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Constitution amendment: Centre wants immunity for president, governors annulled

The African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD) has urged the National Assembly to repeal the law guaranteeing immunity from prosecution for presidents,…

The African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD) has urged the National Assembly to repeal the law guaranteeing immunity from prosecution for presidents, vice presidents, governors and their deputies even on criminal charges in the interest of national development.

The Programmes Coordinator of the centre Mr Uchenna Arisukwu made the call Friday in Abuja at the “Media Launch and Presentation of Research Reports on Laws and Policies: Processes and Procedures for Open Government Partnership (OGP) Implementation in Nigeria”.

He said the OGP was an international multi-stakeholder initiative which Nigeria signed up for to provide an international platform for domestic reforms to make government open, accountable and responsive to citizens.

While urging the lawmakers to utilize the ongoing constitutional amendment to strengthen prosecution on criminal matters like corruption he also urged the National Assembly to expunge the joint state account with local governments and full autonomy to be given to local governments.

“For the anti-corruption strategy to succeed, it was necessary for all stakeholders to ensure that the action plan was religiously implemented with integrity. This could not be achieved if anti-corruption laws were not properly positioned and passed speedily to attain the set goal of OGP.

“In the light of the foregoing consciousness of constitutional amendment, it is recommended that the process be utilised to ensure that grey areas in the constitution relating to corruption are refined. This is to promote the anti-corruption plan in the country, to this end, activities and information at the disposal of government agencies must be made more transparent.

“Public officials at all levels must account to the people through a regular and easily accessible audit system. Much more, section 308 of the constitution which guarantees immunity from prosecution for presidents, vice presidents, governors and their deputies even on criminal charges,” Arisukwu said.

According to him the concentration of powers in the federal government under the exclusive legislative list of the Constitution was not helpful hence was need to unbundle the enormous powers concentrated at the centre.

Reviewing the report a human rights activists Mr Sulayman Dawodu said the book contained research carried out by the government and CSOs in the assessment of the effective implementation of OGP in Nigeria.

He said it contained various bills drafted to address the challenges and loopholes identified in the existing framework of anti-corruption fight.

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