Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), has distanced himself from the continued detention of former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki by the Federal government saying the decision did not receive his support.
In a sworn affidavit he filed before the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, Malami averred that he never offered any legal advice to President Muhammadu Buhari, the Federal Government or any of its agencies in contravention of the 1999 Constitution or any law in force.
Malami further told the court that he has no control over the DSS or its Director General so as to influence Dasuki’s continued detention.
He was responding to a suit asking the court to void his rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) on the ground that he has allegedly engaged in unprofessional conduct.
The suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/807/2018 was filed by an Abuja based legal practitioner, Mr. Johnmary Jideobi.
Malami said he had no hands in the decision by the Federal Government to ignore six separate court orders that granted bail to Dasuki.
Dasuki had been in custody of the Department of State Service (DSS), since December 29, 2015.
The affidavit was deposed to by a senior lawyer in his chambers, Mr. Ballah Ali.
Also in the said affidavit, Malami told the court that he was the one that persuaded the Federal Government to release the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, on bail.
He denied report that he had in an interview he granted to an online media outfit, where he purportedly insisted that Dasuki, who served as NSA under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, would not be allowed to enjoy any form of freedom, in view of the gravity of offence he allegedly committed while in office.
Malami further said he also convinced thje Federal Government to pay N135 million as compensation to families of deceased and injured victims of the invasion of an uncompleted building in Apo area of Abuja by DSS in 2013, sequel to the recommendation of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
Consequently, he urged the court to dismiss the suit praying the court to withdraw his rank of SAN over alleged acts of misconduct.
In the suit, the plaintiff, is praying the court to determine, “Whether upon a community reading and complete understanding of Sections 1(1), 150 (1) and 287(3) of the amended 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria read alongside Rule 1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007, the Defendant is not bound to exercise the powers of his office and discharge his functions thereunder ONLY in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended?
“Whether upon a community reading and complete understanding of Sections 1(1), 150 (1) and 287(3) of the amended 1999 Constitution read alongside Rule 1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007, the Defendant has not violated his oath of office as Senior Advocate of Nigeria and failed in his duty as a Legal Practitioner [more so the Chief Law Officer of the Federation] by defending the refusal of the Federal Government of Nigeria to obey six valid Court Orders directing it to release a former National Security Adviser (rtd. Colonel Dasuki) having been admitted to bail and met all the conditions attached to the said bails.
As well as “Whether upon a community reading and complete understanding of Sections 1(1), 150 (1) and 287(3) of the amended 1999 Constitution read alongside Rule 1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007, the Defendant has not desecrated the Nigerian Constitution, his oath of office both as the Attorney-General of the Federation and as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria in not only failing to support the Constitution but to assault same by his defence of the refusal of the Federal Government of Nigeria to release a former National Security Adviser (rtd. Colonel Dasuki) despite valid court orders admitting him to bail?”
In his defence, however, Malami maintained that the allegation that he backed FG’s action against Dasuki was “false, fabricated and falsified” to bring him to public ridicule.
Nevertheless, he said there was nothing before the court to show that Dasuki perfected all the conditions or terms of the bail that was granted to him on July 2, 2015.
He said: “On 2nd March 2018, the Supreme Court while delivering judgment in an appeal brought before it by Dasuki to challenge his continued detention and praying for suspension of his trial pending the time the bail orders were obeyed by government, held that the bails granted Mr. Dasuki in respect of criminal charges brought against him by EFCC have been obeyed having being implemented by the Controller of Prisons, Kuje on December 29, 2015 before he was rearrested by the Department of State Services, DSS.
“The Supreme Court equally held that the EFCC, though the prosecuting agency, cannot be held responsible for the detention of Dasuki by DSS.
“The Defendant neither arrested nor detained Col. Dasuki, Rtd, and he is also not in custody of the Defendant.
“The Defendant also did not authorise the DSS not to release Col. Dasuki (rtd), or any other person for that matter. The Defendant does not also control or supervise the DG, DSS or the DSS itself.
“That Col. Dasuki, Rtd being the allegedly aggrieved person, did not authorize the Plaintiff to make any representation on his behalf in the instant case.
“That Col. Dasuki, Rtd, being the allegedly aggrieved person, did not take any step to enforce the court orders in question.
“That the Defendant in due compliance with the oaths of his office as Attorney General of the Federation and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, has spearheaded efforts by the Nigerian Government to comply with court orders and/or judgments, including but not limited to:
“In all prosecutions instituted as part of the anti-corruption drive of the current administration, all the accused persons have been released upon their admittance to bail.
“Upon the granting of bail to the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, by this honourable court, he was released from prison custody in April 2017.
“In April 2018, the sum of N135million was paid as compensation, upon the recommendation of the National Human Rights Commission, to the families of deceased and injured victims of the invasion of an uncompleted building in Apo area of Abuja by DSS in 2013.
” In September 2018 the Federal Government in compliance with the judgment of the National Industrial Court, reinstated Mr. Yushau Shuaib, a Chief Information Officer who was retired in 2013.
“The Plaintiff has not obtained any court order/judgment against the Defendant which is not yet obeyed.
“That the Defendant has not misconducted himself in his official capacity as Attorney General of the Federation or in his personal capacity as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria in any proceeding before this honourable court to warrant a report being made to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee.
“That the Defendant did not at any time defend the alleged refusal of the Federal Government to obey six different court orders directing the release of Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
“The Defendant did not at any time render legal advice to the President or the Federal Government or any of its agencies in contravention of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, or any other law in force.
“That is is in the interest of justice to refuse this application”, Malami added.