Amotekun Personnel Will Have Power To Arrest Criminals, Says AG
Lagos, Ogun and Ekiti states are leading the drafting of model bills on the South-West security outfit, Operation Amotekun.
The Ekiti State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Wale Fapohunda, who gave this indication in an interview with one of our correspondents on Sunday, also said operatives of Amotekun, would have the power to arrest suspected criminals.
Fapohunda said this just as indications emerged on Sunday that the South-West attorneys general would on February 6 meet to harmonise positions of different states on the proposed Operation Amotekun bills.
The Federal Government and the South-West governors had, at a meeting in Abuja on Thursday, resolved their differences on Operation Amotekun, which was launched in Ibadan on January 9 to address killings and kidnapping in the zone.
The meeting, which was presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, was attended by the South-West governors and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, who declared Operation Amotekun illegal on January 14.
At the meeting, both sides agreed that each of the South-West states should make a law to back Operation Amotekun.
As a follow-up to the agreement reached in Abuja, the attorneys general of the South-West states met in Ibadan on Thursday to begin the process of making Amotekun laws in their states.
Shedding light on the proposed Amotekun bill, Fapohunda, in the interview with The PUNCH, stated, “We ultimately want to create a security outfit that is accountable and responsible to the people of each of the states involved so that they can have faith in the outfit. We have sights on a law that has focus on the people’s lives.
“The legal framework being drafted by the attorneys general will contain the mandate of Amotekun. The mandate is very crucial and that will be clearly stated; then the administrative structure, particularly as it relates to the issue of accountability and their power particularly as it relates to that of arrest.
“Power of arrest is not new. All our non-conventional forces have the power of arrest. What is important is that when they arrest, what happens to those that they arrest? The way Amotekun will work is that if they see a crime that is being committed, they will have to inform the national security forces like the police, where that is not possible, they can arrest and hand over such a person to the security agencies.”
Fapohunda, who said Amotekun across the different state commands would be working in collaboration, said the law would also spell out the relations among Amotekun in the six South-West states.
He stated, “There is going to be clear provisions on how they are all going to cooperate. The issue of funding is also crucial; where we are going to be getting money from and how the state governments should be funding them. Those are some of the issues that will be contained in the proposed bill.
“The relationship with the conventional security agencies is an important component. The approach that we are taking is that of community policing. The whole concept is going to fit within the framework of community policing. That is one of the areas that the governors agreed with the IG.”
Fapohunda said there would still be consultation among the South-West attorneys general with a view to producing virtually similar laws in the states.
He said, “We are working on it, but don’t forget that we are going to consult. Our own version will be ready, we are now going to look at other versions and see whether we can be inspired by what other versions have.
“Ultimately, it is about having a law that, when you see the Ekiti State Amotekun law, you look at the Oyo State Amotekun law, you see that there will be similarities. We are not warming up to enact a law on our own. We just want to make sure that our is ready and when others are ready, we are all working within a limited time frame, then the South-West AGs attorney-general will meet again and review where we are.
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