* Why I didn’t attend launch –Abiodun
Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ado Ekiti chapter, has said the South West governors have not breached any section of the 1999 Constitution for establishing a security network, codenamed: Operation Amotekun.
This was in reaction to barrage of criticisms that have greeted the development.
NBA said 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, yesterday, NBA Ado Ekiti chapter Chairman, 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 property to provide security, insisting that this doesn’t 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.
“Also, Section 20 of Administration 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 with the police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, 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 South West 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 emphasise that Amotekun has precedent. We have the Civilian Joint Task Force in the North East to combat Boko Haram, so Amotekun has both constitutional and judicial backing for the protection of lives and property.
“As usual, once anyone is arrested, he will be immediately handover to the police, with this, it is a welcome development and it is a righ step in the right direction.
“Any citizen or governor in the South West, who refuses to support this laudable and great idea is several years behind time,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, yesterday, cleared the air on why he did not personally attend the launch of Operatiom Amotekun, last week in Ibadan.
According to Abiodun, he had planned to attend the event, but the shift in the date earlier agreed on for the launch was responsible for his inability to attend, adding that the new date had already been slated for other official engagements by him.
He explained that he could not have pulled out of ‘Operation Amotekun’, saying the idea was conceived to be a joint patrol initiative of the six South West states and supported by the governors.
Abiodun, who described the media reports that he shunned the official launch of the security outfit as ‘false and incorrect’, gave the clarification at the sidelines of the 15th annual new year thanksgiving and memorial service in honour of Rev. Abraham Adebola Daniel, father of the former governor Gbenga Daniel, at Abraham’s Tabernacle, Sagamu, Ogun State.
He, however, said his deputy attended the event on his behalf and participated in the symbolic driving of one of the patrol vans, which according to him, 20 were donated by Ogun State.