The tense relations between the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, shows no signs of abating.
On Friday, Malami denied reports insinuating that his office leaked classified information from the EFCC on the alleged probe, on corruption charges, of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen and other prominent Nigerians. In the process, he lashed out at the EFCC.
“This office therefore wish to state categorically, but with absolute repudiation, that it did not at any time leak such information to the media as wrongly alluded by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC),” said the minister in a statement signed by Comrade Salihu Isah, Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the AGF.
“The pertinent question to ask is since the EFCC has publicly denied that the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria is not under probe or investigation; is it then possible for the same EFCC to have forwarded any classified information on a non-existent probe or investigation of the Honourable CJN to the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation? It also goes to show that the Office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation could not have leaked non-existent classified information on an equally non-existent probe or investigation,” said the statement.
There were media reports this week which quoted the EFCC alleging that the office of the AGF leaked classified information concerning the purported investigation of the CJN and others by security agencies over corruption.
Malami described the reports as “the unfortunate and unbecoming innuendo by certain persons and agencies which sought to accuse my office of leaking what was termed as classified information to the public.”
He frowned at attempts to “drag his office and that of the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria into petty squabbles in the midst of burning national issues”, saying that he had “deep respect for the distinguished person and office of the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria.”
“We will never be party to any unpatriotic effort to denigrate his exalted office. We wish to state unequivocally that the office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation will continue to collaborate with His Lordship in his efforts to reform the judiciary and galvanize the anti-graft war.
“Indeed, the present administration appreciates His Lordship for his unwavering support for its anti-corruption drive. We wish to state further that we are neither aware of nor privy to any purported probe or ongoing investigation of the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria by any security or anti-graft agency. The office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation dissociates itself from the baseless allusion or suggestion obviously made in bad faith to the effect that His Lordship is under any form of probe or investigation whatsoever.”