Second term: CSOs urge Buhari to shop for credible, patriotic AGF

Second term: CSOs urge Buhari to shop for credible, patriotic AGF

- A group of CSOs have urged President Buhari to shop for a credible and patriotic Nigerian for the position of AGF

- The CSOs made the demand via an open letter addressed to the president

- They accused the last AGF of playing many shady and odious roles in the fight against corruption

A group of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) led by Say No Campaign Nigeria, have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to shop for a credible and patriotic Nigerian for the position of Attorney-General of the Federation in his second term in office.

The CSOs made the demand via an open letter addressed to the president on Thursday, June 6.

They also hailed the president for his achievements in the fight against corruption in the last four years, but pointed out that, one of the greatest disappointments in the fight against corruption in his first term was from the office of the immediate past AGF, Abubakar Malami, SAN.

“The actions and in actions of the last occupant of the office, Mr Abubakar Malami, have continued to bring shame to the acclaimed anti-corruption campaign of the administration and huge losses to Nigeria,” the groups stated.

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The groups listed the cases to be:

1. A case in point is the Malabu scandal involving former oil minister Dan Etete, Eni and Shell in a heist allegedly resulting in a loss of more than $US1billion to Nigeria. The minister has done everything, including writing legal advise, against taking the matter to the court.

2. Nigerians have not forgotten the minister’s role in the fraudulent reinstatement of former chairman of Pension Task Force, Abdulrasheed Maina who was wanted on allegations of corruption, into the federal civil service.

3. The shady deal involving the minister which led to the approval for payment of a highly controversial and contentious payment of $17 million to two lawyers for an already concluded deal on the repatriation of the Abacha loot from the Swiss Bank. There are many reported cases of undue meddling and interference by the attorney general to gag and muzzle the anti-corruption agencies and force discontinuation of investigations and prosecutions of high profile government officials.

4. The minister has also been fingered in the suspected attempt to frustrate the investigation and prosecution of the director-general of the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission for his alleged involvement of diversion of about N2.5billion. Most crucially, Mr. Malami has superintended a systematic strategy of frustrating the freedom of information law.

5. Under his leadership, government agencies have found cover and a new boldness to ignore and/or outright treat, with impunity, the many FOI requests in order to frustrate any accountability effort by concerned public. Going by the record of its hall of shame and fame program, the Media Rights Agenda, a leading civil society organization at the forefront of strengthening application and compliance with the freedom of information of law, a significant number of federal agencies have been hauled into the hall of shame for the blatant refusal to respect FOI requests. These persist, while the minister continues to present himself as chief in frustrating the fight against corruption and civil society’s effort for accountability.

“These actions are inconsistent with the expectations on the office of the AGF and minister of justice and inimical to the commitment of this administration’s zest to fight corruption.

“Mr President, we believe that to fashion an aggressive fight against corruption, the chief law officer must be of impeccable character, incorruptible, have respect for the rule of law, be courageous with a hunger for Justice. Unfortunately, Mr. Abubakar Malami has shown himself to be a far cry from these requirements,” the CSOs added.

The other groups are YIAGA AFRICA, Connected Development, Social Action, Protest to Power, The Cable Foundation, YES Project, CISLAC, LAWNAC, Keen and Care Initiative, Action Aid Nigeria and AFRICMIL.

READ ALSO: Goje: Office of AGF has power to take over any case - EFCC

In another development, a coalition of civil society organizations has accused the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), of incompetence, engaging in media trial and cheap blackmail.

The groups are Competent Government for Accountability led by Comrade Omoba Micheal, South South Youth Mission and Beyond Boundaries Legacy Leadership Initiative led by Comrade Omaga E. Daniel.

According to the CSOs, the ICPC has been carrying out the act in a bid “to extort money from businessmen.”

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