The immediate past Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, explained that the continued incarceration of the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, is in the interest of national security.
Malami told senators during his screening for a fresh ministerial appointment that although he has a responsibility as Justice Minister to protect individual rights, it was equally his responsibility to protect the corporate interest of the country.
He had been taken to task by the Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, to explain to Nigerians why the rights of those granted bail by the court were still being violated by keeping them in custody.
Malami did not mention El-Zakzaky and Dasuki by name.
He declared that those granted bail and yet to be freed were being held in the overall interest of the country.
Malami said: “Abaribe asked his question relying on Section 36, 37 and 38 of the Constitution as they relate to the rights of the individual. I concede that I have had the responsibility to protect the rights of every Nigerian.
“The office of the AGF is made to protect the rights of individuals and the corporate rights of the nation. Section 174 of the Constitution is explicit that where the individual interest conflicts with public interest, public interest prevails.
“I concede that I have had a responsibility as the attorney general of the federation to protect individual rights. But looking at the provisions of section 174 of the constitution of Nigeria, I want to reiterate and state further that the office of the attorney general is meant to protect public interest. And where the individual interest conflicts with public interest, the interest of 180 million Nigerians that are interested in having this country integrated must naturally prevail.”
CREDIT: THE NATION