Buhari: Senate move to strip President, Govs off immunity clause
The Nigerian senate has kicked off the move to strip President Buhari, VP Osinbajo and sitting Govs off immunity clause stated in the constitution.
President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and incumbent sitting governors night soon lose their immunity as stated in the constitution following an amendment by the Senate.
In a report by Daily Trust, the senate has commenced the process of amending section 308 of the 1999 Constitution which gives immunity to the office holders after Senator Ovie Omo-Agege sponsored a bill to that effect.
It was reported that the bill sponsored by the Deltan lawmaker has been referred to the Senate Committee on Constitution amendment chaired by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.
Speaking on the bill, Omo-Agege said: “They are not entitled to immunity from litigation for actions not germane to their work. For example a president or governor who buys a car for a child and refuses to pay can be taken to court while in office,” he began.
Continuing, he said: “Also like in the US, there should be no immunity from criminal investigation or prosecution for crimes committed either before or while in office.
“Recall that Mr. Spiro Agnew while a sitting VP under President Nixon was tried and convicted for tax evasion while in office. Bill Clinton as a sitting president was hauled before a grand jury by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr for perjury (lying under oath) while in office as president.
“Finally, Elliot Spitzer as a sitting governor of New York was tried and convicted for illicit solicitation of sex,” Omo-Agege who expressed optimism in the bill said accountability, transparency will be key.
Specifically, the bill seen in the National Assembly journal proposed the substitution of subsection 308(2) that presently reads, “ the provisions of subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to civil proceedings against a person to whom this section applies in his official capacity or to civil or criminal proceedings in which such a person is only a nominal party” with a new section.
The proposed amendment reads, the provisions of subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to, (a) “ civil proceedings against a person to whom this section applies in his official capacity or to civil or criminal proceedings in which such a person is only a nominal party”
It (b) part reads, “criminal proceedings connected to, related to or arising from economic and financial crimes”.
Meanwhile, Senate President Bukola Saraki had said the constitution amendment would be passed early next year.