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BENEFICIARY OF IMMUNITY CLAUSE CAN SUE – NIGERIAN CONSTITUTION

Dictum

Ayoola, J.S.C. in Tinubu v. IMB Securities Plc (supra) at 721-722 where the following view is expressed: “Thirdly, I am unable to construe a provision of the Constitution that granted an immunity such as section 308(1) as also constituting a disability on the person granted immunity when there is no provision to that effect, either expressly or by necessary implication in the enactment. If makers of the Constitution had wanted to prohibit a person holding the offices stated in section 308 from instituting or continuing action instituted against any other person during his period of office, nothing would have been easier to provide expressly that: ‘no civil or criminal proceeding shall be instituted against any person by a person to whom this section applies during his period of office and no civil or criminal proceedings shall be instituted or continued against such a person during his period in office’ or in like terms. The makers of the Constitution in their wisdom did not so provide.”

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IMMUNITY OF THE PRESIDENT & GOVERNOR & THEIR VICE

It is very clear that section 308(1)(a) of the 1999 Constitution confers on the President, Vice-President, Governor or Deputy Governor, absolute immunity against the institution of civil or criminal proceedings or the continuation of such civil or criminal proceedings against the President or Vice-President, Governor or Deputy Governor, as long as they remain in office as such. It follows therefore that where an action or proceeding had been instituted prior to the person assuming the relevant office, such action or proceeding cannot be continued against the occupant of the relevant office during his tenure in the said office-see Tinubu v. I.M.B. Securities Plc (2001) 16 NWLR (Pt. 740) 670 at 708.

– Onnoghen, J.S.C. GEC v. DUKE (2007)

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IMMUNITY CLAUSE DOES NOT BAN THE BENEFICIARY FROM SUING – NIGERIAN CONSTITUTION

What does section 308 say? What is the real meaning of the section? Section 308 only bars or prohibits a person from instituting civil or criminal proceedings against the respondent. The section does not say that the respondent, who comes under subsection (3) cannot sue for any wrong done him. In other words, while the section bars any person to sue the respondent, it is silent in respect of the right of the respondent to sue for a wrong done him. It will be wrong to say that the silence of the section anticipates that the respondent cannot sue.

– Niki Tobi, J.S.C. GEC v. DUKE (2007)

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A GOVERNOR OR DEPUTY GOVERNOR CAN SUE

There is NOTHING and I repeat NOTHING PREVENTING a Governor or Deputy Governor from taking out a writ of summons or originating summons or better put, suing anybody whilst still in office.

– ADEREMI, J.S.C. GEC v. DUKE (2007)

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