The Federal Government and the governors of the South-West states on Thursday reached a middle ground on the controversial security outfit, Operation Amotekun, as both settled for a legal “framework.”
This implies that the states will put in place all the necessary legal backing for the outfit to continue.
The resolution was reached at a meeting between Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the governors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, and the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, also attended the meeting.
Malami declined to grant an interview to State House correspondents after the meeting. He merely said, “We are on the same page” and smiled.
However, the Chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, told the reporters that deliberations behind closed doors were “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.
Akeredolu added that the governors would return home and work out the framework accordingly.
He said, “We held a very fruitful discussion, the governors of the South-West were there. The AGF and the IGP also attended. The meeting was presided over by the VP.
“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 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.”
Asked why there were no consultations with the Federal Government before the states launched the outfit, the governor replied that there were consultations.
He alluded to the fact of Malami saying that he was “misquoted” on his earlier stance by declaring Amotekun as “illegal.
Akeredolu, who spoke in the presence of the AGF, said,“There were consultations with even the IG before starting Amotekun. What has developed, the noise out there, was the report that there were no consultations, but there were consultations.
“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.”
Malami, while responding to a question during a chat on Radio Nigeria Abuja on Thursday morning, explained that he did not say that Amotekun was illegal, saying, “I was misinterpreted on Operation Amotekun, I did not say it’s illegal.
“I said the Operation Amotekun should be properly backed by law, so if at the end of this government, if the operation has been backed by law, any government that eventually succeeded this government will not rubbish the operation”.
“I said if they failed to enact a law in support of Amotekun in the South-West Region of Nigeria, another government can come and say it’s illegal and this is because it is not backed up by any law”.
“So, it is just a piece of advice to the state governors to use their power and the State Houses of Assembly in their various states to enact a law that will make the operation more effective.”