Femi Falana, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), says the law does not support the confirmation of Adamu Lamatek as the chairman of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).
In a statement released on Wednesday, Falana explained that the AMCON act provides that the chairman hold the office for five years.
“Muiz Banire SAN, the current chairman of the board of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), was appointed in July 2018,” he said.
“The said appointment was made pursuant to section 10(3) of the Act to the effect that “A member of the Board appointed pursuant to this section-(a) shall hold office for a term of five years.
“Since the appointment has not expired the President has not removed Dr Banire from office under the relevant provisions of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria Act, 2010.”
President Muhammadu Buhari had nominated Adamu as AMCON’s new chairman in line with an amendment of the AMCON act that provides for a part-time chairman who shall be a deputy governor in the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Explaining further, the lawyer said: “It is submitted that such provision as contained in Section 3(a) of the 2019 Amendment Act can only operate in futuro as it cannot nullify or annul an appointment made under the law before the amendment of the AMCON Act.
“In other words, since the amendment cannot operate retrospectively the appointment of Mr Adamu cannot take effect until Dr Banire has served his full term unless he decides to resign before the expiration of his five-year tenure.
“This submission accords with section 6 (1) (c) of the Interpretation Act which provides that the repeal of an enactment shall not “affect any right, privilege, obligation or liability accrued or incurred under the enactment.”
Giving the example of a 1985 case between Salami Afolabi and the Oyo state government, Falana quoted now-deceased justice, Chukwudifu Oputa, to have said: “Prima facie therefore new legislation will deal with future, not past events. If it were not so, the Act might annul rights already acquired, while the presumption is against this intention”.
“In the light of the foregoing, the Senate is legally prohibited from confirming the appointment of Mr Adamu as the Chairman of the AMCON Board since the five-year tenure of the current occupant of the office has not expired by effluxion of time.
“However, if the senate proceeds to confirm the appointment all actions and decisions of the AMCON board under his chairmanship are liable to be set aside on account of the illegality of his appointment.”
Falana said battling issues of illegal appointments will be a distraction from AMCON’s assignment of recovery bad debts worth N5.4 trillion.
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