06-09-2017, 12:45 AM
The Nigeria Senate has passed the Witness Protection Bill to enable persons receive adequate protection in relation to evidence and information provided to law enforcement agencies during investigation.
The bill which was sponsored by the late Senator Isiaka Adeleke (APC from Osun), was passed after consideration of report on it by the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters during the last plenary session.
While presenting the report, Committee Chairman Senator, David Umaru, said the practice that informed the bill was globally accepted.
According to the Chairman, it is for the protection of witnesses that provide information and evidence for the purpose of enhancing a justice system and whose lives may be threatened as a result of it.
“The legislation will give impetus and credence to the current anti-corruption drive of this administration. It will also restore confidence in our justice system,” he said.
During the clause-by-clause consideration of the bill, Senator Kabiru Marafa (APC-Zamfara) said: “I don’t think N100,000 is equivalent to five years imprisonment as penalty for offenders.
“We need to increase the fine, because any person that is given such an option of fine will quickly pay the money. It should be increased to N1, 000,000.’’
Responding to Marafa’s suggestion, Umaru said: “Whatever we think is most appropriate should be done”.
Deputy President of the Senate Ike Ekweremadu, who presided at the session, said: “We are committed to the enhancement of our judicial process.
“Those in the judiciary will have it easy in securing witnesses who are now sure of protection.”
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