Mr. Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, has described the “secret memo” to President Muhammadu Buhari, urging him to suspend the 1999 Constitution and declare martial law in the country, as false and fictitious.
From the Alleged report, he sent a Martial law which involves the temporary imposition of military authority to take over normal civilian functions after the suspension of civil law by a government.
This is usually used in times of war, rebellion, or natural disaster. When martial law is in effect, the military commander of an area has unrestricted authority to make and enforce laws as situations demand.
On Wednesday an online media outlet claimed that it exclusively acquired a copy of a secret memo that contained legal advice Malami sent to President Buhari, in which it was asking him to speedily suspend the operation of Chapter IV of the Constitution which guaranteed the fundamental rights of all Nigerian citizens.
The online newspaper went on to allege that Malami had in the eight-paged secret memo dated May 4, told President Buhari that insecurity across the country has reached a level that could no longer be checked by existing democratic techniques, asserting that only a state of emergency promulgated by the President could return the country to tranquillity.
It even quoted Malami to have stated in the memo that, “the essence of the declaration is to allow for suspension of constitutional and legal bureaucratic bottlenecks pertaining to matters of National Security with particular regards to fundamental rights guaranteed under Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution and processes and procedures relating to procurements, among others”.
Malami pointed fingers at prominent separatist agitators such as Sunday Igboho and Nnamdi Kanu as persons fuelling insurrection in parts of the country and insisted that the most tactical way to handle them was to declare martial law in the country, as stated in the online tabloid.
However, the AGF, in a statement that was signed by his Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr. Umar Gwandu, refuted all claims of giving such legal advice to President Buhari.
Malami said he is a Democrat who remains and still believes in the rule of law, tenets of democracy, and constitutional order.
He said it was antithetical to common sense for anyone to think that the holder of such coveted office as the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice would stoop to what was claimed by the online media outlet.
Malami’s statement read: “The attention of the Office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN has been drawn to a false and fictitious report alleging that there was a secret memo emanating from the Office to the Presidency.
“General public are hereby asked to disregard the media report as fabrications of anti-constitutional democratic stability in Nigeria.
“Malami remains a true democrat who believes in rules of law and tenant of democracy and Constitutional order.
“The Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice is a constitutionally recognized one with its role and responsibilities embedded in the constitution.
“It is antithetical to common sense to think that the holder of such coveted Office as the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice will stoop to what was printed by the media.
“The Government does not operate in secrecy as it is not a clandestine operation. Hence, Malami discharges his constitutionally recognized mandates in compliance with principles of transparency, openness and accountability”.