The Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) has lent its voice against declaration of Amotekun by Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, as illegal.
This is coming as the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adewusi Adeyeye Ojaja ll, thursday maintained that the introduction of the security outfit by the South-west governors is not to take over the duties of the state police or military but to complement them.
Malami has described the Western Nigeria Security Network codenamed Amotekun an illegal outfit on Tuesday.
But Yoruba leaders and some notable Nigerians have been condemning Malami’s pronouncement, saying it mocks true federalism.
The Senior Elders’ Forum of the YCE asked the President Muhammadu Buhari, to call Malami to order.
Col. S Ade Agbede (rtd), who spoke on behalf of the Senior Elders Forum of the YCE, described the statement by Malami as provocative and unbecoming of such an exalted office.
The group urged President Buhari to caution Malami and any other member of his cabinet that may not be at peace with the security initiative.
Agbede said ‘Amotekun’ ‘’is a Yoruba project and that what the governors did had the blessings of every son and daughter of the Yoruba nation.
“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,’’ he said.
Agbede, who is the immediate president of the YCE, described Amotekun as a child of necessity, recalling the gruesome murder of the daughter of Pa Reuben Fasoranti (Mrs. Olakunrin), the abduction of Chief Olu Falae, the incessant kidnap and killings of other Yoruba sons and daughters too numerous to mention as part of the reasons that made the initiative more compelling.
The elder statesman equally called on the Yoruba traditional rulers to give maximum support to the security outfit in their respective domains stressing: “we are at a very critical stage in the life of this nation that we must hold our destiny in our hands.
‘’We can’t fold our arms and pretend as if nothing is happening when our people are losing their lives.”
Meanwhile, the Ooni of Ife, Enitan Adewusi Adeyeye Ojaja ll, has maintained that the introduction of Amotekun is not to take over the duties of the state police or military.
He said the security organisation was established to clamp down on the nefarious activities of insurgents and other security threats in the region.
He made the statement at a briefing in Lagos while reacting to the question on Amotekun being unconstitutional.”
The monarch disclosed that Amotekun’s role is not to take over the duties of the State Police or military but to support the already existing security operatives.
He urged that the organisation be given a chance.
“The South-west governors decided to come together to set up Amotekun on complementary basis to support the already established security systems of Nigeria, such as the police and the arm forces, because of existing security realities. The governors, particularly the APC governors, are very close to the federal government and are in support of the progress of Nigeria, and the good works of this administration,” Oba Ogunwusi said.
According to him, Amotekun should be seen as a plus to curbing insurgency threats, he said: “There are some secluded places inside local communities that Nigerian arm forces cannot get to. Most breakthroughs in Boko Haram insurgents’ attacks were as results of the tips from the local vigilantes and traditional rulers and districts heads of those places.
“They would usually give hints of strange people and movements in their localities. They are the ones furnishing the military with information on where to go and not during such operations. And these have helped the Nigerian military to make headway.
“Likewise, Amotekun is established on complementary basis, to give localised intelligent information. And that is the meaning of Amotekun in Yoruba – like the animal masters its terrain, they have mastered the security intelligence of their terrain.”