A civil society group, Centre for the Advancement of Literacy and Leadership, has faulted the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General on the arraignment of the presiding officers of the Senate and his failure to appear before the Senate on Thursday.
The group, which spoke in Abuja through its Executive Director, Mazi Bismarck Oji, described the AGF as “a serial abuser of the rule of law and the principle of separation of power”.
Mazi Bismarck, who wondered why an AGF who sues people and expects them to appear in court, would himself “serially defy the invitation by the National Assembly, while also undermining resolutions of the National Assembly”.
He, however, blamed the Senator Bukola Saraki-led Senate for confirming the appointment of Malami, whom he said performed abysmally during the Senate screening.
He said: “We read the statement by the Office of the SGF on the arraignment of Senator Bukola Saraki and Senator Ike Ekweremadu with serious worry for the Nigerian democracy. It is sad that the Attorney-General who sues people to court would not himself honour parliamentary summons, thereby constituting himself an untouchable institution.
“As one of the lawyers of the Senate Unity Forum before his appointment as Minister, Mr. Malami remains so beclouded by partisanship and conflict of interest that he does not regard the sacred principles of rule of separation of power as espoused in the ruling by Justice Gabriel Kolawole, who made it clear that the Senate Standing Order is an internal affairs of the legislature”.
He said the AGF leaves no one in doubt that “he desperately wants to use the instrumentality of his office to obtain a judgment he could not successfully argue for his clients in court as a private practitioner”.
he said the AGF’s press statement failed to address the crucial issues raised by the Senate.
he queried: “Assuming, but without conceding, that the Senate Standing Order was forged, how did he come about the names of Senator Bukola Saraki and Senator Ike Ekweremadu for prosecution since the petitioners, those interrogated by the police and indeed the police report did not name them as having committed the so-called crime of forgery?
“And if as he claims, the police report truly indicted the Senate’s presiding officers, why did the AGF not include the police report as part of the evidence it front-loaded to the court”, tendered before the court? Is it not clear that something is fishy”
He named other “illegalities” that occurred the AGF to include the passing of the 2015 Budget of Kogi State by five lawmakers, which did not constitute a quorum of the Kogi State House of Assembly and in disregard for the resolution of the National Assembly that the State Assembly be sealed pending the return of normalcy, warned that the AGF was imperiling the nation’s democracy.
“The present Federal Government, under the tenure of Malami as the AGF, is fast setting a worrisome record that is shaming successive military juntas in illegal detention, disobedience to court verdicts, disregard for and undermining of parliamentary resolutions, and arbitrariness, coupled with inconclusive elections, hence the only redemption is for Mr. Malami to quit with immediate effect”, Mazi Bismack added.
He called on well-meaning Nigerians and the international community to rise up to save Nigeria’s democracy from the fast-growing impunity and executive highhandedness before it is too late.