OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has passed for second reading a bill to grant immunity to supreme court justices in the country on Thursday.
The bill sponsored by Mr. Igariwey Enwo (PDP, Ebonyi) is aimed at altering section 308 of the 1999 constitution (as amended) to restrict legal proceedings against the justices.
Other justices to be covered by the provisions of the bill include the chief judge of the federal high court, and justices of the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Enwo explained that the bill seeks to protect the integrity and independence of the aforementioned judges and 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 further explained that the proposed legislation is to protect the integrity and independence of the supreme court, the federal and state high courts.
He said: “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. “