by Ameh Comrade Godwin,
Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN); and elder statesman, Chief Niyi Akintola have strongly condemned the proposed life pension and immunity for National Assembly leaders.
The immunity and life pension for the presiding officers were proposed by some senators at a retreat on constitution review, organised by the Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Constitution Review in Lagos on Saturday.
Reacting, however, Falana said the proposal at a time many state governments were unable to pay workers’ salaries depicted high level of insensitivity.
The senior advocate added, “The proposals for immunity and life pension for the principal officers of the National Assembly are insensitive, irrational and immoral.
“Indeed, it is the height of insensitivity for legislators to propose life pension for their leaders at a time that workers are owed arrears of salaries in many states of the federation.
“The proposal to confer immunity on legislators is provocative, to say the least. No serious nation can grant immunity to legislators who have been linked with criminal diversion of public funds, forgery and rape.
“We can assure the concerned members of the public that the satanic proposals of the legislators will not succeed. It is pertinent to inform the legislators that the members of the human rights community have resolved to mobilise the Nigerian people to reject both proposals.”
On his part, Akintola said, “I don’t think any reasonable person should be demanding immunity for legislators. I don’t know anywhere else it is done. In fact, in some countries, even the President and Vice-President are not immune against corruption. Some Nigerians always want to do things in an absurd way.
“Nigerian public will rise against it. Every right thinking Nigerians should rise against it.”
Akintola recommended “regulated pension without any allowance but just the basic salary” for the presiding officers that had spent a minimum of three terms of 12 years in the National Assembly.