The House of Representatives, on Tuesday, resolved to set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the invasion of the residences of the seven judges arrested last weekend by operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS) for alleged corruption and abuse of office.
This followed the adoption of a motion moved by Honourable Kingsley Chinda, entitled: “Urgent Need To Investigate The Invasion And Arrest of Judicial Officers For Alleged Corruption And Similar Incidences by the Department of State Service (DSS).”
It debated the second leg of the calling for the Invitation of the Attorney General of the Federation, Mallam Abubakar Malami and the Director-General of the DSS, Lawal Daura, to appear before it over the invasion and arrest of seven judges for alleged corruption and abuse of office.
However, there was a mild drama immediately the motion was seconded by Honourable Gabriel Onyereri, as another member, Honourable Mojeed Olujimi moved for an Order of Privilege to counter the motion.
While citing Sections four and six of the 1999 Constitution as amended, Olujimi protested that his privilege as a lawmaker had been violated as the matter in question was not of national importance.
Irked by Olujimi’s argument, he was immediately booed by fellow lawmakers, which made him to beg the speaker for protection.
In a swift response to Olujimi’s plea for protection, the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, said, “I can’t protect you as the House Rule is very clear on this as the House had already voted on this motion.”
According to Dogara, “You have to come by way of a motion to correct what you intend to correct.”
Dogara, who did not allow contributions to the motion from the floor, stated that the house would have to investigate the matter first before arriving at a conclusion.
He said: “Lawmakers should maintain fidelity to the laws. They are custodians to determine if the laws were breached or not.”
Consequently, Dogara called on the mover of the motion, Chinda, to start his debate.
Chinda, in his submission, explained that the essence of his motion was to ensure that an ad hoc committee was set up to investigate why the DSS invaded the residences of affected judges without due regard to the law of the land as contained in the 1999 Constitution as amended.
According to him, “the committee is expected to report to Nigerians whether the DSS had the statutory powers to carry out such an invasion.
“We are aware of various media reports of the invasion of the residences and arrest of some judges of the Federal High Courts and Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in the wee hours of Friday, October 8, at Abuja, Gombe, Enugu, Sokoto, Kano and Port Harcourt.
“We are also aware of the press release by the spokesperson of the SSS confirming this worrisome incident and the reason stated therein.
“We are aware of the provisions of Section 153(1) (I) and part 1 of the Third Schedule of the 1999 (as amended), establishing the NJC with powers to regulate and discipline judicial officers in the country.
“The powers of the SSS as enumerated in Sections (2) (3) and (6) of the National Security Agencies Act 1986; does not include the investigation and prosecution of corruption and abuse of office,” he stated.
He expressed dismay that neither the Attorney-General of the Federation nor the National Judicial Commission (NJC) was contacted before the raids were carried out.
The House adopted the motion after it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Honourable Dogara.