A bill at the Nigerian Senate is seeking to strip presidents and vice presidents of immunity in criminal matters during their stay in office.
The bill also suggested the same thing for governors and their deputies.
The bill provides for qualification of the immunity clause to exclude immunity for public officers referred to in Section 308 from criminal liability where the offence involves misappropriation of funds belonging to the Federal, State or Local Government and also the use of thugs to foment violence.
Section 308 of the Constitution of Nigeria, 1999 states that- (1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Constitution, but subject to subsection (2) of this section-(a) no civil or criminal proceedings shall be instituted or continued against a person to whom this section applies during his period of office;
(b) a person to whom this section applies shall not be arrested or imprisoned during that period either in pursuance of the process of any court or otherwise; and
(c) no process of any court requiring or compelling the appearance of a person to whom this section applies, shall be applied for or issued: Provided that in ascertaining whether any period of limitation has expired for the purposes of any proceedings against a person to whom this section applies, no account shall be taken of his period of office.
(2) The provisions of subsection (I) of this section shall not apply to civil proceedings against a person to whom this section applies in his official capacity or to civil or criminal proceedings in which such a person is only a nominal party.
(3) This section applies to a person holding the office of President or Vice-President, Governor or Deputy Governor; and the reference in this section to “period of office” is a reference to the period during which the person holding such office is required to perform the functions of the office.
The bill also proposes that a president, vice president, governors and deputy governors will lose their immunity to not be investigated by security and anti-graft agencies and courts.