A bill seeking to shield leaders of the Nigerian National Assembly from prosecution for corruption has been condemned by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).
According to the statement issued by Kolawole Oluwadare, Deputy Director, SERAP the move conflicts greatly with the nation’s constitution.
He, therefore, called on the lower chamber to immediately withdraw the bill, vowing to challenge the decision.
“Providing immunity for presiding officers against crimes of corruption is tantamount to ripping up the constitution. It’s a blatant assault on the rule of law and breach of public trust.“The leadership of the House of Representatives must immediately withdraw this obnoxious bill. We will vigorously challenge this impunity,” the statement read in part.
Speaking further, SERAP reinstated that countries like Guatemala have voted unanimously to strip their president of immunity from prosecution for corruption, our own lawmakers are moving in the opposite direction.”
The group warned that if the lawmakers have their way bypassing the bill into law, they will succeed in denying Nigerians of their rights to make leaders accountable to the people.
This comes shortly after the lawmakers sought to extend immunity to cover Presiding Officers of Legislative Institutions. The bill which was sponsored by Representative Odebunmi Olusegun was supported by the majority of the lawmakers who say it is important to safeguard the sanctity of the National Assembly.
In supporting the bill, Majority Leader, Ado-Doguwa said: “It should be passed for the simple reason that it provides protection for leaders of the legislature considering the important work of the legislature.”.