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Kaduna AGF defends El-Rufa’i over NBA petition

…says Governor, an apostle of rule of law

 

Following the controversies generated by the dis-invitation of Governor Nasir El-Rufa’i from the just concluded 60th Annual General Conference of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Kaduna State has reacted to the development. Attorney-General, Aisha Dikko, in a statement in Kaduna yesterday said, the allegations were untrue, describing El-Rufai as an apostle of the rule of law.

 

She said the El-Rufa’i-led administration contrary to the widespread allegations of the petitioners, upholds fidelity to the law and promotes peaceful coexistence for advancing its governance reforms.

 

According to her, the criminal cases mentioned in the petition to NBA, have a common thread of incitement and spreading false information which cannot be tolerated in any civilised community, not least in a state that has suffered from so much ethno-religious crisis.

 

“The cases mentioned in the NBA petition were filed by the Ministry of Justice as part of its statutory duty to enforce law and order.

 

“A government that goes to court as the proper arena for deciding cases cannot be reasonably accused of not respecting the rule of law. Those who assert the contrary have the burden of showing how the rule of law can be advanced without the courts and whether society is better served by permitting license, or con-fusing incitement with freedom of speech.”

 

She said. She also insisted that the state government has no idea of the whereabouts of, or has any involvement whatsoever in the reported abduction of Abubakar Idris Usman, also known as Dadiyata as according to her, it amounts “to stretching the fact that Dadiyata was abducted within Kaduna State to mean the involvement of the state government in the matter.

 

“Every citizen that the state government has reason to suspect has been involved in incitement, injurious falsehood or criminal defamation has been appropriately charged before the courts and afforded due process,’’ she added.

 

The Attorney General pointed out that Kaduna State Government “has neither filed any complaint against Mr. Usman with the police nor has it instituted a suit against him before the court.’’

 

Dikko recalled that Kaduna State Government has demonstrated its commitment to the rule of law and its first test was in July 2015, barely two months after the government took office, when a newspaper defamed the governor.

 

She said the newspaper and its correspondent contrived to publish a defamatory story on the assets of the state governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai. The governor sued the newspaper and its correspondent, who was neither interrogated nor detained over this civil matter.

 

The Commissioner said, the governor “initiated this matter in his private capacity and it is being handled by his personal lawyer. This case is still in court but it is not cited by the petitioners because it does not fit the pattern they were out to construct.’’

 

The statement also clarified the cases of Steven Kefason and Segun Onibiyo, which are pending before the Chief Magistrate Court and the High Court of Kaduna State respectively

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