Senate Contemplates Stripping The President And Governors Of Immunity

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The Nigerian Senate has set proceedings in motion to amend section 308 of the 1999 Constitution which gives immunity to the President, Vice President, Governors and Deputy Governors.

The bill sponsored by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (LP, Delta)  has been referred to the Senate Committee on Constitution amendment headed by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.

The bill proposed the substitution of subsection 308(2) which 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”

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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”

The sponsor of the bill Omo-Agege said like in the US, the president and the VP, governors and their deputies should only be immune from civil actions arising from their official actions while in office.

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”

“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 for sex”

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Senator Ovie Omo-Agege believes the amendment will curb the misuse of state funds.