..says looted funds used to launch attacks, undermine security agencies
……warns Nigeria can’t survive religious war
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, on Thursday, alleged that corrupt politicians in the opposition are behind the upsurge in killings across the federation.
He maintained that the heightened level of insecurity in various states in the country was an attempt to discredit President Muhammadu Buhari, ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The AGF who spoke at a high-level dialogue on law and security in Nigeria, which had all the Attorneys General of the 36 states of the the federation in attendance, urged Nigerians to resist the negative tendencies of corrupt politicians who he said have continued to downplay President Buhari’s achievements, for their own political gain.
According to him, the advent of another political season of elections and the fierce contestation for power, “appears to now over-shadow all pretensions to patriotism and respect for human lives, in certain quarters”.
He said the Federal Government has resolved to give FIAT to AG’s of the various states to enable them to initiate criminal action against persons found to have committed federal crime, especially where there are no federal prosecuting agencies in such states.
Besides, the AGF lamented that the unnamed corrupt opposition politicians, are using looted funds to launch attacks against the current administration, even as he accused them of fanning the embers of discord along ethnic and religious lines.
Warning that the country would not be able to survive a religious war, Malami said the greater danger to survival of the nation was that “we are not fully out of the grip of this corrupt, privileged class, despite the best intentions and efforts of the Buhari administration”.
He said: “The subject-matter of our gathering today has become, to use the legislative parlance, a matter of urgent national importance which requires our highest sense of patriotism and diligence to address.
“Given the gravity of the task at hand, your participation in this forum is really not negotiable. In our respective positions at Federal and State levels, we stand in the vanguard of ensuring due compliance with the Constitutional prescription that our country shall be governed on the basis of law, order and good governance.
“Insecurity in any form, in any part of Nigeria, is therefore an affront to the values we have sworn to defend and to the future we envision for this great country.
“This forum has been convened against the backdrop of the severe security challenges which our country faces today, particularly the incidents of June 23 to 24, 2018 in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area and two adjoining Local Governments in Plateau State which led to a massive loss of lives and injuries to survivors, destruction of whole communities and a further increase in the number of Internally Displaced Persons in Plateau State and the wider Middle-Belt region.
“As we are all aware, these horrendous incidents in Plateau State were not isolated events but followed a pattern in some other States, notably Benue, Taraba, Zamfara and Adamawa States which has become a deep source of concern to the Federal and State authorities.
“The statistics of deaths and displacement in these incidents involving various communities are depressing and alarming and appear designed to challenge our common humanity and claims to civilization in the 21st Century.
“Before we go into the details of how our law enforcement mechanisms are responding to the security challenges of our country, it is my opinion that we must first seek to examine the causative and inflammatory factors of the present unfortunate security threats we now face – particularly in the North-East and the Middle Belt where the twin threats of remnants of the Boko Haram terrorists and herdsmen attacks, respectively, have been most pronounced.
“I am of course aware that in other parts of the country other security challenges such as kidnapping, armed robbery, human trafficking, illegal oil bunkering and oil theft and cattle rustling remain critical issues of security concern.
“From an informed assessment of the situation, permit me to first situate the apparent upsurge in these incidents to the advent of another political season of elections and the fierce contestation for power which appears to now over-shadow all pretensions to patriotism and respect for human lives, in certain quarters.
“You will recall that when this administration came to power in 2015, it made security of lives and property a cardinal principle of its governance. Tremendous successes were achieved, particularly in decimating and degrading the Boko Haram terrorist group.
“As we approach another General Election in 2019, it is easy to see the hands of corrupt politicians with contrary positions in our present security problems as they desperately attempt to discredit all the gains made by this administration, for pure political gain. We must resist these negative tendencies.
“We are all living witnesses to how our security architecture and processes were compromised over the years of previous administrations in this country where funds meant for the security of this nation were mindlessly looted and frittered away to the detriment of our collective well-being.
“These cumulative acts of brazen looting of security funds brought us to our present pass as a nation in respect of our capacity to respond to emerging security challenges. Using the instrumentality of the law, we are currently undertaking the prosecution of politically exposed persons within and outside the security services, who have been accused of these crimes against our common national interests and our shared humanity as citizens of this country.
“The greater danger to our collective survival remains the fact that we are not fully out of the grip of this corrupt, privileged class, despite the best intentions and efforts of the Buhari administration. On the contrary, we are now confronted with a situation where they are using the humongous loot still in their possession, either directly or though proxies, to continuously launch attacks designed to subvert critical national and State institutions and processes including undermining the security agencies themselves; compromising the executive instruments of investigation; infiltrating the judiciary whose independence to determine cases judiciously and expeditiously they have attempted to undermine; and ultimately attempting to foist a system of corruption on the country.
“The Federal Government and its agencies, is of course aware of these plots and negative actions through which the perpetrators expect to distract attention from their corrupt activities and consequently stall the on-going anti-corruption war of the present administration”, the AGF added.
Meantime, the lead speaker at the occasion, Prof. Akin Oyebode who is from the faculty of law, Lagos State University, insisted that FG should as a necessity, take expeditious action to arrest and prosecute perpetrators of willful acts bordering on ethnic cleansing and mass murder.
“If Nigeria is keen on sustaining its position as a faithful and committed member of the international community, there are no two ways about it”, he argued, saying “the danger posed by inaction, connivance and protection granted to terrorists is quite simply incalculable in today’s world, with real possibilities of people voting with their feet and taking other actions that could be destabilizing, dysfunctional and counter-productive.
“As everyone knows, the first line of duty of every government is the protection of citizens from threats to their lives and limbs.
“The destabilizing potential of inaction in the face of wanton murder and other atrocities against fellow citizens is self-evident. Nigeria’s antidote to grave violations of human rights is, in my view, good governance”, he added.