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Reps reject immunity for presiding legislative officers

The House of Representatives Special Ad hoc Committee on the review of the 1999 Constitution led by Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Idris Wase, has rejected a bill seeking to confer immunity on presiding officers of the National Assembly and judicial officers. The bill, titled “An Act to alter section 308 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 to extend immunity to cover presiding officers of the legislative institutions” is sponsored by Segun Odebunmi (APC, Oyo). The bill if passed would confer immunity on the Senate President and Deputy Senate President as well as the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and Houses of Assembly.

Opposing the bill at the public hearing in Abuja, Uzoma Nkem-Abonta (PDP, Abia), argued that immunity should not cover criminal cases such as murder and rape but it should only be applicable to issues concerning duties and functions of those public officers. He kicked against the proposal of immunity for the presiding officers explaining that though there are instances of abuse of power by the executive against the legislature and judiciary, it does not call for legislative immunity.

 

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