Stop drifting from democratic course, MURIC tells lawmakers

THE Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has urged lawmakers to avoid widening the gap between them and the electorate by adhering to international best practices in parliamentary matters.

MURIC gave the advice in a reaction to Tuesday’s debate of the House of Representatives of a bill seeking immunity for principal officers of the House.

The group, in a statement by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, condemned the bill which it tagged an attempt to shield lawmakers from the law made by them.

Describing it as despicable, MURIC said the bill, coming at a time when the leadership of the National Assembly (NASS) is facing trial over criminal charges, was suspect.

“The proposed bill is self-serving and politically motivated. Its authors seek to gain from the bend what they could not get from the straight. This bill belongs to the dustbin of history.

“The NASS is taking Nigerians for a ride. We will not allow that to happen. The bill is a reactionary measure. It is designed to take Nigeria back to the Stone Age. Bothered by the concentration of too much power being wielded by presidents, democracies around the world are seeking to remove immunity even from the executive.

“The supreme court of Guatemala successfully stripped its president of immunity in September 2015. How can Nigerian legislators turn themselves into tin gods at a time like this? It had better not be. Whoever wants to enjoy the immunity clause should go to his state and contest for governorship,” the group said.

Stating that it was aware that in 2013, a committee of the House recommended the expunging of the immunity clause for the president and the vice president, the group wondered what had changed between then and now in the disposition of the lawmakers to checking lawlessness.

“It is a calculated assault on two of the basic principles of democracy, namely, probity and accountability. The masses are being skinned alive. First, we cannot hold the executive arm of government accountable until after the end of its tenure and now, the legislature wants to dig in deep.

“It is not only daylight robbery but also an attempt to subject the citizenry to the tyranny of Draconian legislation. Those who make the law must submit themselves to the same law. Only thus can they have a taste of the pudding,” MURIC added.

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