The immediate past Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, told the Senate that El-Zakzaky, Dasuki and others were being held in the overall national interest.
The Kebbi State ministerial nominee also told the upper chamber that under his watch as AGF, the Federal Government secured 59 terrorism-related convictions.
Relying on Section 174 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), Malami noted that his responsibility was also to protect public interest.
Malami said: “Abaribe asked his question relying on Section 36, 37 and 38 of the Constitution as they relate to the rights of the individual. I concede that I have had the responsibility to protect the rights of every Nigerian.
“The office of the AGF is made to protect the rights of individuals and the corporate rights of the nation. Section 174 of the Constitution is explicit that where the individual interest conflict with public interest, public interest prevails.”
He said that Asari Dokubo’s case gave credence to his assertion that national interest supersedes individual interest.
Malami also told the Senate that under his watch as AGF and minister Justice, over 63-terrorism related cases were instituted against suspects terrorists.
“About 59 terrorism convictions out of 63 cases within a space of four years were secured when I was the Minister of Justice. Over 4,400 criminal cases were prosecuted within a space of four years.”
The Executive, he said, must be consulted before bills passed if they were expected to receive the president assent.
On why the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) was rejected by President Muhammadu Buhari, he said:
“The interest of host communities was compromised. Self-serving portions were brought into the bill. So much power was conferred on an individual instead of an institution.
Malami said, ‘Under me, the following bills were brought National Financial Intelligent Unit (NFIU) bill, Proceed of Crimes bill, Mutual Assistance and Legal matters bill, Anti Terrorism bill and others. Nigeria was at a time facing an expulsion threat.
“At the international forum, we have joined open government partnership under a president that told us that we should not only be seen fighting corruption locally but transparent internationally.
“I am happy to report we have succeeded in helping the government to save N145 billion and in dollar $5 billion within a period of 3 years.
“We increased the recovery account from N19 billion to N279 billion as at November 2018.
On bills vetoed: “In the course of my submissions, I have highlighted that whatever problems we have is indeed embedded in collaboration and corporation.
“What I can do differently is to establish a culture of deep rooted collaboration and not collaboration as we see it today. “What we have today is a public hearing arrangement. We have a credible government that will allow integration of ideas.
On the judiciary: “We are making progress on interfacing on effective delivery and seen in the enhancement of the budget of the judiciary. It was never there case of the state judiciary to enjoy some level of autonomy.
On what to be remembered for: “I want to be remembered as one who intensified the fight against corruption and made our system of governance effective and efficient.