Nwodo advises Reps to drop bill on immunity

The House in session

Nigerian Lawmakers seek immunity from prosecution.

Criticisms continue to trail the House of Representative proposed bill to seek immunity for lawmakers, with the latest coming from Charles Nwodo, a former National Chairman of de-registered Progressive Action Congress, PAC.

Mr. Nwodo said the bill is unnecessary as the lawmakers can abuse it and take laws into their hands.

Lawmakers in Nigeria currently enjoy immunity from prosecution for what they say on the debate floor. But what they now seek is the immunity which the President, Vice President, Governors and their deputies enjoy, immunity from all kinds of prosecution.

The lawmakers had on Thursday, March 13, passed a second reading of the total immunity bill seeking to grant, although the Senate is yet to debate the bill.

Since the bill passed a second reading, the lawmakers have come under heavy condemnation, with critics saying the lawmakers, who should be fighting for the removal of presidential immunity from the constitution, are seeking to entrench one for themselves.

The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties, had said in the light of the massive corruption that goes in the House, especially pertaining the scandals surrounding Farouk Lawan and Herman Hembe, the lawmakers can only be seeking protection from being accountable to the populace.

On Tuesday, Mr. Nwodo lent his voice to the critics, saying that the bill is coming at a time that majority of Nigerians are clamouring for the total removal of immunity clause from the 1999 Constitution.

“Our fear is that some people can hide under the immunity to subvert the state, by taking laws into their hands all in the name of immunity,” he said.

He argued that the passage of the bill on immunity could go a long way to ridicule Nigeria’s democracy in the international community.

“No National Assembly member has been arrested, detained or tried for what he/she said, but the law can only go after them when they are involved in corruption,” he said.

He advised the lawmakers to eschew trivialities in the course of legislative duties so as to strengthen the system for the overall good.

Mr. Nwodo also urged them to place higher premium on national interests in all their activities than their narrow interest.

“Instead of the Reps engaging themselves in building bridges at this time of security challenges in the country, they are debating the need for immunity as lawmakers,” Mr. Nwodo said.

He urged Nigerians to oppose such moves by the House of Representatives that are tantamount to protection of self interest rather than the survival of democracy.


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