Politics

Senate That Cleared AGF For The Job Says “Abubakar Malami Hardly Fit To Continue As Minister”

The Senate has said Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN) is no longer a fit and proper person to occupy the office of Attorney General of the Federation.

The Senate position expressed in a statement by its spokesman, Aliyu Sabi, was in reaction to the ruling of a Federal High Court in Abuja presided over by Justice Gabriel Kolawole, which described the forgery case filed against its presiding officers as an abuse of court process and a decision taken against public interest.

“Our position as a law making chamber is that the Office of AGF is a sensitive and strategic one being the only other office in the executive arm apart from that of President and Vice President to which the constitution specifically assigns some roles and powers,” the senate said, adding:

“It must therefore be occupied by a sober, law abiding, brilliant, mature, broad-minded and less partisan lawyer. Mr. Malami is yet to convince us with his handling of this case that he possesses these attributes.

“We call on him to respect the ruling of the court and to redeem the integrity of his office and admit his error by invoking his power under Section 174 (1) as noted in the ruling of the honourable judge.”

The senate noted that since Malami was counsel to the Senator who had filed a civil suit on the alleged forgery of its Standing Orders, it was conflict of interest for him to have used his position as Attorney General to institute criminal action on same matter, especially against the pendency of the earlier case.

The statement said: “When the Senate invited the AGF to come and throw light on the forgery case, it was not to challenge his right to file, take over or discontinue any criminal case but for him to explain the issues of conflict of interest, abuse of office, disrespect of a subsisting order of a court and violation of the principle of Separation of Powers which are being raised against him.

“When his supporters jumped up and started abusing the Senate over the invitation, we know our position that an Attorney General, and indeed any public officer for whose office public funds are appropriated can be invited by the Senate and the House of Representatives to explain certain issues, is on firm, constitutional ground. And that is in spite of the fact that the AGF is responsible to the President who appointed him. Now, the revelations from the ruling of the court of competent jurisdiction have shown that this AGF has a lot to explain to the public, if not to his appointor.

“It says a lot about an AGF who despite being aware that the court had ordered him and the Inspector of General of Police not to take any further action on the matter during the pendency of the civil suit still went ahead to initiate the criminal case on the Police report which is the subject of the civil case. The judge rightly described Malami’s action as “desperate haste that was not in public interest”.

The senate said those shouting over whether it was right for Senate to invite the AGF or not, should read the ruling of Justice Kolawole and “conclude whether Malami is still fit to be AGF in a government which canvasses change and rule of law.”

The Senate accordingly called on Mr. Malami and other unnamed actors “to heed the wise, timely and apt advice of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar that “it is time to move on”.

“Truly, Nigeria needs our collective energy to address the various challenges – notably increasing poverty, hunger, youth unemployment, general insecurity and kidnapping, among others – which are time bombs that we can only ignore at our own collective peril.”

“It should be noted that Malami’s name is still on the list of lawyers defending Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi and others in the Federal High court.

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