Sir: President Muhammadu Buhari, together with the state governments, should have given support to and ensured that Amotekun was and is fortified in the nook and cranny of the states, particularly Lagos State before the EndSARS protest. If that had been done, it’d have been pretty easier “arresting” or curtailing the criminal activities of burglars, looters, arsonists and subverters of the well-meaning #EndSARS protesters and demonstrators. It is really mind-boggling that a simple, matter-of-fact group of peaceful protesters would have been mercilessly treated overnight at the Lekki Tollgate. It’s even yet more unfathomable, isn’t it, that such despicable and outrageous action would be rather badly contested that it’s in attributable to no one in particular.
In one statement signed by Special Adviser to the Attorney General of the Federation on Media and Public Relations, Dr. Umar Gwandu, we are told that “the setting up of the parliamentary organisation called Amotekun is illegal and runs contrary to the provisions of the Nigerian law. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) has established the army, navy and air force, including the police and other numerous parliamentary organisations for the purpose of defence of Nigeria. As a consequence to this, no state government, whether singly or in a group has the legal right and competence to establish any form of organisation or agency for the defence of Nigeria or any of its constituent parts.”
This has always been the problem with Nigerian leaders. Who are the makers and founders of this constitution; clearly, the constitution was so made at the time in order to meet the existential political problems. But now, the problems Nigeria is grappling with are far detached from the problems of the 80’s and 90’s as it were. As a result, it wouldn’t be untoward if the same constitution is time and again “amended” and tailored towards the perennial problems of the 21-st Century. Instead of letting what we’ve made with our fingers bite and backfire on us, I think it’s time we seriously liberate ourselves from the volatile and monolithic impact the constitution is unleashing on us. The dead-end of the 1999 Constitution in the 21-st Century is pervasive. It doesn’t seem to be efficacious anymore. We surely need to restructure the constitution and let certain things be deliberately embedded and enmeshed in it before any ground-breaking progress and breakthrough could be galvanised in the federal republic of Nigeria.
Even though the Federal Government did not support the locals along with the creation of Amotekun, I do not think that should have been the reason for the renunciation and remonstration particularised to the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami – that the creation of Amotekun is unconstitutional and illegal. Virtually everyone knows that the constitution is pretty not meeting the socio-political and ethno-religious problems we are facing in Nigeria. And why are we so restricted to what’s not working best for us to the detriment of the peace and progress of the nation?
Think about the critical and crucial role Amotekun could have played amid the sprawling effect of the #EndSARS protest. To be sure, Amotekun could have otherwise stood in for the so-called constitutionalised police arm, in such a way that the wanton, woe-begone destruction and devastation perpetrated by hijackers of the protesters would have been pretty much avoided. Even Malami himself knows the constitution is perverse in ensuring the peace and justice we proclaim in our National Anthem.
Segub 1ge is a graduate of English, University of Lagos.