Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has condemned the demand by some senators for immunity and life pension for presiding officers of the National Assembly after their tenure.
The condemnation is contained in a statement issued on Sunday in Abuja, by Mr Adetokunbo Mumuni, SERAP’s Executive Director, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
According to the statement, the call was a calculated use of legislative powers to alter the 1999 Constitution in their own favour, at the expense of millions of economically and socially disadvantaged Nigerians.
It stated that SERAP’s statement followed the proposals by the senators at a two-day retreat on Constitution Review, organised by the Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Constitution Review in Lagos on Saturday.
Among others, the proposals want President of the Senate, Deputy President of Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives to enjoy life pension and immunity.
“Granting senators and representatives immunity and life pensions would neither enhance governance, accountability nor contribute to the betterment of Nigerians.
“SERAP is worried that the proposal for life pensions is coming from some ex-governors in the National Assembly that continue to enjoy ‘pensions’ for serving as governors for eight years.
“This is a gross injustice and double jeopardy for millions of Nigerian pensioners who continue to be denied the fruit of their labour in old age.
“Nigerians will reject any self-serving attempt by the senators and representatives to tear up section 308 of the 1999 Constitution to grant their leaders immunity from prosecution for corruption and money laundering,’’ it stated.
It says that SERAP will use all legal avenues nationally and internationally to compel the senators to drop the immunity and life pension proposals.
SERAP urged the National Assembly’s presiding officers to refocus the Assembly to perform law-making functions in a manner that would rid the country of impunity for corruption and not embrace or tolerate it.