The Federal Government on Tuesday declared the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN) codenamed Operation Amotekun as illegal.
Attorney-General of the Federation Abubakar Malami (SAN), said security of the federation is the exclusive responsibility of the Federal Government.
“The setting up of the para military organisation called ‘Amotekun’ is illegal and runs contrary to the provisions of the Nigerian law,” he said in a statement by his spokesman Umar Gwandu.
“No state government whether single or in a group has the legal right and competence to establish any form of organisation or agency for the defence of Nigeria or any of its constituent party,” he added.
The statement by the Federal Government reads: “Federal Republic of Nigeria is a sovereign entity and is governed by laws meant to sustain its corporate existence as a constitutional democracy.
“It is a Federation of states, but with the Federal Government superintending over matters of national interests.
“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 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.
“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 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.
“Finally, it is important to put on record that the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice was not consulted on the matter.
“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.
However, Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, who is the chairman of the Southwest governors forum, said the AGF has no power to make laws and that governors in the zone would make appropriate reaction after consultation.
On January 9, Operation Amotekun was inaugurated in Ibadan with vehicles and other security equipment pooled together by the six states – Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti.
Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka on Tuesday described the WNSN initiative as the best “New Year’s gift,” and an appropriate response to the yearnings of the people.