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Senate moves to grant immunity to federal, state lawmakers

07 December 2016, 16:03

Abuja - The Nigerian Senate is in the process of amending the constitution to grant immunity to lawmakers at federal and state levels of government, Naij reports.

The anti-corruption campaign by the present administration may soon suffer setback if the Senate succeeds in its plans to amend the 1999 Constitution to protect lawmakers from all criminal and civil cases.

The amendment will grant immunity for Nigeria’s more than 1200 lawmakers at federal and state levels of government thereby absolving them of criminal and civil prosecution for at least four years.

The main objective of the amendment is to ensure that leaders and members of the legislature, particularly National and state Assemblies are not subjected to any form of prosecution or legal persecution on account of their actions or statements in the course of carrying out their legislative functions.

The newspaper noted that the body of principal officers of the National Assembly was able to clear the way for the amendment following the withdrawal of the Senate forgery suit by the office of the attorney general of the federation.

In withdrawing the suit against Senate president Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu last October, the ministry of justice filed an application to amend the charges and attached the amended charges.

In the new charges, only the former clerk of the National Assembly, Salisu Maikasuwa, and a former deputy clerk, Ben Efeturi, were listed as accused persons.

The controversial bill was sponsored by Senator Solomon Olamilekan, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) representing Lagos east senatorial district in the Senate.

The House of Representatives was in rowdy session in July over the planned inclusion of the Senate President and Speaker to enjoy immunity according to News24.

The Minority Leader of the House, Leo Ogor had in the bill canvassed for the inclusion of the presiding officers of the two chambers of the National Assembly which will also include the deputy senate president and the deputy speaker in the immunity.

He called for the amendment of Section 308 of the Constitution which only gives immunity to the President, Vice, President, Governors and their deputies to also include the presiding officers of the National Assembly.

- News 24

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