Posted by News Express | 26 October 2017 | 1,640 times
A pro-transparency and non-governmental body, the Human Right Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has asked the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Alhaji Abubakar Malami (SAN), to resign honourably over what it described as his less-than-impressive role in the reinstatement of the fugitive Pensions Reform boss, Alhaji Abdulrasheed Maina to the civil service.
HURIWA said the role played by the Minister as shown by his letter to the Federal Civil Service Commission, permitting the reinstatement of Maina amounted to a transgression against the Constitution since the beneficiary of his letter was a wanted man by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged disappearance of humongous amounts of pensions fund meant for elder statesmen/women who had laboured for many generations in the service of fatherland.
The rights group said the nation’s chief law officer’s role in the controversial reinstatement of the alleged public pension fraud suspect into the civil service even when the nation’s anti-graft agency was searching frantically for him for prosecution smacks of selfishness on the part of the AGF and is absolutely intolerable.
Besides, HURIWA has called for a comprehensive and transparent probe by an Independent Judicial Commission of the entire debacle trailing the disgraceful recall of Maina even when he was declared wanted over alleged theft of N2 billion public funds.
The rights group said there was the need to uncover circumstances surrounding the frequent infighting between the EFCC and the Federal Attorney General to know if this issue of Maina’s recall was pivotal in the intractable public spat.
“Nigerian state must take the opportunity and historic window offered by the whole tales of the sad reinstatement of Maina to reorganise the anti-graft mechanisms. The President must clinically reorganise the hierarchies of EFCC; DSS, and immediately appoint a competently principled legal practitioner devoid of partisan attachment as the Federal Attorney General and Minister of Justice. The frequent open spats in the media between the Director General of the DSS and EFCC’s Acting Chairman on one hand and between Minister of Justice and EFCC’s Acting Chairman on the other hand smacks of a government at the centre that is yet to come to terms with the most pragmatic and professionally effective ways to wage determined war against corruption. These disgraceful public squabbles represent a major threat to national security.”
HURIWA faulted the defence put up by the justice minister that his role in the Maina’s recall scandal was based on public interest, because the same Federal Attorney General failed to exercise his authority to professionally compel President Buhari to respect the Constitutional Independence of the judicial arm of government and respect the several bail orders made in favour of erstwhile National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd.), and the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.
“The ongoing controversy trailing the reinstatement of Maina has revealed the under belly of self-centeredness within the office of the Federal Attorney General who has failed to discharge his official duties as spelt out in the constitution.”
Specifically, section 174 (1) of the 1999 constitution provides as follows: “174.-(1) The Attorney-General of the Federation shall have power (a) to institute and undertake criminal proceedings against any person before any court of law in Nigeria, other than a court-martial, in respect of any offence created by or under any Act of the National Assembly; (b) to take over and continue any such criminal proceedings that may have been instituted by any other authority or person; and (c) to discontinue at any stage before judgment is delivered any such criminal proceedings instituted or undertaken by him or any other authority or person. (2) The powers conferred upon the Attorney-General of the Federation under subsection (1) of this section may be exercised by him in person or through officers of his department. (3) In exercising his powers under this section, the Attorney-General of the Federation shall have regard to the public interest, the interest of justice and the need to prevent abuse of legal process.”
HURIWA expressed consternation that the same Minister of Justice who has taken almost eternity to begin the prosecution of detained terrorists of Boko Haram, and has failed to compel his boss to respect section 6 of the constitution by abiding with decisions of courts of competent jurisdiction in the matter of Dasuki and El-Zakzaky is the same person who rapidly recommended the resumption of a fugitive from the law who has been on the wanted list of the EFCC.
HURIWA said the EFCC too has serious question to answer as much as the DSS and the Minister of Justice in the unfolding Maina’s scam following emerging facts that the fugitive has always been in Nigeria even as the Rights group said the AGF must produce Maina since he acted for him with clear official letter recommending his reinstatement.
HURIWA wondered: “Why it took the EFCC the open embarrassment of the illegality of the reinstatement of the fugitive for the anti-graft body to hurriedly reactivate mechanisms to seek the arrest of Maina including the eye-service of sensationally marking the alleged housing assets of Maina in Abuja and Kaduna.
“The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, it would be recalled, had reportedly broken his silence on the allegation that he spearheaded the recall, promotion and posting of Maina to the Ministry of Interior.”
Malami, who spoke to a journalist on Tuesday night, said he would rather respond to the avalanche of allegations against him when he formally appears before the Senate, which had summoned him to speak on his role on the entire saga.
Malami, who did not make reference to anyone, nonetheless, described the allegations made against him as ‘a grand conspiracy and mischief’ but did not explain who the conspirators were and what the mischief was.
HURIWA recalled that Malami in the brief media encounter had sought to clear himself of the weighty allegations, when he said thus: “I am a legal practitioner, who is always guided by law and public interest and will therefore not do anything that deviates from the law or breaches public interest.
“I believe that Nigerians are entitled to know the truth in the entire saga and I am ready to speak directly to them when I appear before the Senate since I have been summoned by the legislature, which is investigating the matter. “I will not however talk until I get clearance from my principal on the matter and I look forward to addressing anxious Nigerians on the matter when I appear before the Senators,” the minister said.
HURIWA said the AGF should resign honourably for bringing dishonour to his office or be dismissed by President Muhammadu Buhari for the sake of restoring sanity to the implementation of the anti-graft crusade which has waned considerably and muddied up by the cabal.
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