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Alleged Misconduct: Judge withdraws from suit seeking to void Malami’s SAN rank

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P&ID, Nigeria
Malami

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

Justice Evelyn Maha of the Federal High Court in Abuja, on Friday, withdrew herself from a suit seeking to void the Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, the rank of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, over alleged official misconduct.

At the resumed proceeding on the matter that was brought before the court by a constitutional lawyer, Mr Jideobi Johnmary, Justice Maha, announced that she had decided to recuse herself from the matter.

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Justice Maha based her action on a petition pending against her before the Chief Judge of the High Court, alleging that she would be biased in the matter.

She said it would be in the interest of justice to return the case-file to the CJ for it to be re-assigned to another Judge of the court for the hearing.

The lawyer had in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/807/2018, prayed the court to strip Malami’s SAN rank, accusing him of engaging in unprofessional conduct.

The plaintiff alleged that Malami had in contravention of his statutory duty as the AGF, encouraged the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to ignore valid court injunctions, among which he said included six separate court orders that granted bail to the detained former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki, retd.

He told the court that Malami had in a media interview last year, maintained that Dasuki would not be released on bail, notwithstanding the court orders.

Consequently, he is praying the court to among other things, determine, “Whether upon a community reading and complete understanding of Sections 1(1), 150 (1) and 287(3) of the amended 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria read alongside Rule 1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007, the Defendant is not bound to exercise the powers of his office and discharge his functions thereunder ONLY in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended?

“Whether upon a community reading and complete understanding of Sections 1(1), 150 (1) and 287(3) of the amended 1999 Constitution read alongside Rule 1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007, the Defendant has not violated his oath of office as Senior Advocate of Nigeria and failed in his duty as a Legal Practitioner [more so the Chief Law Officer of the Federation] by defending the refusal of the Federal Government of Nigeria to obey six valid Court Orders directing it to release a former National Security Adviser [Rtd. Colonel Dasuki] having been admitted to bail and met all the conditions attached to the said bails.

As well as “Whether upon a community reading and complete understanding of Sections 1(1), 150 (1) and 287(3) of the amended 1999 Constitution read alongside Rule 1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007, the Defendant has not desecrated the Nigerian Constitution, his oath of office both as the Attorney-General of the Federation and as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria is not only failing to support the Constitution but to assault same by his defence of the refusal of the Federal Government of Nigeria to release a former National Security Adviser [Rtd. Colonel Dasuki] despite valid court orders admitting him to bail?”

Upon determination of the issues, the plaintiff wanted the court to declare that going by provisions of Sections 1(1), 150 (1) and 287(3) of the amended 1999 Constitution read alongside Rule 1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007, the Defendant, “has desecrated the Nigerian Constitution, his oath of office both as the Attorney-General of the Federation and as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria is not only failing to support the Constitution but to assault same by his defence of the refusal of the Federal Government of Nigeria to release a former National Security Adviser [Rtd. Colonel Dasuki] despite valid court orders admitting him to bail”.

He is further seeing for, “A declaration that the Defendant is unfit and unworthy to continue to bear the privileged rank of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria in view of the interview he granted and published on the 19th day of July, 2018 [by Premium Times online newspaper] wherein he defended, justified and approved of the violation of Section 287(3) of the amended 1999 Constitution by the Federal Government of Nigeria which otherwise he took a solemn oath to support and defend”.

Vanguard

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