Confab adopts recommendation for removal of immunity clause

If accepted, president, governors and their deputies could be prosecuted for both criminal and civil offences while in office.

The National Conference finally voted on Thursday to strip the president, state governors and their deputies of immunity from prosecution in criminal and civil cases.

The Conference delegates voted overwhelmingly for the removal of the clause from the nation’s constitution while considering the report of the Committee on Economy, Trade and Investment.

Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution provides that no civil or criminal proceedings shall be instituted or continued against the President, Vice President, Governor and Deputy Governor.

The Committee chaired by Bola Shagaya representing Women in Business, WINBIZ, and Fola Adeola, an Ogun State delegate had recommend that the Immunity Clause be removed if the offences attract criminal charges to encourage accountability by those managing the economy.

However, while voting on the recommendation, the delegates amended it to include all cases.

The Conference had earlier taken a similar position while considering amendments proposed to the report of the Committee on Public Service.

Before it voted on the issue, the Conference asked the Secretariat to remind it of the decision it took while voting on the report of the Public Service Committee.

During the sitting of the 20 Committees in May the Committee on Politics and Governance had also recommended the removal of the clause. The report is yet to be considered and voted on.

The Conference also adopted a recommendation that the Federal Government should pay the N1 million debt owed to local contractors as a way of encouraging them.

It however rejected an amendment which would have compelled government to award all contracts of less than N10 billion to local contractors in other to grow them.

The Conference also rejected a proposal that women should be appointed Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria and heads of all major finance agencies that provide loans to farmers, investors and contractors.

It also rejected an amendment which has sought to compel political parties to name women as their vice presidential and deputy governorship candidates.

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