Malami, who delivered a keynote address at a media conference that was organised by the National Association of Judiciary Correspondents, NAJUC, Abuja Chapter, said he would not resign from office till the expiration of his tenure in May 2023.
He described the report that he resigned to further his political ambition in the forthcoming general elections, as the handiwork of purveyors of fake news, saying there would be need to prosecute journalists that allow themselves to be used by mischievous politicians.
He said: “Many public officers have been victims of malicious media reports, mischievous and deliberate distortion of facts. No doubt, the media is important in shaping public opinion, but hate speech and fake news challenge our cherished and collective culture of peaceful and harmonious co-existence as a people.
“You are journalists in the Nigerian Justice Sector because Nigeria exists as an entity. We cannot afford to spill the beans on account of mischievous actions and inactions of some who claim to be journalists.
“There has to consequences for the conduct of the journalists that offer themselves to conscription by agents of destruction that make it their stock in trade to spread fake information about personalities and issues.
“Effective legislative framework may be a considerable option. I am happy we begin to address these issues at conferences, symposia and workshops. Your inputs in this direction would be very much welcome.
“It is high time that we enhance media literacy for Nigerians to appreciate fact-checking and verification of information.
“Many who relied on some unprofessional information disseminators will be taken aback that the Malami that was claimed to have resigned as Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice was still seen in office discharging his functions including attending the Federal Executive Council meeting yesterday, granting interviews to journalists and still today declaring this conference open as the Attorney General of the Federation.
“There is naturally an end to everything. My tenure in office has not yet ended. I pray for a glorious end.
“I call on journalists to refrain from fake news, defamation, sedition, hate speech, blasphemy, and incitements of inflammatory statements in their reportage that could jeopardize our corporate existence as a nation and hamper the peace we have been enjoying”.
It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had before he signed the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2022 into law, urged the National Assembly to expunge section 84 (12) of the Act, which he argued would disenfranchise serving political appointees.
The section particularly made it mandatory that political office holders must firstly resign from office, before they could vie for any elective position.
It reads: “No political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the convention or congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election.”
The Senate had since declined to accede to President Buhari’s demand.
Malami, who is reportedly eyeing the governorship seat in Kebbi State, is believed to be among political appointees that would be affected by the Amended Electoral Act.
The AGF, while commending NAJUC, maintained that the theme of the conference; ‘The Judiciary and 2023 General Elections: The Way Forward”, as well as the sub themes; ‘Stemming The Tide of Conflicting Judgements in Nigeria’s Judicial System’, and ‘Enforcement of Court Judgement Debts; The Obstacles, The Remedies’, were very apt and timely.
“With the 2023 General Election approaching, I hope this conference will address the practice where journalists would be conscripted by agents of destructions to spread false information about personalities and issues. Unprofessional media practitioners have been reporting untrue and fabricated information against public office holders”, he added.
Among special guests at the conference included the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, who was represented by Justice Nkeonye Maha, as well as Secretary of the National Judicial Council, NJC, Ahmed Gambo Saleh, who was represented by the Director of Information, Mr. Soji Oye.
Earlier in his welcome address, NAJUC Chairman, Mr. Kayode Lawal, said the conference was part of concerted effort to train, retrain and build capacity of judiciary correspondents to enhance their reportage of legal proceedings