By Bisi Oladele, Ibadan
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.
Malami has described the Western Nigeria Security Network codenamed Amotekun an illegal outfit on Tuesday.
He said it ran against the provision of the constitution which vests the power to secure the nation in the Federal Government alone.
Amotekun was launched with fanfare in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital last Thursday by the six governors in Southwest zone of the country.
They are Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti states.
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, Muhammed 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.
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Asking 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.”