By Gift Chapi Odekina
The House of Representatives is considering granting immunity to Supreme Court Justices in the country.
The Bill sponsored by Mr Igariwey Iduma Enwo aimed at altering section 308 of the 1999 constitution as amended to restrict legal proceedings against the justices scaled the second reading at plenary presided by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila.
Other justices to be covered if the Bill sails through includes the chief judge of the federal High Court, and justices of the 36 states of the federation and the federal capital territory (FCT).
Enwo while leading debate explained that the Bill seeks to protect the integrity and independence of the aforementioned judges.
The lawmaker argued that the initiative will be in the best interest of maintaining the doctrine of separation of powers in line with constitutional provisions and protect the judiciary from the excesses of the Executive arm.
He said the proposed legislation is to protect the integrity and independence of the Supreme Court, the Federal and state High Courts.
“It is said that the courts are the last hope of the common man and constitute a bulwark in the defence of our constitutional democracy.
“In the discharge of their solemn functions, the courts are expected to dispense justice without fear or favour. It is, therefore, expedient that in order to protect the integrity and independence of the leadership of the superior courts of records at the state and federal levels.
“I really think that if if there is an arm that should enjoy immunity it is the judiciary. I think that this is the arm that should enjoy immunity to avoid distraction. What is good for the executive is good for the judiciary”.
“The immunity clause as contained in Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) should be extended the Chief of Justice of Nigeria and justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court and the Chief Justices of the State High Courts and Federal Capital Territory. This will be in the best interest of maintaining the doctrine of separation of powers, as contemplated by the 1999 Constitution and the protection of our judiciary from the excesses of the executive. ”