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Senators Oppose Immunity for NASS Leaders

The House of Representatives was recently embroiled in a rowdy session over a bill seeking to amend Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution to include presiding officers of the Senate, House of Representatives, and the Houses of Assembly.
Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara had at a recent interview in Lagos made efforts to justify immunity from civil or criminal proceedings for presiding officers of the National Assembly and state Houses of Assembly while in office. A bill to that effect is already before the Senate, and it has resulted in controversy due to the on-going trial of Senate President Bukola Saraki and Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu.
Arguing in favour of the bill during in the lower chamber, the Minority Leader, Hon. Leo Ogor, in his lead debate, hinged his argument in support of the bill on the need to establish the independence of the legislative arm of government. He added that immunity would protect the presiding officers from unnecessary distraction.
Opposing the bill, Sani Zorro, Chairman House Committee on IDP, Refugees and Northeast initiative, stated that the move by the minority leader to institute the idea of immunity or to confer immunity status on leaders and their deputies in both houses in the constitution, was misplaced and against the grain of public opinion.
Zoro said the motion which was masterminded by the leader of the minority PDP, got support from the PDP lawmaker adding that majority the APC lawmakers opposed it. The lawmaker further stressed that the National Assembly should look into removing the immunity already conferred on governors and president adding that the bill was influenced by the trail of the Senate leadership.

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