The House of Representatives at plenary on Tuesday 4th April, 2017 passed for second reading a Bill which seeks to establish a forensic DNA database in the country that will be responsible for collecting DNA samples, profile and relevant information for purposes of analysis and addressing disputes in criminal and related issues. The Sponsor of the Bill, Hon. Patrick Asadu who led debate on the general principles of the piece of legislation argued that criminal investigation in the country has suffered serious setbacks due to lack of database that could be practically explored by the nation's criminal justice system.
He stated that the Bill, when passed into law would among other things facilitate the investigation and prosecution of crimes, particularly the ones relating to DNA, also, the forensic database will serve as a veritable tool by the various crime investigating Agencies in solving the problem associated with DNA related issues. He urged the House to emulate what is trending in other civilized societies, moreover, passing the Bill would certainly foster credibility of evidence before any court of law. He decried the reliance on the traditional methods of solving criminal offenses regarding DNA, noting that in most instances, the case files go cold.
Hon. Nnnena Elendu Ukeje lent her support for the Bill. She informed that such legislation gives rise to the sophistication of expertise deployed in addressing both civil and criminal issues relating to DNA in other climes. She added that in this information era, the nation can not afford to be backward in terms of buying into database creation to boost its criminal investigation prowess. She called on her colleagues to support the passage of the Bill which is geared toward bringing Nigeria at par with its counterparts across the globe.
While supporting the passage of the legislation, the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yusuf Lassun cautioned that relying on DNA alone in crime investigation will not suffice. He implored that in addition to the database, there should be a well designed modalities for data collection, documentation and training of manpower that would drive the system. Other members who contributed to the debate supporting the passage of the Bill were Hon. Edward Pwajok (SAN), Hon. Chris Azubuogu amongst others. The Bill was eventually passed and referred to the Committees on Health Services, Police Affairs and Interior for further legislative work.
Another Bill which scaled second reading at the Tuesday's plenary was a Bill seeking to amend section 122 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The sponsor of the Bill, Hon. Sunday Steve Karimi stated that the intention of the amendment is to make the votes scored by a candidate sponsored by a political party during an election count in the name of the candidate, and to limit the transfer of votes to other persons other than the candidate. He implored the House to correct the anomaly created by section 122 by passing an amendment to it.
The Bill was passed for second reading and consequently referred to the Ad hoc Committee on Review of the 1999 Constitution for further legislative inputs.