A critical appraisal on the legality of setting up the Amotekun security outfit in the Western zone of Nigeria

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A critical appraisal on the legality of setting up the Amotekun security outfit in the Western zone of Nigeria

Abstract

It is trite law that the primary preoccupation of government is to secure lives and property as enshrined under section 14(b) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended). In line with this mandate, the Nigeria Police and other government security services were established and superintended by the federal executive arm of government. Accordingly, both citizens and state governments are accustomed to look up to the federal government for their security in view of the fact that the power to legislate over security matters falls under the Exclusive List and by implication, only the National Assembly is bona fide to so act. Two opposing views are distillable on the above stated Constitutional conundrum; first, is the notion of illegality for state governments to establish in line with the Constitution, and second, the construction of such power as composite and as such, making it permissible for state governments to complement the effort of the federal government in the face of widespread occurrence of crime and criminality in the nation. It is on the strength of the former that the Minister for Justice and AttorneyGeneral of the Federation, Abubakar Malemi, SAN, opposed the establishment of a regional security organisation codenamed “Amotekun” by the South- western governors for their region. The Minister’s action is premised on the provision of ection 4(5) of the 1999 Constitution, which states that where a conflict exists between the laws made by the National Assembly and the State Houses of Assembly, the former shall prevail, and that such other law made by any House of Assembly shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void ab initio. Furthermore, litigation is the traditional option open to the federal government and the states in the determination of any matter between them. It is in light of the foregoing therefore, this research seeks to make a case for Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms as a viable solution to the seeming tussle between the federal government and the governors of the South-western geopolitical zone of Nigeria on the “Amotekun” question

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