Nigeria’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami has denied ever writing a memo to President Muhammadu Buhari asking him to suspend the use of the country’s 1999 constitution as amended to enable him tackle rising insecurity in the country.
Reports on Tuesday suggested the minister had sent a memo to the president to consider declaring a nationwide state of emergency and suspend the constitution to widen the government’s latitude in dealing with the worsening security situation in the country without any legal impediment.
According to a publication by the Peoples Gazette, Mr Malami specifically urged the president to suspend the fundamental rights of all Nigerians as guaranteed under Chapter IV of the Constitution due to the rising insecurity.
But Mr Malami described himself as “a true democrat who believes in rules of law and tenant of democracy and constitutional order.”
“The attention of the office of the honourable attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN has been drawn to a false and fictitious report alleging that there was a secret memo emanating from the Office to the presidency,” a statement signed by Malami’s spokesman Umar Gwandu, read.
“General public are hereby asked to disregard the media report as fabrications of anti-constitutional democratic stability in Nigeria.
“The office of the attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice is a constitutionally recognised one with its role and responsibilities embedded in the constitution.
“It is antithetical to common sense to think that the holder of such coveted office as the attorney-general of the federation and minister of Justice will stoop to what was printed by the media.
“The government does not operate in secrecy as it is not a clandestine operation. Hence, Malami discharges his constitutionally recognized mandates in compliance with principles of transparency, openness and accountability.”
By Abel Ejikeme