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Reps move to reduce power of AGF, by separating it from Justice Minister



Reps move to reduce power of AGF, by separating it from Justice Minister

With the belief that the power exercised by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) who also functions as Minister of Justice is too much, the House of Representatives has started a constitutional process to separate the merging of the two offices.

This is as the bill seeking for an Act to alter the 1999 Constitution order to have the office of the AGF separate from the Minister of Justice, passed second reading on Tuesday. The bill also wants the same thing for the office of the Attorney General of State and Commissioner for Justice

In his introduction of the bill, Muhammad Monguno, an All Progressives Congress (APC) member from Borno State, cited Section 150 of the constitution which created the office of the AGF and Minister of Justice while Section 159 created the office of the Attorney General of State and Commissioner for Justice.

Monguno said, “From these arrangements, these two offices merged together and being operated by one person. The AG is the chief law officer whether of the Federation or the State and advises the government on matters relating to law generally, whereas, the office of the Minister or Commissioner of Justice is political in nature if read alongside other Ministers or Commissioners.

“The office of the Attorney General is such that should be seen to be independent and not subjected to some political consideration and the appointment should be seen to meet some standards in legal profession.

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“The fact being that the Attorney General performs some quasi-judicial functions hence the need for the office to be separated from the office of the Minister or Commissioner for Justice. The Attorney General being the Chief Law officer is empowered in Sections 150 and 195 of the constitution respectively to enter nolle proseque.

“The power can only be exercised if the office is free from any political interference. The separation of power would further allow for effective separation of power, as the two offices would be given the necessary environment to function optimally.”

The bill was referred to the Special ad hoc Committee on the review of the constitution, by the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara.



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