Law News
Lawyers reject immunity for Saraki, others

The proposed immunity clause for the leadership of the Legislative arm of government has been described as a free license to corruption by a civil society organisation and some lawyers in the country.

The Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Mr. Leo Ogor, had recently disclosed proposed constitutional amendment such that the Senate President and his deputy, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and his deputy, as well as the Chief Justice of Nigeria would enjoy immunity from criminal trial.

But reacting to the development on Wednesday, the Chairman of the Civil Society Network Against Corruption, Mr. Lanre Suraj, described the proposed immunity clause as the highest level of recklessness on the part of the lawmakers.

Suraj wondered why the lawmakers would be seeking immunity for the leaders of the National Assembly when indeed Nigerians were clamouring that immunity clause should be stripped from even the current beneficiaries of it.

Suraj, who said allowing immunity clause for the National Assembly leadership would be like giving a free ticket to corruption, vowed that his organisation would stop at nothing to resist it.

A Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. O. Ajanaku, who also condemned the proposed immunity clause, said it was against the general call by Nigerians for probity and accountability in public offices.

Ajanaku said, “I don’t subscribe to it. If we are talking about probity and accountability in all sectors, why the clamour for immunity, when even the confab that was called by former President Goodluck Jonathan was to the effect that even the immunity clause for governors and their deputies should be removed? It is now that they are clamouring for immunity for the Senate President and the House of Representatives Speaker, I think is going to be a free licence to corruption and evil doing.

“How can you be seeking immunity if your hands are clean? If you are not there for your own personal gain, why should you be asking for immunity? Immunity to shield yourself from interference from the law enforcement agencies, such cannot be supported by any right thinking person.”

Also reacting to the development, a Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Festus Keyamo, said the call was anti-people and a move that would do the Nigerian people no good.

“It is a plan that is anti-people; it’s a plan that is not in tune with the aspirations of Nigerians; it’s a plan that elicits eminent reaction to the sentiments of the moment,” Keyamo said.

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Niyi Akintola, said it would be unfortunate if Nigerians should fold their arms and allow the proposed immunity clause to sail through.

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