The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, on Wednesday accused the South-West Governors’ Forum of dishonesty in the matter involving the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and a police officer in the state.
The South-West governors had condemned Sanwo-Olu by a Chief Superintendent of Police at the Magodo Estate in Lagos.
The police officer had on Tuesday openly defied the governor’s order to vacate the highbrow estate.
He told the governor that police officers were at the estate on the orders of the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba and the AGF.
The police officer’s remark sparked angry reactions from the South-West governors.
However, in his statement issued by his media aide, Umar Gwandu, the AGF highlighted the functions of the Supreme Court and accused the governors of dishonesty.
The statement read: “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 South-West Governors unjustifiable insinuation of impunity against the office of the Attorney General over the execution of a judgment of the Supreme Court.
“The role of the executive is, in this respect, simply to aide 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 Judgment 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 rulings 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 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 governance 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 the imagination of the governors to be unruly.”
“We want to restate that sanctity of the rule of law is not a matter of choice.”
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