AGF finally appears before Senate, explains reluctance to answer summons

Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 13 July 2016 | 2,556 times

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Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), finally appeared before the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters on Wednesday.‎

Malami, who had been summoned to shed light on why he took the Senate leadership to court for alleged forgery, apologised for his failure to appear earlier. Giving the reason, he said: “If any case is pending before a court of law, no other arm of government is expected to look into or take any action on it. This is why it will be prejudicial for me to make any insinuation or conclusion on the matter for now.”

He stated that as the country’s number one law officer, he has the constitutional mandate to sustain the democratic process in line with Section 174 Subsection 1 of the Nigerian Constitution. The AGF explained that the case was instituted against the leadership of the Senate by his office at the instance of some serving senators and it was instituted after the conclusion of police investigation.

Faulting the suit, Chairman of the Committee, Senator David Umaru, told the AGF that “Section 62 of the 1999 Constitution gives the Senate the power to make rules to regulate its own proceedings.” He added that their mandate is not to look at the cases pending in court but events that precedes the case “which are interior and exclusive to the Senate.”

Reacting, the AGF stated categorically that his decision was based purely on public interest and in the interest of justice which does not, however, amount to dabbling into the affairs of the Senate. He added that the Senate Standing Order of 2015 as amended did not follow the standard procedure of the Senate. 

“The Senate Standing Rule of 2011 was amended as a result of a Senate resolution passed during plenary indicating areas that needed amendments as agreed by all but this was not case with the 2015 amendment, making it necessary to institute the case,” he stated.

After answering their questions, the committee thanked Malami for honouring their invitation.

News Express had earlier reported that the AGF was summoned in connection with the suit on the alleged forgery of the Senate Standing Order by Senate President Bukola Saraki, as well as Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who are currently standing trial at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

•Photo shows AGF Malami (SAN)

Source: News Express

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