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‘Amotekun’: Yoruba have the right to protect themselves, Gani Adams writes Malami

Haleem Olatunji

Gani Adams, aare ona kakanfo of Yorubaland, says the federal government has no right to declare “Amotekun”, a security outfit in the south-west, as illegal.

On Tuesday, Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), declared the regional security outfit illegal, saying security remains the exclusive preserve of the federal government.

But in a letter on Wednesday, the aare ona kakanfo described the declaration of Malami as “illegal in itself”.

He said the problem of kidnapping, banditry, and other forms of insecurity in the south-west led to the creation of the outfit by elected governors.

Citing the killing of Funke Olakunrin, daughter of Reuben Fasoranti, Afenifere leader, Adams said the people have a responsibility to defend and protect themselves.

“I find it disturbing your statement of Tuesday, January 14, 2020, declaring the security initiative of South-West governors ‘Amotekun’ as illegal. You also threatened that the full course of the law will be applied to anybody promoting the Amotekun security initiative. Maybe you have forgotten. I need to remind you that you are the Attorney-General of the country, not a section of the country,” he wrote.

“Your outburst against the governors who were elected, not selected or appointed, is against the spirit of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

“The right to life is universal and no government can legislate against that. I don’t need to bother you about killings, kidnappings, banditry and other criminal vices in the South-West recently. Even Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, the daughter of Yoruba leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, was killed and nobody has been arrested in respect of all these killings.

“One thing is clear: Nigerians have the right to protect themselves. Not only that: South-West people have a right to protect and defend themselves against attacks. Amotekun is an initiative by the South-West governors to defend our people. I want to establish this fact that the Yoruba have a right to protect themselves from attack or violence of any sort.”

Adams said “Amotekun” is not concerned with the territorial integrity of the country, but focused on keeping citizens lives and properties safe.

He asked the AGF not to consider himself as a court of law, adding that it is only the court that can declare the joint security outfit illegal.

The aare ona kakanfo said he is “aware of similar security outfits in other sections of the country”, thereby urging the AGF to desist from consolidating claims that the federal government is biased against some sections of the country.

“It is unfortunate that rather than praise the governors, you are condemning their action, thereby strengthening the hands of those who believe the Federal Government is against some sections of the country,”  he said.

“As a lawyer and a Senior Advocate, you should know that you are not the law. You are only the Attorney-General, not a court. It is only a court of competent jurisdiction that will decide if what an individual, group of individuals, an entity or a state does is legal or otherwise.

“So, it is only a court that can invalidate the South-West joint security initiative, not you. I want to establish this fact that the Yoruba have a right to protect themselves from attack or violence of any sort.

“So, it is your position on this volatile situation that is illegal, unlawful, immoral and of no effect because your declaration has proved some critics right that some states in the country are deliberately left vulnerable to attacks by criminals.”

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