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Dogara Condemns Raid On Judges’ Homes; Pledges Sweeping Reforms To Prevent Recurrence

Source: thewillnigeria.com

BEVERLY HILLS, November 23, (THEWILL) – The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara on Wednesday reacted to the invasion of the homes of some judges by operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS, describing the clampdown as a duplication of the function of other anti-corruption agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Recall that scores of DSS operatives swooped on the homes of judges in a coordinated raid across the country on October 7 in a raid that lingered until the next morning on October 8. Afterwards, the DSS explained that the special sting operations it carried out were based on allegations of corruptions and other acts of professional misconduct by a few of the suspected Judges.

The secret police added that it had in line with its core mandate been monitoring the expensive and luxurious lifestyle of some of the judges as well as complaints from the concerned members of the public over judgment obtained fraudulently and on the basis amounts of money paid.

But speaking while inaugurating a House committee charged with investigating the clampdown and its aftermath, Dogara maintained that the midnight operation was disorganised and worrisome, promising sweeping reforms to prevent its recurrence.

“It is untidy; it seems, to have multiple agencies exercising similar functions. The EFCC already handles issues of corruption and economic crimes in Nigeria.

“Should the State Security Service also be charged with the same functions?” he asked.

Hinting that the executive might have usurped the powers of the legislature, the Speaker, who read from a prepared speech, said: “the activities of the State Security Service of late have raised concerns in the Nigerian polity as to the propriety of the conduct of officials of the service and whether their actions are consistent with the law setting it up.

“It is in this regard that I enjoin this Committee to make relevant findings of fact that will enable the National Assembly initiate the necessary amendments to the National Security Agencies Act — and even the Constitution where necessary— to ensure conformity with the constitutional design and framework that envisage that federal legislative power should be domiciled in the National Assembly and not shared with the executive in the manner provided under the Act.”

He stated that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was exploiting a decree promulgated by Nigeria's last military regime led by Abdulsalam Abubakar, which through an instrument in 1999, expanded the role of SSS to include other functions as dictated by the head of state.

But the Speaker questioned the validity of instrument since the NSA Act is amongst the four extant laws under the Transitional Provisions an Savings component of the Constitution.

“The National Security Agencies Act is specifically protected by Section 315(5) of the Constitution as it cannot be altered like ordinary Acts of the National Assembly. It has the same alteration procedure like the Constitution as laid down in Section 9 (2) thereof,” he said.

Dogara added that lawmakers serving in the committee will answer all questions that stemmed from the action of the DSS and recommend all necessary means of forestalling a recurrence, including a possible amendment to the Constitution.