Between attorney general and justice minister | The Guardian Nigeria News


There is no doubting that there is a pending invoice in advance of the Dwelling of Agent for the bifurcation of the office environment of the Minister of Justice and Attorney Common of the Federation.

The get in touch with for separation is premised on the ‘perceived’ impact that the government arm of governing administration bears on the Attorney Basic/Minister of Justice. It has been argued in some quarters that the Lawyer General as the Minister of Justice does the bidding of the govt at the price of the citizenry. The occupier of the office environment is seen as the Main Legislation Officer of the Federal Governing administration as from his real business office as the Chief Regulation Officer of the Federation.

When it is apposite to recall that this invoice for the bifurcation of the two workplaces was in 2017 ahead of the Senate of the Countrywide Assembly, these developments have generated hues and cries from various quarters and strata. The Senate stated the modification will build an impartial office of the Legal professional-General by insulating it from partisanship. The workplace of the Commissioner for Justice will also be separated from that of an Attorney-General in the states.

This shift by the Senate was backed by the Dwelling of Associates which also voted in its favour. It, even so, failed as it did not get the assist of two-thirds (24) of the point out Properties of Assembly as essential by part 9 (2) and (3) of the Structure which supplies that right before the National Assembly can go an Act to amend the Constitution right after the two-thirds the vast majority of all the associates of each chamber voted in help, at minimum 24 Residences of Assembly will have to give acceptance by a very simple the vast majority.

The renewed call for the separation of the workplace of the Legal professional by the Home of Consultant which has gotten to the second reading through has referred to as for an alteration of Area 150 of the 1999 Constitution. In order not to toss out the little one with the tub drinking water, it is important to pensively take into account the problems at hand viz-a-viz constitutional provisions.
Origin of the office of the Lawyer General of the Federation

In the Supreme Courtroom conclusion in the situation of Ezomo v AG Bendel Point out, the Apex Courtroom enunciated the origin of the workplace of the Legal professional Standard of the Federation as follows:

The business of the Legal professional Normal was developed in England, and the incumbent to start with identified as the Attorney Normal was designed in England, and in the incumbent 1st called the Legal professional Common, in the calendar year 1461 while the article of the Solicitor General dated from 1515. The Solicitor Normal is a subordinate of the Lawyer Common and in England he deputizes for the Attorney-Normal if the office environment gets vacant or if the Legal professional Common is absent or is unwell or is authorized by him to do so. (See: 6th Version of Hood Phillip’s Constitutional and Administrative Regulation pp. 334-336).

Similarly, in the celebrated circumstance of AG. Federation v. ANPP (2003) LPELR-630(SC), the Apex Court docket held inter alia per Lt. Justice Niki Tobi as follows:

“There shall be an Attorney Common of the Federation who shall be the Main Legislation Officer of the Federation and a Minister of the Govt of the Federation.”

It would surface that the Lawyer Basic is the only Minister exclusively designed in the Constitution. Area 147(1) of the Structure ominously creates the office environment of Minister of the Governing administration of the Federation.

In watch of the actuality that the business office is established in the Structure, and unless of course or until the business office is abrogated, it will carry on in perpetuity. And any fit by or towards the Attorney Normal will in legislation be absorbed by the office environment, which by no means dies unless of course the Structure abrogates it. Part 150(1) of the 1999 Structure supplies that: There shall be an Legal professional Standard of the federation who shall be the Chief Law Officer of the federation and a Minister of the Authorities of the federation.

The precise wordings of Part 150(1) of the 1999 Structure leaves no just one in question that whosoever is appointed under the Portion would occupy two offices – he would serve as the Attorney General as nicely as the Minister of the Govt of the Federation. As a minister in the authorities of the federation, he would be a member of the cupboard and for that reason head a ministry, in this instance, the Ministry of Justice. In his capability as the Attorney Common of the Federation, he would symbolize the governing administration in all actions versus the state.

Arguments in aid of the Bifurcation of the place of work of the Lawyer Normal of the Federation and Minister of Justice
Proponents of the college of views that the workplace of the Legal professional Standard of the Federation and Minister of Justice ought to be bifurcated have advocated as follows:

i.The Attorney Typical when acting as Lawyer-Standard, he is answerable to no 1 but his conscience and the fascination of justice, but when in his ability as minister, he need to just take directives from the president and do the President’s bidding who appointed him. Flowing from the previously mentioned it would be complicated for the Lawyer Basic to be non-partisan.
To be continued tomorrow
Ajulo, fellow of Chartered Institute of Arbitration (British isles), is the taking care of companion, Castle of Law, Abuja.





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