Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN has reacted to criticism that it was wrong of him to have administered oath of office on the new Caretaker Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State.
The main opposition party in the country, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and some lawyers have criticised Malami for administering the oath on Governor Buni on Thursday.
The swearing-in followed the dissolution of the party’s National Working Committee by the National Executive Committee of the party which held its meeting at the Chamber of the Federal Executive Council in Abuja.
Critics said Malami’s action was a wrong use of the AGF’s office.
A lawyer and journalist, Mr Richard Akinnola, for example said in a Facebook post that “Malami, you are the Attorney General of the Federation and not of the APC.”
But Malami said that there was no any legal impediment on him in relation to administration of oath being a lawyer, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, notary public and a legal practitioner.
His reaction is contained in a statement issued by Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice which was made available to newsmen on Saturday, 27th day of June, 2020.
Malami said working towards entrenchment of democracy and democratic culture is not only a desirable responsibility, but a constitutional one regard being had to the constitutional provisions and the demand for sustenance of democracy in the country.
He explained that the office of the Attorney General exercise dual functions inclusive of that of Minister of Justice which is a political and advisory function. Administration of justice is one of such functions
The statement added that “A federation is an embodiment of the governance inclusive of the Executive,Legislature and Judiciary with a possible expansion to accommodate private, corporate and associated entities. Within that context, it will not be out of place for an Attorney-General of the Federation to administer an oath on any one inclusive of leadership of any political party whether he belongs to it or not.
“Within the context of the other consideration, a lawyer, a judge and indeed a private legal practitioner and a commissioner for oath are recognized statutorily as people vested with the power to administer an oath. Attorney General of the federation that has fallen within that circle is never be an exception.
“The fundamental question that begs for an answer remains whether there exist any legal impediment on Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice in relation to administration of oath being a lawyer, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and a legal practitioner.”
Malami, therefore, renewed commitment in discharging constitutional responsibilities of upholding the democratic culture and compliance to the rule of law.