New criminal justice law confers no immunity on anyone, says Lai Mohammed

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has said the new criminal justice law does not confer immunity on anybody.
According to him, the Nigerian constitution confers immunity from arrest only on the President, Vice President, state governors and their deputies while still in the office.

Fielding questions from newsmen at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, the minister urged Nigerians to remove emotions from the unfolding development in the fight against graft in the judiciary.

He said the administration has tremendous respect for the judiciary and will not set out to deliberately ridicule the judges.

“The question to ask, and I think this has been adequately answered by the attorney general, is that let’s remove emotion from facts. One, do judges have immunity? The answer is no. Can judges be arrested? The answer is yes. Have judges that are serving been arrested in Nigeria?

“The next question to ask is what is the proper procedure for arresting anybody including judges? There must be a properly executed search warrant. Was such presented? The answer again is yes. People have tried to muddle the facts about when to search a person’s house. The truth of the matter is that under the new criminal justice law you can search anybody, anywhere, anytime.

“So, we want to make it clear. Number one, that this government has the highest respect for the judiciary. Two, we are not in any way trying to ridicule the judiciary at all. Three, we are not painting the whole of the judges with the same brush, but we also have a duty to fight corruption at whatever level. And we want to do so within the ambit of the law.

“You are all witnesses in 2015 in Ghana here. Thirty-two judges were caught on tape by a journalist asking for bribe. Twenty-two of them were dismissed in one day in Ghana.

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Lai Mohammed
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