President Muhammadu Buhari is soon to sign the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill which will bring collaborative efforts in criminal matters between Nigeria and other foreign states.
The executive bill, which was presented to the National Assembly in 2016, was forwarded to the President for assent on Tuesday, May 21, 2019.
Even though the bill was an executive bill, the National Assembly consulted very widely with relevant stakeholders to critically evaluate the provisions of the bill after which the National Assembly conducted a public hearing in order to collate the views of members of the general public before passing it.
The bill sought to, among other things, facilitate voluntary attendance of persons in the requesting state; effect temporary transfer of persons in custody to assist in investigations or appear as a witness.
The bill also seeks to “identify, trace, freeze, restrain, recover, forfeit and confiscate proceeds, property and other instrumentalities of crime; obtain and preserve computer data; and render assistance not contrary to the law of the requesting state.”
One of the highlights of the bill is the removal of territorial jurisdictional constraints to the fight against corruption across the borders.