AGF is not taking over high profile cases – Spokesman
The office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) has allayed the fears being expressed in some quarters that it intends to take over high profile criminal cases from the prosecuting agencies currently handling them.
Spokesman to the AGF, Salihu Isah told The Nation Wednesday that a recent letter from the Federal Ministry of Justice, requesting some prosecuting agencies to update the ministry with developments in such cases was not an attempt to take over the cases.
He said such information was required by the National Prosecution Coordination Committee (NPCC) to enable it assess the state of the cases, plane and offer necessary strategic advice where necessary.
Isah, who also act as the spokesman for the NPCC, which resides within the Federal Ministry of Justice, noted that the committee was empowered to seek such information from the various prosecuting agencies to enable it perform its responsibility of advising the AGF appropriately.
He said: “The letter did not say they should hand over the cases to us. The committee wants to know the status of the cases so that they will know what to do to assist. It is not that we are taking over. The media appears not to understand what we are doing.
“You should know that the Federal Ministry of Justice, being the supervisory Ministry for these prosecuting agencies, we deserve to know the status of these cases. So, that is what we want them to furnish the Ministry and the NPCC with information about the status of these cases,” Isah said.
He also drew attention to a statement he issued late last year at the inauguration of the NPCC, explaining the responsibilities of the committee.
Isah, in the statement issued last November, said the 19-man NPCC “is charged with ensuring the efficient, effective and result oriented prosecution of high profile criminal cases in the country.
“The Committee is also to guarantee prompt contact and synergy between investigators and the prosecutors of high profile criminal cases, managing information to the public on such cases as well as to ensure strict compliance to the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015.
“For its terms of reference, the NPCC is to advise the HAGF on the exercise of his prosecutorial powers in Section 150 and 174 of the 1999 Constitution, prepare the policy strategy document for the coordination of investigation and prosecution of high profile criminal cases in Nigeria and to also collate the list of such cases as well as assigning them to prosecution teams.
“The Committee will scrutinize the proof of evidence and charges in high profile criminal cases in the country before arraignment. In addition, it will receive and analyse reports from the investigation and prosecution teams engaged to handle such cases.”
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