Abubakar Malami, former attorney-general of the federation, says he disobeys some court orders in a bid to protect public interest.
He said this while responding to questions during his screening at the senate, in Abuja, on Friday.
Eyinnaya Abaribe, senate minority leader, had accused the former attorney general of the federation of failing to guarantee the rights of some Nigerians, demanding an explanation.
“Would you be kind to explain to Nigerians why you as attorney general has not been able to guarantee the right of those Nigerians who have been granted bail and are still in custody?” the senator asked.
In his response, Malami said it is his responsibility to protect the interest of Nigerians and not the rights of individuals.
However, he added that public interest always supersedes individual rights.
“I concede that I have had a responsibility as the attorney general of the federation to protect individual rights but looking at the provisions of section 174 of the constitution of Nigeria, I want to reiterate and state further that the office of the attorney general is meant to protect public interest and where the individual interest conflicts with public interest, the interest of 180 million Nigerians that are interested in having this country integrated must naturally prevail,” he said.
“And I think that position has been very well captured by the apex court that stated in the case of Asare Dokubo vs Federal Republic of Nigeria that when an individual interest conflicts the public interest, the public interest naturally prevails.”
Malami has been criticised over the manner the federal government handled the cases of Sambo Dasuki, former national security adviser, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), among other detainees who were granted bail by the courts but are still in custody.
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