NAN – Mr. Femi Falana, a senior advocate of Nigeria, SAN, said any president or governor who committed criminal act could be arrested while in office and taken for trials.
Falana said this while speaking on: “limit of executive immunity” in Benin to mark the 60th birthday of the secretary to the state government of Edo, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, Falana said that immunity did not also extend to electoral fraud.
Falana urged Nigeria’s senate president, Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu to face the forgery charges against them rather than politicking about it, saying “they have no immunity to dodge the charges against them.’’
Falana said that according to the Supreme Court ruling, there was no longer absolute immunity therefore governors involved in criminal charges, including the leadership of the National Assembly must face the law.
He faulted the invitation extended to the attorney general of the Federation, Abubakar Malani by the leadership of the senate over the forgery allegation against the senate president and his deputy.
President Muhammadu Buhari does not agree with this view, however. Last week, the president apologised to the Nigerian senate for the spite by Mr. Malani and said that his appointees are all answerable to the legislative arm of government.
“The senate is now politicising the issue, saying it is political victimization but not that the offence was not committed.
“As leaders of the National Assembly, you are supposed to be above board and that is even the more reason you must be careful.
“But I want to remind the senate that the attorney general of the Federation is only answerable to his boss, who is the president and nobody else.
“The same thing applies to the states, so there is no longer absolute immunity in this country.
“And that is why what is happening in Ekiti today about money found in a bank and the governor is saying it is illegal to freeze his account that is not true.
“Any issue that is criminal in nature must be treated as such,” he declared.
Falana went on to describe Ihonvbere as a resourceful Nigerian, who fought doggedly for the nation’s democracy.
Gov. Adams Oshiomhole, the minister of Niger Delta affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru, speaker of the Edo State house of assembly, Elizabeth Ativie and other members of the state executive council were present at the occasion.