A bill seeking to remove ”immunity from prosecution” for vice-president and governors have scaled second reading at the senate.
Senators voted in favour of the ‘bill for an act to alter the provisions of the constitution to qualify criminal liability for certain public officers” at Thursday’s plenary session.
The 1999 constitution currently exempts the president, vice-president, governors and deputy governors from prosecution for any offence committed while in office.
Its section 308 states: “Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Constitution, but subject to subsection (2) of this section-(a) no civil or criminal proceedings shall be instituted or continued against a person to whom this section applies during his period of office … (including) persons holding the office of President or Vice-President, Governor or Deputy Governor.”
But the bill is seeking to amend that section to allow law enforcement agencies to prosecute the vice-president, governors or deputy governors found guilty of misappropriating funds while in office.
It also seeks prosecution for any of the aforementioned public officers found guilty of using thugs to foment violence.
It seeks to amend that section to provide for prosecution of a person who holds “the office of Vice-President, Governor or Deputy Governor, if it is determined either by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, Nigerian Police and State Security Service through a collaborative investigation that the said person is indicted by a court of competent jurisdiction for …
“(i) Financial misappropriation of funds belonging to the Federal, State or Local Government; or“(ii) Sponsoring of thugs to perpetrate violence that cause injury or death of political opponent, a member of his family, agent or personal representative.”
The bill was passed for second reading without debate and referred to the senate committee on constitution review for further legislative work.