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Bill seeking immunity for n’assembly leaders breaches public trust -SERAP







The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has condemned the bill seeking to provide immunity for presiding officers of the national assembly.

The bill which passed second reading at the plenary session of the house of representatives on Tuesday was sponsored by Odebunmi Olusegun, lawmaker representing Ogo Oluwa/Surulere constituency of Oyo state.

Some lawmakers supported the bill, saying it is needed to protect the legislative arm from “persecution”.

But in a statement by Kolawole Oluwadare, its deputy director, SERAP said the move is tantamount to ripping up the nation’s constitution.

It described passing the bill as an assault on the rule of law.

“Providing immunity for presiding officers against crimes of corruption is tantamount to ripping up the constitution. It’s a blatant assault on the rule of law and breach of public trust, ” SERAP said.

“The leadership of the House of Representatives must immediately withdraw this obnoxious bill; we will vigorously challenge this impunity.

“It is a huge setback for the rule of law that the same privileged and powerful leaders of parliament that regularly make laws that consign ordinary, powerless Nigerians to prison for even trivial offences.

“Yet want to establish elite immunity to protect themselves from any consequences for serious crimes of corruption and money laundering.

“Whereas countries like Guatemala has voted unanimously to strip their president of immunity from prosecution for corruption of our own lawmakers are moving in the opposite direction. ”

SERAP said the bill is unacceptable as it gives the impression that lawmakers are above the law, and that it could enable them to abuse their legislative power which is meant to be used for the interest of the public.

It warned that if lawmakers are allowed to pass the bill, they would succeed in denying Nigerians their rights to make leaders accountable.

“This is an unacceptable proposition as it gives the impression that both the principal officers of the national assembly are above the law, “it said.

“If the house of representatives should have their way, this will rob Nigerians of their rights to accountable government. “

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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