‘You can’t prosecute with military report on Ekiti guber polls’

Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami

Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami

Fayose heads for China to strike bilateral ties
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Alhaji Abubakar Malami (SAN), has been told that he cannot use the report of a military panel set up to probe alleged rigging of the June 21, 2014 governorship election in Ekiti State to prosecute anybody.

The state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Owoseni Ajayi, stated this in an open letter yesterday to the AGF in Ado-Ekiti.

He contended that the propriety or otherwise of the said election had been decided from the tribunal level up to the Supreme Court, stressing that any other panel – whether military or otherwise – could not sit on any matter already decided by the apex court.

The commissioner cited suit number, SC 113/2015 APC vs. PDP and four others where the Supreme Court on April 14, 2015 delivered judgment affirming the regularity of the polls and validity of the results as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Owoseni, while submitting that the AGF was vested with prosecutorial powers under Section 174 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), however, noted that the powers were neither absolute nor unlimited and must, as such, be exercised with caution and regard for the rule of law.

He warned that the sanctity of the judicial process and respect for the principles of federalism must be adhered.

“Therefore, unless an alleged criminal act constitutes an offence under a federal enactment, the Attorney General of the Federation will definitely be acting ultra vires by any purported move to prosecute an alleged offender before any state or federal court in Nigeria without a fiat by the Attorney General of the respective state, vested with constitutional jurisdiction to prosecute criminal matters under the state law,” Owoseni stated.

Meanwhile, Governor Ayodele Fayose has jetted out to Guangzhou, China to attend the 119th China Import and Export Fair otherwise known as the Canton Fair.

The event holds between April 14 and 19.

According to a statement in Ado Ekiti by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, the governor is to hold talks with prospective investors in mechanised farming, experts in skill acquisition, particularly training in the area of building construction as well as professionals in auto-repairs.

Olayinka said apart from scheduled bilateral talks, Governor Fayose would also have audience with technical experts on training and technological exchange programmes for artisans as part of his plan to get technical support for the proposed Artisan Village to be built in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.

The governor’s spokesperson emphasized that Fayose will only be seeking for partnership with prospective Chinese investors and technical experts without committing the state to any loan.

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