A BILL seeking to grant immunity to the federal legislators which has passed its second reading on the floor of the House of Representatives, has generated a lot of controversy among Nigerians. Some people are of the opinion that the legislators do not deserve any immunity and that the Bill would increase corrupt practices among the legislators. But others believe that the immunity will enable them to carry out their duties effectively, as well as keep them away from the distractions of anti-graft agencies. Below are what Nigerians think about the immunity.
Eze Peter, Politician: Giving them immunity at this stage of our democracy is not necessary. They should concentrate on making laws that would impact on the lives of Nigerians who elected them. But if such immunity is granted to them, it means the fight against corruption and corrupt office holders would be lost.
Titus Ugwuoke, Administrator: This act has proved to me that our so-called lawmakers don’t have the interest of the masses at heart. There are many Bills like the PIB, health Bill and so many others before them which concern the masses but instead of them to treat those Bills; they are busy planning how to defraud the nation.
Nnamani Chizoba, Civil Servant: We have different opinions and views on this matter, but I think, to an extent, they should be allowed to enjoy immunity. My reason is that, it would reduce unnecessary interference in their work by anti-graft agencies. When they are involved in bribery scandal, the anti-graft agencies should not arrest them but rather carry out the necessary investigations preparatory for their prosecution immediately they leave office. The problem why the EFCC and the ICPC hardly prosecute suspected corrupt public office holders is because they don’t investigate cases properly before arresting them.
Victor Ochogwu, Accountant: I strongly disagree with the idea of immunity because that would promote corruption and attract more evil-minded people into politics. It will also prevent them from carrying out their community development programmes because they will no longer be accountable to the people that voted for them.
Audu Ali, Teacher: They don’t deserve any immunity because that is the only way we can hold them responsible if they fail to develop their constituency. The president should not allow them to succeed in passing that bill because the level of corruption among them will increase by more than 100 percent if they succeed. They want immunity to enable them carry out their evil plans of killing this country.
Nnaemeka Ogbonna, Businessman: My answer is no, because we need to develop this country and the only way to do that is to enforce laws on crime and corruption. I’m not in support of it.
Complied by Anayo Ezugwu
— Apr. 1, 2013 @ 10:00 GMT