Amid Raging Controversies, Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami Jets Out To US

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Nigeria’s Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, is currently the United States of America amid many controversies.

The minister on Monday night ‘secretly’ travelled out of Lagos on Delta Airline 55 (DL0055) and arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on Tuesday morning.

Malami however had a stopover at Atlanta, capital of the U.S. state of Georgia.

He is expected back to the country on Saturday, February 26, 2022, by 9:20 am.

Though the reason why the minister is in the US is not clear, sources said it might be connected to the 2023 presidential election.

According to SaharaReporters, reports a cabal led by Malami is strongly behind the push for the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari, ahead of other strong contenders in the party.

A top source in the party had said that the “APC (All Progressives Congress) is torn between (Yemi) Osinbajo, (Bola) Tinubu and Emefiele’s people, each pushing their own candidate and agenda”.

A few weeks ago, Emefiele’s supporters, mainly youths, spotting white T-Shirts with the inscription MEFFY 2023, had at an occasion held in Lagos asked him to contest.

Convener of the group, Wale Fapohunda, told the gathering that since Emefiele’s appointment as CBN Governor, he had spent his energy building a resilient financial system that can serve the development needs of the economy, ignoring the glaring fact that Nigeria’s economy has dipped to its worst state ever during his tenure as CBN governor.

“The cabal led by AGF, Malami told Buhari they’ve settled for a Technocrat. This came after rejecting the President of African Development Bank, Akinwunmi Adesina, and (Nduka) Obaigbena is spearheading this.

Malami, a lawyer from Kebbi State who was hardly known before 2015 when he was appointed into the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, is today one of the richest men in Nigeria.

A series of detailed investigations carried out by SaharaReporters in 2020 showed that the Nigerian Chief Law Officer had acquired several properties whose value runs into billions of naira since being appointed by Buhari.

For example, the AGF has an underground hotel in Sokoto, three houses at Peace Estate, Abuja, a brand new state-of-the-art school in Kebbi, two houses for his sons worth N100 million each, and a new hotel under construction in the Jabi area of Abuja.

Malami also bought a house in 2020 worth N150 million in the Gwarimpa area of Abuja.

A newly constructed school is located at the back of NITEL in Gesse Phase 1, Birnin-Kebbi and a new house worth N600 million on Ahmadu Bello Way, Nasarawa GRA, Kano, are among properties acquired by Malami since he became a minister under President Buhari.

That is not all, Malami also built a N3 billion multipurpose event centre in Kebbi state named Azbir Arena for his son in Kebbi. 

This is apart from Rayhaan Hotel located on Zaria Road, opposite Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, which the AGF massively upgraded. 

Ever since SaharaReporters published a series of detailed reports exposing these illicit acquisitions, the online news medium has been a target for the AGF’s camp.

Apart from falsely claiming to have sued SaharaReporters over the expository reports he said had damaged his reputation before the world, Malami also issued a petition to the former Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, on the issue, seeking the arrest of the Publisher of the online newspaper, Omoyele Sowore.

Despite the open display of unexplained wealth by the AGF and members of his family in recent times, President Buhari, who rode to power in 2015 on the back of a promise to crush corruption, especially in the government circle, has yet to offer any statement on the development. 

It was on Tuesday reported that a petition was sent to the Independent Corrupt Practice and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), calling for a probe into over N104 million which is missing from the office of the Attorney General, Malami. 

The petition, started by the Integrity and Transparency Watch (ITW), a Nigerian non-profit organisation and society watchdog, urged the ICPC to investigate and prosecute the director of finance and account in the Ministry of Justice, Joshua Luka Kadmi who is in Grade Level 17 and one Abuh Danjuma who also works in the AGF’s office.

The petition, dated February 15, 2022, was addressed to the ICPC Chairman, Bolaji Owasanoye by Shaibu Sodangi, the National Coordinator and Head of ITW’s Investigation Department.

Observers say Buhari’s silence amid all the controversies surrounding his minister is an endorsement of the atrocities of one of his most trusted lieutenants, Malami.