Makinde meets Obasanjo, says FG can’t nullify Amotekun

… Amotekun operation a product of Buhari’s vision on community policing – Fayemi

Makinde spoke against the backdrop of a statement credited to the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Abubakar Malami, in which he described the outfit as illegal.Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State on Wednesday said the Western Nigeria security network codenamed ‘Operation Amotekun’ was established to complement the work of the security agencies and bridge the gaps in the security of the geopolitical zone.

The governor stated that the minister’s comment was misguided, adding that he was not empowered to make such a declaration.

Makinde, while speaking during a visit to former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta, said the AGF’s position was not conveyed through any official correspondence, hence, should be taken with a pinch of salt.

The governor said the government cannot be operated on pages of newspapers or through social media.

According to him, Operation Amotekun has not, in any way, violated the Constitution, but was an intervention to narrow the gaps in security in the South-West.

He added that given the centrality of security to governance, the governors of the South-West designed the Operation to complement efforts of the Nigerian Police and other security agencies.

He added that the Operation was designed to help in combating insecurity in the nooks and crannies of the South-West states.

Makinde said, “You don’t run a government on social media. If I see a letter or receive a call from the Attorney-General of the Federation saying that Amotekun is illegal, it will be a different reaction. For now, I have been reading on social media just like you and I have not seen anything official to that effect.

“Besides, I don’t think that in a country like Nigeria, the Attorney-General should just wake up and make his own law. He may interpret and advise the President about legal issues but I have not seen anything that gave his office the power to make such declaration.

“This outfit is complementary to the effort of the Nigerian Police and other security agencies. In Oyo State, the government has four pillars, namely education, health, security and expansion of our economy through agribusiness. So, security is a major pillar for us and we believe we cannot have any development in an atmosphere that is not secure.”

Makinde said he was in Abeokuta to pay a visit to the former President as part of the tradition of homage to elders to wish them a happy and rewarding New Year.

Meanwhile, Ekiti Governor Dr Kayode Fayemi has said the southwest security outfit code named ‘Operation Amotekun’ is a logical end product of President Muhammadu Buhari’s compelling vision on community policing.

Fayemi, who defended establishment of Amotekun, said it was in line with community policing or multi-layered policing, which is very effective in safety and crime prevention.

The governor insisted that the police authorities were involved in the setting up of the outfit.

The vision, he said, was designed to complement efforts of the established security agencies in meeting challenges of insecurity in the region.

According to a statement by his media aide in Ado-Ekiti on Thursday, Fayemi spoke while delivering a paper at the Daily Trust Dialogue titled: Twenty years of Democratisation in Nigeria: Strengths, weaknesses and opportunities in Abuja.

He said that current debate about the legality/ desirability or otherwise of the security outfit is a healthy national conversation about how to make Nigeria safer and more secured.

Other speakers at the one-day dialogue are former Vice President Namadi Sambo, who was chairman of the event; former Borno Governor, Senator Kashim Shettima; Chair, House of Representatives Committee on Maritime Safety, Hon Lynda Ikpeazu.

Other dignitaries include: former Jigawa Governor Sule Lamido; former Akwa Ibom Governor, Obong Victor Attah; former Katsina Governor Ibrahim Shema and former National Chairman, All Progressives congress (APC), Chief John Odigie- Oyegun among others.

Fayemi said: “The Amotekun vision is a logical end product of President Buhari’s compelling vision on community policing and bottom-up approach to security sector governance across the length and breadth of the country.

“Far from being a competitor with the existing national security platforms, it aims to complement them in the areas of neighbourhood watch, information and intelligence gathering, detection of early warning signs and engaging in early response in a pro-active manner, apart from acting as liaison between the conventional security outfits and the local population.

“For those who are familiar with the mechanism of security sector reforms and transformation in democratising politics, they will readily appreciate the need for multi-faceted, multi-dimensional approaches to national policing and maintenance of law and order.

“Indeed apart from strengthening the operational and administrative capacity of security institutions and the training and retraining of security agents, the other vital component of this paradigm shift in national security calculus is the direct, logical, coherent and sequential involvement of local population and grassroots governance in national security and crime prevention.

“It is in recognition of the above that the Amotekun model emerged.”

Speaking on the topic of the forum, Fayemi who is Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), said the country had indeed made some significant progress in the last 20 years.

He disagreed with cynics who are of the opinion that nothing has worked in the country’s 20 years of democracy.

He said: “The notion that nothing has changed since 1999 and that things have in fact grown worse is cynical, misleading and self –defeating.

“They are also discouraging to many conscientious and patriotic Nigerians in public service, private sector and civil society who have committed themselves to rebuilding the Nigerian nation”.

He advocated for a more inclusive political process that would see more women and youth take on more significant roles in the polity.

This, according to him, has to be dealt with at electoral principle level than electoral contest level.

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