BY AMOS DUNIA, ABUJA – The Federal Government on Tuesday wielded the big stick on the formation of the security outfit, Amotekun by governors of the Southwest zone, to help fight kidnappings and other violent crimes in the region.
The Federal Government pointedly declared Amotekun an illegal body just as it expressed strong opposition to the initiative of the Southwest governments and people.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Federal Ministry of Justice which stressed that the Federal Government of Nigeria is a sovereign entity governed by laws meant to sustain its corporate existence as a constitutional democracy.
The statement which was signed by Umar Jubril Gwandu on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Justice further stated that the Nigeria is a Federation of states, but with the Federal Government superintending over matters of national interests.
The statement reads further; “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 of 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 the 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 FG states.
It therefore declared that 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.
The FG further said that it is important to it put on record that the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice was not consulted on the matter, adding that if it had, proper information and guidance would have been offered to ensure that Nigeria’s defence and corporate entity are preserved at all times.