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Malami debunks reports he asked Buhari to suspend constitution

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Nigeria’s attorney-general and minister for justice Abubakar Malami PHOTO: TWITTER/Abubakar Malami

Nigeria’s attorney-general and minister for justice Abubakar Malami has debunked reports that he asked President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend the constitution and declare a state of emergency as insecurity in the West African country spikes.

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Peoples Gazette reported on Wednesday that Malami sent an 18-page memo date May 4, 2021, urging the president to take the drastic step to bring Nigeria’s security problems under control.

Nigeria currently faces multiple security challenges.

The country is battling activities of gunmen and kidnap-for-ransom gangs in northwest and northcentral, Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast and secessionist movement in the southeast. Farmer-herder clashes are also a major headache.

Peoples Gazette said the national security adviser Babagana Monguno backed Malami’s position but top officials of Buhari’s government were divided on how to proceed with the plan.

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“The essence of declaration is to allow for suspension of constitutional and legal bureaucratic bottlenecks pertaining to matters of National Security with particular regards to fundamental rights guaranteed under Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution and processes and procedures relating to procurements, among others,” the attorney-general allegedly wrote in the leaked memo.

“To douse probable legal tension, it is important for the proclamation instrument of the statement of emergency to expressly provide for the suspension of Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution and its attendant enforcement rules.

“The suspension of rights pertaining to matters of national security will then give legal backing for the proclamation of the statement of emergency to be operational and effective without litigious or judicial distractions.”

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But Malami’s spokesman Umar Jibrilu Gwandu said no such memo existed and described Peoples Gazette’s report as “false and fictitious”.

“Malami remains a true democrat who believes in rules of law and tenant of democracy and Constitutional order,” said in a statement.

“The Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice is a constitutionally recognised one with its role and responsibilities embedded in the constitution.”

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