I did not stop the investigation of NIRSAL– Minister

By Peter Bahago, Abuja

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Attorney-General and Minister of Justice in Nigeria, Mr Abubakar Malam.

Nigeria’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami has debunked a report by the media that he directed the discontinuation of the ongoing investigation of the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending, NIRSAL.

Mr Malami described the report as ‘baseless and mischievously spread in order to tarnish his hard-earned reputation.

According to a statement by the Special Assistant to the Minister on Media and Public Relations, Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, the Office of the Attorney General after a careful study of the petition against NIRSAL found out that the agency was being investigated by several agencies such as; the Nigerian Police, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and the Department of State Services, DSS.

Others are the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, ICPC and Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU.

The statement also said that it is based on this that on February 4, 2020, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice directed that all investigations on the matter be concluded.

“In view of the foregoing, you are requested to conclude your own investigation on the matter and forward the outcome of your investigation on the matter to the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation for legal advice and further necessary action” the statement read.

Mr, Malami reiterated that the directive was inspired by the desire to avoid multiplicity, confusion and wastage of scarce resources, noting that the office of the Nigerian Police, which was directed to take control of the investigation, is also, a body legally recognised and empowered by Nigeria’s Constitution.

’’The clear and unambiguous directives of the Attorney-General of the Federation was that the other several agencies conducting parallel investigation on NIRSAL in respect of the same subject matter should stay action to allow the Nigeria Police Force to continue and conclude the investigations it had started. The directive is by implication that of continuation not stoppage of the investigation,’’he said.

Mr. Malami also said; ’’It is pertinent to submit for all intent and purposes that the directive does not convey the mischievous conclusion of stopping of the investigation of NIRSAL as portrayed by an online Media platform.”

 

Mercy Chukwudiebere