Activist lawyer sues Federal Government for declaring ‘Operation Amotekun’ illegal
Ubani, others knock Malami over declaration
Human right lawyer, Chief Malcolm Omirhobo has filed a suit before a Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos state challenging the declaration of operation Amotekun illegal by the federal government through the Attorney General of the federation.
The lawsuit also challenged the institutionalization and implementation of Sharia with public funds by the northern states governments with the support of the federal government.
The federal government, the president of the Nigeria, Attorney General of Nigeria, national assembly, inspector general of police, army, air force, navy, Lagos state government and 35 others are the defendants.
The applicant claimed that it is discriminatory, improper, illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional for the defendants to institutionalize and implement Sharia and the use of Sharia police running parallel with the Nigerian Police in northern states with public funds, while refusing to support the establishment of Operation Amotekun and declaring it illegal.
The applicant asked the court to determine whether by the clear interpretation and/or construction of the provisions of Sections 1 (1), 10, 42(1)(a)(b) and 241(1) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended), Articles 2, 3 and 19 of the African Charter on Human and peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act CAP 10) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990, and Article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,1966, it is discriminatory, improper and undemocratic for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants to support the 21st, 23rd , 25th, 27th, 29th, 31st , 33rd, 35th , 37th , 39th, 41st, 43rd defendants’ transformation, institutionalization and implementation of Sharia and the use of Sharia Police (HISBAH) running parallel with the Nigerian Police Force in their states with public funds while refusing to support the 9th,11th, 13th, 15th, 17th and 19th defendants’ establishment of Operation Amotekun, a vigilante security outfit, set up within the context of a Federal system of Government to augment and complement the Nigerian Police by declaring it as illegal?”
He also wants the court to declare that by clear interpretation and/or construction of the provisions of sections 1(1) and 10 of the 1999 Constitution, it is illegal, lawful and unconstitutional for the 21st, 23rd , 25th, 27th, 29th, 31st , 33rd, 35th, 37th, 39th, 41st, 43rd defendants to transform, institutionalise and implement Sharia in their States with Public funds taking into cognizance the fact that Nigeria is a secular State.
“Whether the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), is supreme Nigeria and its provisions have binding force on all the defendants and all persons and authorities in Nigeria?” He asked.
Meanwhile, a former Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja branch, Monday Ubani has criticised the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) over his comment about the formation of a regional security outfit, Amotekun.
He said Malami’s pronouncement that the outfit is illegal was just an opinion and doesn’t have any binding effect.
Ubani, speaking at the 16th Chief Gani Fawehinmi Annual Lecture, explained that there is nothing wrong with the state government coming together to secure their territory.
“The Attorney General gives legal advice. He is not the judiciary and so cannot make pronouncement and say anything is illegal; it can only be an opinion and doesn’t have a binding effect,” he said.
He applauded the Amotekun initiative by governors in the southwest zone, noting that security issues are key as investors would prefer a safe place. devoid of threats.
According to Ubani, Nigeria’s federal system is improper and needs decentralised structures for efficiency and development.
He emphasized the importance of the nation to obey court orders, adding, a system that disobeys its court judgment is craving anarchy.
Founding partner, Tayo Oyetibo LP, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), at the lecture themed, ‘Federalism and the judiciary in Nigeria’ recounted that Gani Fawehinmi can be remembered as an activist, critic, philanthropist, educationist and a dogged fighter, who challenged unconstitutional regimes.
According to him, Amotekun is not illegal, as it can be likened to individual security guards in homes. “It is just a conglomeration of our traditional ‘Mai-guard’. As long as they are not carrying prohibited arms, there is nothing illegal; nothing stops you from protecting your life or property. They have every right to take protective measures, which is constitutional,” Oyetibo added.
Tayo, in his speech, titled ‘Is the judiciary under siege by the executive?’ noted that judicial officers must exhibit high degree of competence, diligence, uncompromising sense of discipline, integrity and incorruptibility, and the executive must never employ self-help in disguise of correction of the judiciary.
Wife of the late Gani Fawehinmi, Bukola Fawehinmi, expressed gratitude over the symposium, which was in honour of her husband. She added that Gani fought to ensure Nigerians were comfortable, but his efforts were however frustrated.