A coalition of 12 major civil society organisations (CSOs) on Wednesday in Abuja asked President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately relieve and replace the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, for undermining the anti-corruption efforts of the present administration.
The CSOs are African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), ActionAid Nigeria (AAN), Connected Development (CODE), Lawyers Network Against Corruption (LAWNAC), Social Action (SA), Keen and Care Initiative (KCI), Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), The Cable, Protest to Power (P2P), Say No Campaign (SNC), Yes Project and YIAGA-AFRICA.
The Convener of the SNC, Mr. Ezenwa Nwagwu, who read the outcome of a meeting of the coalition, said that the last four years of Buhari’s administration witnessed renewed vigour in the fight against corruption especially with the introduction of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and bank verification (BVN) among others.
He said that the period also witnessed a trial of a sitting senate president and a chief Justice of Nigeria docked on allegations of corruptions.
He however listed Mr. Malami’s many actions, which he said deliberately undermine the course of justice including the roles he played in the reinstatement of former Chairman, Pension Task Force, Abdulrasheed Maina; the approval of $17m to two lawyers for an already concluded deal for the repatriation of Abacha loot from the Swiss Bank.
“One of the greatest disappointments in the fight against corruption comes from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice whose actions and inactions have continued to bring shame to the proclaimed anti-corruption campaign. He has also been fingered in the Malabu scandal, and the prosecution of the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) for alleged diversion of N2.5bn among others,” Nwagwu said.
He therefore urged President Buhari to reconfigure his anti-corruption fight by ensuring people with questionable characters are not appointed into sensitive positions ahead of his second term inauguration.
Nwagwu said that the groups also wants the president to immediately order the continuation of the prosecution of outstanding high-profile corruption cases including those involving members of his political parties including the former SGF Mr. Babachir David Lawal.
He also urged the president to consider separating the office of the AGF from that of the minister of justice to avoid conferring such enormous power to an individual and for accountability.