Nigeria’s Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, on Thursday, said contrary to media reports, he has not resigned from office, even as he prayed for a glorious exit.
Malami, who described the report of his resignation as fake news, perpetrated by mischief makers, called on journalists to put machinery in place to checkmate the menace of fake news before it destroyed the country.
The AGF made the clarification while declaring open the annual conference of the National Association of Judiciary Correspondent (NAJUC), Abuja.
He said, as the 2023 general election approaches, mischief makers were in the habit of conscripting journalists to disseminate false and fake news, particularly, about public officials.
“With the 2023 general election approaching, I hope this conference will address the practice, where journalists would be conscripted by agents of destructions to spread false information about personalities and issues. Unprofessional media practitioners have been reporting untrue and fabricated information against public office holders.
“Many public officers have been victims of malicious media reports, mischievous and deliberate distortion of facts. Many, who relied on some unprofessional information disseminators will be taken aback that the Malami that was claimed to have resigned as Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice was still seen in office discharging his functions, including attending the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting yesterday, granting interviews to journalists and still today, declaring this conference open as the Attorney General of the Federation.
“There is naturally an end to everything. My tenure in office has not yet ended. I pray for a glorious end. I call on journalists to refrain from fake news, defamation, sedition, hate speech, blasphemy, and incitements of inflammatory statements in their reportage that could jeopardize our corporate existence as a nation and hamper the peace we have been enjoying,” he said.
He commended NAJUC for organising the conference, especially, that the theme: “The Judiciary and 2023 General Election: The Way Forward” was not only timely but apt.
Malami said it signified a clear indication that the association was working towards making positive impressions and impact in the democratic process and nation building.
“Occasions like this serve as avenues for introspection and unveiling action plans, future projects and strategic initiatives for consolidating the crucial role of the media, judiciary and electoral system in the country for the forthcoming year and beyond,” he said.
In his welcome address, Chairman of NAJUC, Abuja, Mr. Kayode Lawal, drew attention to the sharp drop in the financial allocation to the Judiciary arm of the federal government, as well as the refusal of the state governments to allow financial autonomy of the judiciary at the state level.
He said the situation was already affecting the smooth running of activities of judiciary in the country.
He, therefore, called on both the Executive and the Legislature to look into the budgetary allocation to the judiciary, with a view to jacking it up to enable it meet up with the challenges that might arise in the conduct of the 2023 elections.