Michael Kaase Aondoakaa
Former Attorney General and Minister of Justice
Date of Birth: 12/06/1962
Place of Birth: Benue
Education: Maiduguri University, 1985
Career: Junior Partner, J.Tine Tur and Co Chambers, Gvoko, 1987-89; Principal Partner, M.K. Aondoakaa and Co, Makurdi; Attorney General and Minister of Justice, 2007-10.
Commentary: The second most remarkable detail about Michael Aondoakaa's time as Attorney General is that most efforts to prosecute Nigerians for corruption came from jurisdictions abroad. The first is that he tried to thwart them all. In August 2007, he wrote to a British court asking them not to prosecute former Delta State Governor James Ibori for money laundering (the letter was used to unfreeze Ibori's accounts). In September 2007, he asked a French judge not to charge former Oil Minister Dan Etete with corruption. He denied a June 2009 Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty request from Britain to investigate three former governors (Ibori, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Obong Victor Attah), who were suspected of a US$38 million fraud.
Aondoakaa was born in Benue on 12 June 1962 and graduated from the Maiduguri University in law in 1985. He was called to the Bar in 1986. In 1993 he opened his own firm, M. K. Aondoakaa and Company. He was recruited in 2007 (at Ibori's instigation) as President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua's Attorney General.
Aondoakaa's appointment was controversial. He was behind the sacking of Nuhu Ribadu, the effective former head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). He gutted the Uwais electoral reform white paper, removing the crucial point that the head of the Independent Electoral Commission should be independent and not picked by the President. And he has refused to release funds for a task force panel set up to investigate the Nigerian end of a $190 mn. bribery scandal involving United States oil services giant Halliburton.
July 2009's deadly militant attack on an Atlas Cove oil depot occurred after Yar'Adua had ordered Aondoakaa to release Henry Okah
, leader of the
Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND). Aondoakaa left for São Tomé e Príncipe without releasing Okah. Suspecting a ruse, MEND attacked the depot, killing nine navy personnel and civilians. Aondoakaa hurried back and ordered his release.
Aondoakaa was removed from his position as Justice Minister by acting President Goodluck Jonathan in February 2010.