The Senate has introduced a bill that would alter the constitution and strip the president, his deputy, governors and their deputies of immunity from criminal prosecution.
Sponsored by Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege, it was read the first time on the floor of the chamber yesterday. According to the bill, immunity will not apply “to persons who hold the office of vice president, governor or deputy governor, if it is determined either by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, Nigerian Police and State Security Service through a collaborative investigation that the said person is indicted by a court of competent jurisdiction for financial misappropriation of funds belonging to the federal, state or local government; or sponsoring of thugs to perpetrate violence that causes injury or death of political opponent, a member of his family, agent or personal representative.”
Meanwhile, Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) currently stipulates: “Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this constitution, but subject to subsection (2) of this section, no civil or criminal proceedings shall be instituted or continued against a person to whom this section applies during his period of office.
“A person to whom this section applies shall not be arrested or imprisoned during that period either in pursuance of the process of any court or otherwise; and no process of any court requiring or compelling the appearance of a person to whom this section applies, shall be applied for or issued.
“Provided that in ascertaining whether any period of limitation has expired for the purposes of any proceedings against a person to whom this section applies, no account shall be taken of his period of office.
“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. This section applies to a person holding the office of president or vice president, governor or deputy governor; and the reference in this section to ‘period of office’ is a reference to the period during which the person holding such office is required to perform the functions of the office.” Guardian