AGF Says Political Solution On Nnamdi Kanu, Sunday Igboho Not Ruled Out

AGF

The Federal Government may consider all kinds of solutions, including political ones, in order to resolve the crisis surrounding separatist agitations in Nigeria.

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), gave the indication on Wednesday in an interview with journalists in Abuja on the pardon granted to Boko Haram insurgents while leaders of other separatist movements are facing prosecution.

The minister also spoke on other issues, including the current controversy between the Federal Government and the Nigerian Governors Forum over the Paris Club Refund, international arbitration involving Nigeria and Process and Industrial Development Company and Sunrise Power Transmission Company of Nigeria Limited and the Mambila Power Projects.

When journalists sought to know whether the Federal Government was not disposed to a political solution to the separatist agitations of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu; and Yoruba nationalist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Igboho, Malami said although such consideration was not yet on the table, the government would not mind taking a shot at it.

“As far as the security situation is concerned and as far as governance and this administration is concerned, you cannot rule out all possibilities. But then, there has to be an approach for government to consider,” he said.

The minister, however, said he cannot be pre-emptive at this stage by stating clearly that reconciliation was being considered without an approach being made.

He said, “We will look into it (approach) for the purpose of looking at its weight, the authenticity of it, the good faith associated with it and then bring about the considerable factors relating to the negotiations or otherwise.

So, it is not a conclusion that one can outrightly make without juxtaposing associated facts relating to the reconciliation; there has to be an approach and then a counter consideration.”

Speaking on the payment of $418 million consultancy fees to contractors who allegedly helped the 36 state governments to recover excess deductions from the Federation Account during the payment of the Paris Club loans, Malami berated the governors for “approbating and reprobating at the same time.”

He explained that the governors cannot come to deny liability in 2021, having consented to it and made several payments.

While arguing that the Federal Government was obligated to obey court orders, he said the current litigation by governors over the payment of consultancy services fees was belated.

The minister said, “I have told you earlier that the judgment in contention was a 2013 judgment and it was a consent judgment in which ALGON and governors forum consented to a judgment.

So what judgment are you talking about in 2021 against the background of the fact that they consented to the judgment in 2013, against the background of the fact they have been effecting payment as far back as 2013, against the background of the fact that they have written in there right, under their respective hands, committing to the payment of this consultancy fee we are talking about?

“So, I think it is logical for all to see that they were indeed, submissive and they were indeed in agreement, and they have indeed conceded and consented to a judgment that created the liability they are now complaining about.

They have probated at a point in 2013 by way of submitting to judgment and then effecting payment over time. And in fact, among the claims relating to Paris Club that has been presented before the Federal Government over time is a component relating to consultancy fees.

“So, what they are doing is as good as approbating and reprobating at the same time conceding in 2013, and objecting 2021”.

Malami denied any relationship with the contractors or having any personal interest, saying his duty was to protect the Federal Government from unnecessary liabilities.

According to him, since the Federal Government was made a party to the suit, there is the possibility that the assets of the Federal Government can be seized to pay the debt.

Malami said, “So as far as the payment is concerned, the Office of the Attorney-General is not in any way involved. But the fact remains that judgments are meant to be enforced and then you are not expected to be speculative as far as the enforcement are concerned.”

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