The Permanent Secretary and Solicitor General of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Dayo Apata, has explained why the Federal Ministry of Justice no longer engage external solicitors for its cases.
Apata noted that before the practice was stopped, huge public fund was expended annually for the payment of external lawyers engaged to handle federal government’s cases.
He said since that practice was put on hold by the current Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Abubakar Malami, billions of Naira have been saved for the federal government.
Apata spoke in Abuja at an event where Malami was named the Minister of the Year 2020 by a group, Face of Democracy Nigeria (FDN).
He noted: “Before Malami, there used to be the practice where the ministry engages external solicitors to handle cases at huge cost to the federal government.
“But, on his assumption of office, he said why can we look inward, meaning you are saving money for the government and enhancing the productivity of the law officers (lawyers in the ministry).
“With this policy, we have saved billions of naira for the federal government, because we no longer need to farm out cases. They are now being handled in-house,” Apata said.
He hailed Malami for his contributions to the success of the anti-corruption efforts of the federal government, stressing that the Ministry of Justice, under Malami, has been responsible for developing the necessary strategies needed for the anti-graft war.
Apata identified many other policy initiatives, which, he said, have resulted in improved welfare and working condition for staff, which he attributed to the minister.
“For us, in the Federal Ministry of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) has always been the best minister since 2015. He is the best among the ministers that we have had so far.
“The fact speaks for itself. Here, in the Ministry of Justice, we know what we have experienced since Abubakar Malami (SAN) came on board.
“Do you want to talk about the issue of harmonisation, which has led to the adjustment of our salaries, for which staff had struggled for 14 years?”
Apata said the minister has made great impact on the ministry and its personnel, who would continue to remember him even after his time in office.
FDN’s leader, Alexandra Olufunso, said the choice of Malami for the award of the best Minister of the year was made by Nigerians, who voted him among four Ministers selected out of the 22 Ministers nominated.
Olufunso said his organisation was impressed with Malami’s proactive approach to state issues.
“We did all the findings and discovered that we are honouring the best person in this category,” Olufunso said.
Responding, Malami said he took the award as a challenge and a clarion call to redouble his effort to improve the democratic system, enhance justice dispensation and improve the welfare judiciary officers in the country.