The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has asked justices of the Court of Appeal to contribute positively to the judicial system by speedily concluding cases before them at the level of the Appeal Court.
Malami made the appeal on Monday at the special session to mark the 2021 Legal Year of the Court of Appeal.
He also reminded the justices that a lot is expected of them in the delivery of credible judgement that will foster and promote public confidence in all rulings that emanate from the courts.
The Federal Government is engaging respective Heads of Courts to establish specialised courts for speedy and seamless trial of rape and gender-based violence offences, Mr Abubakar Malami has said.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice disclosed this at the inauguration of the Justice for Children Coordination Forum on Thursday during the launch of the EU-UNICEF access to justice programme for children in Abuja.
Malami, who was represented by Professor Muhammad Ahmadu, lamented the pathetic situation of some children in parts of the country.
Professor Ahmadu is the Special Assistant to the President on Research and Special Duties, Office of the AGF.
“This administration will continue to do its best in the protection of the rights of children and vulnerable persons,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by a spokesperson for the office, Modupe Ogundoro.
As reports of rape and gender-based violence offences surface, the minister is hopeful that the specialised courts will fast track the cases and ensure justice for child victims of sexual violence.
According to him, the Federal Government remains unwaveringly dedicated to improving children’s access to a child-friendly justice system.
Malami gave an assurance that through age and gender-sensitive juvenile justice mechanisms and alternatives to detention for children on the move and vulnerable children, the Nigerian child would benefit from the child-friendly justice sector.
Thereafter, he inaugurated Justice for Children Forum chaired by the Solicitor General of the Federation and the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Justice.
The forum comprises representatives from the ministry, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, the Federal Ministry of Education, the Federal Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, and the Nigeria Police Force.
Other members were drawn from the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, National Human Right Commission (NHRC), National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), and United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC), to mention a few.
An Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan has granted an ex-parte motion restraining the Department of State Services and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami from arresting, the Yoruba nation agitator Mr. Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho.
The court also restrained the DSS and Mr. Malami from intimidating, harassing, and blocking the bank accounts of Mr. Igboho.
The presiding Judge, Justice Akintola gave the order on Wednesday following an ex-parte motion moved by Mr. Igboho’s lawyer Yomi Aliu (SAN) at the court.
In his ruling, Justice Taiwo told the prosecutor from the office of the AGF that he had taken judicial notice of the letter, but the counsel should file the letter formally before the court.
He also deferred the arraignment of the former governor until May 6, to enable parties file and serve written addresses on the propriety of the office of the AGF taking over the case from the police.
The former governor and one other person, Chinedu Okpareke, have been on administrative bail since November 11, 2020, following the suit file by the police over allegations of threatening and harassing Amuchienwa.
According to the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CS/287/2020, Ohakim and Okpareke were alleged to have threatened to release a nude photograph of Amuchienwa if she fails to drop the charges of attempted kidnap against them.
The five-count charge dated November 25, 2020, alleged that both men “knowingly and intentionally transmitted communication through a computer system to harass and bully Amuchienwa”, an offence said to be punishable under Section 24(1)(a) of the Cybercrime Act 2015.
Two of the charges read, ”That you Chinendu Okpareke ‘m’ 49, and Ikedi Ohakim ‘m’ and others now at large on August 13, 2020, within the jurisdiction of this court did conspire among yourselves by knowingly and intentionally sending messages by means of a computer system or network in a grossly offensive, pornographic, nude of an indecent obscene and menacing character of one Chinyere Amuchienwa ‘f’ and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 27 (1)(a) of the Cybercrime Act 2015.
”That you Chinendu Okpareke ‘m’ 49, and Ikedi Ohakim ‘m’ and others now at large on August 13, 2020, within the jurisdiction of this court did conspire among yourselves to cause annoyance and criminal intimidation to one Chinyere Amuchienwa ‘f’ and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 27 (1)(a) of the Cybercrime Act 2015.”
The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, says President Muhammadu Buhari tolerated the ‘excesses’ of #EndSARS protesters in the country, back in October 2020.
According to the AGF, that, among other actions of the president is proof of his leniency, despite what he termed as “human rights violations” in the country.
Mr Malami said this on Wednesday while addressing a number of issues from the government’s reaction to the #EndSARS protests, to the appointment of new service chiefs, the extension of the appointment of the Inspector-General of Police, among others.
“As far as Human Rights records of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is concerned, the fact speaks for itself, the commendation by the international body which is the Committee for the Protection of Journalists, local compliance with the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission, which has been unprecedented, tolerance and indeed, accommodation for the excesses of the #EndSARS protesters were all facts that go to establish a point that the government of President Buhari has shown greater accommodation of the human rights violation and the tolerance to the human rights record as far as the Nigerian State is concerned,” the AGF said on Channels Television’s Politics Today.
According to him, “no nation in the world could have tolerated the idea of destruction to its security institutions”.
“I think over 20 police stations or more — I’m not certain about the number, they can be more — were destroyed during #EndSARS protests and government has a responsibility to ensure the protection of lives and freedom of movement.
“We are confronted with a situation whereby #EndSARS protesters blocked roads, caused mayhem, caused deaths, caused destruction, and they were significantly tolerated to a certain extent,” he added.
Meanwhile, the AGF also reacted to the court order on the Central Bank of Nigeria to unfreeze bank accounts of #EndSARS promoters.
He explained that the law provides the Federal Government with other options which include the right to challenge or exercise further considerations on the matter if the need arises.
A Federal High Court in Abuja had earlier today, ordered the CBN to unfreeze the bank accounts of 20 #EndSARS promoters.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed gave the ruling following the agreement reached by parties in the suit to amicably resolve the matter.
He then, set aside the November 4, 2020 order and ruled that all the accounts of the affected persons “be immediately defreezed.”
The CBN, in an exparte motion, had prayed the court to freeze the bank accounts of Bolatito Rachael Oduala and 19 others who participated in last year’s protest to end police brutality in the country.
The apex bank said it took the action to investigate the promoters of the protest on allegations bordering on terrorism financing, among others.
Fresh EndSARS Protests?
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution for victims of police brutality and other related matters has returned control of the Lekki toll gate plaza to its owners, the Lekki Concession Company (LCC).
The toll gate had been one of the major converging points for the protesters in Lagos last year and was also the location for the infamous #LekkiShootings, masterminded by security operatives particularly men of the Nigerian Army.
During the proceedings on Saturday, the Chairman of the panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi, gave a ruling allowing the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) Ltd to repossess the toll gate – a decision that has been met with diverse views from Nigerians, many of whom are of the opinion that the toll gate should remain closed in honour of those lost their lives o the incident.
Fresh protests are believed to be looming, even as the toll gate is expected to undergo reconstruction and subsequently, resume full operations.
Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, says the National Assembly has no constitutional power to summon President Muhammadu Buhari.
Malami disclosed this on Wednesday in a statement titled ‘Buhari’s Summon: NASS Operates Outside Constitutional bounds.’
The AGF said, “National Assembly has no constitutional power to envisage or contemplate a situation where the president would be summoned by the national assembly on the operational use of the armed forces.”
He also noted the right of the President to engage the National Assembly and appear before it is “inherently discretionary in the President and not at the behest of the National Assembly.”
Members of the House of Representatives on December 1st passed a resolution to invite President Buhari to brief the house on the true state of the security situation in the country.
The decision to summon President Buhari was taken at plenary when the House considered a motion moved by members from Borno State on the recent massacre of 43 rice farmers in the state by Boko Haram insurgents.
In response to this, the President’s Personal Assistant on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie announced on Monday, December 7 that the President will address a joint session of the National Assembly.
President Muhammadu Buhari of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has recorded tremendous success in containing the hitherto incessant bombing, colossal killings, wanton destruction of lives and property that bedeviled the country before attaining the helm of affairs of the country in 2015.
The confidentiality of strategies employed by the President as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not open for public exposure in view of security implications in the probable undermining of the war against terror.
The fact that President Muhammadu Buhari was instrumental to the reclaiming of over 14 Local Governments previously controlled by Boko Haram in the North East is an open secret, the strategies for such achievement are not open for public expose.
While condoling the bereaved and sympathizing with the victims of the associated insecurity in the country, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN maintained that national security is not about publicity and the nation’s security architecture cannot be exposed for the sake of getting publicity.
He said Mr. President has enjoyed Constitutional privileges attached to the Office of the President including exclusivity and confidentiality investiture in security operational matters, which remains sacrosanct.
Malami added that the National Assembly has no Constitutional Power to envisage or contemplate a situation where the President would be summoned by the National Assembly on the operational use of the Armed Forces.
The right of the President to engage the National Assembly and appear before it is inherently discretionary in the President and not at the behest of the National Assembly.
The management and control of the security sector is exclusively vested in the President by Section 218 (1) of the Constitution as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces including the power to determine the operational use of the Armed Forces. An invitation that seeks to put the operational use of the Armed Forces to a public interrogation is indeed taking the constitutional rights of law-making beyond bounds.
As the Commander in Chief, the President has exclusivity on security and has confidentiality over security. These powers and rights he does not share. So, by summoning the President on National Security operational Matters, the House of Representatives operated outside constitutional bounds. President’s exclusivity of constitutional confidentiality investiture within the context of the constitution remains sacrosanct.
Abubakar Malami, SAN
Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice)
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has said he does not need the tinkering of the current Economic and Financial Crime (Establishment) Act 2004 to enable him regulate the institution and could therefore not, in any way, seek to sponsor any bill for “more powers to control the commission”.
The AGF was quoted to have said this in a statement issued by the Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu and made available to newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday 25th August 2020.
It also noted that the Attorney-General of the Federation has indisputable statutory powers to regulate the operations of the commission without recourse to any additional legislations.
“Section 43 of the EFCC Act has made it abundantly clear that ‘the Attorney General of the Federation may make rules or regulations with respect to the exercise of any of the duties, functions or powers of the Commission under this Act’,” the statement read in part.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice believes in the doctrines of separation of powers as an epitome character of the democratic administration and could not, therefore, meddle into the affairs of the legislature for megalomaniac sake”.
Speaking further, Malami noted that it is a global practice in democratic societies that the legislature may at their discretion and as deemed fit, spearhead the amendment of existing legislation to accommodate certain exigencies occasioned by contemporary realities and the need to improve performance to achieve best practices without any prompting from external organs of the government.
The statement, therefore added that at the moment, the priority of the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice is to see to the effective execution of its statutory mandates of supervising all the parastatals under the Federal Ministry of Justice in a way that make them function in the best interest of the general public.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has denied the allegation of conspiring to witch-hunt anyone.
Malami’s Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr Umar Gwandu, faulted the claim in a statement on Monday.
He was reacting to the comments made by a lawyer, Victor Giwa, who claimed that the minister ordered his arrest because he refused to implicate Ibrahim Magu, the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Giwa made the allegation in a statement on Sunday entitled, ‘Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) Is Using Donald Wokoma, My Erstwhile Client Against Me For My Refusal To Testify And Indict Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman of EFCC, At The Justice Ayo Salami Panel Investigating The EFCC Boss’.
He explained that he was invited by the Justice Ayo Salami led panel, which is investigating the corruption allegations against the suspended EFCC boss, on August 18 and 19.
The lawyer, among many other claims, said he was asked to testify against Magu through an alleged conspiracy between the AGF and Donald Wokoma, a former special adviser to the Vice President whom he said he represented and secured a judgement in his favour.
But Gwandu described the allegation against the minister as ‘flimsy’, stressing that they were untrue.
According to him, Malami never met with Giwa and has never discussed any issue with Wokoma, nor asked anybody, personally or by proxy, to engage Giwa to testify against Magu.
The minister’s spokesman insisted that Malami, who did not set up the investigation panel to probe the suspended EFCC boss, was not saddled with any responsibility to procure witnesses for the panel.
“The Attorney-General of the Federation is never a member of the panel nor does it fall within the realm of the AGF’s authority to invite witness(es) for a presidential probe panel.
“The claim by Victor Giwa, Esq is therefore fictitious, unfounded and a figment of the imagination of mischief-makers who want to create unnecessary attention and tarnish the good image of the Attorney-general of the Federation and Minister of Justice and labouring incessantly these days, to falsely cast aspersion on the AGF’s hard-earned reputation,” Gwandu stated.
He, however, challenged Giwa to come and substantiate his allegation with details of when he met with the AGF on the issue, where they met, and how the meeting went.
Gwandu also asked the lawyer to answer whether the minister met him in person or sent a representative, in what capacity was the representative if there was any, and what the terms of their engagement were.
He asked Giwa to reveal what the purported offer to testify against Magu was, how it was made, as well as to name who the witnesses were.
President Muhammadu Buhari has presided over the 13th weekly virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the State House, Abuja.
The meeting took off at exactly 10 am, and was attended by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
Six ministers were physically present, they are the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami; the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed; Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fasola; Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite; and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mohammed Bello.
The Head of Service of the Federation, Folasade Yemi-Esan, and other ministers joined virtually from their various offices.
Also present is the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha; the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari; and the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd).
The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami asked the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu to provide security for the 14 newly sworn-in members of the Edo State House of Assembly.
In a letter dated August 5, Malami said his intervention was to enable the lawmakers to hold plenary within the House of the Assembly complex.
“My office is in receipt of a letter dated 3rd August 2020 from Messrs West Idahosa & Co. requesting for the intervention of my office on behalf of its clients who are members-elect of the Edo State House of Assembly but who were excluded or prevented from being inaugurated till date since the House was inaugurated on 17th June 2019. A copy of the letter is attached for ease of reference.
“In view of the foregoing and in order to ensure constitutional compliance with the dictates of Sections 91 – 96 of the 1999 Constitution (as altered) and also to prevent the breakdown of peace, law and order, I’m requesting you kindly provide adequate security measures for the purpose of the inauguration of the concerned members and subsequent sittings in Edo State House of Assembly,” Malami’s letter read.
Seventeen lawmakers of the Edo State House of Assembly, including 14 members whose seats have been previously declared vacant, claim that they have impeached the Speaker of the House, Francis Okiye, and his deputy, Roland Asoro.
The decision was taken on Thursday at a private location in Benin City, the state capital, hours after security officials took over the State Assembly Complex.
In their place, the lawmakers say they have elected Victor Edoror, who represents Esan Central Constituency, and Emmanuel Agbaje, who represents Akoko-Edo Constituency II as Speaker and Deputy Speaker, respectively.
At the meeting, the 14 lawmakers-elect were, first, sworn in and then, together with three other lawmakers who recently pledged their allegiance to Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) claimed to have impeached the Speaker and his deputy.
The former Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, has pleaded not guilty to the amended charges of money laundering.
Mr. Adoke is being re-arraigned alongside Aliyu Abubakar who is an Abuja based businessman before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja.
During sitting on Tuesday, the defendants pleaded not guilty to the 14 count charge filed against them.
Amended Charges Against Adoke
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had in June filed an additional seven charges against the former AGF over money laundering allegations involving about N400 million.
Mr Adoke’s trial was expected to begin on Monday (yesterday) but it was stalled due to the amended charges.
The initial charge contained seven counts, with six of them relating to Mr. Adoke.
At the resumed trial, the prosecutor, Bala Sanga, informed the court of an amended charge he filed on July 29 which was served on all the defendants.
The trial judge, Justice Ekwo who frowned at the late filing of the amended charge adjourned the trial till Tuesday on the ground that he is yet to sight the amended charges.
In the former seven counts, the EFCC alleged that the defendants committed the money laundering offences involving over N400 million in Abuja in September 2013.
In the counts relating to Mr Adoke, he was accused of among others, receiving the dollar equivalent of N300 million from Abubakar, paying the dollar equivalent of N367,318,800 to one Usman Mohammed Bello, and allegedly using the sum of N300 million, which was alleged to be part of the proceeds of unlawful activities, all in violations of various provisions of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011.
The former AGF was also accused of making “structured cash payments, in 22 tranches” amounting to N80 million, another of such structured payments in 13 tranches summing up to N50 million into his Unity Bank account.
The commission alleged that the funds were not only part of the proceeds of unlawful acts but they also exceeded “thresholds outside a financial institution,” and that the payments were done with the intention of concealing the origins of the funds contrary to Section 15(2(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 and punishable under section 15(3) of the same law.
He was granted bail by the Federal High Court in Abuja on February 10, 2020, in the sum of N50m with one surety in like sum.
The court has however fixed August 11, 12, and 13 for the trial of the former AGF and Mr. Abubakar.