Buhari Has Not Performed –Junaid Mohammed: A Rejoinder By Okoi Obono-Obla
I have read the rather vicious and malicious tirade on the person of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubukar Malami, Senior Advocate of Nigeria by one Dr. Junaid Mohammed that was published in the Sunday Sun Newspaper of 20th March, 2016 and Sahara Reporters online platform.
From the way and manner, Dr Mohammed tried to vilify and malign the personality and professional career of the Attorney General of the Federation; it seems to me that he does not know a thing about him and that his knowledge of him was nothing but a hatchet job for some vested interests all out to destroy the reputation, character and professional; standing of the Attorney General of the Federation.
Undoubtedly, Malami (SAN) is a Legal Practitioner of unblemished integrity, experience and great learning. It is therefore unfortunate, callous, uncouth and tempestuous and indeed unbecoming of a man of the age and status of Dr. Mohammed to derogatorily refer to Malami (SAN) as a ‘’charge-and-bail lawyer”.
This Malami (SAN) he refers to as such was a Magistrate and University lecturer before he veered into private legal practice and within a record time, he was conferred with the prestigious rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria when he was barely 40 in 2008.
It is well settled that the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria is usually conferred on legal practitioners that are embodiment of excellence, hard work, industry, discipline, integrity and scholarship.
It also appears that Dr. Mohammed’s knowledge, appreciation and understanding of the constitutional and conventionally roles, functions and responsibilities of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and the facts of the MTN Telecommunication Nigeria Limited and versus Nigerian Communications Commission and Honourable Attorney General of the Federation which he alluded to in his interview is next to nothing; otherwise he would not have suggested that the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation wrongfully interfered in the case by negotiating a settlement out of court with MTN Telecommunications Nigeria Limited.
In the first place, the Honourable Attorney General was the second defendant in the case filed by MTN Telecommunications Nigeria Limited in the Federal High Court challenging the power of Nigerian Communications Commission to impose a fine on it for breach of the provisions of Nigerian Communications Commission (Registration) of Telephone Subscribers) Regulations, 2011 in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1923/2015.
So, the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation has every right to negotiate a settlement of the matter out of court. Secondly, it was the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation that constituted a legal team that was appointed to represent both the Nigerian Communications Commission in the case before a settlement out of court was effected.
It was in the office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation that a meeting was held between the Nigerian Communications Commission and the legal team constituted by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation to deliberate on the response of the Nigerian Communications Commission and the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation to proposal of the former Attorney General of the United States of America, Eric Holder on behalf of MTN Telecommunications Nigeria Limited for exploration of an out of court settlement.
More importantly, the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation is created by Section 150 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
The Attorney General of the Federation by virtue of Section 150 (1) of the Constitution is also the Chief Law Officer of the Federation and a Minister of the Government of the Federation.
The Attorney General of the Federation is also the Chief Legal Adviser of the President. He is also the Legal Adviser of the Executive Council of the Federation which is made up of Ministers of the Government of the Federation.
He is also the Chief Legal Adviser on all matters concerning law to all Federal Government Ministries, Boards, Extra Ministerial Departments, Agencies and Commissions.
It is well established that the Nigerian Communications Commission is an agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria, albeit is a regulator of the telecommunications industry in the country.
It is well settled that these Federal Government Ministries, Boards, Extra Ministerial Departments, Agencies and Commissions usually refer to the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation for legal opinion and advice.
The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation is usually sued by those who have been wronged or whose rights have been infringed on by these Federal Government Ministries, Boards, Extra Ministerial Departments, Agencies and Commissions even though he may not have been involved in the infringement of the right(s) of the Plaintiff.
This is why the MTN Telecommunications Nigeria Limited jointly sued him along with Nigerian Communications Commission even though he was not involved in the matter.
The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation is the Adviser to the Federal Government upon all matters of law connected with legislative enactments and upon all matters of law referred to him or her by the Government;
The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation is the Legal Adviser to the Federal Government upon all matters of a legislative nature and superintends all Federal Government measures of a legislative nature;
The Honourable Attorney of the Federation has the power to conduct and regulate all litigation for and against the Federal Government or any ministry or agency of government in respect of any subject within the authority or jurisdiction of the legislature.
Lastly, the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation is the leader of the Nigerian Bar Association and the custodian and guardian of public interest and overseer of the administration of public affairs in accordance with the Constitution and the Law.
I therefore do not see anything wrong, unethical or unprofessional that Honourable Attorney General, Abubukar Malami (SAN) has done in settling the case filed by MTN Telecommunications Nigeria Limited out of court (as proposed by MTN Telecommunication).
So the attack on his person and professional integrity by Dr. Mohammed is nothing but sour grapes and borne out of complete ignorance of the duties and schedule of the office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation.
Editor: Opinion expressed on this page are strictly those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of abusidiqu.com and its associates