Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has condemned the Federal Government’s declaration of Amotekun, a South-West security outfit, as illegal.
Soyinka, a professor of comparative literature, spoke at a press briefing in Lagos Wednesday.
He said a serious government who cares for its citizens would not object to such initiative.
“The initiative is quite legal and constitutional and in any case, the federal government should go to court,” he said.
The federal government on Tuesday declared the security outfit, launched by the six states within the south-west, as illegal.
According to Abubakar Malami, the Minister of Justice, setting up the organisation “runs contrary to the provisions of the Nigerian law.”
“No other authority at the state level, whether the executive or legislature has the legal authority over defence,” he said.
Soyinka, however, said it was disappointing to see the reaction to a very simple operation taken by South-West governors, in which “some people in high places speaking perhaps for the government objected the initiative.”
He added that the Amotekun operation was not only appropriately required, but long overdue, stressing that there is fundamental right of the people to defend themselves from killers and other unscrupulous forces that threaten their existence.
“I’ve always believed passionately in self-policing. If it is possible to eliminate any kind of formal policing, I will be forward. But there is a need for an organised security.
“To say that the people do not have a right to defend their lives, secure a livelihood and flush out the evil elements and pick up the slack that existing securities are unable to fulfil is an enemy action and inhumane.”
Soyinka said having “some people who have been sleeping all this while, taking belated actions, who watched all the security threats that citizens suffer saying the initiative is illegal and unconstitutional is unacceptable.”
He said a determined community policing unit can be very effective in taming criminals, and the necessary legal complications of the operation were considered by the governors before its launch.
Solomon Asemota, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said the south-western states are not out of order and have the right to protect their people.
“The federal government itself can go to court, both parties put up arguments and thereafter decide what the majority of Nigerians want,” he said.