Peradventure the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, might have forgotten that he is a figure representative of the Federal Government when he took to the public space to declare the South-West “Amotekun (Leopard)” security network as illegal, stressing that security remains the exclusive preserve of the Federal Government. Concerned Nigerians have so far not taken it likely with the position ever since. Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, was one of the figures who did not slack hands to respond to the AGF’s statement. In his reaction, Soyinka had described the Federal Government as a “Sleeping Government” admonishing it to go back to sleep. To Soyinka, he stated that without contention the security network has come to stay as a result of collective consciousness of the people of South-West.
Soyinka’s words state in quote: “Our responsibility as a citizen is to take actions against events, phenomenon which militate against our existence, security, productivity and dignity as human beings.
“This has been a result of collective consciousness by people of this region. These governors met and they came up with this solution, Amotekun. Now, some people who have been sleeping all this time, taking belated actions in many directions, who watched the citizens of this nation decimated, villages wiped out, farmers chased off their land. They are now coming out to tell us that this initiative is illegal, unconstitutional. I think they should go back to sleep.
“I prefer to believe that the government itself has not spoken. I refuse to believe that any serious government will raise any objection to this kind of initiative. Amotekun has come to stay.
“Amotekun is only a part of the story. It should not be the only solution to insecurity. We should move from Amotekun to Awosikun. In other words, we should start thinking in terms of how to feed our own people.”
In rational consideration of all perceptions and contest that might have erupted and are still unfolding, the bone of contention may no doubt be a source of worry to any rational thinking Nigerian, in the light of prevailing circumstances. An unbiased critique of the security situation in the Country will by means reveal that, according to Soyinka’s note, the Federal Government is on a sleep. The first priority particularly known to be the grand onus for the existence of government in every human society is the protection of lives and properties. Where this is threatened, it pragmatically means the essence of government has been defeated.
Therefore, it is not out of place if a unit regarded as a “State Government” in the Country works out modalities on how to secure the protection of its citizens and their properties. If the federal structure of Nigeria places the list of defence of the Country on the Federal Government, it becomes a subject of query when the Federal government has been demonstrating gross ineptitude in handling security matters all over the Country. Prevailing circumstances reveal nothing but grave threats to internal security across all parts of the Country. The spate of robbery, banditry, cultism, kidnapping for ransom, and terrorism among other several menaces constituting grounded threats troubling the fabrics of the Country, is not in small measure issues that can be overlooked at this time.
Therefore, for the State Government’s to have come with the initiative of devising such security network to protect the lives of its citizens at this time when the land is thirsty of safety, is not in any way a hara-Kiri. In fact, the effort should be commended. What the Federal Government should rather be concerned with at this time, should be on how to carry-out oversight function in ensuring that the security network is used judiciously for its designed purpose without abuse. The Federal Government declaring the security outfit as illegal is more or less reflecting it as a Central Government that doesn’t think out of the box to address pressing demands as they arise. In essence, it is presenting the Federal Government as a clueless government sticking traditionally to status quo without concerns for presents circumstances and human lives cum welfare. The State Governors had stated clearly that “Amotekun” is not in any way a substitute to the Nigerian Police, nor is it an attempt to institute regional security architecture, but rather an arrangement to complement the effort of mainstream security formations, thus not a threat to national security.
Rationality therefore demands that the Federal Government should build strictly on the definition of the security network “Amotekun” and use the terms of its definition and reference, as given by the Governors, to set the standard to leverage on in monitoring and putting the security structure to check. In as much as the Federal Government cannot do this, it might not be out of place to declare as Soyinka stated, that the “Federal Government should go back to sleep.”
The Federal Government should at this time be taking thought of how to reduce the heavyweight burdens on its shoulders which have been hindering it from performing to expectations. It is high time the National Assembly in collaboration with the Presidency, look into moving and passing bills that speaks to the demands of present realities, as well as amending parts of the constitution that are non complementary to modern realities. This is earnestly the way Nigeria can be begin to move in the path of development as today’s realities demand.