A democracy inclined non-governmental body, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, and its parent body, the Association of African Writers on Human and Peoples Rights, have jointly thrown their weight behind the decision of Nigeria’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), not to bring charges against Nigeria’s frontline telecommunication services company, MTN, over alleged perversion of the course of justice as demanded by the erstwhile Osun State Governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola.
Besides, the groups passed a vote of confidence on the professional competence, patriotic commitment and zeal of Adoke and urged President Goodluck Jonathan not to accede to the campaign of calumny being waged by a group to discredit the nation’s chief law officer for standing by the constitutional provision and principle of rule of law and refusing to pander to the whims and caprices of political forces loyal to Oyinlola.
The groups also challenged those claiming conflict of interest against Adoke in consistently maintaining his principled stand against the huge mountain of political pressure not to prosecute MTN over alleged forgery and perversion of the course of justice to display to discerning Nigerians any valid, credible, verifiable and irrefutable claims to show that he is a shareholder in the company.
In a statement endorsed jointly by HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and National Media Affairs Director, Zainab Yusuf, in reaction to a publication accusing Adoke of conflict of interests and refusal to act on police investigation report concerning a case of conspiracy, forgery and perversion of the course of justice involving MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, the groups said the Nigerian Constitution empowers the nation’s law officer to exercise discretional powers in deciding the merit or otherwise of instituting any legal proceedings against any person or companies.
The groups cited Section 174(1) of the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended), which provides: “The Attorney General of the Federation shall have power to (a) institute and undertake criminal proceedings against any person before any court of law in Nigeria, other than a court-martial, in respect of any office created by or under any act of the National Assembly.”
They thus backed Adoke for not filing legal proceedings against MTN.
According to them, the nation’s Chief law officer was not in breach of the constitution.
The groups also stated that from investigation they jointly carried out and information sourced from competent and independent sources both within government and private quarters, the call for the sack of the Justice Minister was politically motivated and a methodically choreographed witch hunt against his person and office.