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The House of Representatives has steered away from the Senate’s decisions on the constitution amendment by removing the immunity that bars presidents and governors from prosecution, and rejected the Senate’s plan for a single term of six years for the leaders.

In its constitution amendment report tabled on Thursday, the House retained the current two terms of four years each for presidents and governors, and turned down a proposal for a post office pension plan for the Senate President and the Speaker of the House.

The pension plans were part of the Senate’s submissions in June, but remains unapproved as the Senate has yet to debate the clauses of the its constitution amendment.

If the legislation had passed, current Senate President David Mark and House Speaker Aminu Tambuwal would be the first beneficiaries provided they are not impeached out of office.

The House did not state whether it considered the proposal before rejecting it, or whether it never came up throughout the process that has lasted more than one year.

But in far-reaching proposals that also remain subject to confirmation of the entire House, concurrence by the Senate and at least 24 state Houses of Assembly, the House constitution review committee said the immunity promotes impunity and should go.

“In line with the results from the Peoples’ Public Sessions, the Committee also removed the immunity from prosecution from criminal offences for persons occupying the position of president, vice president, governor and deputy governor, and to stem impunity levels,” the report said.

The House has also barred the president and governors from altering existing laws, and introduced a constitutional role for traditional rulers.

Under the House plan, local government will also enjoy absolute autonomy from their often predatory state authorities as elections will henceforth be held as due, and the third tier will enjoy direct funding from the federal government.

Elections to the local government councils will also be conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission as the state electoral commissions will be abolished.

The House, however, agreed with the Senate that the offices of the Attorney General, Minister of Justice, Accountant General and Auditor General, be separated.

Both chambers have also rejected the creation of new states, saying none of the dozens of proposals sent in across the country met the statutory requirements.

The proposals are to be considered on a later date, the House said.

Nigerian Telegraph

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