The proposed House of Representatives Bill seeking immunity for presiding officers in the legislature has caused division among the lawmakers.
The Bill is seeking an amendment to Section 308 of the Constitution which grants immunity from prosecution to the President, the Vice President, governors and deputy governors while in office.
The Bill prescribes same for senate president, deputy senate president, speaker and deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, speaker of the House of Assembly and the deputy speaker.
The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila said: “Hon Odebunmi, before you lead the debate, this bill seeks to confer immunity on presiding officers, correct? I am going to need clarifications on some things here. If this bill is for presiding officers, then, I cannot preside on this bill because there is an inherent conflict of interest.
“But if the bill seeks to confer immunity on subsequent presiding officers, after this Assembly, then, perhaps, I may preside.
“I will suggest that if the bill does not have a futuristic commencement date, we should put a commencement date from 2023, so that I’m not conferred with any kind of immunity. That is my suggestion.
“But if you insist that it is supposed to be from this point, moving forward, as soon as the bill is signed, then I will need to step down.”
Minority Leader Ndudi Elumelu in opposing the bill, said the lawmakers’ paramount interest should be welfare and security of their constituents. He faulted the timing of the bill.
“Outside there, our people are being killed and butchered. We are coming up with a bill on issue of immunity while some of us are saying that people should be held accountable for what they do. I think it is wrong and it should not be allowed”.