…say it’s abuse, wrong use of AGF office
Some lawyers and the Peoples Democratic Party have criticised the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), for administering the oath of office to Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State as the chairman of the new caretaker committee of the All Progressives Congress on Thursday.
The swearing-in followed the dissolution of the party’s National Working Committee by the National Executive Committee of the party which held its meeting at the Chamber of the Federal Executive Council in Abuja.
A former 2nd Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Monday Ubani, described the administration of oath office to Buni by Malami as wrong use of the AGF’s office.
He said Malami should apologise to Nigerians for the technical but grave error.
Ubani said, “Malami is the Attorney General of the Federation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. His loyalty is to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and not to any political party. What he did was actually wrong. Maybe they were not properly advised. APC has legal advisers. They have a national legal adviser. If they did not want to use their national adviser, they could have used any of their legal advisers from the states.”
Another lawyer, Mr Malachy Ugwummadu, who is a former President of the Committee for Defence of Human Rights, also faulted Malami’s action, which he said was incongruous with the APC’s constitution.
He said, “I understand that the constitution of the APC itself clearly admonishes that national officers of the party shall not be political office holders and that at no time shall state actors, that is, government officials, including the AGF, be officers of the party itself. The whole idea is to ensure you cannot be a party official as well as a government appointee so that you are able to separate government work from party work.
“To that extent, it is incongruous for the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to assume the responsibility of swearing in the appointed chairman and members of the APC’s technical committee.”
Ugwummadu also faulted the holding of the NEC meeting of the party at the Council Chamber of the Federal Executive Council.
Also, an activist and lawyer, Mr Inibehe Effiong, said Malami’s action “is morally and professionally reprehensible.”
He, however, said the minister’s action did not raise any legal issue since he was a lawyer and member of the party.
Some lawyers have also condemned Malami’s action on social media.
A lawyer and journalist, Mr Richard Akinnola, noted in a Facebook post, “Malami, you are the Attorney General of the Federation and not of the APC.”
In a tweet via his Twitter handle, Prof Chidi Odinkalu, who is a former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, described the development as “a terrible testament” for the regime of Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd).
Also, a human rights lawyer, Mr Kunle Edun, described AGF’s action as painful, as the occupier of the office “should not be seen to belittle, personalise or make the office partisan in the performance of his functions”.
According to the PDP, using public facilities and resources for the NEC meeting of the APC is the height of graft and desecration of the sanctity of the seat of power and national values.
The National Publicity Secretary, PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, said, “This shameful development is a further manifestation of the level of impunity, recklessness, disrespect for rules and disdain for our laws by the APC-led administration, whose latest action exposes a move towards instituting the art of running processes and programmes through illegality.” - ThePunch