oa The Constitution - Constitutional immunity, state actors and governance

Volume 7, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1595-5753



The main objective of this article is to examine the immunity clause in section 308 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 which shields the President, Vice-President, Governors and Deputy-Governors from any civil and criminal proceedings while in office. It undertakes an historical survey into the reason for the entrenchment of the provision into some versions of the Nigerian Constitution and the current degree of abuses to which the section is being subjected by the Chief Executives of the State. Relying on primary and secondary sources of information, the article argues about whether the section on immunity should be expunged or drastically amended in view of its adverse effects on the quality of leadership, degree of accountability of the Chief Executives and the rule of law. The argument draws from the current international dimension to the application of the doctrine of sovereign immunity that Chief Executives and other State officials no matter their influence, no longer enjoy absolute immunity in respect of criminal liabilities.

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