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Reps pass bill to grant immunity to serving legislative officers
THE MEMBERS of the Nigerian House of Representatives have on Tuesday voted and passed a bill seeking to grant immunity to presiding legislative officers in the country.
The bill was presented by a member of the house, Odebunmi Olusegun, representing Ogo-Oluwa/Surulere Federal Constituency before it was seconded by Akin Alabi, another member representing Egbeda/Ona Ara Federal Constituency in Oyo State.
The bill seeks to amend Section 308 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended which granted immunity to serving President, Vice president, Governor and Deputy governors only in Nigeria.
The sponsor of the bill, Olusegun said presiding officers must be protected from being coerced or blocked from discharging their duties.
“The legislature is the bedrock of any democratic government, hence the need to guard presiding officers against being coerced and barred from discharging their duties,” he argued.
While members of the green chamber debate on the bill, Abubakar Fulata, member representing Birniwa/Guri/Kiri-Kasamma Federal Constituency, in support said it will guard against the distraction of presiding officers.
“The essence of the bill is to guard against unnecessary distraction and undue intimidation of the presiding officers of the legislative arm of government,” he noted.
Opposing the necessity of the bill, Sergius Ogun, House member representing Esan North-East/Esan South- East Federal Constituency questioned the necessity of the bill.
According to Ogun, the legislature is performing well without immunity hence believes the bill is not necessary.
“The Judiciary works effectively without immunity so there’s no need for immunity for the legislature,” he argued against the bill.
However, the bill was voted on, passed for second reading and forwarded to the special Ad-hoc committee on constitutional review.