The Nigerian Senate, on Tuesday, condemned the raid on judges’ homes weekend, but refused to summon the Director General of the State Security Service, Lawan Daura, over the matter.
In a motion brought as matter of urgent national importance by Joshua Lidani (PDP-Gombe), the Senate was asked to look into the action of the SSS which led to arrest of seven judges in the early hours of Saturday.
One of the resolutions canvassed by Mr. Lidani was that the Senate should invite Mr. Daura to explain why his agency carried out the action the way it did without deference to the constitutional responsibility of the National Judicial Council.
The prayer was denied.
The Senate affirmed support “in entirety” for the anti-corruption war of President Muhammadu Buhari, “including the efforts to sanitize the Judiciary”.
But lawmakers criticised the SSS’ operations.
The Senate asked its Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters headed by David Umaru (APC-Niger) to review all laws regarding the country’s security agencies and report back in four weeks.
Dino Melaye (APC-Kogi) said the SSS had a legitimate mandate to handle matters involving economic crimes of national security scale, making reference to the National Security Agencies Act.
Mr. Melaye, however, queried “how does bribery and corruption and official misconduct become threat to internal security?”
“SSS overstepped their boundary and abused their mandate,” he said.
Suleiman Hukunyi (APC-Kaduna) also asked the security institutions to remain within the mandate provided by the law.
“The Senate is irreversibly committed to assisting this government in fighting corruption,” Bala Na’Allah (APC-Kebbi) said in his contribution.
He added that if the SSS action was right “it would not have generated this hullabaloo”.
Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, said he supported the prayer that Mr. Daura be invited. Other speakers were silent on that prayer.
He joked that many of his colleagues had gone to urinate to avoid commenting on the SSS action because of the risk of having security operatives “jump over their fences tomorrow”.
“We support the president but we must ensure survival of democracy,” he said.
He said just as former governors were treated as criminal suspects abroad, nobody would have confidence in any judgement from the Nigerian courts given SSS action.
In his remarks, Mr. Saraki said going against the law “does not help the war against corruption”.