Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has no constitutional right to waive his immunity, a Lagos-based lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, has said.
He also said that Osinbajo can be probed without him waiving his immunity because “immunity under Section 308 of the constitution does not extend to a criminal investigation by law enforcement agencies.”
Osinbajo had on Wednesday threatened he would waive his constitutional immunity to pave the way for the “most robust adjudication” over an allegation that he took N90 billion from the Federal Inland Revenue Service for the 2019 general elections campaign.
Timi Frank, a former deputy national publicity secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) levelled the allegation against Osinbajo.
But Effiong, responding to Osinbajo’s vow, said in a statement that “based on the extant constitutional regime, the Vice-President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, cannot waive his immunity. The Supreme Court decided in 2001 in the case of Tinubu v. I. M. B. Securities Plc that the constitutional immunity under Section 308 of the constitution cannot be waived by the persons to whom the provision is meant to protect.
“In the said Tinubu’s case, former Governor Bola Tinubu decided to waive his immunity to defend a civil claim initiated against him. The Supreme Court barred the then governor of Lagos State from proceeding with the suit.”
According to the lawyer, immunity does not cover one from the investigation, adding that there was no need for one to waive immunity in order to be probed by a law enforcement agency.
He added, “I wish to state that the immunity under Section 308 of the Constitution does not extend to criminal investigation by law enforcement agencies. This was the position taken by the Supreme Court in 2002 in the celebrated case of Chief Gani Fawehinmi v. Inspector General of Police.
“Provided the investigation does not result in the arrest or detention of the Vice President or compelling his appearance, he can be investigated.”
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