Immunity for lawmakers is legalising corruption – CNNP
By Kingsley Omonobi Abuja
The Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) has raised alarm over moves by the House of Representatives to grant immunity to lawmakers saying that the bill for that purpose which scaled second reading on Thursday is a final move to legalize corruption and destroy the country.
CNPP said in a statement by its Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu in Abuja yesterday, that pushing ahead with the bill marks the height of insensitivity and sheer disrespect for constituents at a time when the preponderance of opinion among Nigerians is for the immunity clause to be removed for the executive arm because of the corruption bazaar in the land.
“It is worrisome that the legislative arm which the people recently see as the last bastion in governance is now seeking to get the same criminal protection that the executive gets under the constitutional immunity clause” it said adding, “It is shameful for one to begin to have the inkling that because scandals around some law-makers are yet to go public could be the impetus for this criminal legislation.”
The conference noted that “Instead making legislation to grant immunity to lawmakers, who already have parliamentary immunity anyway; members of the House of Representatives should have intensified efforts to use the ongoing amendment of the Constitution to do way with immunity clause for the president and governors to at least open them up for criminal prosecution for corruption.
“Nigerians are already wary of the official fraud that surrounds how much each lawmaker legitimately earns. What happens to the constituency allowances voted for lawmakers and other money they allegedly corner from performing their oversight functions?
“This latest effort at shielding lawmakers from being held accountable as representatives of the people will only worsen the distrust in which Nigerians hold this class of politicians”. CNPP said.
The group warned that the move by the House of Representatives has all the potentials to worsen an already terrible situation, warning that it is now up to Nigerians whom the CNPP will support, to mobilize in droves and camp out at the National Assembly until lawmakers see reason and desist from the destructive path they have chosen.