Nigeria: Govt Can't Dictate How South West Should Protect Its People - Afenifere

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(file photo)
24 January 2020

The pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, yesterday rejected the federal government's position that Amotekun should align with the national community policing strategy.

Spokesman of the group, Yinka Odumakin, however said the group has no problem with each of the state Houses of Assembly passing a law to give the outfit a legal backing.

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According to Odumakin, the federal government cannot dictate to the region on how to protect its people.

He said, "Those agreements are not bad themselves but they (FG) cannot dictate to the states. The states are a federating unit. They are coordinate to the federal government; they are not subordinate.

"They have been asking what the framework for Amotekun is... What is the framework for their community policing? Community policing from what I have heard from the IGP is not more than just informants to the police. Where will that take us to? We need more than that," he said.

"Yes, that there should be a law to back it, we have no problem with that but to say that it should be in line with the federal government's community policing, we reject that totally," he said.

The Executive Director and Chairman of Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reform (CODER), Dr Wunmi Bewaji, agreed that each state House of Assembly in the South West would have to pass a law to capture the operational modalities of Amotekun.

He said the federal government has "bowed to public pressure and realised the illegality" of its earlier position on the issue.

"The truth of the matter is that protection of lives and properties is never in the exclusive list, not even in the concurrent list and public safety is also not in the exclusive list, not even in the concurrent list," the legal luminary said.

He also rejected the position of the federal government that the issue must align with the FG's strategies on community policing, saying the strategies had failed.

"Is it the strategy that allowed the Emir of Potiskum to be brazenly attacked or the strategy that has given bandits and criminals total control over the states?" he queried.

A former minister of Works, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe said the federal government should have initially proposed operational guidelines on community policing which would guide any community or state establishing a local policing outfit.

He said declaring Amotekun illegal in the first instance was not the right thing to do.

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