Judges homes’ raid: Reps panel want DSS, Evidence laws amended

A House of Representatives panel is proposing to repeal the Evidence Act 2011, Punch reports.

The panel seeks to make evidenceobtained during an illegal search on persons or their properties inadmissible in court.

It is also seeking the amendment to the National Security Agencies Act to “clearly state the powers of the Department of State Services to investigate corruption cases that affect national security.”

[Read Also: REPS TO PROBE DSS RAID ON JUDGES HOMES]

The recommendation was contained in the report of the ad hoc committee of the House, which investigated the October 2016 invasion of the homes of some Supreme Court justices.

The panel was chaired by a member of the All Progressives Congress from Kaduna State, Mr. Garba Datti-Muhammad.

In its report to the House, the committee noted that in other climes, including the US, any evidence obtained during an illegal search was not admissible.

[Read Also: WHY I APPROVED DSS STING OPERATION, JUDGES ARREST – MALAMI]

A copy of the report read partly, “That there is a need to amend the National Security Agencies Act to more clearly state the powers of the Department of State Services to investigate corruption cases that affect national security.

“That there is a need to amend the National Security Agencies Act by incorporating the principles enshrined in the Instrument No. SSS I, to make for a more comprehensive statute as well as end speculation over the status of the Instrument in Nigeria’s hierarchy of laws.

“That there is a need to amend the Evidence Act 2011, by repealing sections 14 and 15 to make evidence obtained as a result of an illegal search inadmissible, as obtainable in other jurisdictions like the United States.”

It added that DSS operatives should be able to “differentiate between cases of persons, who offer no threat both in terms of physical violence and capacity for escape, and therefore, not needing to be subjected to auxiliary measures (including arrest at night) on the one hand and those persons in respect of whom such measures are justifiable on the other hand.”

[Read Also: ARREST OF JUDGES: DSS ACTED WITHIN ITS POWERS – CCB]

The report explained further, “That the amendment to the NSA Act contained in recommendations (i) and (iii) can only be attained by the procedure for the alteration of the 1999 Constitution under Section 9(1) and (2).

“This is on account of the provisions of Section 315(5) of the 1999 Constitution, which provides that the NSA Act, amongst others, ‘shall not be altered or repealed except in accordance with the provisions of Section 9 (2) of this Constitution’.”

The DSS had raided the homes of judges in October 2016, claiming that they were acting on petitions alleging corrupt acts against the judicial officers.

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