As controversy rages over the establishment of a joint security outfit codenamed Operation Amotekun, the Nigerian Bar Association(NBA), Ado Ekiti chapter, has declared that the Southwest Governors, had not breached any section of the 1999 constitution for establishing the security network.
The legal association added that the governors only exercised their rights under the law, since the kernel of the existence of any government, is to guarantee security of lives and property.
There had been barrage of criticisms against the formation of the security outfit since its inauguration in Ibadan, Oyo State capital last Thursday, with the most scathing condemnation coming from the Northern Youth Council of Nigeria, which described the body as not only illegal, but a threat to national security and cohesion.
In a telephone conversation on Sunday, the NBA Chairman, Ado Ekiti chapter, Barrister Samuel Falade, said though, Sections 214 and 215 of the 1999 Constitution mandated the police as the agency responsible for the protection of lives and properties to provide security, insisting that this doesnt fetter the hands of the governors from taking further measures to reinforce protection for the citizens.
However, chapter 2, section 14 (2b) gives mandate and rights to president and governors to provide security across the country and in their respective states, that the primary duty of government is to protect lives and properties .
Also, section 20 of Adminstration of criminal justice allows a private citizen to arrest any criminal and handover to the police for investigation and prosecution. Under this context, operatives of operation Amotekun can arrest and handover to the police for proper action .
I see no reason people should criticise the body or entertain fears, because the governors had spoken about the modus operandi of Amotekun, which was that they would work alongside with the police, NSCDC and Army.
We had had several cases of kidnapping, killings and ritual cases among other crimes in the region in the last few years and there must be proactive innovation actions to complement conventional security architecture to rise to these sordid situations.
The essence of Amotekun is to rise to the present insecurity in the Southwest and governors as Chief Security Officers can design ways to protect their citizens as long as such step is in line with the law, which was the case with Amotekun, he said.
The NBA boss described the noise about Amotekun as unwarranted , saying it has a precedent in the history of the country.
Let me emphasize that Amotekun has precedent . We have the Civilian Joint Task Force(CJTF) in the Northeast to combat Boko Haram, so Amotekun has both constitutional and judicial backing for the protection of lives and properties.
As usual, once anyone is arrested, he will be immediately handover to the police, with this, its a welcome development and its a right step in the right direction.
Any citizen or governor in the Southwest, who refuses to support this laudable and great idea is several years behind time, he said.