28 September 2019
Nigeria’s attorney-general Abubakar Malami must have felt like a criminal in the dock as he was grilled yesterday by the BBC’s Peter Okwoche.
Malami was once described by Second Republic politician Junaid Mohammed as a “joker” and a former “charge and bail lawyer” in Kano. It was no joke in this interview, with Malami showing he was woefully out of his depth as Okwoche asked him about journalists detained under the administration of his boss President Muhammadu Buhari.
Watch the clip below.
Malami claimed that the detention of Omoyele Sowore, the owner of the Sahara Reporters website, was lawful since he was calling for a “revolution” – the unlawful overthrow of the Nigerian government. Okwoche hit back with the hypocrisy in Buhari arresting someone calling for a revolution when the president actually overthrew an elected government in a military coup in 1983.
As Malami was reeling from that crucial reminder from history, Okwoche also recalled Buhari calling for protests when he lost the presidential (s)election in 2011. All Malami could offer in response was that his concern was the particular case before him and not what happened in the past.
But Okwoche was having none of that as he reminded the attorney-general of the detention of opponents of the regime, the human rights abuses against the Shia and the ridiculousness of detaining Sowore for “insulting” the president.
Sowore is still in custody at the time of writing despite meeting the conditions of his bail.