The senate said on Sunday that a court ruling last Thursday which described the forgery case filed against its presiding officers as an abuse of court process, has vindicated its position that the attorney general of the federation was acting a personal and partisan script.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole had ruled that the AGF ought not to have filed the suit when there was a separate court case challenging the competence of the police report on which he based his actions. Even though the judge did not throw out the forgery case because it was before another court of concurrent jurisdiction, he questioned Malami’s motives. The judge noted that before Malami became AGF, he was a lawyer to the aggrieved senators who lost in the senate leadership race and later accused Saraki of forgery.
The senate latched on the ruling on Sunday in a statement attacking the AGF. “When the Senate invited the AGF to come and throw light on the forgery case, it was not to challenge his right to file, take over or discontinue any criminal case but for him to explain the issues of conflict of interest, abuse of office, disrespect of a subsisting order of a court and violation of the principle of Separation of Powers which are being raised against him,” the senate spokesman, Aliyu Abdullahi, said.
The senate said Malami used his constitutional powers to pursue the private interests of his clients when he filed a criminal case in the FCT High Court against the subsisting ruling of a court of co-ordinate jurisdiction.
“It says a lot about an AGF who despite being aware that the court had ordered him and the Inspector of General of Police not to take any further action on the matter during the pendency of the civil suit still went ahead to initiate the criminal case on the Police report which is the subject of the civil case. The judge rightly described Malami’s action as “desperate haste that was not in public interest”.
“It should be noted that Malami’s name is still on the list of lawyers defending Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi and others in the Federal High court. We invite all Nigerians, including those shouting over whether it was right for Senate to invite the AGF or not, to read the ruling of Justice Kolawole and conclude whether Malami is still fit to be AGF in a government which canvasses change and rule of law.
“Our position as a law-making chamber is that the Office of AGF is a sensitive and strategic one being the only other office in the executive arm apart from that of President and Vice President to which the constitution specifically assigns some roles and powers. It must, therefore, be occupied by a sober, law-abiding, brilliant, mature, broad-minded and less partisan lawyer.
“Mr. Malami is yet to convince us with his handling of this case that he possesses these attributes. We call on him to respect the ruling of the court and to redeem the integrity of his office and admit his error by invoking his power under Section 174 (1) as noted in the ruling of the honourable judge.
“In conclusion, the Senate is calling on all parties, Mr. Malami, the Attorney General inclusive, to heed the wise, timely and apt advice of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar that “it is time to move on”. Truly, Nigeria needs our collective energy to address the various challenges – notably increasing poverty, hunger, youth unemployment, general insecurity and kidnapping, among others – which are time bombs that we can only ignore at our own collective peril”, the Senate stated.