The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, says he “takes exception” to the reaction of South-west governors to the Magodo land dispute.
The Minister in a statement on Wednesday said he takes exception to the “Southwest Governors unjustifiable insinuation of impunity against the office of the Attorney General over the execution of a judgment of the Supreme Court.”
He added that the role of the executive is, in this respect, simply to aid the maintenance of law and order in due compliance with rule of law arising from giving effect to the judgment of the apex court of the land.
The southwest governors had earlier in a statement condemned the disrespectful act of a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) who publicly defied the order of the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to vacate the Magodo Phase II Estate along with his men.
In the statement, which was signed by Ondo governor, the governors condemned, “in very gross terms, the role of the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami SAN in this act of gross moral turpitude.”
Find below the full statement by the Minister, reacting to the governors …
It is important to state that the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation belongs to the Executive arm of the Government. The Supreme Court belongs to the Judiciary.
The Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice takes exception to the Southwest Governors unjustifiable insinuation of impunity against the office of the Attorney General over execution of a judgment of the Supreme Court.
The role of the executive is, in this respect, simply to aid the maintenance of law and order in due compliance with rule of law arising from giving effect to the judgment of the apex court of the land.
Let it be known that the issue is regarding a Supreme Court Judgement that was delivered in 2012 long before the coming of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in office at a time when Malami was not a Minister.
The judgment was a reaffirmation of the judgments of Court of Appeal and High Court delivered on 31st December, 1993.
The Press Release came to us as a surprise. We see it as a vituperation of ulterior motives of some political class who derived pleasure in dragging the name of Malami in the mud to achieve some sinister objectives.
It is widely reported in the papers that the Lagos state Governor was quoted to have said “I’ve spoken extensively with the Inspector-General of Police and the Honourable Attorney-General, and we’ve resolved all the issues”.
The Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, would appreciate if the coalition of the Governors will help to unravel the circumstances preventing the Lagos State Government from enforcing the court order despite several attempts from 2012- 2015 and so-called settlement initiative started in 2016.
Some of the cardinal pillars of democratic Government are the doctrine of separation of powers and obedience to the rule of law inclusive of Court Orders.
It is a common knowledge that execution of the judgment and orders of Courts of competent jurisdiction, and the Court of last resort in the circumstances remains a cardinal component of the rule of law and the office of the Attorney General wonders how maintenance of the law and orders in the course of execution of the judgment of the supreme can be adjudged by imagination of the governors to be unruly.
We want restate that sanctity of the rule of law is not a matter of choice.
Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu
(Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice)
Wednesday 5th January, 2022