Written by Abdulbasit Usman


The Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN) on 9th January 2020 declared the formation of Operation Amotekun (Leopard), the first regional security outfit in Nigeria, with the principal aim of combating terrorism and insecurity in the south west region. In a counter move, the Federal government on 14th January 2020 via the office of the Attorney General of the Federation declared the newly formed security outfit as illegal and directed the immediate disbanding of the outfit for having been formed contrary to the spirit of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria and for having no legal backing within the legal framework of the Federation.

The move by the Federal government has led to widespread uproar within the polity, with some calling for the Federal government to review its decision, while some are in support of the declaration of illegality by the Federal government, citing the constitution as the grundnorm and the father of all laws, a breach of which renders everything made contrary to its provisions ultra vires and devoid of any force of law.

Even though proponents of the establishment of the security outfit are quick to point out the existence of other state sponsored or state-owned security outfits like the Hisbah Police of Kano State, and the Civilian Joint Task Force ( CJTF ) in war torn Borno and Yobe States, the divide opposed to the idea are quick to point out the distinguishing factors being that the former can be found within the legal framework of kano state, i.e Shariah Law, while the latter is not the result of any specific act of Government, but an evolution or hybridization caused by necessity of the situation forced upon the region by its security challenges.

The conservatives however are cautious of the intrigues that the novelty of the issue brings to the fore in the legal coliseum that is our courts. These conservatives however are quick to avert their minds to the provisions of the 1st Part of the SECOND SCHEDULE to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Exclusive Legislative List), particularly items; 17, 38 and 45. So that a combined reading of these items will create an impregnable impression that anything that has to do with the Defence of the Country, The Military of the Country and the Police or other Security services established by or under any law, are or ought to be done or established under the exclusive powers of the federal government.

However, as stated, that is only but an illusion until same solidifies into an unbreakable principle of law after standing the test of our courts. So for now the arguments for and against rages on, until our apex court lays the matter to rest.  On what side of the divide do you rest? Join the conversation by leaving us your views in the comments section.