Nigeria’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, is a troubled man.
Since the issue of Maina’s reinstatement in the civil service became public knowledge in October 2017, Mr Malami has made strenuous efforts to distance himself from any direct involvement in the matter.
Verified documents on the processes that led to Maina’s recall provides a significant proof that the AGF was instrumental in no small measure in facilitating the entire scandal. Yet, Malami debunked vehemently that such memos could not have legally emanated from his office.
On October 23 2017, President Buhari demanded an explanation from the Head of Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita, on the circumstances that led to Mr Maina’s return to the civil service. Ms Oyo-Ita, in her submission, added to the available evidence that the AGF participated actively in advancing the cause for Maina to be returned, promoted and paid his salary and other entitlement arrears dating back 2013.
Still, Mr Malami would not give in to the insinuation that he aided the return of a man on the run to public service.
Why, then, has he attempted to scuttle the investigation of the National Assembly into the matter?
The AGF prayed the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court to grant him an ex parte injunction that will prevent both Houses of the National Assembly from looking into the Maina scandal, on the basis of the legislature’s lack of jurisdiction on such a matter.
The Attorney General is the chief counsel of the Federal Government. His interests are basically the interests of the chief executive of the administration under whom he serves. Mr Malami had once mentioned that he will reveal some details about the Maina scandal at the appropriate time but with the Senate about to beat him to this, it seems there are pressures from certain quarters for such details not to come forth at the present time.
While the AGF has been the most mentioned name in stories about the Maina scandal, he may not have played the most significant role in the scheme. The duty of many a lawyer on a political roundtable is more about saying “yes” or “no” as to the feasibility of certain actions than to generate original ideas.
The other key characters including the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau – who is arguably more influential on the cabinet – and the Director of General of the Directorate of State Security, Lawal Daura, have stayed under the radar; could the pressure on Malami to keep the dirty linens under wraps be coming from any of those strong quarters?
Maina’s threats to uncover some kind of dark secrets involving persons close to the President could be playing a role in Malami’s desperation for non-disclosure. That interview granted to Channels Television from an unknown location has probably made some persons in power sleepless. It is only logical that such persons should resort to Malami’s ability to device a legal support that will prevent any uncomfortable revelations.
Malami’s troubles are of his own making with his authority littered over most documents on the Maina recall. Yet, he may have only been doing the bidding of persons to whom he could not say No to.
Having failed to get the ex parte motion from the court, it remains to be seen what the AGF’s next move will be.