Malami’s Keg Of Petrol And Lighter

The Minister of Justice sees justice from a narrow spectrum, and is anything but moderate, national or accommodating as he tries to shape the nation to the standards of the section he represents.

The Minster of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami / Photo credit: guardian.ng
The Minster of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami / Photo credit: guardian.ng

The last six years have given the Buhari administration sufficient time to prepare the grounds for Nigeria to deflagrate or but it has not.

Calmness is elusive because government officials continually create a flammable ecosystem for selfish gains.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Abubakar Malami, has been a central figure in creating a combustible environment making insecurity of life and property Nigeria’s greatest concern.

As a partisan, Mr. Malami has never hidden his preparedness to be the administration’s attack dog, who would do anything to enhance his credentials as one of the architects and executors of the hardline positions of the government.

The Minister of Justice sees justice from a narrow spectrum, and is anything but moderate, national or accommodating as he tries to shape the nation to the standards of the section he represents.

Time after time, the Attorney General uses his influence to break bridges.

He has been unapologetic in his support of what many perceive as a Fulani political agenda, using the office of the Attorney General in a way that does not represent national aspiration.

Malami’s recalcitrance has now become extremely dangerous to peace, as he crosses to making wild and inflammatory allegations that fly in the face of truth about the source of insecurity in the nation.

Last week, the nation’s senior judicial official made claims that separatist agitators were behind two of the most significant challenges to security in Nigeria.

According to him, the Yoruba Nation proponent, Mr. Sunday Igboho Adeyemo, was behind Boko Haram terrorism, while Nnamdi Kanu’s Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) sponsored #EndSARS violence.

Abubakar Malami wants Nigerians to believe that IPOB was the mastermind behind the burning of the Oba of Lagos’ palace, BRT buses and other public infrastructure during last year’s #EndSARS protest in Lagos.

He didn’t stop there because he alleged further that a financial transaction between Sunday Igboho and a supposed Boko Haram financier, Surajo Abubakar, presented evidence that the Yoruba Nation agitator was working to destabilize Nigeria by bankrolling Boko Haram.

Not that the Minister of Justice has a high believability rating or his claims followed any sound logic, but these were too serious allegations to make by the number one legal officer without overwhelming evidence.

Malami’s interest was to create a web of doubt in order to hang the leaders of the two activist groups who are fighting for freedom, against the Justice Ministry’s mighty legal muscle to send them to long jail terms

If the intention of the Attorney General was to call a dog a bad name in order to hang it, he hardly considered the huge cost of doing so. He is spilling petroleum on the floor while holding a lighter.

Unrestrained, reckless and inflammable claims by any public official makes such persons dangerous to public peace.

Although Malami appears ready to do anything, true or untrue, to hang ethnic agitators, he must consider everything that could be destroyed along the way.

Boko Haram terrorism has been fought by multiple administrations for two decades, as a problem originating from the north, created by northerners for all Nigerians.

The Attorney General’s claims presuppose that Nigerians have a short memory, are unable to piece a series of events together to form a story and can be easily swayed by an incongruent narration woven from the corridors of power.

The sponsors of Boko Haram have always been known but never declared. They are powerful but their identities have always been kept secret for reasons best known to this administration. Except the sponsors of Boko Haram are connected and powerful individuals, there is no other reason for their continued identity protection by Malami himself.

It is interesting that the Federal Government has not responded to the breathtaking report by David Hundeyin of West Africa Weekly, in which he gave a compelling rundown on the origins of, and forces behind, Boko Haram. It is a recommended read for the Minister.

Boko Haram was made, energised and sustained by religious and political leaders in northern Nigeria.

It has never needed anyone in the south for life.

Sunday Igboho does not have the kind of money that has made Boko Haram a force that withstands the national military power for 19 years.

Neither did Nnamdi Kanu have the followership to get his kinsmen to wage a war against the state of Lagos, where many Igbo people make their living.

Trying to tie IPOB to #EndSARS is simply foolish.

Most Nigerians followed that protest by the minute, and remember that young people of all ethnic coloration flared for reasons beyond SARS brutality. They were tired of economic and social hopelessness.

They were demanding change. People reacted in unpredictable and lawless ways at times, as they would under such circumstances against those they saw as their oppressors.

While the Attorney General’s real intentions were not directly conveyed, no one can be left in doubt that it can only lead to inter-ethnic conflict and violence.

He could not have been so oblivious of the possibility that area boys could pounce on Ibo traders in Lagos for organizing the theft and destruction of their king’s palace. It was an act of great irresponsibility and a disservice to the peace of the nation for him to have taken such low road.

Malami’s interest was to create a web of doubt in order to hang the leaders of the two activist groups who are fighting for freedom, against the Justice Ministry’s mighty legal muscle to send them to long jail terms.

The Minister of Justice has got what he wanted with Kanu by bringing him home to face the law.

It is now his job to convince the court the IPOB leader broke the law. The Attorney General has to do so convincingly using the law of the land.

There cannot be any “wuruwuru.”

In the recent past, he has gone after Southern state governors in their quest to protect citizens by establishing law enforcement outfits, while insisting on colonial-era open grazing laws that have been rejected by those at the receiving end of the Fulani herdsmen violence

In the same way, the entanglement in Cotonou must be followed to a logical legal conclusion. The Justice Minister should not try to gain victory over Sunday Igboho by making a sound legal argument, which he has been so incompetent to do.

Above all, Malami must attract some respect to his office. As a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, he must strive to prove beyond reasonable doubt that those men were criminals whose agitation broke the law of the land.

He must show the world that the activists violated the law through their agitation; or he would be destroying the legacy of President Mohammadu Buhari by the method he chooses to prosecute the cases.

The world expects the rule of law, not jungle justice.

The Attorney General has not been deep in thought to realize that he is fanning the embers that have the potential to start a fire that the apparatuses of power may not be able to quench.

A petrol and lighter approach is an ill wind.

It may burn the nation without sparing him and the administration.

Justice and peace are inseparable. As the Minister of Justice, he ought to pursue justice as a pathway to peace, and realize that he is the attorney general of the federation and not of the party in power.

There is plenty of information in the public space indicating that Malami’s interests and style makes this article another sermon to the deaf. He has so far been unperturbed in his pursuit of a narrow agenda.

In the recent past, he has gone after Southern state governors in their quest to protect citizens by establishing law enforcement outfits, while insisting on colonial-era open grazing laws that have been rejected by those at the receiving end of the Fulani herdsmen violence.

The Attorney General should, however, spend some time to read about some of his predecessors in office – their ultimate fate when they sell their conscience to power, against justice and the national interest.

Written by Tunde Chris Odediran

Tunde Chris Odediran studied and practiced journalism in Nigeria. He is now a Technical Communications and Information Technology professional in the United States.