Fayose Fraud Case: Buhari Urged To Remove Section 308 Immunity Clause From The Constitution
July 8, 2016 – Fayose Bribery & Corruption, Money Laundering Case: Buhari Urged To Remove Section 308 Immunity Clause From Nigerian 1999 Constitution For Proper Prosecution Of Corrupt Officials
The Abolition Of The Infamous Section 308, An Article By Tony Ogunlowo
The recent alleged antics of the Ekiti state governor, Ayo Fayose, and others have again brought the spotlight on the infamous Section 308 of the Nigerian Constitution.
When his bank account was frozen by the EFCC due to un-explained monies in his possession, his party, The Peoples Democratic party (PDP) were quick to jump to his (Fayose) defence claiming “the freezing of Governor Fayose’s personal account was illegal and asked the EFCC to free the bank account immediately saying the action violates Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution”. In effect the EFCCs actions were unlawful, un-democratic and illegal.
The President, Vice-President, Governors and Deputy-Governors and a few others are exempt from any civil or criminal proceedings while they are still in office. In this immunity clause called Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution. It effectively means the aforementioned politicians become untouchable for whatever crimes they commit while in office and can only be tried when their tenure is up.
A crime is a crime and if a person commits a crime, irregardless of their political standing, it should be punishable by law. There can’t be one law for some and another for everybody else; it makes a mockery of the law we are all supposed to be subject to.
One can imagine that Section 308 was deliberately sneaked into the constitution to serve the purposes of those politicians who knew they’ll be breaking the law, providing themselves with an easy get out clause. How many of these ‘naughty’ untouchable politicians have got up to allsorts (-and still are!) in the past seventeen years and how many of them have been brought to justice when their tenures were up?
So if one of these ‘protected few’ goes on the rampage, on the street tomorrow and shoots a few people dead (- or orders someone to do it) will he be arrested on the spot or will the police just turn a blind eye hopping to bring charges against him when his term of office is up? (-effectively leaving him alone to get up to more mischief!)
How many top serving politicians accused of crimes ranging from murder to money laundering are strutting around today with their heads held high knowing fully well they are immune from prosecution? And on the other side of the spectrum a poor hungry man who steals a bag of Indomie noodles, from the market, is arraigned before a magistrate – that’s if he doesn’t get lynched first!
The question to ask is simple – at what point does the immunity end and prosecution begins? What crime does this ‘protected few’ have to commit before they are finally arraigned before a judge? Currently it seems murder, embezzlement and money laundering are not big enough crimes for a serving President, Governor or their deputies to face trial.
In a more civilized world (- obviously not Nigeria!) the law is above everybody and nobody is immune from prosecution. Even in America, Presidents have been impeached for committing crimes (Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson were impeached but were later acquitted by the Senate. Nixon resigned before he could be impeached) whilst in office and serving governors have been tried and sent to prison for crimes committed. Nobody waits for them to finish their tenure in office before arresting them. If you’re a respected politician who is stupid enough to risk your reputation by committing a crime then you should be ready to do the time (in a prison after a humiliating public trial). Unless you’re a coward who hides behind the façade of Section 308.
In 2011, President Buhari, then a presidential candidate, promised a crackdown on the abuse of section 308. He promised to “remove immunity from prosecution for elected officers in criminal cases”. So far this is one campaign promise he hasn’t yet honoured.
How can a nation go forward if a ‘selected few’ have a licence to get up to anything they please if there is no fear of retribution?
There are those who might argue that the immunity clause is necessary to prevent our top politicians from becoming embroiled in lawsuits during their tenure of office. But if they are law abiding citizens why do they need to get embroiled in criminal lawsuits in the first place?
July 8, 2016 at 1:25 AM
The scary part is that senators are also asking for immunity, this of course will add insult to the already caused injury. As a scenario, imagine a governor that commits a grievous and heinous crime while in the office, spends 8 years o (2 terms in office) without being tried due to immunity. The same governor then becomes a senator with immunity and continues as a senator for another 35 years.
Now, tell me immunity is not a haven for politicians to get away with murder for life.
July 8, 2016 at 5:46 AM
I believe that removing the so called criminality enabler cause commonly known as “Immunity clause” from our doomed constitutions will help restore sanity back to Nigerian corrupt system of governance. There should be no such dumb clause that protects criminal politicians, looters, money launder, and other criminals and wicked acts by our elected officials against millions of suffering Nigerian people. Political criminals like Gov. Fayose and other should be relieved of their appointment after conviction with evidence that they stole the people’s money for their selfish interests. Fayose can also be removed from office even with the so called immunity by the Ekiti House for embezzlement of over $1.3 billions without paying about six months salaries of state workers. After his impeachment by the Ekiti House, Fayose will immediately become an ordinary citizen with no such immunity. The EFCC officials can then pick him up and send him to jail pending the court hearing. Fayose owns billions of naira worth of properties in Nigeria alone, and only God knows his worth in many foreign accounts. They are heartless, wicked, unpatriotic, and highly corrupt animals in human body that have brought so much shame, redicules, setbacks, and poverty to over 170 millions Nigerians. God will not have mercy on those looters because they have no mercy or pity nor love for our people. Vagabonds in Power.
July 8, 2016 at 7:12 AM
It would do the country good if the 1999 constitution would be stripped of that clause. At a time I was in favour of the immunity; the sense behind it being that the serving governors may focus and deliver better dividends to the populace.
But now I know that even with the immunity active, they hardly focus on the people that had elected them, but rather enrich themselves. If the immunity goes, dread of ceaseless litigations may force them to sit up; they may engage in meaningful and impactful projects in order that the masses would stand staunchly behind them when their opposition rises, and power would finally belong to the people.
July 8, 2016 at 8:58 AM
well said @Tamedo
July 8, 2016 at 10:26 AM
That is why Governors of some states are not payg workers salaries for 7mnths and more,when they now decide to pay they will now pay half salary of a mnth from d 7mnths they are owing.
I want to believe its d priviledge of d clause that is making them behave as they want, it is giving them room to do and undo at d detriment of innocent citizens.
We need d president to act fast so as to protect d country and its citizens from dis blood sucking, heartless,inhuman, selfish, greedy and wicked dictators.
Enough is enough.
July 8, 2016 at 4:20 PM
If all these is for the betterment of Nigeria, then i rest my case.
July 8, 2016 at 4:27 PM
The reason why God made it possible for Fayose 2nd term is to expose and disgrace him. Unfortunate for him he doesn’t know how to guide his mouth. Ever since the beginning of his investigations Fayose has said many things that make it easier for the prosecutor to successfully prosecute him. This guy was saying publicly on YouTube that I’m a sitting Governor, no EFCC can prosecute him because he was protected by immunity under section 308. This guy is just as ignorant as unenlightened. You stole all these money and some of your supporters have confessed to EFCC and you are still blabbing that you are covered by immunity. Was that the reason why you were stealing state fund? Fayose you are screw up already better be quiet and let your lawyer handle the matter for you. Mind you, all these statements you are making will be used against you in the Court of law. This reminds me of former Ogun State governor, Gbenga Daniel, that guy play dumb when he was arraigned during Yardua administration for embezzling state money. Even though, as one of the biggest thieves at that time secured a good lawyer and cut himself from the chain of justice system. In this life, no matter how smart you are, you need to display some foolishness in order to have your ways in life. Weather Buhari can successfully prosecute you or not you are in big trouble for the next 4 years that is if you really know how to fight hard.
July 8, 2016 at 5:39 PM
Initially, I thought nobody should be above the law. Immunity my foot!
July 8, 2016 at 7:54 PM
If you have some dirty laundries or any skeletons in your closet, you should not point fingers unto others. Fayose forgot this statement and relied on immunity of section 308.
Fayose and other scrupulous senators, congress men and state governors are using section 308 of the 1999 constitution to enrich their pockets at the expense of people who voted for them. Their paradigms are “they are above the law”.
If Nigeria government is a true mirror of U.S.A. system of government(democracy), Fayose should resign his position as Ekiti governor. Other public officials who embezzled Nigerian fund should do the same. In USA, Former Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia resigned immediately, so did the Congress Fattah.
Both Bob McDonnell and U.S.Rep. Chaka Fattah were indicted while in-office and they did not claim immunity for any laws of the land.
If we want progress for any economic developments in Nigeria, Nigeria should make some amendments to section 308 of the 1999 constitution as some of the public officials including ex-presidents abused their offices and enriched their pockets to become the richest persons in the world. They had no any fears for the people who voted for them and they boycotted the common people wellbeing. They are not for the people but for their political parties. Nigeria should only be for people and not for polities.
July 8, 2016 at 8:12 PM
Please people Fayose is not the only culprit in this scam called immunity clause. All Imo state governors with the exception of the late Sam Mbakwe are all guilty. All the senators and rep. members are in it too and should all be prosecuted. The immunity clause was put there to protect themselves from prosecution. The last Imo state governor, Ohakim will soon go to jail. They should not prosecute only those in government people like Iwuanyanwu should be made to refund all the money he fraudulently got from Ohakim and his predecessors.