By Anayo Ezugwu
FOLLOWING his directive that Operation Amotekun, new Southwest by security outfit is illegal, a human rights lawyer has called on Abubakar Malami, minister of justice and Attorney General of the Federation to resign. Inibehe Effiong, a human rights lawyer, appealed to the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, to discipline Malami for promoting impunity in the government.
In a press interview at the 16th annual lecture of Chief Gani Fawehinmi in Lagos on Wednesday, January 15, Effiong said the attorney general was supposed to be the representative of the judiciary in the government. “An officer, a public officer, who is constitutionally saddled with the responsibility of seeing to the obedience of court orders in the person of Abubakar Malami, SAN, the attorney general of the federation, who by the combined effect of sections 150 and 174 of the constitution is the chief law officer of the country.
“The same attorney general is now publicly, openly and shamelessly repudiating orders and decisions of courts. In saner climes, you see an attorney general voluntarily tendering his resignation when court orders are disobeyed. He is supposed to be the epitome of the rule of law. But what has Malami been doing? Malami has consistently, since this government came into office in 2015, supported the disobedience of court orders.
“Under his watch, we have seen an escalation in extrajudicial killings without any action of the chief law officer. We have seen how IPOB members were slaughtered. We have seen how the Shiites were being killed. The attorney general has the responsibility to protect the rights of the citizens. But unfortunately today, the current attorney general has not only taken this responsibility for granted, but he has also treated his office with levity.
“For me, I find this intolerable. And I am saying that he has to be sanctioned. The reason why Nigeria has become a laughing stock, the reason why this country has become an embarrassment to the black race is not just because of corruption. But the pervasive culture of impunity where people do whatever they like and they get away with it.
“I am calling on the Nigerian Bar Association to discipline and sanction Malami. People are punished until people are made to pay a heavy price for supporting what is wrong, there is no way we can build this country. Look at the appointments of Mr. President. The appointments are not only sectional, but the appointments did also not only contravene the principle of Federal character under section 14 of the constitution, but the appointments have also been clearly and consistently against all sense of national cohesion. A serious attorney general would have told the president that this is not possible.
“You have under Malami people whose offices are constitutionally created like the head of the Corporate Affairs Commission being illegally removed on account of a dubious expiate order. And the attorney general has aided these constitutional infractions because it is his office that is supposed to see to it that no agency of the government acts in such a manner.
“For me this is unacceptable. But I also make the point that beyond the executive, some of the things we are seeing. The attacks on the judiciary, some of it is self-inflicted, unfortunately so. A vast majority of Nigerian judges are decent people. But we have to see a situation where the judiciary has had the occasions to stand up to the executive impunity, but unfortunately, the judiciary has not treated this issue with the seriousness that it deserves.
“I am encouraging our judges to be more circumspect in yielding to the state security service or the office of the attorney general when they come before a court, for example, to ask for people to be detained. Our judges have the scared responsibility to ensure that those applications are merited.
“Look at the case of Shehu Sani. When you have EFCC going to court to get detention orders for 14 days because they claimed Shehu Sani is guilty of extortion. Upon getting the order, he is now being asked to declare his assets. His office is now being raided.
“Extortion is the least crime for any serious prosecutor to prove. This is a consistent pattern of the clampdown on people that disagree with this regime,” he said.
– Jan. 17, 2020 @ 18:35 GMT |