By Ifeanyi Izeze
As aptly described by a close ally, Abubakar Malami (SAN) is certainly a unique Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) whose tenure will be a subject of discussions for many years after he leaves office. His callousness and serial gaffes which is unmatched in the history of that office has only achieved one thing and that’s to further diminish the Buhari Presidency.
How come this AGF is always mentioned in ventures that could most times be described as noxious? And it’s not as if some of these misdemeanours were mischievously hanged on him to rubbish him, no. He actually created and marketed these unwholesome acts that’s not befitting to someone occupying the office of the Attorney General of the Federation. Malami’s conduct as AGF has severally attracted negative reactions/comments from his colleagues in the bar.
It is unthinkable that the AGF who should know the implications or rather dire consequences of such act is prominently being fingered as the main top government official mounting pressure on the Police Service Commission to covertly exonerate and reinstate DCP Abba Kyari of all allegations of bribery and corruption in the Hushpuppi fraud scandal. Why is it that the man who should be the nation’s number one law officer is always at the wrong side of the law? This should actually worry every genuine Nigerian!
If the AGF and his co-travellers clear and reinstate DCP Abba Kyari into full service despite the overwhelming evidence that has been presented by the United States Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Interpol, what does that say of the nation Nigeria in the comity of nations especially in the United States and Europe? Or it doesn’t matter, abi?
Couldn’t it have been better or rather more dignifying if Malami had agreed to assist the embattled commander of the police special squad to go to the United States to defend himself and clear his name from the allegation of complicity in the scam that defrauded even the US government?
If we had a President who understands things, listen to Nigerians and who is not rigid and nepotistic, a character like Malami won’t still be at where he is, embarrassing his administration at will and consistently getting away with it.
Even laymen like us have had cause to point fingers at him for interacting with a fugitive of the Nigerian State in Dubai while on an official assignment. His lame excuse was that he sought the advice of the National Security Adviser (NSA) before making contacts with Abdulrasheed Maina who was then a wanted felon in Nigeria. How do you rationalise this?
That unholy alliance between the AGF and Abdulrasheed Maina in Dubai was the reason the fugitive returned unannounced to Nigeria and proceeded to resume work as a Deputy Director at a federal ministry.
At the beginning of General Buhari’s first term in office, it was practically impossible for anybody to have predicted or anticipated that his appointee to lead the anti -corruption war could be opposed from within his kitchen cabinet. It remains a mystery that Ibrahim Magu’s appointment as EFCC Chairman was opposed by those in government and not the tribe of corrupt persons in the polity.
We waited for many years to understand why Ibrahim Magu was being hounded until the year 2020 when Malami publicly led the frontal assault that culminated in his removal and replacement. This later day reality was clear to every discernible mind that he the AGF was behind Magu’s ordeal right from onset.
In recent times, this same AGF has been engaged in reckless pronouncements not befitting of his office. I still cannot understand how dealing in vehicle spare parts relates to the ban on open grazing by some state. We have not forgotten that the representative of the AGF at a public function made another reckless and divisive statement by pledging support of the AGF office to Meyetti Allah in their pending law suit against the Governors of Southern Nigeria.
Why does AGF act as if he is not comfortable or knowledgeable enough with the laws of Nigeria? Does Abubakar Malami know that he is the chief law officer of the federation, and so cannot take sides in ongoing legal contest?
Now Malami has unilaterally granted amnesty to the six multinational oil producing companies that defrauded the nation of over $62 billion through their manipulations of the enabling statues that guided the NNPC joint venture operations. If not, why has he refused to enforce the Supreme Court Ruling of 2018 on the matter?
If not that Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), on behalf of a client wrote a letter to the Attorney-General of the Federation, threatening to sue the AGF if he fails to recover the $62bn from international oil companies as ordered by the Supreme Court, Nigerians obviously would not have known that the enforcement of the Supreme Court ruling ordering the firms to pay back the money was already abandoned by the nation’s chief law officer. Is this how a country runs?
In his letter titled, ‘Request for Compliance with Judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in suit no SC. 964/2016 between Akwa Ibom & 2 ors v Attorney-General of the Federation’, Falana said, “Our clients have instructed us to remind you that the Federal Government has not enforced the above mentioned Judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria delivered on October 20, 2018.
“In the said judgment, the apex court had directed the Federal Government to take steps to recover all revenues lost to oil-exploring and exploiting companies due to wrong profit-sharing formula since August 2003.
Based on the aforesaid Judgment, what was expected from the AGF was to outrightly request for the immediate payment of the sum of $62bn owed by the six international oil companies with joint operating agreements with the NNPC namely Shell Petroleum Development Company, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited and Chevron Nigeria Limited, Nigeria Agip Oil Company, TotalElf Nigeria and Pan Ocean Oil Company.
Whether all the monies should have been recovered by now or not is immaterial. All that was required was for the nation’s chief law officer to have commenced the process in obedience to the nation’s apex court.
Tragically also, rather than ensure that the judgment was enforced or even keep quiet about the matter, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, shamelessly claimed that the government would not be able to recover the money. Can you imagine that? So Sylva is saying that the Supreme Court was stupid or rather unrealistic in its ruling? You see this Buhari government people!
Sylva was quoted as saying that, “Well, we have started discussions. Let us consider that as a lost opportunity, the money was not in a cupboard, they have taken it. Nobody can bring out that kind of money. I mean we can’t get $62bn.
“We can maybe get something from them but not $62bn. It’s an opportunity we have lost. We have already started discussions with them but what is clear is that it is a lost opportunity really.” This is a minister of the Federal Republic speaking in outright negation of a Supreme Court clear ruling on a matter! Walahi, there was a country!
- Ifeanyi Izeze is a celebrated Columnist and writes for www.nationaldailyng.com ([email protected]; Sms only: 234-8033043009)