THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE IMMUNITY CLAUSE FOR DEMOCRATIC CONSOLIDATION IN NIGERIA

Ebenezer Olaoye, Olugbenga
2012 African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies: AJCJS   unpublished
This paper interrogates the relevance of the constitutional provisions on immunity for certain categories of elected political-office holders to the quest for democratic consolidation in Nigeria. It traces the history of immunity for political office-holders to the 1963 Republican Constitution and examines the rationale or justification for its inclusion in Nigerian constitutions. On the strength of evidences from case studies from Nigeria's Second (1979 to 1983) and Fourth Republic (1999 till
more » ... epublic (1999 till present), the paper notes that, while the original intention for its inclusion in the Nigerian constitution was good, politicians have used the clause to the detriment of democracy. For this reason, the constitutional provisions on immunity have become a threat to the consolidation of Nigeria's nascent democracy. Rather than throw away the baby with the birth-water, the paper recommends a review of the provisions to take cognizance of the need for transparency, accountability and good governance while ensuring that political chief executives are not unduly constrained in the performance of their constitutional duties. In this way, the paper concludes, the excesses of elected political chief executives can be curbed while Nigerians can reasonably expect to reap more dividends of democracy now and in the future.
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