•Say they should be dismissed, tried
A team of human rights lawyers under the aegis of Public Interest Defenders (PID), has demanded that the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) and the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazzau be fired from office with immediate effect for breach of public trust.
The PID said consequently, they should be investigated and prosecuted for their roles in shielding an evidently corrupt individual.
The organisation hinged its demand on their alleged involvement in the re-engagement of a former chairman of Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT) Abdurasheed Maina, who had been declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged N2 billion pension scam.
The PID in a statement issued in Jos by its chairman, Pelumi Olajengbesi, said both Ministers could not be said to have acted in good conscience nor within the mandate of their respective offices “which demand that public interest be above all other considerations in whatever actions they undertake with the powers of their office.”
The statement was entitled: “Demand for the immediate removal of Abubakar Malami, AGF and Abdulraman Dambazzau, Minister for Interior, upon their failed mandate concerning the disgraceful Abdulraheed Maina saga.”
Olajengbesi said, “By virtue of Section 174(1) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the AGF shall exercise his powers as Chief Law Officer of the nation with particular attention to public interest, interest of justice and safety from tyranny.
“It is our firm belief that the AGF is currently acting contrary to our collective interest as a people, and it is high time he is removed from office and a more committed individual with public interest at heart be appointed.
“This recommendation is not made lightly and must be viewed in the light of the AGF’s continued logger-head position with the law and the fight against corruption. More so, we collectively denounce the reluctance and the lack of passion of the AG( to arrest and prosecute Maina immediately in line with the President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade.
“Letting such a man go without punishment is an insult on our collective sensibilities and a clear cut indication that Abubakar Malami is intent on sabotaging this anti-corruption administration.
“It is also our collective belief that Abubakar Malami acted in a manner capable of mortgaging our trust, confidence and faith as a people. His involvement in reinstating Maina back into the ministry as a Director is an act of betrayal and lack of patriotism for the country. His sense of justice is apparently skewered and unreliable. He must go for the law contemplates no sacred cows in its temple.
“While much has been inferred in extenso with regards to the Justice Minister, we unreservedly demand that Interior Minister be subjected to the same process as the Justice Minister: dismissed, investigated and prosecuted.
“The action of the Interior Minister is dishonourable and must be queried for its evil intent. It is time we properly sanitise the system, pick out the bad eggs within it and only then can our country be great again.”
The PID said it had come to its knowledge that President Buhari, on October 23 2017 (Monday) issued a statement ordering the immediate disengagement of Maina from the civil service.
However, the coalition said that before the action, they had it on good authority that Dambazzau approved his appointment back into the Ministry of Interior as the Director of Human resources in the Ministry acting on the approval of Malami.
Olajengbesi said, “More so, by same memo by both Ministers, Abdurasheed Maina was further recommended for promotion. Paragraph 2 Above is instructive in that the records stipulates that Abdulraheed Maina is yet to clear himself of the N195 billion scam for which he was declared wanted by the EFCC in 2015.
“While the action of the President is a scented rose intended to throw us off the stench of the disservice occasioned to Nigeria and Nigerians by two principal Ministers of this government, we are in no way swayed from what must be the next logical action by President.
“Furthermore, PID notes with alarm that as serious as this issue is, it risks being swept under the carpet as with a plethora of issues concerning this government and Nigerians would soon be hoodwinked or lulled into a false sense of security or trust.
“The fact that a wanted suspect may even be reinstated to become a Director in the civil service after evidence abound to his guilt invites a reconsideration of the competence of the Justice Minister and his intentions.”