By Musa Adamu
The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has warned the two chambers of the National Assembly “to immediately suspend the bill seeking to extend constitutional immunity to presiding officers of legislative institutions” after it scaled second reading in the House of Representatives.
The bill which was sponsored by Hon. Odebunmi Olusegun was supported by some lawmakers who said it is important to safeguard the sanctity of the National Assembly.
However, the CNPP in a statement issued in Abuja by its Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu, warned that “in the event that the Bill was not stood down, a coalition of civil society groups and ordinary Nigerians who are at the receiving end of the current hardship and insecurity in the land will be mobilised to occupy the National Assembly throughout the public hearing to register the displeasure of the citizens over the Bill.”
“We urge President Muhammadu Buhari not to assent to such insensitive and selfish bill if it was forcefully passed into law by the legislature as the bill shows how indifferent the lawmakers are to the plight of the ordinary citizens. It proves that the legislators are too selfish to understand what should be the priority of the country at a trying time like this.
“Having carefully studied the circumstances surrounding the introduction of the immunity bill by the legislators, we fully align with the House Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu who asked the lawmakers to place the interest of their constituents above personal interest.
“How can the lawmakers be more interested in protecting its principal officers from prosecution at a time Nigerians a dying in dozens in the hands of bandits and terrorists?
“The country should at this time be thinking of altering the constitution to remove immunity clauses for the president and vice president as well as that of the governors and their deputies.
“It is absurd for the lawmaker to be thinking of protecting themselves and indirectly providing cover for corrupt governors and other politicians who find their way into the national assembly immediately their tenure end.
“If the bill eventually becomes law, it will ultimately alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and expand cover for treasury looters in the country”, the CNPP stated.