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Leaving Immunity Clause Will Promote Impunity – Maduka

Channels Television  
Updated October 24, 2014

Chris Maduka.A public affairs analyst, Chris Maduka, has condemned the decision of the Senate to leave the immunity clause that covers the President, Vice President Governors and their deputies from being tried while in office, saying the clause leads to impunity.

The Senate had on Wednesday, in a constitution amendment process, left the immunity clause that had earlier been removed by the House of Representatives during their deliberations.

Mr Maduka told Channels Television in an interview on Friday that amending that part of the constitution was key to ending corruption and financial misappropriation in Nigeria.

He insisted that the Nigerian Constitution was a product of a military regime and was centred on the interest of the military regime at that time.

“Everything in life should be about sincerity of purpose but in this part of the world we do things to suit us.

“The constitution was given based on parochial interest and when we talk about amendment, it flabbergasts me that people try to fight. But what we are trying to do is to make it better so that it can carry the people along,” he said, urging the lawmakers not to play politics with the constitution amendment.

“There are certain things you don’t play politics on.

“We need to get serious and we have to get certain things right if we must achieve the vision of being among the top 20 economies in the world.

“If you say that someone is a chief law enforcer and he is above the law. He has immunity and that sounds ridiculous to me,” he said.

Mr Maduka pointed out that “the first thing in every society should be that everybody is equal under the law”.

Stand Up And Ask Questions

He expressed concerns that with the immunity, political office leaders would not serve the people with the interest of the people at heart.

“With the immunity, they don’t get interested while doing the people’s work. They use it to turn the state into a private estate. So the intent and purpose is defeated.

“If you say you are a democrat and you belong to the civil society, All Progressives Congress or the Peoples Democratic Party, you should vehemently come out and call for the removal of this immunity clause.

“Nigerians need to stand up at one point. You don’t just continue criticising Jonathan of other leaders. This is the time for the citizens to stand up and ask questions,” the public affairs analyst emphasised.

According to him, removing the immunity will trigger caution on the part of the leaders, as “immunity leads to impunity”.

“We need reality checks so that impunity will be checked.

“The people need to demand in a meaningful way, something that will bring change in Nigeria so that the future generation will look back and judge us calmly.

“It seems that the people that are enjoying this immunity do not realise that there is tomorrow.”

Asked why the leaders are not tried after their period in office, when they have no immunity covers, Mr Maduka explained that “there is usually a sense of indifference that Nigerians feel about the leaders that makes them lose interest in pushing for their trials”.

He also said that the judicial system was another reason they get discouraged in probing the leaders, as trials take over seven to eight years in some cases before they are concluded.

He suggested a wholistic reformation of the judicial system in order to ensure that cases are dispensed as fast as possible.