Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN remains the cynosure of the President Muhammadu Buhari government.
Malami’s conspicuous postures, legal acumen and administrative dexterity in the discharge of his statutory responsibilities depict him as a workaholic and an achiever minister who works relentless in ensuring the attainment of the cardinal objectives of the Buhari administration.
In 2021, as always, Malami was preoccupied with public-interest national assignments and international engagements geared toward enhancing the fortunes of Nigeria.
Enumerated below are points of what could be considered as marvelous milestones recorded by the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice in the 2021.
Proscription of banditry
As a demonstration of commitment to end banditry and other forms of associated insecurity in the country, the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice filed an application for the proscription of bandits as terrorists. The proscription shows the determination of the federal government to deal ruthlessly with the bandits and to do things in accordance with the rule of law.
Halting money laundering, terrorism and Illicit financing
In a bid to address the challenges of money laundering and terrorism financing, the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice facilitated the move by Nigeria to join membership of the global Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog.
The FATF monitors 39 member countries to ensure fully and effective implementation of FATF standards thereby holding nations that do not comply accountable.
Return of loots connected to the family of James Ibori
Following the signing of Memorandum of Understanding for the repatriation of the Ibori loot on behalf of Nigeria by Malami and the British High Commissioner, Catriona Laing, 4.3million Pounds connected to the family of James Ibori were returned to the Federal Government on 10th May, 2021.The development, according to Malami, was a demonstration of the recognition of reputation Nigeria earns through records of management of recovered stolen Nigerian stolen in the execution of public oriented projects.
Identifying, blocking, prosecuting and halting Boko Haram financiers In addition to the fight against corruption, crushing banditry and combating terrorism, the Buhari administration is also determined and committed to arraign and prosecute anyone found wanting or connected to the sponsorship of Boko Haram terrorists. On this note, Malami worked assiduously and carried out a thorough and comprehensive investigation to prosecute all the financiers of Boko Haram. “As far as terrorism funding and financing is concerned, we have succeeded in identifying those that are allegedly responsible for funding same and we are blocking the leakages associated with funding while embarking on aggressive investigation that is indeed impacting positively in terms of the fight against terrorism”, Malami informed journalists during the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, in September, 2021.
Resumption of Nnamdi Kanu’s trial
Through combined efforts of stakeholders the leader of the proscribed terrorists Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, was re-arrested and brought back to Nigeria in June 2021. Kanu was brought back to face his trial. Mr Kanu and his co-defendant were facing treasonable felony charges at the Federal High Court in Abuja when fled the country in September 2017.The resumption of the trail has been applauded as another remarkable milestone recorded in the year 2021. The minister was also informed Nigerians of the atrocities committed by the IPOB when they unleashed mayhem in the country.
Exposing sponsors of deparatists movement
At a press conference in October, 2021, Malami revealed that an investigation has discovered a federal lawmaker and other major sponsor of Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Igboho.Malami said the investigation unravelled how Igboho got monies from 43 bank accounts, across nine banks. The report shows the link between the separatists’ agitators and terrorism across the country.
Advancing international cooperation
In the effort to bring lasting peace an at the Lake Chad Region, Malami said Nigeria has vowed to partner in the collaborative efforts to see to an end the multidimensional crises facing the Lake Chad Basin states. The minister has been engaging in international cooperation assignments connected to the United Kingdom, United States, Egypt, Cameroon, China, Gambia among others.
Global showcase of Nigeria’s anti-corruption crusade
Speaking at the annual public lecture in New York organised by the Centre for Media and Peace Initiative, New York, United States of America, Malai explained that “various steps have been taken (by the Buhari government) in terms of legislatives frameworks, establishment of institutions and policy measures targeted at combatting corruption, regional corporation and ensuring good governance for the benefit of citizens”.
According to him, the outstanding successes recorded in the fight against corruption, especially in the international asset recovery could be a template for other African countries in the fight against corruption.
Supporting reforms in defence, AFN
In an effort to ensure a better Nigeria, Malami pledged support in providing the legal backing for the immediate implementation of reforms strategy for national security architecture. Malami made this known as he received members of the Presidential Implementation Advisory Committee for the Implementation of the Recommendations of the Reform Committee on Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces of Nigeria, adding that the review of the defense and security architecture is crucial and a necessity considering the heightened level of insurgency and other internal and external threats.
Commitment to end impunity, crimes against journalists
Malami has reassures the federal government’s unending support, dedication and commitment to end impunity for crimes against journalists.Malami gave the assurance in his keynote address at “Policy Dialogue on Protection of Journalists in commemoration of the 2021 International Day to end impunity for crimes against Journalists in Nigeria”, organized by Federal Ministry of Justice with the support from the Managing Conflict in Nigeria (MCN) program of the British Council Tuesday 2nd November, 2021 held in Abuja.
Unwavering stance to recover loot stashed abroad
Malami pointed out that the federal government had identified at least many stolen funds which the government was determined and committed to recover from different countries of the world.“We are looking to recover further about USD2 billion, among others, but then, that does not mean to say that no other associated assets are being pursued in other countries of the world, including Ireland and other countries,” he said.
Gwandu writes from Abuja