Since yesterday, following the freezing of Governor Ayodele Fayose’s account by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, many are brushing up their knowledge of the immunity clause exempting some public officials from prosecution while in office.
Section 308 of our constitution addressed some of the issues raised by both parties, but the courts will have to do the interpretations.
Here’s section 308: “Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Constitution, but subject to Subsection (2) of this section:
“No civil or criminal proceedings shall be instituted or continued against a person to whom this section applies during his period of office.
“A person to whom this section applies shall not be arrested or imprisoned during that period either in pursuance of the process of any court or otherwise; and
“No process of any court requiring or compelling the appearance of a person to whom this section applies, shall be applied for or issued;
“Provided that in ascertaining whether any period of limitation has expired for the purposes of any proceedings against a person to whom this section applies, no account shall be taken of his period of office.
“The provisions of subsection(1) of this section shall not apply to civil proceedings against a person to whom this section applies in his official capacity or to civil or criminal proceedings in which such a person is only a nominal party.
“This Section applies to a person holding the office of President or vice president, Governor or deputy Governor; and the reference in this section to “period of office” is a reference to the period during which the person holding such office is required to perform the functions of the office.”