Nigerians Reject Immunity For Lawmakers

No fewer than 1,236 respondents, representing 59.6 per cent, in the six geopolitical zones have rejected extending immunity for leaders of the National and State Assemblies.

A total of 2,073 adults both male and female, cutting across various professions, rejected the idea in a nationwide survey by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

The result of the random sampling, showed that only 293 people or 14 per cent approximately supported the proposal to extend immunity to the lawmakers while 76 people were undecided. Of the 18 respondents in Abuja, 15 opposed the suggestion to extend immunity to leaders of the legislative houses in the country.

NAN reports that only three persons reasoned that immunity should be extended to legislators to protect them from distraction.

Similarly, 12 people also opposed maintaining the status quo on immunity for governors, while six respondents said it should be maintained.

The survey, however, showed that 12 respondents advocated that immunity clause should be expunged from the constitution, while six people wanted it retained.

In the South-West, comprising Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ondo, and Ekiti, 600 respondents were recorded.

Three hundred and sixty-six of that number, representing 61 per cent, opposed the inclusion of the leaders of Nation Assembly and their state counterparts in the immunity clause.

However, 36 per cent wanted them to be included in the immunity clause as provided by the Nigerian Constitution.

On immunity for governors, 419 people representing 69.8 per cent of the 600 respondents, opposed it while 165 people or 27.5 per cent supported the idea and the remaining were undecided.

In the North-East comprising Bauchi, Gombe, Borno, Adamawa, Taraba and Yobe, the respondents overwhelmingly rejected extending immunity to leaders of the legislature.

NAN reports that of the 600 people sampled, 506 respondents or 84.3 per cent, said ‘No’, 32 people or 5.3 per cent voted ‘Yes’, while 62 others or 10.3 per cent were undecided.

On immunity for governors, 354 people or 59 per cent, voted ‘No’, 209 people or 34.8 per cent, supported it, while 37 people or 6.2 per cent declined comments.

Also, 339 people or 56.5 per cent, said immunity should be expunged from the constitution, 219 people or 36.5 per cent voted against, while 42 people or seven per cent were undecided.

In the South-East made up of Abia, Imo, Ebonyi, Anambra, and Enugu, the respondents also rejected any form of immunity for leaders of National Assembly and Houses of Assembly in a poll conducted among 100 respondents.

Twenty respondents in each of the states approved the current immunity being enjoyed by state governors.

However, 77 respondents voted against immunity for legislators, while 15 respondents voted in its favour and eight respondents undecided.

Fifty three respondents supported immunity for governors while 42 people said no and five were undecided.

Similarly, 47 respondents voted that Section 308 of the constitution which provides for immunity for governors should not be expunged while 41 want it expunged with eight undecided.

In North-West, 155 people or 56.7 per cent voted that governors should continue to enjoy immunity, while 65 others voted against it in Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, kebbi, Jigawa, Zamfara and Katsina states.

NAN reports that of the 273 questionnaires administered in Kano, Kebbi and Sokoto, 165 respondents or 60.4 per cent, said that immunity clause should not be expunged.

Ninety-four people from the three states in the zone voted against the inclusion of leaders of the legislative houses in the clause.

In North-Central, comprising Plateau, Benue, Kwara, Kogi, Nasarawa and Niger, all respondents unanimously rejected the extension of immunity to leaders of the legislative houses.

Also, 98 respondents supported immunity for governors to protect them from distractions while in office, while only two persons were undecided on the issue.

In the South-South states of Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, Bayelsa, Rivers, Edo and Delta, majority of the respondents opposed any form of immunity for legislators.

Credit: Guardian

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