Attorneys-Generals of the six Southwest states on Friday night put finishing touches to the required legal framework for the operation of Operation Amotekun aimed at combating crimes in the region.
According to the details of the agreed framework, each of the Southwest states of Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti and Lagos will have its their legislation and security network operatives, which will bear the name Amotekun Corps.
Unlike when the absence of some state Governors at the inauguration of the Operation Amotekun outfit caused some furore in the media, all the Attorneys-General were present at the meeting.
Those in attendance were: Prof Oyewole Oyewo (Oyo), Mr Oluwafemi Akande (Osun), Mr Olawale Fapohunda (Ekiti), Mr Adekola Olawole (Ondo), Mr Akingbolahan Adeniran (Ogun) and Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo (Lagos) who was represented by the Director of Civil Litigation, Mr S. A Quadri.
The meeting, which started around 7pm and lasted for about three hours behind closed doors at Davies Hotel, Bodija, Ibadan was also attended by officials of the Southwest regional think tank Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission led by the Director General, Mr Seye Oyeleye.
Addressing journalists after the meeting in company of the other AGs, Oyewo denied insinuations the meeting could not hold earlier on Thursday as planned because of political constraints.
He said: “Logistics and the challenges of the office of Attorneys-General in the various Southwest states necessitated the change in the meeting day.”
Giving the details of the legal framework, Oyewole noted that the bill will be sent to the various states Houses of Assemblies after it has been seen by the separate State Executive Councils.
He said the operational details and structural procedures will be common across the six states to allow for avenues for operational collaborations.
He reiterated that the security Network is to complement the existing apparatus but would be using the local intelligence, expressing optimism that the bill will not take too long before being passed to laws by the individual states.
The Oyo AG said: “The meeting of the Attorneys-General of the six south west states just concluded and we deliberated on the plan to evolve a collaborative security network/agency in the south west.
“We have been able to come up with a legal framework to back up such establishment of security network in each of the states. So each of the state will have its own legislation and its own security network corp that will bear the name Amotekun Corps.
“There will be standard operational procedure that will also be in common and there will be an avenue for collaboration between the states to work together.
“It must be stated that the security network will be working in collaboration and as a complimentary network with the police and the security agencies and armed forces.
“We will be depending on our local people because of local intelligence. You can say it is community policing, vigilante but this security system under the name of Amotekun Corp has come to stay.
“The draft bills will proceed to the state houses of assembly of each of the states and will be signed into law by the governors of each state. That is where we are now.
“Today is Friday (meeting day), by next week it will go to the state houses of assembly after it has passed through the Excos of each of the states.”
When asked if the new security outfit will be licenced to carry arms, ammunition and wear uniforms, Prof Oyewo said: “Yes, of course, the carrying of arms is legislated by law and the Amotekun outfit will comply with all the laws of the land.
“We have an operational manual that will also be passed as part of the legal framework for each of the states.
“We just want to allay the fears of anybody that has fears that this is just part of the ways to impact the security architecture in Nigeria, to protect lives and properties.
“We have been emphasising Section 14 of the Constitution imposes a duty, a primary duty, on the federal, state and local governments to secure lives and properties and that is exactly what the states here present are doing.”
Asked if the AGs will write to officially inform the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami on the new development, Oyewole noted: “We run a federal system, as long as laws are passed within the competence of our legislation, we don’t need the permission, authority or even the counsel of anybody other than the operators set under the constitution.
“As I have stated and I reiterate, the law is to establish a security network with Amotekun corps and that is what will be presented to the state houses of assembly and that will probably be passed into law.”