Radical lawyer and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Femi Falana, on Saturday said the days of absolute immunity is in the past an claimed that all executive officers including President Buhari and serving Governors guilty of criminal offences can be prosecuted.
Mr. Falana said this while speaking on: “Limit of executive immunity” in Benin to mark the 60th birthday of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) of Edo, Prof. Julius Ihonvebere.
Mr. Falana said that immunity did not also extend to electoral fraud. He said according to a Supreme Court ruling, there was no longer absolute immunity. Therefore governors involved in criminal charges, including the leadership of the National Assembly must face the law.
Mr Falana quoted the Supreme Court as ruling in Chief Gani Fawehinmi vs. Inspector General of Police (2002) 23 WRN 1:
“That a person protected under section 308 of the 1999 Constitution, going by its provisions, can be investigated by the police for an alleged crime or offence is, in my view, beyond dispute. To hold otherwise is to create a monstrous situation whose manifestation may not be fully appreciated until illustrated… The evidence may be useful for impeachment purposes if the House of Assembly may have need of it. It may no doubt be used for prosecution of the said incumbent Governor after he has left office. But to do nothing under the pretext that a Governor cannot be investigated is a disservice to the society.”
He urged the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, to face the forgery charges against them rather than politicking about it, saying “they have no immunity to dodge the charges against them.’’
He faulted the invitation extended to the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, by the leadership of the senate over the forgery allegation against the senate president and his deputy.
The senate is now politicizing the issue, saying it is political victimization but not that the offence was not committed.
“As leaders of the National Assembly, you are supposed to be above board and that is even the more reason you must be careful.”
“But I want to remind the senate that the Attorney General of the Federation is only answerable to his boss, who is the president and nobody else.”