President Muhammadu Buhari has assented to the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill aimed at giving Nigerian leverage to collaborate with other nations on criminal issues.
The bill, now law, comes into effect from June 20, 2019.
Mr Buhari’s assent was announced in a statement by Ita Enang, the president’s Special Adviser on National Assembly Matters.
The act will specifically ease Nigeria’s collaboration with other countries in areas mutual assistance in the prosecution of criminal matters including the location and identification of suspects, witnesses and other materials for prosecution of criminal matters.
The statement identified other benefits of the law to include:
“(I) (9) the identification, tracing, freezing, restraining, recovery, forfeiture and confiscation of proceeds, property and other instrumentalities of crime;
“(II) (k) the interception of telecommunications (II) (i) conversion of electronic surveillance
“(IV) (m) the restraint of dealings in property, or the freezing of assets, that may be recovered, forfeited or confiscated in respect of offences.
“And other assistance that is not contrary to the municipal law of the requesting State.”
According to the statement, the attorney-general of the federation is designated as the central authority for making, receiving and transmitting requests for assistance to and from other countries as well as performing other functions reserved in the act.
“Where the alleged offence is political or an offence under military law or is not an offence under the laws of Nigeria, the provisions of this law shall not apply,” the statement notes.