Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja
The Special Adviser to the President on Anti-Corruption, Abiodun Aikomo, says the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), has the power to stop any corruption case without recourse or explanation to the President, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
Aikomo, who works in the office of the AGF, said this on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ programme while responding to allegations that Malami had not been cooperating with anti-corruption agencies.
The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), had accused Malami of frustrating the war against corruption.
In his response, Aikomo said, “With due respect to Prof. Sagay, the constitutional powers to enter nolle prosequi (stop prosecution) has been given to the attorney-general. The attorney-general does not owe anybody any explanation; not even the President. And the Supreme Court has ruled on this several times.
“So, these powers are not something somebody can second guess. That is what we are talking about. The attorney general’s power to enter nolle prosequi is borne out of so many things and it is not a power that is at large. The constitution has circumscribed how the power should be used and I can say confidently that is how the attorney-general has exercised this power.”
On why the attorney-general had discontinued many corruption cases in court, Aikomo said there were many things that were usually considered before cases are allowed to go forward.
“There are so many things you are not privy to. There are so many considerations that you may never know and you will never know. Everything, the attorney-general knows. The attorney-general has an eagle view of issues in the prosecution arena. He coordinates all the activities of the prosecution in Nigeria,” the aide said.
However, Mr. Tosin Ojaomo, who is the lawyer to the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, said the AGF ought to exercise his power in the interest of the public.
Ojaomo said Malami had failed to prosecute cases that he had taken over from the disbanded Special Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property.