of the six governors as each governor would have to hold executive powers to operate Amotekun.
Falana did not give an opinion on what effects Amotekun, as proposed, would have on the federal structure of the country considering that states, and not regions are the constitutionally recognised federating units. Another challenged in passing a law on Amoketun as a regional outfit would be that all six governor cannot share executive powers as commanders in chief of Amotekun.
Once the laws are enacted the federal government, he said, would be at liberty to test the constitutional validity of Amotekun in the Supreme Court.
He added, “the Police authorities endorsed Amotekun while the Attorney-General of the federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN has questioned its legality.
“Even though I had cause to join issues with Mr. Malami over his legal opinion on the security outfit I was compelled to call on each of the south west governors to forward a bill to the house of assembly of each state for the formation of Amotekun.”
Falana noted that the south west governors have been assuring the federal government that Amotekun was not a regional paramilitary organisation but a zonal security outfit set up to assist the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies in combating incessant killings, kidnapping, armed robbery and other violent crimes that are on the rise in the region due to the failure of the federal government to effectively police the country.