The Scope of Immunity Clause under Section 308 of 1999 Constitution (As Amended)
THE SCOPE OF IMMUNITY CLAUSE UNDER SECTION 308 OF 1999 CONSTITUTION (AS AMENDED)
Matthew H. Akpan
Department of Accountancy
Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic, Ikot Osurua, Ikot Ekpene.
The purpose of this paper is to ascertain the scope and the legal implication of Section 308 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), which grants the President, Vice President, Governors and the Deputy Governors, immunity from being sued or challenged in the court in respect of their acts or omissions while in office. The immunity clause has generated serious controversy, while the protagonists are of the view that it helps to forestall influx of frivolous cases against such office holders, antagonists posit that they should be made to answer to their wrongful acts. This paper analyzes these positions in conjunction with the Constitution and decided cases and submits that it is in line with international best practice for those leaders to be protected; that the problem of misrule in Nigeria is not the immunity clause but the caliber of people voted into power; and the neglect of the legislators to utilize the power of impeachment vested in them by always ensuring that they initiate impeachment process and remove an erring office holder from power. If people play their different roles effectively, the immunity clause will be a blessing instead of a curse.
Key words: Immunity clause, Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 constitution, president and vice, governors and deputies.