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Mister Abubakar Malami is the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice for unfortunate Nigeria. He is a 54-year old Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and up until 2015, when he got appointed into the President Muhammadu Buhari’s neoptistsic cabinet, not much was known or heard of the Birnin-Kebbi born lawyer. He is a graduate of Usman Dan Fodiyo University, and later went to University of Maiduguri for a Masters degree in Public Administration. Many believe he is one of the top beneficiaries of the Buhari’s maladministration as he was not a visible member of the Pre-2015 Buhari presidential efforts and forays, even though he had served as a legal adviser to the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).
Yet, he landed a top job: the foremost law officer of the country. But in almost all his outings, Malami ‘s utterances have not only been disastrous but highly misleading, and this has inadvertently put a query on his background and his understanding of basic justice systems. Many would agree that over the past weeks and months, Malami has had his foot on the throttle pedal. Each depress on the pedal triggers a chain of controversy, which he relishes like a chronic drug addict whose jonesing is suddenly assuaged with adequate milligrams of substance.
Malami is s a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN); a coveted status in the legal profession that carries the presumption that he’s well-grounded in all the arcana of the law. But he seems more grounded in the dark art of political intrigues and dangerously nonsensical legal theatrics. His acquaintance with the noblest aspects of the law and the weighty responsibilities of his office is at best nebulous and he has become a walking embarrassment for the legal profession and the high office he holds. This is borne out by his unbridled partisanship and pedestrian interpretation of the law. He believes it is his prerogative to bend the law to serve any sinister objective he fancies and achieve some predetermined ends. In feeding his predilection for mischief, he reminds people of his unfitness for the job of federal attorney-general. And he proudly projects the stark parochialism, insensitivity and incompetence of the government he serves.
On May, Malami was seen at the parliament, struggling to extricate himself from what was appearing like an indictment for his office illegally spending a whopping ₦2 billion from recovered loot, allegedly to pay lawyers who were prosecuting terrorist suspects. His responses to the questions were as completely clumsy as they were confusing. Barely one month ago, Malami stirred the hornet nest with his comments on open cattle grazing. He had a big face-off with the 17 Southern governors after they voiced out their rejection of open grazing in the region. He obnoxiously seized the headlines when he compared the ban on Open Grazing by all Southern Nigerian governors to banning all spare parts sellers in the north. It was an inverted innuendo on the Igbos, whose folks are essentially the dealers on spare parts sales. It was an utterance in bad faith. Many Nigerians were shocked that a supposed Minister of Justice, one schooled in the theories of equity and jurisprudence of justice did not know the difference between open grazing and spare parts trade. Was he mentally daft not to know or was he just being politically mischievous? Either way, it was despicable, not only for his exalted office, but for the ethos in the pursuit of national unity.
Here are herdsmen—be they Fulani or whatever, whose name now collocate with rape, kidnappings, maiming and killings, being compared to genuine entrepreneurs deeply involved in the business of selling and buying, without hurt or threat to anybody. Not even a Grade 3 pupil will have the idleness of brain to slate the two businesses on the same page. For this analogy, his traducers had repeatedly given him great bashing. His comments, many maintain, went far to betray his inner feelings for a particular section of the country largely associated with spare parts trading and that is the Igbos from the Southeastern part of Nigeria. Those who could not draw a connecting line between open grazing and spare parts trading said Malami missed the mark by miles, saying it was akin to comparing oranges with carrots. None of Malami’s defence and those offered by his friends and acolytes could soothe the anger of a cross section of Nigerians who believed his outing on the occasion was in bad taste. Some had even gone ahead to criticise him for pandering to a section of the public.
And just when many were getting over what Malami said and did with the governors, he returned to the mix again, following the recent face-off between the Federal Government and the microblogging outfit, Twitter. It was a turf that offered Malami another opportunity to pick his fight with the public.
Following the ban on Twitter announced by the Minister of Information and Communication, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, many Nigerians had gone ahead to bye-pass the order through the use of Virtual Private Network (VPN). Upon realising this, Malami had directed the office of the Public Prosecution of the Federation (DPPF) to go ahead to prosecute violators of the ban. He spoke through a release issues by his media office, saying that the ‘Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has ordered the prosecution of offenders of the Federal Government ban on Twitter operations in Nigeria.’
‘The AGF directed the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation (DPPF) to swing into action and commence in earnest the process of prosecution of violators of the Federal Government de-activation of operations of Twitter in Nigeria.’
Not many Nigerian Twitter users welcomed Malami’s directive in good faith. Those still ruing the deprivation of their right to Twitter in running their lives and businesses did not find the ban funny. They had thought that bypassing the directive through VPN was a sure way to get going. How wrong they were? Malami’s declaration that anyone found still tweeting would be prosecuted tended to worsen matters. It was more like robbing salt on injury. Many could not take it. They poured out their anger with an avalanche of criticism on Malami and his office.
Yesterday, while trying to upload updated details on his meeting with Catriona Laing, a British High Commisioner who met with him to discuss the Twitter ban and the Electoral act amendment, Attorney General Malami had made a major blunder when he misspelled the word ‘Ban’ as ‘Barn’ on his verified Facebook page where many of his local and international followers saw it. This is very unbecoming of a man who holds such an esteemed office in a Country like Nigeria. It shows carelessness and haphazard
Malami obviously likes power. He tried to contest for Kebbi State governorship, but lost to the incumbent Gov Bagudu in the primaries. He loves to be atop. He likes to control. It is his desperation to control every lever of power that got him clashing with the former EFCC acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu. He wanted to subsume the EFCC and literally be in charge, determining those to be prosecuted and those to be let off. But Magu did not accept. Malami used the appurtenances of his office to pull down Magu in a rather weird and queer manner. Imagine the mountain of allegation leveled against Magu by Malami although they were well deserved. Till today, nothing has been established against Magu, otherwise his prosecution would have been running. Recent events have also revealed that Malami’s exploits were all aimed at installing his kinsman, scion and lackey, Abdulrasheed Bawa, as the EFCC chairman, even as he (Malami) still has his eyes on the Kebbi governorship seat. Rather than dispense equity, the young man has been dishing out iniquity in all dimensions.
Last December, peeved by the spate of killings and general air of insecurity in the country, the lawmakers in the House of Representatives, had resolved to invite President Muhammadu Buhari to come address them on the issue of security or the lack of it in the country. The leaders of the lower house had respectfully gone to invite Mr President, who in turn gave his word to come to parliament. While everybody awaited the date, Malami, 24 hours to the agreed date, released some statement, again, arguing casuistically, that Mr President cannot and would not appear before parliamentarians. That was how the meeting was aborted. The consequences of this stupid, buffonrey-filled action by Malami were that the security situation only worsened and became far more dire in the Country. This same Malami it was, who was so quick to declare the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) a terrorist organisation, yet refused to declare Miyetti Allah or Boko Haram or even the bandits as terrorists, just because the latter groups are largely his Fulani folksmen, while the former are Igbos.
Abubakar Malami has a special gift for inviting discerning people to dismiss him as a clown. Indeed he’s a clown, but a very dangerous clown. This is because he’s the minister of justice and federal attorney-general. His portfolio makes him the country’s chief law officer and chief legal adviser to the federal government. A huge responsibility, which he’s proven himself time and again intellectually and morally unequipped for which is why he has earned the title, ‘Senior Advocate of Nonsense’. His maladies and misdemeanours are many. His ilk are a danger to the continuous existence of a country like Nigeria. He plays politics with everything. He even suffers judicial jaundice. He is not deserving of the high office he occupies.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK