The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, on Wednesday, said he instituted legal action against the presiding officers of the senate over the alleged forgery of the Senate Standing Order 2015, because he wanted to preserve democratic governance and prevent abuse of public office.
Malami, who appeared before the Senate after three weeks that the Upper Chamber passed a resolution to summon him over the matter, said he was convinced that the suit was of public interest.
The Senate on Tuesday threatened to arrest the Minister for his failure to appear before it.
In its plenary session the Upper Chamber threatend to invoke necessary legislative powers including arrest warrant to bring Malami, to appear before it.
The threat followed the explanation by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator David Umaru, on the circumstances surrounding the failure of Malami to honour the invitation by his committee.
But on Wednesday, when asked to give reasons on why he opted to arraign Senate principal Officers, the AGF maintained that the matter was a case of conspiracy and forgery and asking him to justify the reasons for involving the two presiding officers would be subjudice because the proof of evidence was already before the court.
The AGF said, “the proof of evidence is before the court. I am a party in the suit being the prosecutor. I can’t comment on the question you asked because doing so would be sub judice.
“I was invited to appear before the committee based on a letter which reads ‘Imminent threat to Nigeria democracy’. I have a clear obligation to do whatever should be done within the context of the constitution to sustain the democratic process.
“The issue that constitute the basis of this invitation is a criminal case instituted against certain members of the Senate. It is an act that predates my appointment. There are series of suits.
“I was appointed on the 12th of November, 2015. That is four months after the investigation was concluded by the NPF. I have an obligation in the sustenance of democracy to institute a legal action from an investigation that has been concluded. It was based on this that I took the action.
“The action was not taken to truncate any democratic process, but was taken to protect democracy. There are now two pending cases in court. One is a civil case instituted by some Senators. The other is a criminal case instituted by the office of the AGF.
“The initiation behind the forgery case was taken in the interest of the public and in the interest of democracy. I want to state clearly that my decision was based on public interest and the aim is to prevent abuse of public offices.”