By Danladi Al-Hassan
The Federal Government and the governors of the South-West states on Thursday reached an agreement on the controversial security outfit, Operation Amotekun, as both sides agreed for a legal “framework.”
Within the resolution was reached at a meeting between Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the governors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the six states will put in place all the necessary legal backing for the outfit to continue.
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 after the meeting told journalists, “we are on the same page” with a smile.
However, the Chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum, Gocernor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, 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.
“We held a very fruit 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.”
He said there were consultations with the Federal Government before the states launched the outfit.
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.
“As part of the solution, we said there was going to be a political solution. So, what has happened now (the meeting with the VP) is part of the political solution.
“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. He stated. “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.”
Meanwhile, the VP’s office, in a statement after the meeting, said it “was very fruitful and unanimous resolutions were made on the way forward.”
It said the states were asked to put a legal framework in place for Amotekun.
The VP’s media aide, Mr Laolu Akande, wrote, “Having regard to the need for all hands to be on deck in addressing the security concerns across the country, it was agreed that the structure of Amotekun should also align with the Community Policing strategy of the Federal Government.
“It was also agreed that necessary legal instruments will be put in place by each of the states to give legal backing to the initiative and address all issues concerning the regulation of the security structure.”
The governors present at the meeting aside from Akeredolu were those of Ekiti (Kayode Fayemi); Osun (Adegboyega Oyetola); and Ogun (Dapo Abiodun).
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, was absent, while Oyo State was represented by its deputy governor.