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Govs Move against Planned Removal of Immunity Clause

09 May 2012

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Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers

By Chuks Okocha

The proposed removal of the immunity clause from the constitution will be the major issue to be discussed by the governors of the 36 states at a meeting Wednesday, THISDAY has learnt.

The controversial clause, which shields the president, vice-president, governors and deputy governors from prosecution while in office, has been slated for possible amendment by the National Assembly.

But many governors have often expressed misgivings that removing the clause would expose them to endless litigations over their actions in office, as well as making them vulnerable to political persecution, especially by the Federal Government.

THISDAY gathered that the governors are not happy that the Alfa Belgore-led constitution review committee has recommended that the immunity clause be removed.

No section of the constitution can be amended without endorsement by at least 24 state houses of assembly, a provision that gives the governors significant influence over the amendment process.

The meeting, which is expected to commence at noon, will take place at the Rivers State Governor’s Lodge.

Other issues to be discussed are the precarious security situation, especially the unending threat of Boko Haram, and the need to prevail on President Goodluck Jonathan to present a supplementary budget to augment the shortages in the provision for fuel subsidy this year.

The meeting will discuss and adopt the outcome of the three separate committees that deliberated on the withdrawals from the federation account, it was further learnt.

The governors, it was gathered, would also be finalising their proposals for constitutional amendment to the revenue sharing formula, in which they are proposing that the Federal Government would be getting 35 per cent, State 42 per cent and councils 23 per cent.

The meeting, THISDAY learnt, will discuss the outcome of the three separate committees that discussed the continued withdrawals from the federation accounts, especially by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Petroleum Products Price Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).

According to a governor  who spoke with THISDAY, the state chief executives are calling for a stop to the continued withdrawals from the Excess Crude Account and the to limit the oil subsidy withdrawals to the approved budgetary provision of N74 billion per month and not the N150.2 billion currently being deducted from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC).

Over N304 billion was withdrawn from the FAAC Accounts by the NNPC and PPPRA in January and February, a process that led to the delay in the payment of the allocation for the month of March and April.

A governor from the Northwest, who confirmed the meeting, said: “We are worried because of what the Central Bank governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, said that the subsidy budget is not enough and if an amicable resolution is not found… there are the imperatives of a supplementary budget to fund the oil subsidy. The country may run into the hitch of inadequate fuel supply.”

Sanusi had last month said the N888 billion budget for subsidy would not be enough for the entire financial year.

The source explained that the governors were worried because the continued deductions by the NNPC and PPPRA from the FAAC account have a negative impact on the administration of the state because of the new minimum wage, which the states are paying grudgingly.

On the need for a supplementary budget, the governor said: “The more the matter is addressed the better or there would be return of the long queues at the filling stations. There is a process in the appropriation modalities. It takes a time to approve a budgetary and more released for the importation of fuel.”

He explained that continued withdrawals by the NNPC and PPPRA would eventually amount to N1.8 trillion this year.

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  • Governors should sit up and do their work, the removal of this immunity clues will enable accountability. corruption has been a major set back to this country so any person or group of people that is not willing to do the right thing will in office should step down.

    From: mikebenbassey@yahoo.com

    Posted: 1 year ago

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  • Although the removal of the clause shall create an unwarranted vacum in the polity which might not serve our interest better, nevertheless its removal would reduce their corruption status in the society. Bulk do misappropriate and budgeted for court cases when squandering. Let the governors show their sincerity to their people and to those states house of assembly who act like sheep, prosperity shall not set you free.

    From: Owoniyil

    Posted: 1 year ago

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  • The rather controversial immunity clause has been a refuge for corrupt public officers over the years. The removal would be a welcome developed tin the nation's quest to stamp out the monstrosity of corruption and its related kind!!!

    From: Marshall

    Posted: 1 year ago

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  • I wonder why our governors are afraid. Whoever is against it doesn't worth to be a governor. Transparency and accountability should be their watch word.

    From: Nwachukwu

    Posted: 1 year ago

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  • What are Governors afraid of if their hands are clean. Our people say if you are not carrying anything, you will not have anything to break. Some of them have wrecked us. Some of them have raped us. Some of them have mismanaged and underdeveloped us, truncationg and rubbishing our destiny for greatness. If you are not involved, you have nothing to fear. But if you looted, confess ahead of time, pay the Lazarus restitution ahead of time and God will have mercy on you and your children. Holy Ghost fire has been despatched to cleans Nigeria of corruption. Don't let it Sodom Ghomorise you and your family.. Subject your self to justice willingly or you will be brought in on a stretch in a cage because the angry people you have raped may decide to take the laws into their hands before you reach the courts.

    From: Echi

    Posted: 1 year ago

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  • This nonsensical clause ought to be removed so that our governors will be accountable and think twice and follow due process before taking any action.We must acknowledge that our system is very faulty, we cannot adopt everything that civilized societies do, it never works in Nigeria!. Allowing one person to have so much power is very counter-productive, Nigerians are very good at abusing power and trust and we must stop this nonsense!....God help us!!!

    From: Honza

    Posted: 1 year ago

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  • The Governors union should show interest on how their member govern their states to make it relevant. For now, it is like a gang-up that only discusses how much they can get from federation account and the amount of influence they can exert on the polity.

    Why can't they have the instrumentality to monitor the performance of their members? The fact remains that people like Ibori who created the forum made it look like a pressure group to protect their interest. But until they depart from that mentality, they remains largely irrelevant to the people they represent.

    From: Joseph Ubiagba

    Posted: 1 year ago

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  • The clause shouldn't have been in the constitution in the first place in a country with over 150 million and not one person was able to oppose the clause in the first place is unbelievable. The so called leaders had planned this fomr the very start. They wanted to perpetrate crime and still get away with it. No one should be ablve the law in any country; politicians should be accountable to their people and not the other way round. nigerians should stop taking bullshit from their leaders period! Why are these Governors meeting if they know their hands are clean?

    From: Wale H

    Posted: 1 year ago

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  • The problem has never been the clause, but its misinterpretation by the judiciary. There is no other place in the world where immunity covers personal crimes. The last time National Assembly wanted to remove it, Obj, in his greed and madness, wanted to be exempted and the governors cashed in to scuttle it. This time, the president and governors will join hands to scuttle it, their only pre-occupation being stealing. There is no law in the world intended to shield thieves and other criminals from prosecution. The solution lies with the judiciary. The spirit of the law supersedes the wording. The judiciary just has to revisit its earlier misinterpretation of the clause to stem the raging looting tide. We need this to slow down the thieves.

    From: Mbuk

    Posted: 1 year ago

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  • They are only scared because they all have skeletons in their cupboards. All they know is steal, steal and steal. They are aware that removal of the immunity clause will drastically reduce their stealing powers and expose them for the rogues that they are .

    From: Cyprian A. Abuja

    Posted: 1 year ago

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  • It is time for Nigerians to demostrate against these Governors that are opposing immunity removal, they have skeletons in their cuboards else there is no need for them to fight or gang up. Nigeria has lost billions of Naira due to the recklessness of some of our Governors. We need to mobilise and fight to remove this loop holes in our constitution. Currupt Governors will surely resist, you will know them by their action/ reaction to proposed immunity removal.

    From: Mike

    Posted: 1 year ago

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  • Nigeria Should Shine Their Eyes Well-Well This Time Around So That All These Governors Should Not Use Their Power As Governor To Intimidate Them On These New Constitution For Their Selfish Interest, Nigerians Should Make Sure The Immunity Clause Is Remove Totally If Nigerians Really Want To Fight Against Corruption In High Places. Because By Removing That Immunity Clause That Cover Them Not To Be Arrested When They Are Still In Office As Governor Or President And Their Deputy,So That Cause MUST Be Remove In Our Constitution, No Going Back

    From: Kenny

    Posted: 1 year ago

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