Attorney General of Federation, AGF and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, on Thursday slammed the Senate, saying it had no jurisdiction to summon him over the ongoing trial of the Senate’s presiding officers for the alleged forgery of the Senate rules.
This is the second time in one week that the AGF has failed to appear before the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters on the issue.
Malami had been summoned by the committee to provide the raison d’être for his decision to charge the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, to court for alleged forgery of the Senate rules ahead of last year’s elections of the presiding officers of the upper legislative chamber.
The Federal Government had dragged Bukola Saraki, Ike Ekweremadu; the outgoing Clerk to the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa; and the Deputy Clerk, Ben Efeturi, to the FCT High Court over the alleged forgery.
The AGF was earlier scheduled to appear before the committee on June 23 but stayed away, prompting the committee to reschedule for him to appear on Thursday, June 30th.
But for the second time, the AGF stayed away and sent his representative, the Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution, Okoi Obono-Obla.
Okoi Obono-Oblo, who represented Malami, told the Senate Committee that the matter had gone beyond the Senate, and neither the Committee nor the Senate has the jurisdiction over a matter that is already in court.
He also informed the Committee that Malami had travelled out of the country and was not answerable to the Senate, but the President.
Following his offensive submission, Obono-Obla was consequently stopped from making further comments on account of not being the one summoned and walked out by the Committee.
The Committee, however, resolved to report the non appearance of Malami before it on the forgery case to the Senate plenary for appropriate action.
Fielding questions from Journalists after his session with the senate, the presidential aide said;
“The AG has not done anything wrong, he has not undermined democracy. He acted pursuant to his powers vested on him by the Constitution.
Section 174 (1) says he can prosecute anybody and he has done that. The Senate is not on trial. He has not taken the Senate to court. He has taken four persons to court.
They are not the Senate. Being President of the Senate does not make you the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The matter was investigated by the police and a prima facie case was established and the AG invoked his powers under Section 174 (1) to initiate criminal proceedings against those persons and this matter is now before a court of law.
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There is separation of powers in Nigeria. It is not the position of the Senate to constitute themselves into a court of law.”