Not only this, removal of this irresponsible clause will act as a deterrent, no matter how small this effect will be (I said this because Nigerian politicians will always find a loophole to commit their crimes against the Nigerian people, irrespective of any law imposed on them, e.g. by god-fatherisms, etc) to others with the aim and intent of going into politics or government to make money. In most cases, a lot of die-hard politicians, who feel they do not have any other means of income, except politics, will not be able to make their way into office by crooked means. This explains why, not satisfied after eight years as Governors, some of them, under the pretext of still wanting to serve
Having said all these, I have read with some interest, some arguments against the removal of the immunity clause, and some of them do have some merits. Some have said that removing the immunity clause from the constitution will undermine executive capacity (Kayode Oladele, 2006). While Mr Oladele admitted that the misconduct of some state governors has generated growing concern among Nigerians, he is of the opinion that the reason behind the clause was to enable the president and governors to perform their designated functions effectively without fear that a particular decision or action may give rise to criminal liability. In a way, this might be a very good reason, but in my opinion, there are a lot of powers granted these executives – executive fiat – within the constitution in the first place, that if they perform effectively and efficiently in the first place, they are well protected from such diversions. It is a matter of law and constitutional adherence. The problem has always been that our executives always flout the law and constitution of the land on a regular basis either because they are ignorant of the provisions or they deliberately do so because they know they can get away with it. I do not see this as a problem if executives are committed, sincere and honest in executing the functions which we elect or appoint them to carry out in the first place. The power of the people will always back them.
Another school of opinion has maintained that removing the immunity clause will have little or no effect, because of the simple-minded notion that we still have the same Nigerians in the system, who will now seek to rely on god-fathers and an inefficient and corrupt judicial system. I say no. Every little helps, so they say. If the removal of immunity is going to contribute only 2 percent to the fight against corruption, so be it. We cannot fold our hands and expect manna to fall from heaven. We cannot just sit there and let these people kill us while we put it in God’s hands. If removal creates fear in their hearts, and they still risk committing crimes against the Nigerian people, at least the fear of God has been put in their hearts, and if caught, they will be dealt with severely, harshly and appropriately by the people.
Yet another cautious opinion on the removal of this infernal clause is that
I will admit that removing the immunity clause is perhaps not the panacea to the problem of corruption in
The immunity clause may have immense value and benefits, if and when it is not abused (and again, this may depend on which side of the garden you are) but what we have seen of eight years of democracy in
I had written before (Democracy, Corruption and the Rule of Law in
This step of expunging the immunity clause should have been taken a long time ago but for the selfishness and indecision of the last Administration. The debate has again been awakened, and we must not let the opportunity go begging again. The Honourable Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole said recently, after the speech by Mr President in
From all these, it is not hard to see that corrupt political leaders will make effort to see that the immunity clause is retained in the Constitution. That is the cloak under which they have been hiding for years and perpetrating their crimes against the Nigerian people, and sneer at and insult our laws and institutions and collective intelligence. The Immunity Clause is a licence for stealing, killing and maiming, and we are not being sentimental here. Recently, they have even added the phrase “Rule of Law” to give themselves more time to hide. The corrupt will do anything; go any length, to maintain the status quo, which suits them to the detriment of the Nigerian people. Trust Nigerian politicians to be ever protective of each other; whoever came up with this idea in 1999 deserves to be shot.
Again this brings me to what I have been taught since childhood – Let the truth be said always. Our officials, and indeed most Nigerians are always quick to declare our religious, political and tribal affiliations, yet when it comes to the issues of corruption, we are very slow in condemning it, hence the reason why it is increasingly difficult for us to fight corruption in our country. Corrupt Nigerian officials, past and present, politician, civil servant or military often conveniently and to their advantage, neglect their religious injunctions, despite bandying the Holly Books in our faces and claiming to be holier-than-thou. This is often exacerbated by fawning and sycophantic acolytes and hangers-on defending the indefensible just because they are gaining from the misconducts of these corrupt officials. What you do on earth is what you will be judged against in heaven or hell. Each individual, according to the Holy Books, must account for their own sins and not the sins of others.
No. The Immunity Clause must be expunged from the Nigerian Constitution, and there is no better time than NOW.