The Immunity Clause as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria gives statutory protection to the president, his deputy, governors and their deputies against arrests and prosecutions for any unlawful acts throughout their tenure of office

Kenneth Obi

There is no way this country can achieve its potential until and unless the evil of 'Immunity Clause' is confronted promptly by all Nigerians.

The Immunity Clause as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria gives statutory protection to the president, his deputy, governors and their deputies against arrests and prosecutions for any unlawful acts throughout their tenure of office

In other words, even if a governor or president empties the whole treasury into his pocket, the much anyone can do (since the lawmakers are also in his pocket) is to wait patiently until he is out of office before he could be brought to book for such a hideous crime. The purpose of this odious law, we are told, is to ensure that this category of public officers are spared every distraction which their arrests and prosecutions could constitute, so they could devote their whole self and time to govern the people well.

But, as we have all sadly found out, this has become the most abused law in Nigeria. The Immunity Clause may have been added with good intentions, but given our bitter experiences with successive rulers, nothing now justifies its continued retention in our statute books. Unfortunately, the governance of our hapless nation has been hijacked by a criminal class whose only mission in the various Government Houses is to loot the places dry. 


After they had stolen so much and stashed billions in coded accounts abroad, they would abscond once they leave office, and only return to the country to enjoy their filthy wealth after they had successfully used the billions they had stolen to install and sustain one of their own in power, so that no matter the national outcry against their boundless criminal accumulations while in office, the various anti-corruption agencies would endeavour to look the other way once their names are mentioned. “Corruption is endemic in this country.

I today call for the abrogation of the constitutional provision of Immunity Clause. I want all Nigerians to join me in this call. The provision of 'Immunity' should be expunged from the Nigerian Constitution. We have always been fed with such bunkum like how irresponsible and unpatriotic Nigerians would use countless frivolous petitions and lawsuits to “distract” the governors or the president from his determination to turn Nigeria into another paradise. 

And how instead of spending all the time “transforming” the state and delivering “democracy dividends,” he would be in one court or the other where he had been charged for corruption or other criminal activities. Please, spare all such trash for hare-brained fools. Since the immunity clause had protected these fellows from “distractions” what have our rulers achieved? 

Nigeria is still battling with prehistoric darkness, with industries folding up and relocating to neighbouring countries, as a result of the total collapse of the power sector. Roads have remained impassable. The school and health systems have since packed up, and no one is even attempting to extend them the honour of an autopsy. Indeed, the immunity clause has only helped the heartless, thieving rulers to mindlessly steal without “distractions.” 

This just must stop! We require only one quarter of what was stolen by public officers in this country to turn it into another Europe. Imagine what this country of highly creative people would become if we had uninterrupted power supply? No nation where thieves are kings ever survives! The greatest hindrance to Nigeria’s development is CORRUPTION. No more, no less.

So, let the immunity clause go. If it only helps the governor or president to realize he is NOT some emperor to be worshipped, and that state funds are not his to squander the way he likes, that’s okay for now. Whoever thinks he would be unable to take the “distractions” from “frivolous petitions” can simply excuse himself from aspiring to become president or governor. 

Maybe, after this, the genuine servant-leaders, whose mission is to truly serve the people, would emerge to rescue this nation from the resilient criminal class that has held it to ransom for many years now. Every other nation seeks daily to transfer more power to its people to enable them hold leaders accountable, but in Nigeria, everything is done to render the people voiceless and powerless. I see the removal of this immunity clause as one effective way of returning power to the people.
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