Malami, Justice and Order under President Muhammadu Buhari

By Mahmoud Sadiq Abubakar, Ph.D on August 1, 2018

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Abubaki Malami, SAN. Attorney General of the Federation. Minister of Justice.

 These are interesting times indeed! With less than a year to the end of the first four-year tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari, it has become increasingly clear that the prevailing justice administration system in the country will be one of the means by which the dispensation will be assessed.

This is because of the initial doubts which the human rights community held against the second coming of the military-turned-democrat Nigerian leader. Today, those fears have evaporated.

When President Muhammadu Buhari picked Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, as the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, he had no illusion that he chose a trusted professional and an unflinching advocate of justice, order and the rule of law.

From the way and manner the minister has offered legal opinion and advice on critical issues of state, it is clear that the president has been vindicated in his choice. Even in clearly partisan matters where critics of Buhari’s government had expected Mr. Malami to do the expected, the minister has refused to be swayed by partisan sentiments.

Take for example recent comments by the justice ministry on the police interim report on the Offa robbery case against the Senate President, Bukola Saraki. Refusing to dismiss the case off-handedly, it advised the police to do a neater, cleaner and tidier investigation to merit court conviction. Nothing could be more professionally profound, proper and appropriate.

A letter signed by Mr. Mohammed Umar Etsu, the Director of Public Prosecution in the ministry said the evidence by the police linking the Senate President and Governor Abdul-Fatah Ahmed of Kwara State to the robbery was not sufficiently strong to nail them and the robbery gang.

‘’For the senate president and the Kwara State governor, this office is unable to establish from the evidence in the interim report a nexus between the alleged offence and the suspects. Hence, it is our advice that further and thorough investigations in this regard be carried out’’, the letter read.

While it is exciting that the letter leaked in public interest, it is still big kudos to the ministry of justice for courageously puncturing police claims that Saraki and Gov. Ahmed were directly linked to the Offa robbery on the simple basis that the principal suspects and the gang leaders of the robbery operation confessed that the duo supplied them with arms and the vehicles for the operation.   

We salute the professional and moral courage demonstrated by the excellent legal minds in the justice ministry such as the efficient Etsu Umar Mohammed, his brilliant colleague directors, senior prosecution attorneys, advisers and researchers ably led by the irrepressible Solicitor-General of the Federation, Mr. Dayo Akpata. This is a huge leap in the nation’s justice delivery system.

This, however, is not saying that the nation has got there as far as effective and efficient justice administration is concerned in the country.

The journey may still be far but today we are not where we were three years ago when President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office and selected a crack team of brilliant reform-minded people in the nation’s justice ministry.

The simple moral in the letter which must not be lost in the frenzy of the moment is that diligent investigation is the fundamental basis for diligent prosecution without which justice, order and the rule of law are possible. In other words, where there is no justice, anarchy lurks. The office of the Attorney- General and Minister of Justice is the only ministerial office particularly mentioned in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as Amended. This is to underscore its importance.

This is not the first time that Mr. Malami has acted in the interest of the rule of law. He has demonstrated in many instances that he is indeed a minister in the temple of justice. Recall his response to the investigation report of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Adoke and others in the Halliburton saga, he stated that the evidence adduced by the EFCC to support its charges were not weighty enough to secure any conviction in court.

Fired by the zeal to serve the country diligently as its chief law officer in truth and conscience, he even recommended further investigations and even suggested areas of further inquiry, .

Mr. Malami has led his brilliant and formidable team in the justice ministry to prove that justice is the most efficient and potent weapon to stabilize the country for growth and development. Under him, justice has proved to know no race, region, religion or even political affiliation. The coming days, weeks and months will be particularly testy.

When critics of Buhari’s administration want to revel in needless fancy, they cite former President Goodluck Jonathan’s National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki’s case as evidence of rights violation and disrespect for rule of law. Bur they conveniently ignore that Dasuki is in court on a 32-count charge of alleged involvement in money laundering and abuse of office.

Though granted bail by the court, he is being held on fresh charges meaning that the ship of justice sails slowly. He is alleged to have illegally disbursed to political associates $2.1 billion meant for arms purchase.          


Dr. Mahmoud Sadiq Abubakar, a Diaspora scholar, sent this piece from the United Kingdom.       


Source Soundbite NEWS

Posted on August, 1 2018

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