Abuja — Despite street protests and widespread outpouring of regional support for it, the Federal Government for the second time in less than two weeks, declared the Southwest Security outfit, Operation Amotekun, as an illegal entity not known to the constitution of Nigeria and which had no license to operate in the country.
The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, made the declaration in Abuja in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Dr. Umar Gwandu and made available to Vanguard.
Malami also pointed out that the recapitulation by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, that Southwest states should first enact relevant laws to back Amotekun had vindicated the Federal Government's stance that the security outfit was illegal and could not therefore stand.
"By asking for the state governments of the Southwestern Nigeria to "proceed to enact the necessary laws" in justifying the legality of the establishment and operation of Amotekon, Mr Femi Falana is reaffirming and reiterating the Federal Government's stance that the establishment of the operation currently is illegal," the minister stated.
The minister said it was interesting that Mr Falana, who had earlier wanted to give in to the argument that Amotekun was justified, become evasive when confronted by the media to cite relevant laws giving fillip to the security outfit, adding that there was no ambiguity over the fact that the matter had no basis in law.
The minister added: "It is interesting that no matter the situation, truth prevails. This arrangement called Amotekun is not backed by any law neither at the State nor at the Federal Government level. Amotekun, therefore, remains unconstitutional and illegal as already indicated.
The minister, who maintained that the Nigerian constitution makes no room for regional army, pointed out that the government was not at war with any of the states of the federation.
Malami said: "No amount of effort to hide the truth will work. People could be carried away by sentimental or emotional inclinations, but truth remains apparently palpable. The bottom line is that the current Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria does not accommodate formation of regional security architecture.
"This is a fact which is undisputable and undeniable. Mr. Falana was prevaricating and circumlocuting using evasive techniques when he was asked by the media to justify the presence of lacuna within the law which could establish or protect the concept of regionalism in any operation in the country.
"This arrangement called Amotekun is not backed by any law neither at the State nor at the Federal Government level. Amotekun, therefore, remains unconstitutional and illegal as already indicated.
"The Federal Government appreciates that legally-minded Nigerians have started to eschew emotions by offering legal comments on the matter as against being carried away by other inclinations.
"The Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice is committed to the rule of law and a constitutional democratic Federal Republic of Nigeria," Malami said.
It will be recalled that many states in the Southwest had earlier in the week embark on street protests over the declaration of Amotekun by the federal government as illegal, warning that there was no going back on the operation.