Kolawole Olaniyan, Legal Adviser at Amnesty International, London, has charged President Muhammadu Buhari not to back the plan by the National Assembly to create immunity clause for its members in the constitution.
In a statement on Monday, Olaniyan, said immunity from prosecution was not part of their promises to the electorate when they were seeking their mandate.
Olaniyan noted that “extending constitutional immunity to these powerful officials is the only way to counter what they see as ‘the constant external influence and manipulations in the choice of presiding officers of the National Assembly’.
“The immunity initiative looks like a revenge job, and one for self-aggrandisement. This is undoubtedly a low period in public esteem for our lawmakers.”
Admitting that the Constitution recognizes the role of the National Assembly to make laws for the peace, order and good governance of the Federation, AI said “the members of the 8th National Assembly should worry less about their own interest and more about the citizens who are the real victims of corruption.”
Olaniyan urged Buhari to be aware that the immunity initiative posed serious risks to his anti-corruption agenda, and the likelihood of it being compromised was very high.
He advised the president to speak out and “move swiftly to dissuade members of the 8th National Assembly from taking forward the immunity initiative if his vision ‘to be remembered as a Nigerian president who fought corruption to a standstill’ is to be effectively realised.”