By Musa Adamu
The former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation , Abubakar Malami has declared that the continued detention of leader of Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Ibrahim El- Zakyzaky and former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd), were in public interest.
Malami who stated this while being screened by the Senate as a Ministerial nominee, said Section 174 of the 1999 constitution (as amended) made provisions for public interest to take preference over private interest.
“I concede as argued by the Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP Abia South), that a Minister of Justice and Attorney General as stipulated by sections 36, 37 and 39 of the constitution, supposed to protect the rights of any citizen from being violated even by the state , but where such rights conflicts with public interest , the latter overrides the former .
“Office of the AGF has exclusive responsibility of upholding the public interest above personal interest of anybody “, he said.
He explained further by citing the ruling of Supreme court on Federal Government vs Asari Dokubo where on the grounds of public interest, the court refused him bail.
While Sambo Dasuki has been in perpetual detention at the instance of the Federal Government since December 2015 on alleged corrupt practices, El- Zakyzaky has also been in similar position along with his wife since December of the same year on alleged treasonable offences.
The nominee who is most likely to be as re appointed as Chief Law Officer of the Federation, explained to the law makers that culture of deep rooted collaboration between the Executive and the legislature must be cultivated for bills passed by the latter to enjoy the assent of the former.
He said: “Absence of collaboration and cooperation between the legislature and the executive, accounted for high rate of bills rejection by the Presidency from the last Assembly.
“For such scenario not to repeat itself during the current 9th National Assembly, culture of deep rooted collaboration between the two arms, has to be put in place.
“The culture of collaboration between the two arms has to be demonstrated right from the stage of conception or formulation of a bill, up to the level of public hearing and eventual passage .
“For example, the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), was fundamentally rejected by the executive for lack of this required collaboration especially as regards the interest of host community perceived by the executive to have been compromised through provisions of the bills “.
Earlier before the question and answer session, rolled out some of the achievements he felt the ministry recorded under him.
According to him, through the enforcement of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), 23,000 ghost workers were weeded out of the system, 63 terrorism cases were prosecuted and 59 convictions made.
He added that a total of 12, 412 criminal cases were tried during the time and N59.163billion was recovered from some of the prosecuted looters.
He stated that if given the opportunity to serve in similar capacity after his confirmation by the Senate, he would operate within the context of integration in line with section 15 of the 1999 constitution.