Constitutional amendment: Scrap immunity for governors, Apapa urges N/Assembly


May 7, 2024

A chieftain of the Labour Party(LP), Alhaji Lamidi Apapa, has urged the National Assembly to repeal the law which gives immunity to governors and their deputies against  prosecution .

Apapa ,a former factional National Chairman of the party,made the call in  an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos.

He was speaking on issues that should be given prominence in the ongoing constitutional  amendment process.

According to him, removal of immunity clause from the constitution will reduce corruption and promote development in states .

“I think the National Assembly should  scrap the immunity clause from the  constitution in the ongoing  constitutional amendment process.

“It is encouraging corruption. I think we should be equal before the law in a democracy.

“When you allow a Nigerian or somebody to feel special and be above the law for eight years and after the eighth year, he or she moves to the National Assembly to further his political career, such a person will continue to escape punishment for his wrong actions.

“That aspect should be removed, we don’t need it. It does not encourage accountability as   governors  can steal public  funds  without facing the law at the end of the day,” Apapa said.

According to him, anywhere justice is delayed or consequences for actions is prolonged, impunity will reign supreme.

“If they know there is no immunity, everybody will behave well  while in office.

“It is only in Nigeria you see people who steal billions of naira walking freely.It is in  the same country where people are lynched for stealing phones not worth more than N10,000.

“I think every should be equal before the law”,he said.

Apapa,however,said immunity should be retained for the president to allow him concentrate on his job.

On state police, Apapa said that the prevailing insecurity in the country is enough reason for adoption of state police.

“I think we need it (state police) now. I have said this several times.

“About 20 years ago, as the Chairman of Labour Party in Oyo State, I led a team of some people to our House of Assembly , where I said we needed a state police.

“People express the fear that state governors will abuse it, but the truth is, as of today ,the federal police too is being abused by some people.

“All we need to do is to put some clauses around the operation of state police to check abuse,” he said.

According to him, the citizens need general protection now, not individual protection.

“State police will cover every part of the state,” he said.

He said  the idea of a central police could not address the many security challenges faced by the country,adding federal police does not have the numerical capacity to provide security.

“We are saying we need it (state police) now, especially at this time that we are facing issues of banditry, kidnapping everywhere in the country. “he added.

NAN reports that the 10th National Assembly has begun the process of amendment of the 1999 Constitution.

The Senate had, in February , constituted a 45-member Constitution Review Committee,headed by the Deputy Senate President , Sen.Jibrin Barau.

Senate President, Sen.Godwill Akpabio,while inaugurating members of the committee in Abuja, said the review of the constitution had become imperative “in order to put certain things right”

Also, the House of Representatives has inaugurated its constitutional review committee for the amendment of the 1999 Nigerian constitution as amended.

The Speaker, Rep. Tajudeen Abbas, while inaugurating the committee, said that the step marked another significant moment in the democratic journey towards a more ‘perfect union’.

He said that it was expected that the sixth alteration under the tenth National Assembly would be the most comprehensive

Areas listed for possible consideration in the amendment include creation of  state police, local government autonomy,and reform of the electoral system.


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