Ibadan — The former President-General of the Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), Col Ade Agbede (retd), has berated the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, over his pronouncement that the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN), codenamed: 'Operation Amotekun' was illegal.
YCE, in a statement made available to newsmen in Ibadan, as well as Federation of 18 Yoruba groups under the aegis of Egbe Ifokanbale Ile Yoruba, which is a branch of Yoruba World Congress under the leadership of a foremost historian, Prof Banji Akintoye, at the 20th year posthumous celebration of the chieftain of National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Ola Oni, held at Western House, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan, stated that Malami was an appointee of President Buhari, adding that Governor Akeredolu and his colleagues in the South West were elected and they are the chief security officers of their respective states.
He said: "It is laughable that somebody who claims to be a lawyer, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria at that, will be talking as if enjoys certain powers to pronounce illegality or otherwise of any action. His office is not the court of law."
"With what he said, he has overstepped his boundaries obviously. The problem we have in this country is that many of us don't read again I don't have to be a lawyer to know that somebody somewhere is taking you for a ride. He has been in the country, where there is Hisbah and Civilian JTF in the North, and to him they are not illegal. Hisbah operatives, even arrested a policeman for drinking in the afternoon I one hotel.
"Before the launch of Operation Amotekun, Ekiti State Governor and Chairman of Nigerian Governors' Forum, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, met the National Security Adviser. We are not taking instruction from Malami. He is too small to instruct the South West. If you say Amotekun is illegal, we will ask you questions. If you say Amotekun is illegal, then keeping guards in your house or your estate for security is also illegal. We ca stress it further."
According to Agbede, who spoke on behalf of the Senior Elders Forum of the YCE, asked President Muhammed Buhari should call Malami to order, saying:
"It sounds absurd and ludicrous that a security initiative made to secure the lives and property of the people that voted the governors into power could be declared illegal, whereas the marauders parading themselves as herdsmen, who have been kidnapping, killing, maiming and assaulting our people have been moving about freely."
"The Minister would have to tell the whole world the legal instrument that empowers nomadic herdsmen going about with AK 47 without any form of arrest or caution by our security agencies or the Sharia police that are in operation in some states in the Northern part of the country."
Amotekun has come to stay as an outfit to ensure that our people live peacefully and move freely within our God-given space and as law-abiding people, the outfit will operate within the ambit of the law, cooperate with the government security agencies for as long as our rights are not trampled upon."
Founder and Spiritual Head of Shafaudeen in Islam Worldwide, Prof Sabitu Olagoke, also delivered a lecture on the topic: ' Enhancing Economic Development of Yorubaland,' during the 20th posthumous celebration of Oni.
He noted that the structure of Nigeria is defective, adding that governors that want to execute some special projects in their states would have to go to Abuja cap-in-hand in order to get funding in a federation, adding that Yoruba must wake up, defend their land and ensure food security.
Secretary of Nigerian Socialists' Party, Laoye Sanda, said the Egbe Ifokanbale Ile Yoruba is "fully in support of Amotekun. The fact has been made that Amotekun is not an authentic police as such. But it is to help in terms of security issues and intelligence gathering.
"If Operation Amotekun is illegal, the president would have called the whole hierarchy of the All Progressives Congress to call the South West APC governors to order because APC is controlling five of the six states in the region, while the Peoples Democratic Party is of controlling only one."
Special Assistant to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State on Special Duties and Strategies, Dr Doyin Adebowale, a lawyer, told journalists at the celebration of Ola Oni that "It is not out own place to engage in any controversy with anybody. Malami is the Attorney-General.
"But his office cannot make law for Nigeria, and his office cannot legislate on what we do. His office can initiate a court process for the country. He can stop it at any time by the virtue of Section 211 of the Constitution. That is where it stops."