| Format: Ms Word | 1-5 Chapters | Table of Content|
INSTANT PROJECT MATERIAL DOWNLOAD
Study Level: Law, BTech, BSc, BEng, BA, HND, ND or NCE
Immunity according to the online dictionary is the exemption or resistance from certain things, but for the purpose of this research “immunity Clause” refers to statutory enactment of privileges bestowed on the public officers, under Sec. 308 of the 1999 Constitution (As amended) which include; the President, Vice President, Governor and their deputies in their respective states. This public officers are expunge from any legal proceeding civil or criminal in their personal capacity during their tenure in office. The continuous retention of the immunity clause in the Nigerian Constitution is a thorny issue that has incessantly raised a cloud of dust. Opinions are divided on whether or not the immunity clause should be remove from the Constitution. The proponent of its abrogation argued that, immunity clause provides a fertile ground for looting of public funds. Where the advocates for its retention argued that its removal will allow those at the hum of affairs in the country to be distracted from performing their statutory roles with frivolous litigations. This article seeks to uncovers the rationale behind the immunity clause and its inclusion in the Constitution, its legal implication and scrupulously scrutinize its appropriacy in contemporary Nigeria. This research assess the abuse of immunity clause in Nigeria. The study also sought to find out the extent to which immunity clause have been abuse especially by the public officers who hide under the shield of immunity clause to promote corruption in Nigeria.
TABLE OF CONTENT
Certification – – – – – – – – i
Acknowledgment – – – – – – – – ii
Dedication — – – – – – – – – iii
Declaration – – – – – – – – – iv
Abstract – – – – – – – – – v
Table of contents – – – – – – – – vi
CHAPTER ONE – INTRODUCTION
1.0 Background of the Study – – – – – – 1
1.1 Statement of Problem – – – – – – 8
1.2 Significant of the Study – – – – – – 9
1.3 Scope of the Study – — – – – – – 9
1.4 Definition of Terms – – – – – – 10
CHAPTER TWO – LITERATURE REVIEW
2.0 Conceptualization of Immunity Clause – – – – 13
2.1 The Role of Immunity Clause in Nigeria – – – 15
2.2 Immunity Clause and its Abuses – – – – 22
2.3 The legal Implications of Immunity Clause – – – 26
CHAPTER THREE – AN APPRAISAL OF IMMUNITY CLAUSE IN NIGERIA
3.0 Immunity Clause as a Gateway for corruption in Nigeria- – 29
3.1 The Appropriacy of Immunity Clause in Contemporary Nigeria
– – – – – – – – – 34
3.2 The Rational Behind the Immunity Clause and its Inclusion in the Constitution – – – – – – – 39
3.3 The Limitation of Immunity Clause in Nigeria – – 43
CHAPTER FOUR – CONCLUSION
4.0 Summary – – `- – – – – – 47
4.1 Conclusion – – – – – – – – 50
4.2 Recommendation – – – – – – – 52
After several years of military rule, Nigeria had return to a democratic rule since 29th May 1999, the experience so far shows that all has not been well with our democratic experience especially as it affects the immuni87ty of chief executives from judicial proceeding, of interest to this writer is the statement made by General Muhammed Buhari (Rtd) former Nigeria Military Head of State and the Presidential Candidate of a Political Party during the 2011 elections on March 1st 2011 he said;
We will amend the constitution to remove immunity from prosecution for elected officers in criminal cases.
Preliminarily, the first question that comes to our mind is “what is immunity in this context”? According to Bola Ajibola (SAN) “the answer to this question is simple; it is nothing but another word for exemption; it is the immunity enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution”.
Section 308 of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 as amended, This Section provides immunity for the President, Vice President, Governors and their Deputies. Thus, since the constitution was passed into law, it becomes our origin of immunity clause in Nigeria, it is believed that the Constitution must at all times cardinally be our shield and sword, it must at all times protect all the citizens of this Nation; (female, male, young, old,) human right as well as sustaining the rule of law. In our national anthem we say the nation bound in freedom, peace and unity, the only juristic guarantee for that is the constitution. Akin to this is the concepts of the rule of law which establishes that all men are equal before the law. This postulation become a doctrine well established by A.V. Dicey  via; the supremacy of the law of the land and equality before the law.
- BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The issue of immunity clause has been a very crucial one in the Nigeria legal system as a whole. As provided for in the 1999 Constitution as amended, Section 308, its states thus;
(a) No civil or criminal proceedings shall be instituted or continued against a person to who this section applies during his period of office.
(b) No person shall be arrested or imprisoned during that period either in pursuance of the process of any court or otherwise.
(c) No process of any court requiring or compelling the appearance of a person to whom this section applies, shall be applied or issued.
(3) State that this section applies to a person holding the office of the President, Vice President, Governor and Deputy Governors.
However, many controversies have arise from many group of people. Some argues that expunging the clause will allow public officers to be distracted from performing their official duties while the opposing proponent states that the retention of this clause for these public officers breeds corruption. Founding proponent of his argument are Alhaji Ibrahim Shekaram, the Governor of Kano State has also thrown his weight behind the abrogation of the immunity clause. Another group called Champions for Nigeria (CFN) who had gone ahead to forward a petition to the National Assembly on the need to amend Section 308 of the Constitution.
Since Nigeria returned to democratic rule in 1999, one of the most debated issues is the immunity clause in the Nigerian Constitution, contained in Section 308.
This Section is interpreted to mean that as long as these public officers are in office no Civil or Criminal suit be brought against their person.
Similarly, in February 2008, there was a “petition” for immunity clause removal, many public officers in Nigeria are now using the immunity clause as a sort of shield and bullet proof for their criminal behaviours and all manners of gross misconduct. Section 308, is the modern version of the old saying that;  Res non potest peccarre that is “the king can do no wrong” and that a sovereign cannot be tried in his own court under a law that he himself has made.
Further-more, one of the rules of law is equality before the law, that is, no one in the land is above the law, but Section 308 is making these public officers above the law as long as their tenure lasts. The President, Governors and their Deputies are by Section 308 expected to have free hand to act boldly and courageously for public good, in other words not to abuse this power by their corrupts actions. The framers of our Constitution therefore made the immunity clause to make governance easy and protect the chief executive from undue distractions. Also, this shield was also given on the rational assumption that those who aspire to be Governors and Presidents will be the best in terms of virtues and the values they hold dear.
Justice Yahaya Akanbi, former chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) stated;
The whole idea of giving immunity is founded on the fact that those people who are covered by immunity will show themselves to be men of integrity and honour, men who represent the best interest of the nation.
Meanwhile from the event in Bayelsa, Ekiti and Plateau States, there are strong indications that the optimism displayed by those who covered the immunity clause has been misplaced.
Dr. Chidi Amuta once articulated the situation in Nigeria of today which showed how the objectives behind the immunity clause had been defeated, He stated that
A residual culture of official immunity inherited from military rule has been worsened by constitutional immunity granted to public officers with questionable background and worthless pedigrees, so people watch helpless as those elected to govern them use the immunity to commit crimes.
Incidentally, the clause is not only abused in cases of fraud, a former Governor once made it clear that any one who stood between him and his dream of running for a second term in office would be putting his life at risk. According to the Governor
Not only would such person lose his life, nothing would come out of it because before the end of the eight years I will spend in office, the matter would either have been forgotten or all evidence would have erased”.
Immunity clause has been severally abused by majority of the elected public office holders particularly the Executive arm of government. The inclusion of the immunity clause encourages arbitrariness, recklessness and state sponsored assassination. It has perfected the culture of grand corruption and wanton embezzlement of resources meant for running the affairs of the country.
One of the nation’s respected senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Ebun Olesegun Sofunde has given a great support to the idea of removing the immunity clause from the constitution on the ground that it appears to have been abused. According to him;
“The intention in his opinion of having the immunity clause in the first places was so that the officers who are protected by this immunity clause will be able to face their work without any fear of harassment, but because it has been because it has been abused, I agree that it should be removed.
1.1 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The study seek to concentrate on the abuse of immunity clause by the chief executives in Nigeria and also to assess the role of immunity in Nigeria, if as a curse or blessing in the Nigerian legal system. Although there are other types of immunity like judicial immunity, legislative immunity and sovereign immunity. The study will focus only on immunity under Section 308 of the 1999 constitutions as it relates to the Presidents, Vice Presidents, Governors and Deputy Governors in Nigeria and also the effectiveness of the rule of law.
1.2 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will examine and assess the concept of immunity as it covers the executive officers. It is the intention of this writer to contribute to this contemporary legal problem, that are presently unfolding in our democratic experience. This legal problems can best be solved by getting the problems discussed, if those concerned bring their opinion on the legal problem, solutions will not be far fetch. It is with this view in mind that this writer decides to embark on this study with hope that at the end of this study, the writer would have been able to give a useful suggestion as to how the problem of immunity of the chief executives in Nigeria can best be tackled.
1.3 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study will focus on executive immunity, contained in the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, Section 308 will assess the extent to which this immunity has been a blessing or a curse to the nation, Nigeria. This study will also look into the appropriacy of the continuous retention of immunity clause in the constitution.
1.4 DEFINITION OF TERMS
The major term which this writer needs to unravel its meaning is the Core “immunity”. In words of phrases, Immunity is defined as “freedom from duty or penalty, an exception from any charge, duty tax or imposition. Immunity is a right peculiar to someone general duty or burden, a personal benefit or favour granted by law contrary to the general rule. Black’s law Dictionary defines immunity as, An exemption as from serving in an office, or performing duties of law general requires other citizens to perform, for instance, exemption from penalty, burden or duty, also called special privilege.
Webster’s dictionary defines immunity as an exception from tax, duty or jurisdiction, freedom from danger or penalty.
To Edward Kionka;
An immunity is a defense to tort liability which is conferred upon an entire group or class of person subtitles under circumstances where considerations of public policy are through to require special protection for the person, activity or entity in question at the expense of those injured by its tortuous act.
To Oladele Belogun;
The word immunity sounds like a Yoruba word – immunity. The meaning of “immunity” in Yoruba means the states of being unconquerable and invincible.
Honorable Sustice Mutalib Ambali, the Grand Khadi of Kwara state explaining what immunity is, said that;
The key word in both theme and topic immunity which simply put means exemptions or is like special protection granted to certain categories of public officers from a duty or liability of service of process in the interest of smooth and good performance of their services of the society.
Immunity could be absolute or qualified. Absolute immunity is a complete exemption from civil liability, usually afforded to officers while performing their duties from the Nigeria standpoint, it includes immunity from civil or criminal prosecution against the holders of his personal capacity while in office.
 Congress for Progressive Change (CPC)
 Punch Newspaper, (Nigeria, 28 Feb. 2011)
 B. Ajibola, “Immunity Clause under the Nigeria Constitution: A Curse or A Blessing “(11.ed), The Jurist: Essay in Honour of Hon. Justice Balthu Modibo Alfa Belgore (CON) Publication of the Law Student Society, University of Ilorin 2006)56.
 Ibid 57
 Dicey A.V. Introduction to the Study of Law of the Constitution 10th ed. Macnittan Press Limited London (1977). 4
 The 1999 Constitution as Amended (2011) Section 308
 Webster, proz.com
 The street Journal
 (1985) 6.S.C. 246
 Permanented Vol. 20.237.
 Exports levy 43 Art 42, (1884) 54, 51, V.A.M Rep. 550
 Gamer B.A Black’s Law Dictionary (7th ed. West Group Publishing 10. St. Paul Minni, (1991) 1144.
 Webster’s New World Dictionary and Tharasus (2nd Ed. Editions of Webster’s New World Dictionaries, Chatton Laird 2002) 1643.
 Gamer B.A the Black’s Law Dictionary (7th ed. West Group Publishing 10. St. Pauls Minni, 1999) 1114. Balogun O, “African reader and Constitutional Immunity. The Moral Question (paper presented at the inter-disciplinary conference on Ethic and African Co Sponsored by Jean Blumenfled center for ethic, Georgia State University and Philosophy Department, University of Cape Town, South African, 29-31 May 2006).