Nigeria’s attorney-general and justice minister Abubakar Malami has been dismissed as playing to the gallery and undermining the law he was supposed to be upholding.
A Nigerian legal practitioner, Nataniel Salifu, told judicialsketch.com that Malami has not acted as a professional in the way he has reacted to the release of former national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki and Sahara Reporters publisher, Omoyele Sowore, saying a more civilized attorney general would have kept quiet, “not going about to defend the indefensible.”
Mr Salifu said “It was grossly deceitful for the AG to say that Sowore and Dasuki were released because this government was committed to the rule of law, obedience to court orders and compassionate. You kept someone against court orders for four gruesome years and you said you were obedient to court order and compassionate. What a misnomer! Malami’s government was the exact opposite of what he claims it was”
The lawyer also said Malami was only being speculative when he said the Nigerian justice system gives his government multiple options after a court has ruled on a matter.
“The options he was referring to were those of appeal and application for stay of execution. However, there was no record that his government actually appealed the rulings of court to grant Dasuki bail. I also do not know of any order of stay of execution. So, what was he saying? If there was no order of stay granted, it was sheer disregard and disobedience to our courts to keep a person in custody after the courts have granted him bail’, he said.
He added that it was “wicked, heartless and devilish to detain Dasuki for four years after he has been granted bail by the courts.”
Salifu said he believed the government became embarrassed and jittery after the US began to show interest in the matter.
Three days before the release of Dasuki and Sowore, six US senators: Robert Menendez, Charles Schumer, Christopher Coons, Cory Booker, Bill Pascrell and Josh Gottheimer wrote Malami a letter where they tacitly warned Nigeria on the consequences of disregarding court orders.
The US lawmakers warned that Nigeria risks tarnishing its international reputation over Sowore’s indefinite detention and that “it will best serve Nigeria’s interests to protect and uphold the very legal systems that provide for stability and open dialogue.”
Malami has maintained that the federal government has the right to keep detaining the suspects while challenging the order admitting them to bail up to the apex court, but has failed to mention that the government had actually done so.