Bill to Remove Governor’s Immunity Clause Is A No Go Area -Reps
Prior to now, many Nigerians have kept wondering and questioning why leaders (notably those at the district level) have enjoyed much protection against prosecution whatsoever. House of Representatives’ Special Ad-hoc Committee on the review of the 1999 Constitution may have provided reasons why the immunity clause for sitting governors in Nigeria, as stipulated in the Constitution, will not be reviewed.
The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yusuf Lasun disclosed this while fielding questions from newsmen as he led members of House’s Special Ad-hoc Committee to Abeokuta on a three-day retreat on the review of the 1999 Constitution.
The review is entitled “The Imperatives of Constitution Review/Amendment in Nation Building.”
Lasun, while revealing issues touched by the Committee at the retreat, insisted that “there is nothing wrong in the immunity that is already in the Constitution.”
He said “It is a no go area” in the on-going review or amendment of the living document of the country.
According to him, the clause did not immune the governors against criminal infractions but only protected them from likely distractions through civil litigation.
He noted that altering or removing the clause as was being clamoured for by Nigerians, would distract the governors from performing their administrative duties properly.
He added, “There is nothing wrong in the immunity that is already in the Constitution because it doesn’t say that the person cannot be prosecuted after he has left the office.
“Nobody is immune when it comes to prosecution that borders on criminal charges but if you have to go to take a sitting Governor to court on civil matters when governor whose hands lie the lives of the people of the whole State then that will bring distraction to governance.
“The immunity as it is today we are no going to touch it, I’m not going to deceive you and I’m not going to tell lies. The maximum years a governor stays in office eight years and whatever offence that he might have committed while in office is still as fresh as if it has just been committed yesterday.
“What people must do is to bring out such offences when the governor has left office. So it is about institutions and individuals been lazy, nothing is shielding anybody from being prosecuted after leaving the office.”