The flagbearer for Labour Party in the coming presidential election, Mr Peter Obi is curious as to when the present government will name and shame the eminent Nigerians who are involved in oil theft and sponsorship of insurgency.
Mr Obi in a series of posts via his official Facebook account, said he is struck and intrigued by the news report linking “highly placed” Nigerians to oil theft in the country.
“The same has been the case with financing insurgency and Boko Haram. When will FGN summon the political will to publicly name such persons?” Mr Obi questioned.
President Muhammadu Buhari recently said security would be increased across the country to try to stamp out widespread oil theft, adding that the government will not allow a few criminals to have unfettered access to the nation’s crude oil supply.
The Buhari-led presidency has severally said that it knows some prominent Nigerians behind oil theft in the country, as well as those who have been sponsoring terrorism, noting that their identities will be disclosed in no time.
However, this promise tends to have lingered too long, with many believing that there is a plot to shield this individuals.
Reacting to this claim, the attorney-general of the federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, in a statement said the government cannot name and shame suspected financiers of terrorism before they are tried and convicted.
While urging the government to take quick action regarding this issue, Mr Peter Obi was of the opinion that in the National Interest, there should be no sacred cows.
Addressing the issue of money politics, the former governor said he shares fully in the sentiments and views attributed to President Muhammadu Buhari on the need to resist ‘money bag’ politicians who plan to rig 2023 elections.
He said Nigeria’s democracy has come of age; and the people’s right to elect leaders of their choice should not be infringed upon.
As regards the protracted strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the LP Presidential Candidate said it is gratifying that governors have undertaken to mediate, adding that this is propitious and a remarkable show of leadership.
He said it is his hope that such direct constructive engagement will bring the strike to an end soonest.
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum has responded to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami over the controversy trailing the payment of consultancy fees amounting to $418 million from the Paris Club refund.
Speaking on Sunrise Daily, spokesperson of the NGF, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo questioned why the AGF was so concerned about private claims to state funds.
In 2021, the governors had obtained an order from a federal high court in Abuja restraining the federal government from deducting the money from states’ accounts for the purpose of paying the disputed debt.
On Thursday, Mr Malami claimed the Governors had no basis for disputing the payments.
He said the consultants were hired by the Governors and that they had taken steps to pay before backtracking and taking the matter to court.
In his response, Bello-Barkindo said the Attorney-General should be more concerned about how the government can fund university education and not funnel money into private pockets.
“There is no component that compels the governors’ forum to pay consultants anything, and there is no agreement between the consultants collectively and governors collectively,” he said.
“The Paris fund money has been exhausted, and the consultants and the attorney general are expecting the money to be deducted from states’ accounts from sources over 52 or 58 months. That is unheard of.
“And what the NGF is saying is that there is no money to be paid and the monies that have been paid are gross errors.
“Where they are asking the monies to be gotten from is the biggest sacrilege. This money belongs to the states, the masses of this country and because you’re powerful, you want money to be taken and given to you.
“That’s why they are using the attorney general of the federation to get the money at the source because the state does not have any reason [to pay].
“What the attorney general is claiming that there is a consent judgement is what the NGF is saying did not exist.
“What the NGF is asking for is evidence of work done. Some of them said they have constructed primary health cares across the country, and other said they have provided boreholes, these are physical things that you can show.
“This matter is in court. The court is the only authority that can determine clearly whether there is a reason for payment or not, why are highly placed lawyers afraid of their own platform?”
The National President of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) and Deputy President of NLC, Dr. Nasir Idris has been elected Governorship Candidate for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kebbi state.
Nasir Idris garnered one thousand and fifty five (1055) votes to defeat two other contestants at the party’s primary election in Birnin Kebbi.
The chairman of the APC Kebbi governorship primaries (National Secretariat), Hon. Idris Yahuza Ya’akub, declared the outcome of the election in the early hours of Friday.
Senate Majority Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi who was one of the contestants, scored zero vote while the third aspirant, retired Deputy Comptroller-General of Customs, Abubakar Mallam secured thirty five votes.
In his acceptance speech, the APC governorship candidate, Dr. Nasir Idris, commended Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu for making it possible for the party to conduct the primary election, smoothly, peaceful, hitch free and transparent.
Dr. Nasir thanked all delegates, APC Members and people of Kebbi State for entrusting him with the leadership position which will entail steering the affairs of the state if elected governor.
He pledged to build upon the foundation of societal progress already laid by Governor Bagudu.
In his remark, the chairman of the state’s committee for the primary election, General Muhammad Magoro, thanked the governor for providing the necessary moral and material support that led to the success of the exercise.
Similarly, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, described the elected APC governorship candidate as a person with the ‘ability and capability’ to excel.
The minister commended other contestants for their spirit of sportsmanship by accepting the result of the primary election.
Abubakar Malami also thanked Governor Bagudu for being a pillar of democracy in Kebbi State and Nigeria, noting that he has helped to strengthen APC as a political party.
One of the gubernatorial aspirants, retired Deputy Comptroller-General of Customs, Abubakar Gari Mallam, while accepting the results in good faith, was of the opinion that God gives power to who he wills.
Gari who is the Shattiman Gwandu, was full of praises for the governor, and thanked him for making the process peaceful, credible, transparent and democratic.
He congratulated the winner Dr. Nasir Idris, pledging to give him the necessary support to secure victory at the 2023 elections.
Addressing the gathering, Governor Bagudu thanked all those who made contribution or played an active role in the peaceful and hitch-free conduct of the governorship primary election.
Bagudu said the the process portrayed Kebbi State as a shinning example of democracy, tranquility and togetherness.
The governor specifically thanked the Minister of Justice, the state’s main committee led by General Magoro, and the monitoring committee from the APC National Secretariat led by Barrister Idris Yahuza Yaakubu.
He also thanked the INEC officials present, the security agencies, and Kebbi State APC Executive members led by the chairman, Abubakar Kana. The media and delegates were not left, as the governor thanked all for striving to make the event a huge success.
Governor Bagudu while speaking to the elected APC governorship candidate, told him that leadership is a burden which demands perseverance, goodwill and absolute service to humanity.
Bagudu described Idris’ election as the will of God.
He affirmed his commitment to working towards the victory of Dr. Idris as governor and the triumph of the APC in all forthcoming polls.
“Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami has not resigned,” Gwandu’s Saturday statement said. “He withdrew his ambition to contest for the 2023 Kebbi State Gubernatorial Elections.
“Malami has the right to choose to voluntarily shelve his gubernatorial ambition. It is a matter of personal conviction and individual right which didn’t violate any law.
“Right thinking members of the society accord respect to individual’s right to freedom of choice in matters relating to this.
“As individual Nigerian citizens with inalienable fundamental rights, we are not aware of any legally justifiable and reasonable tenable obligations compelling the person of Abubakar Malami, SAN or as an Attorney General of the Federation to do otherwise.
“The decision is not only a demonstration of altruism and patriotism, but of contentment, self-control, placidity and decisiveness in problem-solving at a time shrouded with confusing and competing stimulus. It is a commendable posture worthy admiration coming from a paragon of virtue.”
The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has nullified all sales and disposals of assets made by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, under the Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations, 2019.
The court also nullified the Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations, 2019 for being “an invalid statutory instrument.”
It held that the Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations, 2019 were “ultra vires the office and powers” of the AGF.
Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa made the order in a suit filed by the plaintiff, the Incorporated Trustees of the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) Resource Centre, against the AGF.
On November 9, 2020, the AGF inaugurated the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the disposal of assets forfeited to the Federal Government.
This, according to the minister, was in accordance with the president’s directive in October 2018 following recommendations of the Presidential Audit Committee on Recovery and Management of Stolen Assets and a need for efficient management of the assets.
But HEDA, through its counsel, Omotayo Olatubosun, challenged the AGF’s power to set up the committee.
It argued that the Regulations conflicted with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act, Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administrative Act, 2015, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Act, 2004 and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission Act (ICPC), 2000, among others, on the matter of disposal of final forfeited assets.
The court judgment
The plaintiff sought nine reliefs, including the nullification of all disposals of assets by the AGF’s Committee.
In its judgment, the court dismissed the AGF’s preliminary objection argued by its counsel, Tolu Mokunolu, and granted all of HEDA’s reliefs as prayed on the motion paper.
Justice Lewis-Allagoa held: “I am entirely in agreement with the submission of counsels to the plaintiff that the Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations, 2019 are contrary to the statutory provisions of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC Act, Trafficking in Persons Cohabitation Enforcement and Administration Act, NDLEA Act and Immigration Act.
“A careful perusal of the above statutory provisions will show the provisions for the Attorney-General of the Federation to make regulations for the agencies for disposal of assets under the various enactments listed above.
“The above statutory enactments are therefore the enabling source of the Attorney-General of the Federation to the regulations.
“Consequently, the administrative powers to be exercised by the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation must flow from the enabling statutes.
“It is pertinent to state that the powers of the Attorney-General of the Federation do not override the provisions of the enabling statutes stabilising the powers of the law enforcement agencies and anti-corruption agencies and consequently the powers referred to in the commencement clause of the regulations merely are to be exercised in accordance with the Acts not to usurp the mandatory powers vested in the law enforcement agencies and the anti-corruption agencies.
“I am therefore in agreement with counsel for the plaintiff that the executive orders or any other forms of definition can be issued pursuant to session 315 of the Constitution; however, they are limited to enactments predating the 1999 Constitution.
“The Acts under Consideration in this instant suit were enacted after the 1999 Constitution and do not fall within the ambit of session 315 of the 1999 Constitution.
“In all and for the reasons hereinbefore given in this judgement, the questions put for determination in the originating summons are answered in favour of the plaintiff and all the reliefs sought are granted as prayed. This is the judgment of the court read in the open court.”
The Plaintiff’s reliefs granted by the judge include a declaration that by the ICPC Act, the Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations, 2019 “is an invalid statutory instrument the former having conferred no power arrogated by the Defendant to himself in the latter Regulations;
“An Order nullifying the Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations, 2019 as an invalid statutory instrument same being in excess of the provisions of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission Act, 2000;
“An Order nullifying all sales and disposals of assets made by the Defendant pursuant to the said Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations, 2019 same being ultra vires the office and powers of the Defendant.”
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, on Tuesday said his friends and political associates donated N135 million worth of vehicles in Kebbi State.
Malami, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is believed to be nursing a governorship ambition to succeed outgoing Governor Atiku Bagudu.
Addressing journalists in Birnin-Kebbi, the minister said he did not donate vehicles to any Kebbi State APC Excos or delegates.
“Recent donation of N135m has opened doors for donations and supports of many items including vehicles by well-wishers,” Malami said.
“It was friends and associates of Malami who donated and distributed vehicles to long term workers in the Khadimiyya Foundation.
“The occasion was not for distribution of vehicles to any APC stakeholder. None of the APC stakeholder or delegates in Kebbi State was given any vehicle by Malami. I have not yet donated any vehicle to any delegate.
“You can contact the National Secretariat of the APC, get the lists of all the APC stakeholders and delegates in Kebbi State. Do an investigative story to reach out to them then you realise how fictitious is the claim.”
According to Malami, the story attributing vehicle distribution to him was mischievous and misconstrued information.
This is coming amid reports and viral photos that the minister allegedly donated sports utility vehicles of assorted brands to APC politicians in Kebbi State.
Besides the statement by Gwandu, an aide to the President on social media, Lauretta Onochie, also denied the claim, saying it was fake news.
FAKE NEWS ALERT: The Information making the rounds, that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister Of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami [SAN], has resigned, is totally FALSE. pic.twitter.com/scbL3WK8Oi
Ahead of the general elections, reports had emerged that Malami has publicly declared his interest to become the next governor of Kebbi State.
But Gwandu, in a swift reaction, stated that the minister had yet to declare interest to contest for any elective position in the 2023 general elections.
He stressed that the declaration to contest for a political position was never a hidden affair or clandestine operation that could be reported as a scoop by a section of the media.
“A video being circulated as the purported declaration was mischievously translated with fabricated insertions and interpolations that cannot in spirit and context establish the misinformation circulated,” the minister’s spokesman had said in a statement on Tuesday.
At the appropriate time, according to him, the people will “hear from the horse’s mouth” in the full glare of the media, stakeholders, like-minds, party faithful, and supporters.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, says he has yet to declare interest to contest for any elective position in the 2023 general elections.
His Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja amid reports that the minister has declared to join the governorship race in Kebbi State.
Gwandu explained that the clarification became necessary in view of a ‘false and fabricated publication’ in some sections of the media.
He said the declaration to contest for a political position was never a hidden affair or clandestine operation that could be reported as a scoop by a section of the media.
Rather, Malami’s spokesman stated that the report was triggered out of curiosity and eagerness by followers and loyalists.
“A video being circulated as the purported declaration was mischievously translated with fabricated insertions and interpolations that cannot in spirit and context establish the misinformation circulated,” the statement said.
The minister, however, thanked his supporters and the general public for expressing their interest.
At the appropriate time, according to Gwandu, the people will “hear from the horse’s mouth” in the full glare of the media, stakeholders, like-minds, party faithful, and supporters.
Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, (SAN) has described as false the media reports that his office had conclusively exonerated Abba Kyari.
The clarification was made in a statement issued on Sunday by Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, the Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
According to Gwandu, there appears to be a misunderstanding regarding the issue.
“It was a case of a work in progress and the office of the Attorney General of the Federation requested for further probe in relation to some aspects of the investigation,” the statement read in part.
The embattled Deputy Commissioner of Police, Kyari, who is wanted in the United States for his alleged involvement in a $1.1m scam carried out by a notorious Internet fraudster, Ramon Abass, a.k.a Hushpuppi, was suspended by the police in July 2021.
Months later, the AGF affirmed that investigations carried out by the police had indicted the once-celebrated officer for money laundering.
“The position now is that there are prima facie grounds – reasonable grounds for suspicion that have been considered from the perspective of prosecution, from the perspective of likely extradition, if the need for so doing arises,” the Minister who was a guest on Channels Television’sPolitics Today had said in February.
However, according to a separate letter reportedly written on behalf of the AGF by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Ministry of Justice, the evidence contained in the case diary was not sufficient to indicate or show that the said monies (N279mn) were laundered directly or indirectly by Kyari.
The alleged contradiction in the AGF’s statements sparked speculations in the media that he was plotting to exonerate Kyari.
But Gwandu’s statement on Sunday insisted that was not the case.
“The office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice’s stance is that no conclusion has been reached in the direction of an absence of evidence relating to the first report,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, Kyari who is now facing fresh drug trafficking charges brought against him by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), pleaded not guilty before Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Monday.
The NDLEA had filed eight counts of hard drug trafficking against him along with six others.
According to the agency, Mr Kyari, between January 19 and 25, dealt in 17.55 kilograms of cocaine.
He is also being charged with obstruction of justice through attempted bribery of NDLEA officers.
A Federal High Court in Lagos has granted Media Rights Agenda (MRA) permission to apply for an order of mandamus to compel the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN) to exercise the mandatory legal duty stipulated in Section 11 of the Anti-Torture Act, 2017 to make rules and regulations for the effective implementation of the Act.
Justice Tijjani Garba Ringim issued the order allowing MRA to apply to the court to compel the Attorney-General of the Federation to make the rules and regulations following a motion bought on behalf of MRA by its lawyer, Mrs. Bankeye Akinwale, in which the organization claimed that although Section 11 of the Anti-Torture Act mandated the Attorney-General to make rules and regulations for the effective implementation of the Act, he has since 2017 failed to do so.
The organisation is complaining that despite the enactment of the Act in 2017, there have continued to be various allegations made by journalists, and other individuals and citizens of Nigeria of being subjected to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment by officials of law enforcement agencies and other government officials and non-state actors.
MRA said in an effort to ensure that the Attorney-General complies with the provision of the law, it wrote a letter of demand dated August 20, 2021, to him requesting him to perform the statutory duty imposed on him by the Act but that the Minister has failed, neglected and refused to comply with the demand and to perform his statutory duty.
The organisation said following the failure of the Attorney-General to perform the statutory duty imposed on him by the Section 11 of the Act, it decided to approach the court to ask for an order granting the organization permission to apply for an order of mandamus to compel him to perform the mandatory legal duty imposed on him by Section 11 of the Act.
Ruling on the motion, Justice Ringim said after careful consideration of the application, upon reading through the verifying affidavit deposed to by Mr. John Gbadamosi, MRA’s Programme Officer, as well as the exhibits attached and after hearing the submissions of Mrs. Akinwale, MRA’s lawyer who moved in terms of the motion paper, he was granting an order to MRA to apply to the court for the order of mandamus that it is seeking.
Specifically, the judge gave clearance to MRA to apply for an order of mandamus to compel the Attorney-General to exercise the mandatory legal duty stipulated in Section 11 of the Anti-Torture Act, 2017 and for the organization to seek the following reliefs:
· A declaration that the failure of the Attorney-General to make rules and regulations for the effective implementation of the Anti-Torture Act, 2017 as imposed on him by Section 11 of the Act is a breach of the law;
· An order of mandamus compelling the Attorney-General to carry out the duty imposed on him by Section 11 of the Act;
· An order of mandamus compelling the Attorney-General to carry out the request contained in MRA’s letter of demand dated August 20, 2021, delivered to him on August 23, 2021, wherein MRA requested him to make the rules and regulations for the effective implementation of the Act;
· An order directing the Attorney-General to pay to the organization the sum of N5 million as exemplary and aggravated damages for the flagrant violation of Section 11 of the Anti-Torture Act, 2017.
Justice Ringim, however, ruled that the grant of the order is conditional on MRA filing a written undertaking for costs within two days of the ruling in the event that it turns out that the order ought not to have been granted in the first place.
Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, (SAN) has debunked claims that he blamed the judiciary for the delay in the handling of high-profile corruption cases in the country.
In a statement issued by Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, the Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Malami said he noted with dismay the way his response to a question in a recent interview was construed to evoke “unintended and non-existing inferences” which some mischief makers projected as him blaming the judiciary.
“It was an innocent statement aimed at showing and re-enacting the tripartite division of powers and responsibilities among the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary,” he said.
Further defending his comments, Malami said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government accords respect to the democratic provisions of the doctrine of separation of powers among the three independent and separate arms of government.
According to him, the Federal Government maintained the sanctity of the provisions of Sections 4, 5 and 6 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that delineate the roles and responsibilities of the executives, legislature and judiciary.
He said it was on this note that the Federal Government supported the review of Section 121(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to accommodate the provisions for financial autonomy of the state legislature and judiciary.
In addition to the Constitutional provisions, the AGF explained that the Federal Government also came up with Executive Order 10 to enforce the provision of autonomy of State Legislature and Judiciary.
Malami said it is on the record that the Buhari-led Federal Government has a record of non-interference with or meddling into the affairs of the legislature and judiciary.
It was within the context of this quality and feature of non-interference by the Buhari-led Federal government and for the avoidance of sub-judice that the Minister responded that high-profile cases were presented by the Federal Government for prosecution and the government came out with initiatives in its efforts to support the speedy determination of justice.
The AGF said: “The doctrine of separation of powers has three implications:
a. that the same person should not be part of more than one of the arms or division of government;
b. that one branch should not dominate or control another arm. This is particularly important in the relationship between (the) executive and the courts;
c. that one branch should not attempt to exercise the function of the other…”
The minister added that in view of the crucial role of the judiciary as an essential element of a democratic system, the Federal Government gives attention to the budgetary provisions of the Judiciary in addition to welfare packages meant to enhance their operations.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad, on Tuesday, absolved the judiciary of delay in the handling of high-profile corruption cases.
Justice Muhammad’s comments followed an accusation by the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, that judges were still delaying timeous hearing and determination of such cases, particularly concerning Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs).
Malami had during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Monday, blamed the judiciary for the protracted trial of high-profile corruption cases.
But barely 24 hours, the CJN said Malami’s criticism of the judiciary for the delays suffered in court by high-profile corruption cases, was one-sided.
“The position of the Minister of Justice and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) that the judiciary be held responsible for delays in the trial and delivery of judgements on corruption cases involving politically exposed individuals appears to be one-sided,” the statement by the CJN’s spokesperson, Ahuraka Isah, read.
The CJN explained that the lapses on the part of the executive arm of government contributed to the delays in cases.
According to him, the constitutional responsibility of the judiciary does not involve crime detection and investigation, while referencing the serial disregard of court orders by the executive.
This is even as he stated that the judiciary does not have “a garrison command to fight its cause or enforce its orders and decisions.”
“The Judiciary has an internal mechanism for budget control and implementation. The judiciary defends its budget before the senate and the House of Representatives Committees on Judiciary at the National Assembly, besides the initial vetting by the executive.
“The judiciary has an internal mechanism for budget control and implementation. Each Court and judicial body has a budget unit, the account department, internal audit, Due Process Unit, as well as Departmental Tenders Board.
“There is also a Due Process Committee at the NJC (National Judicial Council) and the Judicial Tenders Board that award contracts on expenditure above the approval limit of the accounting officers of the Courts and judicial bodies.
“These layers of control were established by the Judiciary to ensure transparency, accountability and effective budget implementation. The type of transparency that the Federal Government has stressed,” the CJN added.