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Bill seeking govs’ immunity removal passes second reading

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The Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would make the Vice-President, governors and their deputies lose their immunity if they misappropriate government funds.

The PUNCH had exclusively reported on Monday that the bill, sponsored by the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, had scaled first reading.

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The President of Nigeria, his deputy, governors and their deputies are currently protected by the nation’s laws from criminal prosecution while in office.

But the proposed bill, obtained by our correspondent, excluded the President of Nigeria from the proposed immunity removal.

The bill is meant to alter the necessary sections of the constitution, to make it possible for law enforcement agencies to arrest and prosecute the vice- president, governors or their deputies indicted for funds misappropriation.

The proposed amendments, if assented to by the President, Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), would remove immunity for public officers from criminal liability where the offence involves misappropriation of funds belonging to the federal, state or a local government area.

The vice-president, governors or their deputies, who also make use of thugs to foment violence, also risked losing their immunity according to the proposed amendments.

The bill is titled, “An act to alter the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to qualify criminal liability for certain public officers under Section 308.”

The proposed amendment seeks to amend Section 308 of the Principal Act by substituting subsection 2 with a new subsection.

It stated that any beneficiary of the immunity clause currently in the constitution would lose it if indicted by the court after a thorough investigation by the police and the anti-graft agencies.

The bill was not debated on the floor of the Senate on Thursday and the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, referred it to the Committee on Constitution Review for further legislative actions.

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