Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), a civil rights advocacy group, has lauded the reforms of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Malam Abubakar Malami (SAN), in the nation’s justice system and the prison.
Underscoring the prison reform, HURIWA noted that it was the first in the post-colonial era by any Attorney-General in the country with its name change from prison to Correctional Centres.
Other laudable initiatives are the decongestion of Nigerian Correctional Centres with the release of about 7,000 inmates nationwide, implementation of the criminal justice Act, takeover of Omoyele Sowore’s case that eventually saw to his release and that of retired Col. Sambo Dasuki after four years in detention, the NGO said in a statement a copy of which was obtained by Persecondnews.
It also acknowledged Malami’s legal acumen in handling the trial of suspected Boko Haram members, speedy litigation of election matters, enhancement of access to justice and efforts in making socio-economic rights of Nigerians justiciable.
HURIWA also noted Malami’s handling of Apo 6 killings, contributions to the signing of Executive Orders especially No. 10 and the independence of state legislature and judiciary.
“The Attorney-General has come out with post-Covid-19 court virtual sittings among others. His contribution in the area of carrying out the assigned roles of his office including supervising agencies under him such as the EFCC remains indelible.
“By his watchfulness, 21 corruption allegations were brought against the EFCC chairman. For these and many more, Malami deserves our support,’’ the statement also said in a statement by Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, the National Coordinator of HURIWA.
It, therefore, condemned the series of attacks and allegations against the Minister of Justice orchestrated by elements that are well-known to be associated with or are working for alleged affiliates of the suspended EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Magu.
HURIWA wondered why the Chief Law Officer of the federation should be the subject of “vicious and sustained attacks in recent times’’ which it noted intensified since Malami advised President Muhammad Buhari to sack Magu for alleged infractions,
“We believe they are being executed by elements close to some `powerful forces’ backing Ibrahim Magu and these groups hide under compromised civil society organizations and induced media platforms to launch personal attacks against the chief law officer of the federation.
“To achieve their nefarious objectives, they have twisted several allegations which range from Mismanagement of funds, abuse of office to obstruction of criminal investigations just to distract and even disable the chief law office of the federation and make a mess of the whole anti-corruption fight especially the one involving Magu.
“The AG has embarked on measures to strengthen our laws and institutions is not in the best interest of this nation this is because the mandate as given to his office in Section 174 is critical to the fight against corruption which is the cardinal focus of the current administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari,’’ HURIWA stated.
The statement added: “Huriwa fully endorses the comprehensive overhaul of the EFCC to bring it in line to best global practices and to compel the institution to be law and rights based devoid of arbitrariness and tyranny of a powerful chairman.
“The Nigeria Incentive Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Landing (NIRSAL) issue they are basing their allegations of obstruction of corruption cases on is misleading as we have found out that the AGF did not direct the stoppage of the investigation but only directed a well coordinated investigation to be carried out by the Nigerian Police which is the body legally recognized and empowered under Section 214 and Section 29 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999 as amended) and the Police Act respectively.
“The AGF’s letter dated February 4th, 2020 as published by the online media is a clear and unambiguous directive that the other several agencies conducting parallel investigation on NIRSAL in respect of the same subject matter just stay action and allow the police force to continue and conclude the investigation it had started in order to avoid multiplicity, confusion and wastage of scarce resources.
“To all intent and purposes, the above is not an offence and so it is totally incredible to us how these sponsored elements who are on a mission of personal vendetta for their pay masters are bringing forth tainted unwarranted ethically challenged allegations against the AGF at a time the anti-corruption structure and system is being investigated and the country is trying to reorganize what is left of the credibility of the EFCC.’’
Persecondnews recalls that Magu, a Deputy Police Commissioner, was appointed the acting EFCC chair on Nov. 2015 and was suspended on July 7, 2020 following his probe by the Justice Ayo Salami Presidential Panel.
About 12 other top officers of the commission including the Secretary and Directors have also been suspended by the Federal Government.
Magu has been throwing and sponsoring tantrums targeted at Malami, his boss, accusing him of corruption as a detractive media strategies.
HURIWA is a team of professionals who have come together to advance the single agenda of building a formidable and economically strong United Nigeria.
Its track record within the civil society community in Nigeria spans nearly two decades of an unblemished record of patriotism