Senate condemns arrest of judges by DSS

Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

The Nigerian Senate has described the arrest of some Judges by operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS) last weekend, as abuse of powers by virtue of Acts empowering them but the upper legislative chamber turned down a prayer to summon the DG of DSS.

Senate’s condemnation of the arrest followed a motion of urgent national importance, moved by Senator Joshua Lidani from Gombe state, north east Nigeria.

Senator Joshua Lidani in his outright condemnations noted that the corruption allegation against those Judges ought to have been handled by the Nigeria Police which has the mandate to do so.

He pointed that the National Security Agencies Act, 2000 in its several provisions dealt with internal security.

“Mr. Senate President, Distinguished Colleagues, NSA Act 2000, section 2 specifies the responsibility of Department of State Security Services (DSS) with prevention and detection of internal security”, Lidani submitted.

He reminded the Senate that the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmoud Muhammed through National Judicial Council which is an administrative set up charged with Disciplinary powers has dismissed some corrupt members of the bench in the past.

Senator Lidani also reasoned that the arrest has tempered with judicial independence.

Corroborating, Senator Dino Melaye noted that it was “celestial truth” of massive corruption in the judiciary which was very clear to any sensible persons, but condemned the mode with which the arrest happened.

The Deputy Leader majority leader of the senate Senator Bala Ibn’N’allah on his part, pointed out the philosophy behind the establishment of National Judicial Council that the Judiciary will not be subjected to external audit.

He stated that the Senate should not hurriedly condemn the action until the Chambers summon the DG of DSS.

“Mr. President, looking at the situation of Nigeria before 2015 was the issue of corruption and Nigeria as firm in supporting the fight against corruption and we have to hear from the Director General of DSS first before condemnation.”

Senate President, Bukola Saraki reiterated the determination of the Senate to support fights against corruption and referred the issue to the committee on human rights and Judicial matters for further action. The committee has four weeks to execute its assignment. However, efforts by those averse to the operation of DSS to summon the Director General failed.

Confirmation of Justices

In another development, President Muhammadu Buhari has requested the Senate to confirm his appointment of two Supreme Court Justices recommended by the National Judicial Council NJC.

President Buhari’s request was contained in a letter addressed to the senate and read on the floor of the chamber on Tuesday. The two Justices are Sidi Dauda Bage (Nasarawa state) representing north central, and Paul Adamu Galinje from Taraba state, representing north east zone.

President Buhari’s appointment of the justices follows recommendation by the NJC which is subject to the confirmation of the senate.