Lagos lawyer, Monday Onyekachi Ubani, recently bared on his mind on the Attorney General of Federation, Abubakar Malami’s takeover of the now controversial case between SaharaReporters publisher, Omoyele Sowore and the Department of State Service, DSS.
Below, and unedited, is what he said:
“This news of taking over the prosecution of Sowore and his friend from DSS portends a good omen in the administration of criminal justice in the land. The Attorney General of the Federation being the Chief Law Officer of the country constitutionally has the responsibility of initiating, taking over including discontinuing the prosecution of anyone charged with committing any federal offence in the land. Before now I had the belief and conviction that the office of the AGF was in charge of Sowore’s matter because the charge was filed by their office and I was sure they might have chosen the private lawyer who is the Lead Counsel for the prosecution. I am taken aback by the announcement from them of taking over from the DSS based on what I have just explained.
One advantage of having the AGF take over the said case if they were not in charge before now is that investigators of a matter, do not make good prosecution. There is this desperation for investigator/prosecutor to ensure that they secure conviction by all means through fair or foul means. The DSS has exhibited unparalleled excesses towards the prosecution of Sowore and his colleague hence the blunders committed so far. The office of AGF in the present circumstance will examine critically the charge against Sowore and his colleague to see whether it is worth wasting the scare resources of the government in pressing for continuation. If it finds out that the charge is worthless, the proper and sane thing to do is TO DISCONTINUE THIS CASE IMMEDIATELY. It is bad enough that DSS has through this case embarrassed the Federal Government, it will be worse if after wasting our scarce resources in prosecuting this case, and nothing is proved in court concerning the so called charges of treason and the sundry offences. In the same I will urge and advise the Attorney General’s office to take over the case of Agba Jalingo and that of our learned colleague Mr Joseph Odok, these two are critics of the governor of Cross River State, Prof Ben Ayade who are being prosecuted by the Nigerian Police. Hon Justice Amobeda of the Federal High Court Cross River State has denied these duo bail despite several applications brought before him to have them released on bail pending their trial. Just like Sowore they have spent several months in detention even when no court has pronounced them guilty of all those charges against them. Let the AG show the world that he is in charge of the Ministry of Justice and that he is the Chief Law Officer in Nigeria presently. Let him be guided accordingly.”