RIBADU:WE'LL BE GUIDED BY PUBLIC OPINION – AGF

By NBF NEWS
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Responding to a question, Adoke said he would be guided by the weight of public opinion in the discharge of his duties as Nigeria's chief law officer.

Adoke, who made the declarations in a chat with newsmen during his maiden working visit to the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Mrs. Farida Waziri said: 'On the issue of nolle prosequi, I want to assure you that this government is a responsible government and the AGF here is a responsible Attorney-General who is conscious of the fact that he is the custodian of public rights and who is also conscious of the fact by he is regulated by the public.

'So, the public is going to regulate my actions and activities while in office. I am not going to allow political consideration to colour my sense of judgment.'

He also assured that there will be no cover up of any suspect involved in the $180m Halliburton bribery scandal.

'On the issue of Halliburton,' he said, 'I have nothing much to say because I resumed office just three days ago. I have not been briefed. My Permanent Secretary and the Solicitor-General will be briefing me later today.

'As soon as I have seen the file and gone through the evidence before me, I will be able to an informed decision. You will agree with me that lawyers deal with facts, we don't deal with sentiments and we cannot make uninformed statements without having the facts before us.

'I promise that I will get in touch with you on the facts and how we intend to go about it. But be rest assured that there will be no cover up. My boss has said there is no going back on the war against corruption.'

Reacting to the proposed appointment of a Special Adviser on Anti-Corruption, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, he said: 'I have no information on it. My boss is currently out of the country, he has not discussed with me who are the advisers will be and what portfolios or areas they will manage. So, I want to believe that it is speculative at this point.'

While he confirmed that his predecessor, Mr. Mike Aondoakaa (SAN) and the former Minister of Health, Prof. Osotimehin were barred from traveling abroad last weekend, he, however, denied the involvement of his office in the travel restrictions.

'Let me make it loud and clear that it is not the Office of the Attorney-General that instructed that my predecessor, Mr. Mike Aondoakaa (SAN) and the former Minister of Health, Prof. Osotimehin, should be prevented from traveling. I think it has to do with routine security issues with security agencies.

'The Office of the AGF has nothing to do with that. We respect the rule of law; we have nothing against them at the moment. If we have anything against them, we have to investigate them and the appropriate agencies will advise them accordingly. We were not involved; I have not been briefed as to why they were stopped from traveling out of the country.

'Like every other Nigerian, what I read in the papers this morning was that they were supposed to have sought clearance before leaving the country in view of the sensitive positions they held at one time or the other.'

Concerning the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) on some outstanding cases involving Nigeria and some countries, the AGF told the EFCC: 'Anytime you have requirement, we will treat it within 24 hours.'

Talks that a decision has been taken to appoint Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, former boss of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as Special Adviser on Corruption is nothing but mere speculation, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke said yesterday.