Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, (SAN) has debunked claims that he blamed the judiciary for the delay in the handling of high-profile corruption cases in the country.
In a statement issued by Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, the Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Malami said he noted with dismay the way his response to a question in a recent interview was construed to evoke “unintended and non-existing inferences” which some mischief makers projected as him blaming the judiciary.
“It was an innocent statement aimed at showing and re-enacting the tripartite division of powers and responsibilities among the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary,” he said.
Further defending his comments, Malami said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government accords respect to the democratic provisions of the doctrine of separation of powers among the three independent and separate arms of government.
According to him, the Federal Government maintained the sanctity of the provisions of Sections 4, 5 and 6 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that delineate the roles and responsibilities of the executives, legislature and judiciary.
He said it was on this note that the Federal Government supported the review of Section 121(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to accommodate the provisions for financial autonomy of the state legislature and judiciary.
In addition to the Constitutional provisions, the AGF explained that the Federal Government also came up with Executive Order 10 to enforce the provision of autonomy of State Legislature and Judiciary.
Malami said it is on the record that the Buhari-led Federal Government has a record of non-interference with or meddling into the affairs of the legislature and judiciary.
It was within the context of this quality and feature of non-interference by the Buhari-led Federal government and for the avoidance of sub-judice that the Minister responded that high-profile cases were presented by the Federal Government for prosecution and the government came out with initiatives in its efforts to support the speedy determination of justice.
The AGF said: “The doctrine of separation of powers has three implications:
a. that the same person should not be part of more than one of the arms or division of government;
b. that one branch should not dominate or control another arm. This is particularly important in the relationship between (the) executive and the courts;
c. that one branch should not attempt to exercise the function of the other…”
The minister added that in view of the crucial role of the judiciary as an essential element of a democratic system, the Federal Government gives attention to the budgetary provisions of the Judiciary in addition to welfare packages meant to enhance their operations.