Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has stronglyÂ condemned as â€œself-serving and despicable the demand by some senators onÂ Saturday for immunity and life pension for presiding officers of the NationalÂ Assembly after their tenure in office.â€SERAPâ€™s statement followed the proposals by the senators at a two-day retreat onÂ Constitution Review organised by the Senate Ad Hoc Committee on ConstitutionÂ Review in Lagos on Saturday. Among others, the proposals want presiding Â officers, such as President of the Senate, Deputy President of Senate, SpeakerÂ of the House of Representatives and Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives toÂ enjoy life pension and immunity, since the executive and judiciary are enjoyingÂ it.But SERAP in a statement today by its executive director AdetokunboÂ Mumuni said,
â€œThe retreat by the senators and representative was titledÂ â€˜Towards Ensuring Governance Accountability in Nigerian federalismâ€™ but theirÂ grand strategy is the calculated use of legislative powers to alter the 1999 constitutionÂ in their own favour so that they can enjoy life benefits at the expense of Â millions of economically and socially disadvantaged Nigerians who voted themÂ into office.â€The statement reads in part: â€œSERAP calls on the Senate President BukolaÂ Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara to showÂ leadership and refocus the National Assembly to be able to perform theirÂ law-making functions in a manner that will rid the country of impunity for corruptionÂ and not embrace or tolerate it.â€â€œGranting senators
and representatives immunity and life pensions would neither enhance governanceÂ accountability nor contribute to the betterment of Nigerians.â€â€œNigerians will reject any self-serving attempt by the senators andÂ representatives to tear up section 308 of the 1999 constitution to grant theirÂ leaders immunity from prosecution for corruption and money laundering. Nigerians
will also reject the despicable attempt by the senators and representatives toÂ grant themselves life pensions. SERAP will pursue all legal avenues nationallyÂ and internationally to compel the senators to drop the immunity and lifeÂ pension proposals.â€â€œSERAP is worried that the proposal for life pensions is coming fromÂ some ex-governors in the National Assembly that continue to enjoy â€˜pensionsâ€™ for serving as governors for 8 years. This is a gross injustice and double
jeopardy for millions of Nigerian pensioners who continue to be denied theÂ fruit of their labour in old age.â€â€œItâ€™s a massive let-down for those elected to make laws for the peace, order and good governance of theÂ country to prioritise their own personal interests over and above those of millions of Nigerians who Â continue to suffer the effects of high-level official corruption.â€â€œRather than engaging in constitutional amendment for personal
aggrandisement the leadership of the National Assembly should encourage theÂ inclusion in the constitution of legally enforcement economic and social rightsÂ such as the right to food, to adequate housing, to access to healthcare, toÂ work and goog conditions of service, and to adequate standards of living forÂ millions of Nigerians who continue to live in poverty. Saraki and Dogara shouldÂ promote constitutional amendment that will ensure and provide legal standingÂ and access to effective remedies for victims of corruption.â€ â€œThis proposal by the senators is not coming out of the blue. Since the start of his corruption trial, the SenateÂ President Saraki has worked with other senators to make subtle and not-so-subtle attempts to grant principal officials of the National Assembly immunity from prosecution forÂ corruption and money laundering.