Dr Kayode Ajulo, a Constitutional Lawyer says Vice President Yemi Osinbajo cannot waive his constitutional immunity for adjudication of claims of libel and malicious falsehood against his person in the court
Ajulo told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja against the backdrop of an alleged falsehood peddled in a newspaper by Mr. Timi Frank and Mr. Katch Onanuju against Osinbajo.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Osinbajo said he had instructed the commencement of legal action against two individuals who put their names to the odious falsehood.
Ajulo, however, said that the provisions of Section 308 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended frowns at it.
According to him, the implication of the foregoing provision of the law is that the person holding the office does not have the right to waive the immunity.
“Because any of such waivers is ineffective as the immunity is not that of the person holding the office but of that particular office he represents during the tenure of the office.
The lawyer said that the position further found backing in the use of the word “shall” which was the operative word in the section which admitted no discretion whatsoever.
He said that the immunity granted to Osinbaji prescribed an absolute prohibition on the courts from entertaining any proceedings and civil or criminal in respect of any claim or relief against him.
According to him, no question of waiver of the relevant immunity by the incumbent of the office concerned or indeed by the courts may therefore arise.
“The court has laid it down as a rule that the time a person spends in office will not be reckoned with in the calculation of time for the purpose of the statute of limitation,’’ he said.
Ajulo said the immunity clause remained of great antiquity in Nigeria’s nascent constitutional law jurisprudence.
He said that the vestige of the doctrine of immunity in favor of the occupier of offices had always been a consistent feature of each successive constitutions of Nigeria.
Ajulo, however, said that the only option available to the vice president in his bid to waive his immunity was to resign, adding that “Nigeria is not yet tired of the services of Osinbajo’’.