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Senate threatens AGF with arrest over summons

By Wahab Akanji, Abuja 

The Senate has threatened to invoke necessary legislative powers including arrest warrant to drag the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Ababukar Malami, to appear before it. This follows a resolution in response to the Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator David Umaru prayers regarding the circumstances surrounding the failure of Malami to honour the invitation of his committee. 

Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, said the Senate would be guided by Constitutional provisions to deal with the AGF if he failed once again to honour the invitation of the upper chamber. 

Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution attached to the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr. Okoi Obono-Obla, had told the committee that it lacked the power to summon Malami since the AGF was not an appointee of the Senate. 

Obono-Obla who represented the AGF at a sitting of the committee insisted before he was walked out of the meeting that Malami did not commit any offence by dragging Saraki and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu to court over alleged forgery of Senate standing rule. 

Umaru who came under personal explanation said: “The resolution of the Senate was for the committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to invite the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to appear before it and explain the reason behind attempts to prefer charges against the principal officers of this hallowed chamber. 

“In line with the directive, we invited the Honourable Attorney General, first on the 23rd of June and on that date he did not appear but a letter was received by our committee to the effect that he needed more time to articulate its position and that he was out of the country. 

“The committee obliged him, we scheduled another meeting for the 30th of June, on that day the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice did not appear before the committee. 

“However, somebody who claimed to be Mr. Oblar appeared to say that he was appearing on behalf of the minister. 

“The committee therefore told him that he was not an invitee and that we will not attend to him and we asked him to leave. 

“I have being informed by Senator Ita Enag (Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters) and I have received lots of attempts to reach me by the Hon. Attorney General. Senator Ita Enag have informed me that the Attorney General regrets his inability to respond to our petition and that he requests time to appear before us. 

“I think it is important for the distinguished colleagues to be informed about this development and for us to request for more time to give him the opportunity to appear since he has indicated his willingness to appear before the committee.” 

Saraki who did not allow debate of the matter said insisted that the AGF must appear before the committee in line with the resolution of the Senate. 

He noted that failure to comply with the resolution of the Senate to appear before the committee necessary constitutional steps would be taken to enforce Senate resolution. 

The Senate President noted that they would have no choice than to follow strictly what he Constitution dictates if the AGF failed to honour the Senate.

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