Bill Seeking Immunity For Saraki, Ekweremadu Throws House Into Rowdy Session

House of RepsThe House of Representatives was thrown into a rowdy session on Tuesday following the debate on a bill that seeks to extend immunity to presiding officers of the National Assembly.

Based on the current arrangement, only heads of the Executive (President, Vice President, Governors and Deputy Governors) and Judiciary (Chief Justice of the Federation) enjoy immunity.

Following the recent trial of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and of recent, his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, there have been strong calls by legislators at both state and federal levels, for leaders of the Legislative arm of government to enjoy immunity.

SEE: Senators, States’ Assembly Speakers Propose Immunity From Prosecution For Saraki, Others

The House Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, sponsored a Bill for an amendment to Section 308 of the Constitution to give immunity to the Senate president, Speaker of the House of Reps, deputy Senate president and the deputy Speaker.

However, Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, opposed the bill on the grounds that its timing was wrong.

According to Gbajabiamila, the House, as representatives of the people, should not be seen as shielding presiding officers of the National Assembly especially at a time Messrs. Saraki and Ekweremadu are standing trial.

He pointed out that there is no country in the world where leaders of the legislature enjoy immunity.

Soon after he made his argument against the bill, the floor of the House was thrown into rowdy session.

The arguments for and against immunity for presiding officers of the National Assembly was sharply divided between members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and lawmakers of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) respectively.

It took about 20 minutes for normalcy to be restored after which Speaker Yakubu Dogara referred the bill to the special ad-hoc committee on constitution amendment without putting any question for members to vote.

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