By Innocent Anaba
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has held that the National Security Adviser (NSA) has no powers to conduct criminal investigation on any Nigeria citizen or exercise the powers of a law enforcement agency.
Justice Gabriel Koawole, in his ruling in a suit by a Nigerian businessman, who had challenged the Special Investigation Panel set up by the NSA, which provided the State of Jersey, United State of America, legal assistant to indict the Nigerian, held that the panel was illegal, invalid and of no effect whatsoever. Defendant in the suit is the Attorney-General of the Federation.
According to the court, â€œthe Special Investigative Penal established under the office of the National Security Adviser to conduct criminal investigation in Nigeria against the plaintiff herein, after May 29, 1999 is unconstitutional and all investigations against the plaintiff and matters concerned on this action since May 29, 1999 are, without much ado, null and void and lacking any valid or legal effect whatsoever.
â€œThis court, as one of superior court of record, created by the 1999 Constitution, has a constitutional duty to protect the territorial integrity of the sovereign state, which Section 2(1) of the 1999 Constitution declares to be known as the Federal Republic of Nigeria, from unlawful and/or unconstitutional invasion by a request such as was made by the Attorney-General of Jersey to the defendant for a legal assistance to gather and obtain evidence from the plaintiff for the purpose of criminal indictment in Her Majestyâ€™s Royal Court of Jersey and which from the facts and evidence on the record, if allowed to stand, constitute a flagrant/violent subversion of the authority of the said 1999 Constitution and a breach of its fundamental principle of its inviolability and supremacy as Nigeriaâ€™s grund norm.â€
The court further held, â€œthat the National Security Adviser possesses no function, power or duties under the 1999 Constitution, other than membership of the National Security Council and accordingly, may not conduct criminal investigation or exercise any of the powers of a law enforcement agency.â€
On the said legal assistance, the court said, â€œall the evidence, oral and documentary, obtained by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Peter Gana in his personal capacity as chairman of the Investigative Panel, for use against the plaintiff in criminal proceedings in the State of Jersey, was unlawfully obtained.â€
According to the court, â€œthe powers, duties, roles and functions of the National Security Council are limited to those set out in paragraph 26 of Part 1 of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution.â€