Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has condemned the demand by some senators for immunity and life pension for presiding officers of the National Assembly after their tenure.
The condemnation is contained in a statement issued on Sunday in Abuja, by Adetokunbo Mumuni, SERAP’s Executive Director, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
According to the statement, the call was a calculated use of legislative powers to alter the 1999 Constitution in their own favour, at the expense of millions of economically and socially disadvantaged Nigerians.
“Granting senators and representatives immunity and life pensions would neither enhance governance, accountability nor contribute to the betterment of Nigerians.
SERAP is worried that the proposal for life pensions is coming from some ex-governors in the National Assembly that continue to enjoy “pensions” for serving as governors for eight years.
This is a gross injustice and double jeopardy for millions of Nigerian pensioners who continue to be denied the fruit of their labour in old age.
Nigerians will reject any self-serving attempt by the senators and representatives to tear up section 308 of the 1999 Constitution to grant their leaders immunity from prosecution for corruption and money laundering,” it stated.
It said that SERAP will use all legal avenues nationally and internationally to compel the senators to drop the immunity and life pension proposals.
Condemning the proposition, Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) said:
The proposals for immunity and life pension for the principal officers of the National Assembly are insensitive, irrational and immoral.
Indeed, it is the height of insensitivity for legislators to propose life pension for their leaders at a time that workers are owed arrears of salaries in many states of the federation.
The proposal to confer immunity on legislators is provocative, to say the least. No serious nation can grant immunity to legislators who have been linked with criminal diversion of public funds, forgery and rape.
We can assure the concerned members of the public that the satanic proposals of the legislators will not succeed. It is pertinent to inform the legislators that the members of the human rights community have resolved to mobilise the Nigerian people to reject both proposals.