Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye and Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Federal Government and the six governors of South West states of Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo and Lagos, yesterday agreed to formalise the South West Security Network, Operation Amotekun.
The agreement was reached during a meeting with the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, told State House Correspondents at the end of the meeting that the legal framework will help resolve all burning issues surrounding the security network.
The Federal Government had while declaring the outfit illegal, maintained that “the 1999 Constitution (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.”
Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, were part of the meeting.
While Malami declined to comment on the outcome of the meeting, saying Akeredolu will talk on the issue.
However, when approached off camera on whether he will reversed his statement on the illegality of the group, he said: “We are on the same page.”
Akeredolu, who is the chairman of the South West Governors’ Forum, described the deliberations as fruitful.
He said after all the issues relating to Amotekun were discussed, the meeting agreed that the legal framework should be worked out for the outfit.
He said: “We held a very fruit discussion, the governors of the South West were there. The AGF and the IGP also attended. The meeting was presided over by the vice president.
“We have rubbed minds and all of us agreed on the way forward. The most important thing is that we are going to have the legal framework to back this Amotekun. And this legal framework is one in which all of us will be part of.
“What I believe is that Amotekun is there. And you know the Federal Government is also starting community policing. So, we are going to work together to see that community policing and Amotekun work together.”
On why there were no consultations with the government before the states launched the outfit, the governor replied there were consultations. He said Malami in a statement said he was ‘misquoted’ on his earlier stance by declaring Amotekun illegal.
“There were consultations with the IGP before starting Amotekun. What has developed, the noise out there, was the report that there were no consultations, but there were consultations. As part of the solution, we said there was going to be a political solution. So, what has happened now (the meeting with the vice president) is part of the political solution,” Akeredolu said.
Asked his message to those protesting the Federal Government’s plan to stop Amotekun, he said: “There was no time the government stopped Amotekun; the AGF has already spoken.
“He issued a statement and it is so clear, that he said he was misquoted.”
Spokesman to the vice president, in a statement said: “Having regard to the need for all hands to be on deck in addressing the security concerns across the country, it was agreed that the structure of Amotekun should also align with the community policing strategy of the Federal Government.
“It was also agreed that necessary legal instruments will be put in place by each of the states to give legal backing to the initiative and address all issues concerning the regulation of the security structure.”
The governors present at the meeting aside from Akeredolu were those of Ekiti (Kayode Fayemi); Osun (Adegboyega Oyetola); and Ogun (Dapo Abiodun).
Lagos Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, was absent, while Oyo State was represented by his deputy governor.