Senatorial Candidate of the United Democratic Party, UDP, for Abia North district, Chief Charles Ude, has called for the removal of the immunity clause from the constitution.
He said doing so would make it difficult for corrupt governors to personalise and divert funds meant for the development of their states.
Ude, who stated this weekend in an interview with DAILY POST in Abuja, was reacting to the Appellate Court’s reduction of jail terms for two ex-governors, Joshua Dariye and Jolly Nyame.
Recall that Justice Stephen Adah in a unanimous decision of the Court of Appeal reduce Dariye’s jail-term from 14 to 10 years. He was a two-term governor of Plateau state.
Similarly, Justice Abdul Aboki-led Appeal Court panel slashed Nyame’s sentence from 14 to 12 years. Like Dariye, he was a two-term governor of Taraba state.
Speaking, Ude faulted the delay in the prosecution and sentencing of the governors who both left office 11 years ago.
He regretted that though the jail terms were fair for the more than 20 charges brought against each of the governors, the people were denied prompt justice because of the immunity Dariye and Nyame enjoyed at the time when they diverted their state funds.
He insisted that without the immunity clause in the constitution, more governors would apply greater sense of responsibility in the handling of the people’s commonwealth.
“I hope the appropriate institutions will see the need, through Dariye and Nyame’s cases, to remove the immunity clause from our constitution.
“It will go a long way in making those who hold public offices as governors and president not to see the funds of their states as their own. It will promote some responsibility in governance,” he said.
Ude went further to fault the jail term reductions on the ground of the governors being ‘first time’ offenders, saying the law does not capture that idea in criminal cases.
He said: “If you look at the reduction of the terms given the analyses of the Appellate Court that they were first time offenders, you will but wonder.
“There is nothing like that in law in criminal cases. If it were murder trial would the Court have said the governors were first time murderers?
“Again, I think in a case of conspiracy a governor alone cannot to down. There should be other people involved but I wonder how they managed to let them off the hook.
“But for more than 20 charges against the governors, I think the jail terms were fair,” he concluded.