EGHADESE: DSS, EFCC Actions Comply With Extant Laws



Matthew Eghadese is a lawyer based in Benin City, Edo State. He spoke to ALEMMA-OZIORUVA ALIU on the recent activities of security agencies like the Department of State Security Services (DSS) and the Economic and Financial crimes Commission (EFCC).

What will you say about the raiding and interrogation of former NSA and CSO to former President Goodluck Jonathan?
THE DSS is more of an undercover outfit, and to the best of my knowledge, there was a search warrant duly signed by a magistrate, and once they are armed with that, they are entitled to conduct search in the premises stated on that warrant and that is all that is required of them. Their motive is immaterial here, their motive is not important, what is important is whether the action is backed by relevant laws of the land, whether they did it out of malice or other ulterior motives, nobody can establish that for the now, and so long they did that within the confines of the extant laws, there is nothing wrong with that.

But then, they also said they recovered certain incriminating items, that also, if it is true, that justifies the search.

But justification is not even important in the first place, because they can have unreasonable suspicion, the law allows them to have unreasonable suspicion if they feel something awkward or wrong is going on in any premises, and they obtain the requisite warrant to search the premises, they are free to do so.

What about the detention of the CSO to former President Goodluck Jonathan?
That again, they have the power to do, if they have reasonable ground for it, because according to them, they took him in for interrogation and that is allowed by law, because if they do not operate that way, they will not effectively function in any system. They are not supposed to sit back and get fully established information before they swing into action.

Otherwise, if their duty is forestall criminal activities or to investigate already created crime, they should have a reasonable suspicion and information, which are most of the time volunteered by people who do not want to be named. They are at liberty to act on information that they reasonably believe to be true. If they believe that the information they have is reasonable and true, they are free to act on it, provided they don’t violate the law in the process of carrying out that investigation.

So, the detention and interrogation is in order. But if on both incidents, there were ulterior motives, that has political undertone, that itself has no place in law, the law is interested in established facts, it is not a thing of sentiment, and if for any reason anybody is reading meaning to a lawful act, that is just a matter of personal opinion.

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