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Senate moves to amend DSS Act, Reps summon AGF, Daura

By Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze, Segun Olaniyi and Otei Oham (Abuja)   |   12 October 2016   |   4:21 am

DG of DSS, Lawal Musa Daura

DG of DSS, Lawal Musa Daura

• Gowon worried about government’s action
• Buhari appoints two Supreme Court justices

As more criticisms trail the arrest of some judges, the Senate has resolved to amend the laws that establish some security outfits in the country, including the Department of State Services (DSS).

The Senate yesterday condemned what it called “the draconian manner” in which the DSS invaded the residences of the judges and arrested them last Saturday.

Adopting a motion raised via matter of urgent national importance by Joshua Ledani (PDP, Gombe State), the Senate urged President Muhammadu Buhari to call all security agencies to order to observe the rule of law in the discharge of their duties.

The Senate says that the DSS went beyond its bounds when it allegedly usurped the powers of the National Judicial Council (NJC) which has the statutory powers of handling matters of misconduct and indiscipline against judicial officers.

The upper chamber noted that the act of breaking into the residences of judicial officers at night with chisel and hammer has worsened the image of Nigeria among the comity of nations. It pointed out that turning the law upside down to fight corruption is an act of corruption in itself.

Ruling on the prayers of the motion, Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, said: “The National Assembly has been playing its role to support the government in its fight against corruption. We must ensure that this fight is within the rule of law, any act of anti-corruption that goes against the rule of law does not help the corruption fight. That is why this action has been seen in this manner and is condemned by the Senate. All agencies of government must ensure that they act within the rule of law.”

In the House of Representatives yesterday, the lawmakers agreed to invite the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami and the Director General of DSS, Lawal Musa Daura over the arrest of the judges. The summons is to give the AGF and the DSS an opportunity to defend the action.

Considering a matter of urgent national importance raised by Kingsley Chinda, the lawmakers also resolved to set up an ad hoc committee to investigate all cases of invasion of property and arrest of persons for reasons outside the general duties of the DSS as prescribed by the National Securities Act, since May 29, 2013 and report back to members within six weeks.

But Alabi Mojeed Olujinmi fought in vain to prevent his colleagues from acting on the matter, arguing that based on the principle of separation of powers, the security agency is at liberty to interrogate anyone accused of corrupt practices.

Amid protests by some members against the consideration and adoption of the matter, Speaker of the House Yakubu Dogara subjected it to voice vote, in which those who favoured the consideration carried the day.

Also yesterday, former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon expressed concern over the arrest of the allegedly corrupt judges and urged the government to give directives to the operatives not to go outside the laws of the land.

Gowon warned that the situation, if mishandled, could be a threat to democracy. He advised government to do something to make sure that it does not do further harm.

The elder statesman made the comment in Abuja while briefing journalists on the forthcoming 20th anniversary of the Nigeria Prays billed for October 15, 2016 at the National Christian Centre , Abuja.

Gowon said: “It is a serious thing that judges could be arrested. By law, you cannot just arrest anybody outside the law, there should have been a proper way of doing it.”

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has sent the names of Justices Sidi Dauda Bage from Nasarawa State and Paul Adamu Galinje from Taraba State to the Senate for confirmation as justices of the Supreme Court.

  • Ayo Aiyelabola

    I am happy that the lower house has been daft enough as to invite Daura. They need tutoring and they will get it. How can they not know that corruption is a veritable building block for anarchy and by extension a security problem. They are not at fault, if all the noise about the masses occupying the NASS

    • algol2000

      If Nigeria is to survive, people need to find a way to kick out most of the members of this useless Senate, only there to amend laws that stops them from further looting of the commonwealth.

  • nelson godwin

    The Senetors should also realize that the colossal amount of money found in their houses is a shame to the country in the community of nations… haba… these thieves are the ones corrupting the judges.

    • St-Kenny Mudiaga

      Africans always remain shortsighted. That is how we create monsters like Mugabe. It is not the fight against corruption that is wrong. When Dasuki was arrested nobody protested ; until the government started disobeying courts. You can’t fight corruption by breaking laws. Otherwise we find ourselves at the mercy of those in power. Even assuming buhari has the best intentions, what happens if the next leader is not as good as that – and we’ve already set this kind of example? We start praying to God to deliver us, abi?

      • Tosin


  • AZZO

    Yes, as long as it does not give the impression that the house is trying use its powers to give itself immunity from investigations and prosecution according to the dictates of the law – I am all for it too.

  • St-Kenny Mudiaga

    The way this matter has been handled, it will turn out to be a waste of time. And the “fight against kwaruption” will be poorer for it. Because of the “bull in a china shop” approach of buhari, the nation is once more locked in a war of words over technicalities. If the right approach had been taken, we would all be celebrating a milestone. What a pity.

  • Izonebi

    I by now our Senators have not sat down to read the Criminal Justice Act 2015 which they passed into law and still do not know the DSS Act also gives them powers delegated by the President to investigate any matter beyond Internal Security then we need to send these idiots who are wasting our money home. Also if they do not know that the laws of this land do not preclude the Judiciary from criminal investigation then they need to visit a psychiatrist.

  • Yuyu

    Why is the government fighting corruption alone, why are the looters allowed to use their loot to fight back and compromise our judiciary? What are we doing as citizens of this nation to take the fight to the door steps of the looters, look at China and Brazil recently, how can we become a great nation if we allow the culture of impunity to fester, how do you curb impunity without purging corrupt judicial officers? Is there anyone in Nigeria who does not know that corruption is rampant, or who does not know that it is destroying the very fabric of our society? Let us empower ourselves as citizens, move past geo-political sentiments and fight this monster together. IT IS A CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY!

  • real

    it is official, nigeria is being governed by criminals. look at how quick this criminal lawmakers are moving to prevent the arrest from happening or from going further. They are trying to protect those that protect them. it is up to all nigerian’s if we want to change the country to fight against this. if this judges are corrupt, they should be thrown out and put in jail. The president should release the evidence against them, so that if accurate. the country can back him.

    • In question is the process of arrest and throwing into jail, not that corrupt persons, including judges, are not to be arrested and prosecuted and thrown into jail.

  • Idongesit Umoren

    And I dare to ask them, “What is the motive behind the amendment?” Is it to check power excesses of Security Agencies or so that they will not be victims of same harassment some day?

    • Anybody, including innocent person, could be framed up and arrested by a dictatorial government if the DSS is allowed unlimited powers of arrest and prosecute.

  • Enitan Oluyemo

    Sometimes, some days, revolution is imminent in Nigeria. People will revolt at a point when things get to the pick. This decadent is growing daily. The gap between the rich and the poor is getting wider.

  • Olayiwola Akomolafe

    It amazes me the way people argue when it comes to serious issues in Nigeria. Is it not clear enough for any serious nation to rise above sentiments if they actually want a change? There has always been dissenting voices whenever a well intention govts comes to power in Nigeria. What is Gowons business in modern governance of the country? He squandered his chance to change the country in his days, instead,they were washing hands with champagne just because the money was there. Some past leaders are not even ashamed of themselves because we keep adoring and worshiping

    • Adele Uhuru

      So basically the DSS has the right to usurp a national process enshrined in the constitution ?

      • otunne steve gofrey

        Which constitution? Because, Corrupt Judges are involved – abi
        Does EFCC obey the constitution, Is Buhari obeying the constitution
        Lets fight corruption without reservation. Nigerian judges made themselves commodity and have desecrated the temple of justice they occupy.

        • Adele Uhuru

          You are so funny – you sound like a man that will rather burn his house down because of a rat infestation rather than find a logical route to expel, capture the rats with his home intact. Men you and these imbecile ruling clique have just the same malady ( lacking intelligence)!?!?

          • otunne steve gofrey

            If your understanding of intelligence is selective justice, then you need to go back to school. Even those that attended Almajiri schools abhors what is happening now in the name of fighting corruption.
            Nigerian judges are very corruption and are not above the law, therefore should be treated like criminals but according to the law which they have bribe-ly desecrated. Logic is not part of justice not equity

  • Olayiwola Akomolafe

    The future of the country is in the hands of the youths,now is the time to act. If nobody wants to sacrifice for their future, then their own children ‘s future is in jeopardy. It’s time to act now. Tomorrow may be too late.

  • otunne steve gofrey

    Why will DSS law be amended now? Why are members of the National assembly so far to dock the tails of DSS?
    Is arrest of alleged corrupt judges only acts of illegality by DSS & EFCC since the present administration?
    Jittery reactions of members of NASS showed them as people working to prevent arrest or probes.
    It is on record that most of them were ex governors, ex this and ex that where they were neck deep in corruption.
    This creates clearer understanding why every ex governor wants to be a senator or member of HOR. Their drives has never being to serve the people but to remain in vintage position for constitutional immunity protections.
    Otherwise, why would they wake up now to condemn what reasonable Nigerians had condemned at the inception of this government as unconstitutional methods that run against tenets of democracy.
    DSS should pounce on all the ex this and ex that in the national assembly. They are holding bulk of our common wealth.
    Nigerians should press for removal of immunity for probe for anyone that has served the people in any capacity whether, as judge, custom officer, Military officer, and Mr. ex governor.

    • You daft ignore what causes corruption in Nigeria, but rambling about like a bull in a China shop. The rent collector system of unitary government is cause of official corruption in Nigeria.

  • Olayiwola Akomolafe

    The constitution of any nation is supposed to be obeyed by the citizens irrespective of you are and not by some people. Does the constitution of Nigeria states that some people should be stealing our common wealth while the majority continue to suffer. Biafra people wouldn’t contemplate leaving Nigeria if there is equity, justice and equal development. Pls let common sense prevail in all our discussions.

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