The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, on Wednesday, said that the federal government is also empowered by law to appeal against the recent court verdict which ordered the unfreezing of bank accounts of 20 #EndSARS protesters.
Malami, SAN, reacted to the development during a Channels Television programme “Politics Today”
THE WHISTLER reported that Justice Ahmed Mohammed had earlier ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to unfreeze the bank accounts belonging to one Bolatito Racheal Oduala and 19 other defendants.
But that was after the prosecution and defense counsels, Michael Aondoakaa (SAN), and Femi Falana SAN, had agreed to withdraw their suits for the sake of peace.
The AGF said that despite the court order, there were also constitutional provisions the federal government could explore in exercising its right if it needs to.
“The court order is granted but then you need to take into consideration a lot of other factors with particular reference to the compliance with the court; within the context of striking the balance, the options that are available to the government are multiple.
“One, a possibility of wholehearted compliance with the order of the court…but that does not take away the right of the government to give further considerations when the need arises; for example, a consideration of exercising the right of appeal against the order if the need for so doing arises and coupled with the right of filing an appeal for vacation or stay of execution of the order or an application for variation of the order among others. These counter rights are also guaranteed by law,” he said.
Also, the AGF said that the EndSARS protests had degenerated into the violations of the right of fellow Nigerians which led the federal government to move into action in protecting lives and property.
He also debunked the notion that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration was violating the fundamental human right of citizens.
“I think the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has been very lenient with the human rights protection and that was indeed what caused the problem with the violation of the EndSARS protests.
“For example, no nation of the world could have tolerated a situation whereby over 200 of its policemen were killed in the purported process of expression of freedom of expression; Nigeria has tolerated that.
“Multiple Police stations were destroyed in the course of EndSARS protests and government has a responsibility to ensure protection to lives, personal liberty, freedom of movements of individuals and here we are confronted with a situation whereby EndSARS protesters blocked roads, caused mayhem, caused death, caused destruction and they were significantly tolerated to certain extent,” he added.
When asked to respond to the legality of extending the tenure of the Inspector General of Police, Adamu Mohammed, by President Buhari, he said “ the president has acted within the regulated time stipulated by the constitution…”