Nigerian Law Resources

Nigerian Law, Nigerian Legal Articles, Legal eBooks & Books on Nigeria

Nigerian Law Resources Search Engine

The Three-tier Nigerian Legislature [Nigerian Law]

The Three-tier Nigerian Legislature

By Leesi Ebenezer Mitee

Nigeria has a three-tier legislature: National Assembly (Federal Government), State House of Assembly (State Government), and Local Government Legislative Councils (Local Government). The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 contains provisions regulating the National Assembly (made up of a Senate and a House of Representatives) and the House of Assembly of a State. It empowers each State to make appropriate Local Government Laws which must contain provisions regulating its Legislative Councils.

In Akpan v Umah (2002) FWLR (Part 110) 1820 at 1837 – 1838, the Court of Appeal held that a combined reading of sections 4(6), 4(7)(b) and (c) and 7(1) of the 1999 Constitution leaves no one in doubt that the State House of Assembly is the only arm of Government of a State that is vested exclusively with legislative power to make law for the system of Local Government in a State which provides for democratically elected Local Government Councils. For instance, the Rivers State House of Assembly, pursuant to the said section 7(1), enacted the Rivers State Local Government Law 1999, which came into force on 1 October 1999 by virtue of section 143 thereof. Section 14 of the said Law provides:

14. (1) The Legislative Council of each Local Government is hereby declared to be the Legislature of that Local Government Area.

(2) Accordingly, the legislative powers of a Local Government shall be exercised by the Local Government Legislative Council.

Legislative Powers

Section 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 defines the legislative powers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and those of each State of the Federation as follows:

4. (1) The legislative powers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be vested in a National Assembly for the Federation which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives.

(2) The National Assembly shall have power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Federation or any part thereof with respect to any matter included in the Exclusive Legislative List set out in Part I of the Second Schedule to this Constitution.

(3) The power of the National Assembly to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Federation with respect to any matter included in the Exclusive Legislative List shall, save as otherwise provided in this Constitution, be to the exclusion of the Houses of Assembly of States.

(4) In addition and without prejudice to the powers conferred by subsection (2) of this section, the National Assembly shall have power to make laws with respect to the following matters, that is to say –

(a) any matter in the Concurrent Legislative List set out in the first column of Part II of the Second Schedule to this Constitution to the extent prescribed in the second column opposite thereto; and

(b) any other matter with respect to which it is empowered to make laws in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.

(5) If any Law enacted by the House of Assembly of a State is inconsistent with any law validly made by the National Assembly, the law made by the National Assembly shall prevail, and that other Law shall to the extent of the inconsistency be void.

(6) The legislative powers of a State of the Federation shall be vested in the House of Assembly of the State.

(7) The House of Assembly of state shall have power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the State or any part thereof with respect to the following matters, that is to say –

(a) any matter not included in the Exclusive Legislative List set out in Part I of the Second Schedule to this Constitution;

(b) any matter included in the Concurrent Legislative List set out in the first column of Part II of the Second Schedule to this Constitution to the extent prescribed in the second column opposite thereto; and

(c) any other matter with respect to which it is empowered to make laws in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.

(8) Save as otherwise provided by this Constitution, the exercise of legislative powers by the National Assembly or by a House of Assembly shall be subject to the jurisdiction of courts of law and of judicial tribunals established by law, and accordingly, the National Assembly or a House of Assembly shall not enact any law that ousts or purports to oust the jurisdiction of a court of law or of a judicial tribunal established by law.

(9) Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, the National Assembly or a House of Assembly shall not, in relation to any criminal offence whatsoever, have power to make any law which shall have retrospective effect.

Unfortunately, unlike the Federal Government and State Government, there is no express constitutional provision on the legislative powers of Local Governments under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, just like its predecessor – Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1979. Local Government Legislative Councils operate under different Local Government Laws enacted by each State of the Federation.

National Assembly

Sections 47 – 89 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999:

A – Composition and Staff of National Assembly

Establishment of the National Assembly

47. There shall be a National Assembly for the Federation which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives.

Composition of the Senate

48. The Senate shall consist of three Senators from each State and one from the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Composition of the House of Representatives

49. Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the House of Representatives shall consist of three hundred and sixty members representing constituencies of nearly equal population as far as possible, provided that no constituency shall fall within more than one State.

President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives

50. (1) There shall be –

(a)  a President and a Deputy President of the Senate, who shall be elected by the members of that House from among  themselves; and

(b)  a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves.

(2) The President or Deputy President of the Senate or the Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives shall vacate his office –

(a)  if he ceases to be a member of the Senate or of the House of Representatives, as the case may be, otherwise than by reason of a dissolution of the Senate or the House of Representatives; or

(b)  when the House of which he was a member first sits after any dissolution of that House; or

(c)  if he is removed from office by a resolution of the Senate or of the House of Representatives, as the case may be, by the votes of not less that two-thirds majority of the members of that House.

Staff of the National Assembly

51. There shall be a Clerk to the National Assembly and such other staff as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly, and the method of appointment of the Clerk and other staff of the National Assembly shall be as prescribed by that Act.

B – Procedure for Summoning and Dissolution of National Assembly

Declaration of assets and liabilities; oaths of members. Seventh Schedule.

52. (1) Every member of the Senate or the House of Representatives shall, before taking his seat, declare his assets and liabilities as prescribed in this Constitution and subsequently take and subscribe the Oath of Allegiance and the oath of membership as prescribed in the Seventh Schedule to this Constitution before the President of the Senate or, as the case may be, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, but a member may before taking the oaths take part in the election of a President and a Deputy President of the Senate, as the case may be, or a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.

(2) The President and Deputy President of the Senate and the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives shall declare their assets and liabilities as prescribed in this Constitution and subsequently take and subscribe the Oath of Allegiance and the oath of membership prescribed as aforesaid before the Clerk of the National Assembly.

Presiding at sittings of the National Assembly and at joint sittings

53. (1) At any sitting of the National Assembly –

(a)  in the case of the Senate, the President of the Senate shall preside, and in his absence the Deputy President shall preside; and

(b)  in the case of the House of Representatives, the Speaker of that House shall preside, and in his absence the Deputy Speaker shall preside.

(2) At any joint sitting of the Senate and House of Representatives –

(a)  the President of Senate shall preside, and in his absence the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall preside; and

(b)  in the absence of the persons mentioned in paragraph (a) of this subsection, the Deputy President of the Senate shall preside, and in his absence the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives shall preside.

(3) In the absence of the persons mentioned in the foregoing provisions of this section, such member of the Senate or the House of Representatives or of the joint sitting, as the case may be, as the Senate or the House of Representatives or the joint sitting may elect for that purpose shall preside.

54. (1) The quorum of the Senate or of the House of Representatives shall be one-third of all the members of the legislative house concerned.

(2) The quorum of a joint sitting of both the Senate and the House of Representatives shall be one-third of all the members of both Houses.

(3) If objection is taken by any member of the Senate or of the House of Representatives present that there are present in the House of which he is a member (besides the person presiding) fewer than one-third of all the members of that House and that it is not competent for the House to transact business, and after such interval as may be prescribed in the rules of procedure of the House, the person presiding ascertains that the number of members present is still less than one-third of all the members of the House, he shall adjourn the House.

(4) The foregoing provisions of this section shall apply in relation to a joint sitting of both Houses of the National Assembly as they apply in relation to a House of the National Assembly as if references to the Senate or the House of Representatives and to a member of either Houses are references to both Houses and to any member of the National Assembly, respectively.

Languages

55. The business of the National Assembly shall be conducted in English, and in Hausa, Ibo and Yoruba when adequate arrangements have been made therefor.

Voting

56. (1) Except as otherwise provided by this Constitution, any question proposed for decision in the Senate or the House of Representatives shall be determined by the required majority of the members present and voting; and the person presiding shall cast a vote whenever necessary to avoid an equality of votes but shall not vote in any other case.

(2) Except as otherwise provided by this Constitution, the required majority for the purpose of determining any question shall be a simple majority.

(3) The Senate or the House of Representatives shall by its rules provide –

(a)  that a member of the House shall declare any direct pecuniary interest he may have in any matter coming before the House for deliberation;

(b)  that the House may by resolution decide whether or not such member may vote, or participate in its deliberations, on such matter;

(c)  the penalty, if any, which the House may impose for failure to declare any direct pecuniary interest such member may have; and

(d)  for such other matters pertaining to the foregoing as the House may think necessary, but nothing in the foregoing provisions shall enable any rules to be made to require any member, who signified his intention not to vote on or participate in such matter, and who does not so vote or participate, to declare  any such interest.

Unqualified person sitting or voting

57. Any person who sits or votes in the Senate or the House of Representatives knowing or having reasonable grounds for knowing that he is not entitled to do so commits an offence and is liable on conviction to such punishment as shall be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.

Mode of exercising Federal legislative power: general

58. (1) The power of the National Assembly to make laws shall be exercised by bills passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives and, except as otherwise provided by subsection (5) of this section, assented to by the President.

(2) A bill may originate in either the Senate or the House of Representatives and shall not become law unless it has been passed and, except as otherwise provided by this section and section 59 of this Constitution, assented to in accordance with the provisions of this section.

(3) Where a bill has been passed by the House in which it originated, it shall be sent to the other House, and it shall be presented to the President for assent when it has been passed by that other House and agreement has been reached between the two Houses on any amendment made on it.

(4) Where a bill is presented to the President for assent, he shall within thirty days thereof signify that her assents or that he withholds assent.

(5) Where the President withholds his assent and the bill is again passed by each House by two-thirds majority, the bill shall become law and the assent of the President shall not be required.

Mode of exercising Federal legislative power: money bills

59. (1) The provisions of this section shall apply to –

(a)  an appropriation bill or a supplementary appropriation bill, including any other bill for the payment, issue or withdrawal from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund of the Federation of any money charged thereon or any alteration in the amount of such a payment, issue or withdrawal; and

(b)  a bill for the imposition of or increase in any tax, duty or fee or any reduction, withdrawal or cancellation thereof.

(2) Where a bill to which this section applies is passed by one of the Houses of the National Assembly but is not passed by the other House within a period of two months from the commencement of a financial year, the President of the Senate shall within fourteen days thereafter arrange for and convene a meeting of the joint finance committee to examine the bill with a view to resolving the differences between the two Houses.

(3) Where the joint finance committee fails to resolve such differences, then the bill shall be presented to the National Assembly sitting at a joint meeting, and if the bill is passed at such joint meeting, it shall be presented to the President for assent.

(4) Where the President, within thirty days after the presentation of the bill to him, fails to signify his assent or where he withholds assent, then the bill shall again be presented to the National Assembly sitting at a joint meeting, and if passed by two-thirds majority of members of both Houses at such joint meeting, the bill shall become law and the assent of the President shall not be required.

(5) In this section, “joint finance committee” refers to the joint committee of the National Assembly on finance established pursuant to section 62(3) of this Constitution.

Regulation of procedure

60. Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the Senate or the House of Representative shall have power to regulate its own procedure, including the procedure for summoning and recess of the House.

Vacancy or participation of strangers not to invalidate proceedings

61. The Senate or the House of Representatives may act notwithstanding any vacancy in its membership, and the presence or participation of any person not entitled to be present at or to participation in the proceedings of the House shall not invalidate those proceedings.

Committees

62. (1) The Senate or the House of Representatives may appoint a committee of its members for such special or general purpose as in its opinion would be better regulated and managed by means of such a committee, and may by resolution, regulation or otherwise, as it thinks fits, delegate any functions exercisable by it to any such committee.

(2) The number of members of a committee appointed under this section, their terms of office and quorum shall be fixed by the House appointing it.

(3) The Senate and the House of Representatives shall appoint a joint committee on finance consisting of an equal number of persons appointed by each House and may appoint any other joint committee under the provisions of this section.

(4) Nothing in the section shall be construed as authorising such House to delegate to a committee the power to decide whether a bill shall be passed into law or to determine any matter which it is empowered to determine by resolution under the provisions of this Constitution, but the committee may be authorised to make recommendations to the House in any such matter.

Sitting

63. The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each sit for a period of not less than one hundred and eighty-one days in a year.

Dissolution and issue of proclamation by President

64. (1) The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each stand dissolved at the expiration of a period of four years commencing from the date of the first sitting of the House.

(2) if the Federation is at war in which the territory of Nigeria is physically involved and the President considers that it is not practicable to hold elections, the National Assembly may by resolution extend the period of four years mentioned in subsection (1) of this section from time to time but not beyond a period of six months at any one time.

(3) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the person elected as the President shall have power to issue a proclamation for the holding of the first session of the National Assembly immediately after his being sworn in, or for its dissolution as provided in this section.

C – Qualifications for Membership of National Assembly and Right of Attendance

Qualifications for election

65. (1) Subject to the provisions of section 66 of this Constitution, a person shall be qualified for election as a member of –

(a)  the Senate, if he is a citizen of Nigeria and has attained the age of thirty-five years; and

(b)  the House of Representatives, if he is a citizen of Nigeria and has attained the age of thirty years;

(2) A person shall be qualified for election under subsection (1) of this section if –

(a)  he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent; and

(b)  he is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that party.

Disqualifications

66. (1) No person shall be qualified for election to the Senate or the House of Representatives if –

(a)  subject to the provisions of section 28 of this Constitution, he has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a country other than Nigeria or, except in such cases as may be prescribed by the National Assembly, has made a declaration of allegiance to such a country;

(b)  under any law in force in any part of Nigeria, he is adjudged to be a lunatic or otherwise declared to be of unsound mind;

(c)  he is under a sentence of death imposed on him by any competent court of law or tribunal in Nigeria or a sentence of imprisonment or fine for an offence involving dishonesty or fraud (by whatever name called) or any other offence imposed on him by such a court or substituted by a competent authority for any other sentence imposed on him by such a court;

(d)  within a period of less than ten years before the date of an election to a legislative house, he has been convicted and sentenced for an offence involving dishonesty or he has been found guilty of a contravention of the Code of Conduct;

(e)  he is an undischarged bankrupt, having been adjudged or otherwise declared bankrupt under any law in force in any part of Nigeria;

(f)   he is a person employed in the public service of the Federation or of any State and has not resigned, withdrawn or retired from such employment thirty days before the date of election;

(g)  he is a member of a secret society;

(h)  he has been indicted for embezzlement or fraud by a Judicial Commission of Inquiry or an Administrative Panel of Inquiry or a Tribunal set up under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act, a Tribunals of Inquiry Law or any other law by the Federal or State Government which indictment has been accepted by the Federal or State Government, respectively; or

(i)  he has presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission.

(2) Where in respect of any person who has been –

(a)  adjudged to be a lunatic;

(b)  declared to be of unsound mind;

(c)  sentenced to death or imprisonment; or

(d)  adjudged or declared bankrupt,

any appeal against the decision is pending in any court of law in accordance with any law in force in Nigeria, subsection (1) of this section shall not apply during a period beginning from the date when such appeal is lodged and ending on the date when the appeal is finally determined or, as the case may be, the appeal lapses or is abandoned, whichever is earlier.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2) of this section, an “appeal” includes any application for an injunction or an order of certiorari, mandamus, prohibition or habeas corpus, or any appeal from any such application.

Right of attendance of President

67. (1) The President may attend any joint meeting of the National Assembly or any meeting of either House of the National Assembly, either to deliver an address on national affairs, including fiscal measures, or to make such statement on the policy of government as he considers to be of national importance.

(2) A Minister of the Government of the Federation shall attend either House of the National Assembly if invited to explain to the House the conduct of his Ministry, and in particular when the affairs of that Ministry are under discussion.

(3) Nothing in this section shall enable any person who is not a member of the Senate or of the House of Representatives to vote in that House or in any of its committees.

Tenure of seat of members

68. (1) A member of the Senate or of the House of Representatives shall vacate his seat in the House of which he is a member if –

(a)  he becomes a member of another legislative house;

(b)  any other circumstances arise that, if he were not a member of the Senate or the House of Representatives, would cause him to be disqualified for election as a member;

(c)  he ceases to be a citizen of Nigeria;

(d)  he becomes President, Vice-President, Governor, Deputy Governor or a Minister of the Government of the Federation or a Commissioner of the Government of a State or a Special Adviser;

(e)  save as otherwise prescribed by this Constitution, he becomes a member of a commission or other body established by this Constitution or by any other law;

(f)   without just cause he is absent from meetings of the House of which he is a member for a period amounting in the aggregate to more than one-third of the total number of days during which the House meets in any one year;

(g)  being a person whose election to the House was sponsored by a political party, he becomes a member of another political party before the expiration of the period for which that House was elected;

Provided that his membership of the latter political party is not as a result of a division in the political party of which he was previously a member or of a merger of two or more political parties or factions by one of which he was previously sponsored; or

(h)  the President of the Senate or, as the case may be, the Speaker of the House of Representatives receives a certificate under the hand of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission stating that the provisions of section 69 of this Constitution have been complied with in respect of the recall of that member.

(2) The President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives, as the case may be, shall give effect to the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, so however that the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives or a member shall first present evidence satisfactory to the House concerned that any of the provisions of that subsection has become applicable in respect of that member.

(3) A member of the Senate or of the House of Representatives shall be deemed to be absent without just cause from a meeting of the House of which he is a member, unless the person presiding certifies in writing that he is satisfied that the absence of the member from the meeting was for a just cause.

Recall

69. A member of the Senate or of the House of Representatives may be recalled as such a member if –

(a)  there is presented to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission a petition in that behalf signed by more than one-half of the persons registered to vote in that member’s constituency alleging their loss of confidence in that member; and

(b)  the petition is thereafter, in a referendum conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission within ninety days of the date of receipt of the petition, approved by a simple majority of the votes of the persons registered to vote in that member’s constituency.

Remuneration

70. A member of the Senate or of the House of Representatives shall receive such salary and other allowances as the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission may determine.

D – Elections to National Assembly

Senatorial districts and Federal constituencies

71. Subject to the provisions of section 72 of this Constitution, the Independent National Electoral Commission shall –

(a)  divide each State of the Federation into three Senatorial districts for purposes of elections to the Senate; and

(b)  subject to the provisions of section 49 of this Constitution, divide the Federation into three hundred and sixty Federal constituencies for purposes of elections to the House of Representatives.

Size of Senatorial districts and Federal constituencies

72. No Senatorial district or Federal constituency shall fall within more than one State, and the boundaries of each district or constituency shall be as contiguous as possible and be such that the number of inhabitants thereof is as nearly equal to the population quota as is reasonably practicable.

Periodical review of Senatorial districts and Federal constituencies

73. (1) The Independent National Electoral Commission shall review the division of States and of the Federation into Senatorial districts and Federal constituencies at intervals of not less than ten years, and may alter the districts or constituencies in accordance with the provisions of this section to such extent as it may consider desirable in the light of the review.

(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1) of this section, the Independent National Electoral Commission may at any time carry out such a review and alter the districts or constituencies in accordance with the provisions of this section to such extent as it considers necessary, in consequence of any amendment to section 3 of this Constitution or any provision replacing that section, or by reason of the holding of a census of the population, or pursuant to an Act of the National Assembly.

Time when alteration of Senatorial districts or Federal Constituencies take effect

74. Where the boundaries of any Senatorial district or Federal constituency established under section 71 of this Constitution are altered in accordance with the provisions of section 73 hereof, that alteration shall come into effect after it has been approved by each House of the National Assembly and after the current life of the Senate (in the case of an alteration to the boundaries of a Senatorial district) or the House of Representatives (in the case of an alteration to the boundaries of a Federal constituency).

Ascertainment of population

75. For the purposes of section 72 of this Constitution, the number of inhabitants of Nigeria or any part thereof shall be ascertained by reference to the 1991 census of the population of Nigeria or the latest census held in pursuance of an Act of the National Assembly after the coming into force of the provisions of this Part of this Chapter of this Constitution.

Time of election to the National Assembly

76. (1) Elections to each House of the National Assembly shall be held on a date to be appointed by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

(2) The date mentioned in subsection (1) of this section shall not be earlier than sixty days before and not later than the date on which the House stands dissolved, or where the election is to fill a vacancy occurring more than three months before such date, not later than one month after the vacancy occurred.

Direct election and franchise

77. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, every Senatorial district or Federal constituency established in accordance with the provisions of this Part of this Chapter shall return one member who shall be directly elected to the Senate or the House of Representatives in such manner as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.

(2) Every citizen of Nigeria, who has attained the age of eighteen years residing in Nigeria at the time of the registration of voters for purposes of election to a legislative house, shall be entitled to be registered as a voter for that election.

Supervision of election

78. The registration of voters and the conduct of the elections shall be subject to the direction and supervision of the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Power of the National Assembly as to Determination of certain questions

79. The National Assembly shall make provisions as respects –

(a) persons who may apply to an election tribunal for the determination of any question as to whether –

(i)  any person has been validly elected as a member of the Senate or of the House of Representatives,

(ii)  the term of office of any person has ceased, or

(iii)  the seat in the Senate or in the House of Representatives of a member of that House has become vacant;

(b)  circumstances and manner in which, and the conditions upon which, such application may be made; and

(c)  powers, practice and procedure of the election tribunal in relation to any such application.

E – Powers and Control over Public Funds

Establishment of Consolidated Revenue Fund

80. (1) All revenues or other moneys raised or received by the Federation (not being revenues or other moneys payable under this Constitution or any Act of the National Assembly into any other public fund of the Federation established for a specific purpose) shall be paid into and form one Consolidated Revenue  Fund of the Federation.

(2) No moneys shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation except to meet expenditure that is charged upon the fund by this Constitution or where the issue of those moneys has been authorised by an Appropriation Act, Supplementary Appropriation Act or an Act passed in pursuance of section 81 of this Constitution.

(3) No moneys shall be withdrawn from any public fund of the Federation, other than the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation, unless the issue of those moneys has been authorised by an Act of the National Assembly.

(4) No moneys shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund of the Federation, except in the manner prescribed by the National Assembly.

Authorisation of expenditure from Consolidated Revenue Fund

81. (1) The President shall cause to be prepared and laid before each House of the National Assembly at any time in each financial year estimates of the revenues and expenditure of the Federation for the next following financial year.

(2) The heads of expenditure contained in the estimates (other than expenditure charged upon the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation by this Constitution) shall be included in a bill, to be known as an Appropriation Bill, providing for the issue from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the sums necessary to meet that expenditure and the appropriation of those sums for the purposes specified therein.

(3) Any amount standing to the credit of the judiciary in the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation shall be paid directly to the National Judicial Council for disbursement to the heads of the courts established for the Federation and the States under section 6 of this Constitution.

(4) If in respect of any financial year it is found that –

(a)  the amount appropriated by the Appropriation Act for any purpose is insufficient; or

(b)  a need has arisen for expenditure for a purpose for which no amount has been appropriated by the Act,

a supplementary estimate showing the sums required shall be laid before each House of the National Assembly and the heads of any such expenditure shall be included in a Supplementary Appropriation Bill.

Authorisation of expenditure in default of appropriations

82. If the Appropriation Bill in respect of any financial year has not been passed into law by the beginning of the financial year, the President may authorise the withdrawal of moneys from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation for the purpose of meeting expenditure necessary to carry on the services of the Government of the Federation for a period not exceeding six months or until the coming into operation of the Appropriation Act, which is the earlier:

Provided that the withdrawal in respect of any such period shall not exceed the amount authorised to be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation under the provisions of the Appropriation Act passed by the National Assembly for the corresponding period in the immediately preceding financial year, being an amount proportionate to the total amount so authorised for the immediately preceding financial year.

Contingencies Fund

83. (1) The National Assembly may by law make provisions for the establishment of a Contingencies Fund for the Federation and for authorising the President, if satisfied that there has arisen an urgent and unforeseen need for expenditure for which no other provision exists, to make advances from the Fund to meet the need.

(2) Where any advance is made in accordance with the provisions of this section, a Supplementary Estimate shall be presented and a Supplementary Appropriation Bill shall be introduced as soon as possible for the purpose of replacing the amount so advanced.

Remuneration, etc. of the President and certain other officers

84. (1) There shall be paid to the holders of the offices mentioned in this section such remuneration, salaries and allowances as may be prescribed by the National Assembly, but not exceeding the amount as shall have been determined by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission.

(2) The remuneration, salaries and allowances payable to the holders of the offices so mentioned shall be a charged upon the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation.

(3) The remuneration and salaries payable to the holders of the said offices and their conditions of service, other than allowances, shall not be altered to their disadvantage after their appointment.

(4) The offices aforesaid are the offices of President, Vice-President, Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice of the Supreme Court, President of the Court of Appeal, Justice of the Court of Appeal, Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Judge of the Federal High Court, Chief Judge and Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Chief Judge of a State, Judge of the High Court of a State, Grand Kadi and Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, President and Judge of the Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Grand Kadi and Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of a State, President and Judge of the Customary Court of Appeal of a State, the Auditor-General for the Federation and the Chairmen and members of the following executive bodies, namely, the Code of Conduct Bureau, the Federal Civil Service Commission, the Independent National Electoral Commission, the National Judicial Council, the Federal Judicial Service Commission, the Judicial Service Committee of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, the Federal Character Commission, the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the National Population Commission, the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, the Nigeria Police Council and the Police Service Commission.

(5) Any person who has held office as President or Vice-President shall be entitled to pension for life at a rate equivalent to the annual salary of the incumbent President or Vice-President:

Provided that such a person was not removed from office by the process of impeachment or for breach of any provisions of this Constitution.

(6) Any pension granted by virtue of subsection (5) of this section shall be a charge upon the Consolidate Revenue Fund of the Federation.

(7) The recurrent expenditure of judicial offices in the Federation (in addition to salaries and allowances of the judicial officers mentioned in subsection (4) of this section) shall be a charge upon the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation.

Audit of public accounts

85. (1) There shall be an Auditor-General for the Federation who shall be appointed in accordance with the provisions of section 86 of this Constitution.

(2) The public accounts of the Federation and of all offices and courts of the Federation shall be audited and reported on by the Auditor-General who shall submit his reports to the National Assembly; and for that purpose, the Auditor-General or any person authorised by him in that behalf shall have access to all the books, records, returns and other documents relating to those accounts.

(3) Nothing in subsection (2) of this section shall be construed as authorising the Auditor-General to audit the accounts of or appoint auditors for government statutory corporations, commissions, authorities, agencies, including all persons and bodies established by an Act of the National Assembly, but the Auditor-General shall –

(a)  provide such bodies with –

(i)  a list of auditors qualified to be appointed by them as external auditors and from which the bodies shall appoint their external auditors, and

(ii)  guidelines on the level of fees to be paid to external auditors; and

(b) comment on their annual accounts and auditor’s reports thereon.

(4) The Auditor-General shall have power to conduct periodic checks of all government statutory corporations, commissions, authorities, agencies, including all persons and bodies established by an Act of the National Assembly.

(5)The Auditor-General shall, within ninety days of receipt of the Accountant-General’s financial statement, submit his reports under this section to each House of the National Assembly and each House shall cause the reports to be considered by a committee of the House of the National Assembly responsible for public accounts.

(6) In the exercise of his functions under this Constitution, the Auditor-General shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other authority or person.

Appointment of Auditor-General

86. (1) The Auditor-General for the Federation shall be appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Federal Civil Service Commission subject to confirmation by the Senate.

(2) The power to appoint persons to act in the office of the Auditor-General shall vest in the President.

(3) Except with the sanction of a resolution of the Senate, no person shall act in the office of the Auditor-General for a period exceeding six months.

Tenure of office of Auditor-General

87. (1) A person holding the office of the Auditor-General for the Federation shall be removed from office by the President acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate praying that he be so removed for inability to discharge the functions of his office (whether arising from infirmity of mind or body or any other cause) or for misconduct.

(2) The Auditor-General shall not be removed from office before such retiring age as may be prescribed by law, save in accordance with the provisions of this section.

Power to conduct investigations

88. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, each House of the National Assembly shall have power by resolution published in its journal or in the Official Gazette of the Government of the Federation to direct or cause to be directed an investigation into –

(a)  any matter or thing with respect to which it has power to make laws; and

(b)  the conduct of affairs of any person, authority, Ministry or government department charged, or intended to be charged, with the duty of or responsibility for –

(i)  executing or administering laws enacted by the National Assembly, and

(ii) disbursing or administering moneys appropriated or to be appropriated by the National Assembly.

(2) The power conferred on the National Assembly under the provisions of this section are exercisable only for the purpose of enabling it to –

(a)  make laws with respect to any matter within its legislative competence and correct any defects in existing laws; and

(b) expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws within its legislative competence and in the disbursement or administration of funds appropriated by it.

Power as to matters of evidence

89. (1) For the purposes of any investigation under section 88 of this Constitution and subject to the provisions thereof, the Senate or the House of representatives or a committee appointed in accordance with section 62 of this Constitution shall have power to –

(a) procure all such evidence, written or oral, direct or circumstantial, as it may think necessary or desirable, and examine all persons as witnesses whose evidence may be material or relevant to the subject matter;

(b) require such evidence to be given on oath;

(c) summon any person in Nigeria to give evidence at any place or produce any document or other thing in his possession or under his control, and examine him as a witness and require him to produce any document or other thing in his possession or under his control, subject to all just exceptions; and

(d) issue a warrant to compel the attendance of any person who, after having been summoned to attend, fails, refuses or neglects to do so and does not excuse such failure, refusal or neglect to the satisfaction of the House or the committee in question, and order him to pay all costs which may have been occasioned in compelling his attendance or by reason of his failure, refusal or neglect to obey the summons, and also to impose such fine as may be prescribed for any such failure, refusal or neglect; and any fine so imposed shall be recoverable in the same manner as a fine imposed by a court of law.

(2) A summons or warrant issued under this section may be served or executed by any member of the Nigeria Police Force or by any person authorised in that behalf by the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives, as the case may require.

 

House of Assembly of a State

Sections 90 – 129 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999:

A – Composition and Staff of House of Assembly

Establishment of House of Assembly for each State

90. There shall be a House of Assembly for each of the states of the Federation.

Composition of the House of Assembly

91. Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, a House of Assembly of a State shall consist of three or four times the number of seats which that State has in the House of Representatives divided in a way to reflect, as far as possible, nearly equal population:

Provided that a House of Assembly of a State shall consist of not less than twenty-four and not more than forty members.

Speaker of House of Assembly

92. (1) There shall be a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly who shall be elected by the members of the House from among themselves.

(2) the Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly shall vacate his office –

(a)  if he ceases to be a member of the House of Assembly, otherwise than by reason of the dissolution of the House;

(b)  when the House first sits after any dissolution of the House; or

(c)  if he is removed from office by a resolution of the House of Assembly by the votes of not less than two-thirds majority of the members of the House.

Staff of House of Assembly

93. There shall be a Clerk to a House of Assembly and such other staff as may be prescribed by a Law enacted by the House of Assembly, and the method of appointment of the Clerk and other staff of the House shall be as prescribed by that Law.

B – Procedure for Summoning and Dissolution of House of Assembly

Declaration of asset and liabilities; oaths of members. Seventh Schedule.

94. Every person elected to a House of Assembly shall, before taking his seat in that House, declare his assets and liabilities in the manner prescribed in this Constitution and subsequently take and subscribe before the Speaker of the house, the Oath of Allegiance and oath of membership prescribed in the Seventh Schedule to this Constitution, but a member may, before taking the oaths, take part in the election of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly.

(2) The Speaker and Deputy Speaker of a House of Assembly shall declare their assets and liabilities in the manner prescribed by this Constitution and subsequently take and subscribe the Oath of Allegiance and the oath of membership prescribed as aforesaid before the Clerk of the House of Assembly.

Presiding at sittings

95. (1) At any sitting of a House of Assembly, the Speaker of that House shall preside, and in his absence the Deputy Speaker shall preside.

(2) In the absence of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House, such member of the House as the House may elect for that purpose shall preside.

Quorum

96. (1) The quorum of a House of Assembly shall be one-third of all the members of the House.

(2) If objection is taken by any member of a House of Assembly present that there are present in that House (besides the person presiding) fewer than one-third of all the members of that House and that it is not competent for the House to transact business, and after such interval as may be prescribed in the rules of procedure of the House, the person presiding ascertains that the number of members present is still less than one-third of all the members of the House, he shall adjourn the House.

Languages

97. The business of a House of Assembly shall be conducted in English, but the House may in addition to English conduct the business of the House in one or more other languages spoken in the State as the House may by resolution approve.

Voting

98. (1) Except as otherwise provided by this Constitution, any question proposed for decision in a House of Assembly shall be determined by the required majority of the members present and voting; and the person presiding shall cast a vote whenever necessary to avoid an equality of votes but shall not vote in any other case.

(2) Except as otherwise provided by this Constitution, the required majority for the purpose of determining any question shall be a simple majority.

(3) A House of Assembly shall by its rules provide –

(a)  that a member of the House shall declare any direct pecuniary interest he may have in any matter coming before the House  for deliberation;

(b)  that the House may by resolution decide whether or not such member may vote or participate in  its deliberations, on such matter;

(c)  the penalty, if any, which the House may impose for failure to declare any direct pecuniary interest such member may have; and

(d)  for such other matters pertaining to the foregoing as the House may think necessary,

but nothing in this subsection shall enable any rules to be made to require any member, who signifies his intention not to vote on or participate in such matter, and who does not so vote or participate, to declare any such interest.

Unqualified person sitting or voting

99. Any person who sits or votes in a House of Assembly of a State knowing or having reasonable grounds for knowing that he is not entitled to do so commits an offence and is liable on conviction to such punishment as shall be prescribed by a Law of the House of Assembly.

Mode of exercising legislative power of a State

100. (1) The power of a House of Assembly to make laws shall be exercised by bills passed by the House of Assembly and, except as otherwise provided by this section, assented to by the Governor.

(2) A bill shall not become Law unless it has been duly passed and, subject to subsection (1) of this section, assented to in accordance with the provisions of this section.

(3) Where a bill has been passed by the House of Assembly it shall be presented to the Governor for assent.

(4) Where a bill is presented to the Governor for assent he shall within thirty days thereof signify that he assents or that he withholds assent.

(5) Where the Governor withholds assent and the bill is again passed by the House of Assembly by two-thirds majority, the bill shall become law and the assent of the Governor shall not be required.

Regulation of procedure

101. Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, a House of Assembly shall have power to regulate its own procedure, including the procedure for summoning and recess of the House.

Vacancy or participation of strangers not to invalidate procedure

102. A House of Assembly may act notwithstanding any vacancy in its membership, and the presence or participation of any person not entitled to be present at or to participate in the proceedings of the House shall not invalidate such proceedings.

Committees

103. (1) A House of Assembly may appoint a committee of its members for any special or general purpose as in its opinion would be better regulated and managed by means of such a committee, and may by resolution, regulation or otherwise as it thinks fit delegate any functions exercisable by it to any such committee.

(2) The number of members of a committee appointed under this section, their term of office and quorum shall be fixed by the House of Assembly.

(3) Nothing in this section shall be construed as authorising a House of Assembly to delegate to a committee the power to decide whether a bill shall be passed into Law or to determine any matter which it is empowered to determine by resolution under the provisions of this Constitution, but such a committee of the House may be authorised to make recommendations to the House on any such matter.

Sittings

104. A House of Assembly shall sit for a period of not less than one hundred and eighty-one days in a year.

Dissolution and issue of proclamation by Governor

105. (1) A House of Assembly shall stand dissolved at the expiration of a period of four years commencing from the date of the first sitting of the House.

(2) If the Federation is at war in which the territory of Nigeria is physically involved and the President considers that it is not practicable to hold elections, the National Assembly may by resolution extend the period of four years mentioned in subsection (1) of this section from time to time but not beyond a period of six months at any one time.

(3) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the person elected as the Governor of a State shall have power to issue a proclamation for the holding of the first session of the House of Assembly of the State concerned immediately after his being sworn in, or for its dissolution as provided in this section.

C – Qualification for Membership of House of Assembly and Right of Attendance

Qualifications for election

106. Subject to the provisions of section 107 of this Constitution, a person shall be qualified for election as a member of a House of Assembly if –

(a) he is a citizen of Nigeria;

(b) he has attained the age of thirty years;

(c) he has been educated up to at least the School Certificate level or its equivalent; and

(d) he is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that party.

Disqualification

107. (1) No person shall be qualified for election to a House of Assembly if –

(a) subject to the provisions of section 28 of this Constitution, he has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a country other than Nigeria or, except in such cases as may be prescribed by the National Assembly, has made a declaration of allegiance to such a country;

(b) under any law in force in any part of Nigeria, he is adjudged to be a lunatic or otherwise declared to be of unsound mind;

(c) he is under a sentence of death imposed on him by any competent court of law or tribunal in Nigeria or a sentence of imprisonment or fine for an offence involving dishonesty or fraud (by whatever name called) or any other offence imposed on him by such a court or tribunal substituted by a competent authority for any other sentence imposed on him by such a court or tribunal;

(d) within a period of less than ten years before the date of an election to the House of Assembly, he has been convicted and sentenced for an offence involving dishonesty or he has been found guilty of a contravention of the Code of Conduct;

(e) he is an undischarged bankrupt, having been adjudged or otherwise declared bankrupt under any law in force in any part of Nigeria;

(f) he is a person employed in the public service of the Federation or of any State and he has not resigned, withdrawn or retired from such employment thirty days before the date of election;

(g) he is a member of any secret society;

(h) he has been indicted for embezzlement or fraud by a Judicial Commission of Inquiry or an Administrative Panel of Inquiry or a Tribunal set up under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act, a Tribunals of Inquiry Law or any other law by the Federal and State Government which indictment has been accepted by the Federal or State Government, respectively; or

(i) he has presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission.

(2) Where in respect of any person who has been –

(a) adjudged to be a lunatic;

(b) declared to be of unsound mind;

(c) sentenced to death or imprisonment; or

(d) adjudged or declared bankrupt,

any appeal against the decision is pending in any court of law in accordance with any law in force in Nigeria, subsection (1) of this section shall not apply during a period beginning from the date when such appeal is lodged and ending on the date when the appeal is finally determined or, as the case may be, the appeal lapses or is abandoned, whichever is earlier.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2) of this section, an “appeal” includes any application for an injunction or an order of certiorari, mandamus, prohibition or habeas corpus, or any appeal from any such application.

Right of attendance of Governor

108. (1) The Governor of a State may attend a meeting of the House of Assembly of the State either to deliver an address on State affairs or to make such statement on the policy of government as he may consider to be of importance to the State.

(2) A Commissioner of the Government of a Slate shall attend the House of Assembly of the State if invited to explain to the House of Assembly the conduct of his Ministry, and in particular when the affairs of that Ministry are under discussion.

(3) Nothing in this section shall enable any person who is not a member of a House of Assembly to vote in that House or in any of its committees.

Tenure of seat of members

109. (1) A member of a House of Assembly shall vacate his seat in the House if –

(a) he becomes a member of another legislative house;

(b) any other circumstances arise that, if he were not a member of that House, would cause him to be disqualified for election as such a member;

(c) he ceases to be a citizen of Nigeria;

(d) he becomes President, Vice-President, Governor, Deputy Governor or a Minister of the Government of the Federation or a Commissioner of the Government of a State or a Special Adviser;

(e) save as otherwise prescribed by this Constitution, he becomes a member of a commission or other body established by this Constitution or by any other law;

(f) without just cause he is absent from meetings of the House of Assembly for a period amounting in the aggregate to more than one-third of the total number of days during which the House meets in any one year;

(g) being a person whose election to the House of Assembly was sponsored by a political party, he becomes a member of another political party before the expiration of the period for which that House was elected:

Provided that his membership of the latter political party is not as a result of a division in the political party of which he was previously a member or of a merger of two or more political parties or factions by one of which he was previously sponsored; or

(h)  the Speaker of the House of Assembly receives a certificate under the hand of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission stating that the provisions of section 110 of this Constitution have been complied with in respect of the recall of the member.

(2) The Speaker of the House of Assembly shall give effect to subsection (1) of this section, so however that the Speaker or a member shall first present evidence satisfactory to the House that any of the provisions of that subsection has become applicable in respect of the member.

(3) A member of a House of Assembly shall be deemed to be absent without just cause from a meeting of the House of Assembly unless the person presiding certifies in writing that he is satisfied that the absence of the member from the meeting was for a just cause.

Recall

110. A member of the House of Assembly may be recalled as such a member if –

(a)  there is presented to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission a petition in that behalf signed by more than one-half of the persons registered to vote in that member’s constituency alleging their loss of confidence in that member, and

(b)  the petition is thereafter, in a referendum conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission within ninety days of the date of the receipt of the petition, approved by a simple majority of the votes of the persons registered to vote in that member’s constituency.

Remuneration

111. A member of the House of Assembly shall receive such salary and other allowances as the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission may determine.

D – Elections to a House of Assembly

State constituencies

112. Subject to the provisions of sections 91 and 113 of this Constitution, the Independent National Electoral Commission shall divide every State in the Federation into such number of State constituencies as is equal to three or four times the number of Federal constituencies within that State.

Size of State constituencies

113. The boundaries of each State constituency shall be such that the number of inhabitants thereof is as nearly equal to the population quota as is reasonably practicable.

Periodical review of State constituencies

114. (1) The Independent National Electoral Commission shall review the division of every State into constituencies at intervals of not less than ten years, and may alter such constituencies in accordance with the provisions of this section to such extent as it may consider desirable in the light of the review.

(2) The Independent National Electoral Commission may at any time carry out such a review and alter the constituencies in accordance with the provisions of this section to such extent as it considers necessary in consequence of any alteration of the boundaries of the State or by reason of the holding of a census of the population of Nigeria in pursuance of an Act of the National Assembly.

Time when alteration of State constituencies takes effect

115. Where the boundaries of any State constituency established under section 112 of this Constitution are altered in accordance with the provisions of section 114 of this Constitution, that alteration shall come into effect after it has been approved by the National Assembly and after the current life of the House of Assembly.

Time of elections to Houses of Assembly

116. (1) Elections to a House of Assembly shall be held on a date to be appointed by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

(2) The date mentioned in subsection (1) of this section shall not be earlier than sixty days before and not later than the date on which the House of Assembly stands dissolved, or where the election is to fill a vacancy occurring more than three months before such date, not later than one month after the vacancy occurred.

Direct election and franchise

117. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, every State constituency established in accordance with the provisions of this Part of this Chapter shall return one member who shall be directly elected to a House of Assembly in such manner as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.

(2) Every citizen of Nigeria, who has attained the age of eighteen years residing in Nigeria at the time of the registration of voters for purposes of election to any legislative house, shall be entitled to be registered as a voter for that election.

Supervision of election

118. The registration of voters and the conduct of elections shall be subject to the direction arid supervision of the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Power of National Assembly as to determination of certain questions

119. The National Assembly shall make provisions as respects –

(a)  persons who may apply to an election tribunal for the determination of any question as to whether –

(i)  any person has been validly elected as a member of a House of Assembly,

(ii)  the term of office of any person has ceased, or

(iii) the seat in a House of Assembly of a member of that House has become vacant;

(b)  circumstances and manner in which, and the conditions upon which, such application may be made; and

(c)  powers, practice and procedure of the election tribunal in relation to any such application.

E – Powers and Control over Public Funds

Establishment of Consolidated Revenue Fund

120. (1) All revenues or other moneys raised or received by a State (not being revenues or other moneys payable under this Constitution or any Law of a House of Assembly into any other public fund of the State established for a specific purpose) shall be paid into and form one Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State.

(2) No moneys shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State except to meet expenditure that is charged upon the Fund by this Constitution or where the issue of those moneys has been authorised by an Appropriation Law, Supplementary Appropriation Law or Law passed in pursuance of section 121 of this Constitution.

(3) No moneys shall be withdrawn from any public fund of the State, other than the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State, unless the issue of those moneys has been authorised by a Law of the House of Assembly of the State.

(4) No moneys shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State or any other public fund of the State except in the manner prescribed by the House of Assembly.

Authorisation of expenditure from Consolidated Revenue Fund

121. (1) The Governor shall cause to be prepared and laid before the House of Assembly at any time before the commencement of each financial year estimates of the revenues and expenditure of the State for the next following financial year.

(2) The heads of expenditure contained in the estimates, other than expenditure charged upon the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Stale by this Constitution, shall be included in a bill, to be known as an Appropriation Bill, providing for the issue from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State of the sums necessary to meet that expenditure and the appropriation of those sums for the purposes specified therein.

(3) Any amount standing to the credit of the judiciary in the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State shall be paid directly to the heads of the courts concerned.

(4) If in respect of any financial year, it is found that –

(a)  the amount appropriated by the Appropriation Law for any purpose is insufficient; or

(b)  a need has arisen for expenditure for a purpose for which no amount has been appropriated by the Law,

a supplementary estimate showing the sums required shall be laid before the House of Assembly and the heads of any such expenditure shall be included in a Supplementary Appropriation Bill.

Authorisation of expenditure in default of appropriations

122. If the Appropriation Bill in respect of any financial year has not been passed into Law by the beginning of the financial year, the Governor may authorise the withdrawal of moneys from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State for the purpose of meeting expenditure necessary to carry on the services of the government for a period not exceeding six months or until the coming into operation of the Law, whichever is the earlier:

Provided that the withdrawal in respect of any such period shall not exceed the amount authorised to be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State under the provisions of the Appropriation Law passed by the House of Assembly for the corresponding period in the immediately preceding financial year, being an amount proportionate to the total amount so authorised for the immediately preceding financial year.

Contingencies Fund

123. (1) A House of Assembly may by Law make provisions for the establishment of a Contingencies Fund for the State and for authorising the Governor, if satisfied that there has arisen an urgent and unforeseen need for expenditure for which no other provision exists, to make advances from the Fund to meet that need.

(2) Where any advance is made in accordance with the provisions of this section, a Supplementary Estimate shall be presented and a Supplementary Appropriation Bill shall be introduced as soon as possible for the purpose of replacing the amount so advanced.

Remuneration, etc. of the Governor and certain other officers

124. (l) There shall be paid to the holders of the offices mentioned in this section such remuneration and salaries as may be prescribed by a House of Assembly, but not exceeding the amount as shall have been determined by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission.

(2) The remuneration, salaries and allowances payable to the holders of the offices so mentioned shall be charged upon the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State.

(3) The remuneration and salaries payable to the holders of the said offices and their conditions of service, other than allowances, shall not be altered to their disadvantage after their appointment.

(4) The offices aforesaid are the offices of Governor, Deputy Governor, Auditor-General for a State and the Chairman and members of the following bodies, that is to say the State Civil Service Commission, the State Independent Electoral Commission and the State Judicial Service Commission.

(5) Provisions may be made by a Law of a House of Assembly for the grant of a pension or gratuity to or in respect of a person who had held office as Governor or Deputy Governor and was not removed from office as a result of impeachment; and any pension granted by virtue of any provision made in pursuance of this subsection shall be a charge upon the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State.

Audit of public accounts

125. (I) There shall be an Auditor-General for each State who shall be appointed in accordance with the provisions section 126 of this Constitution.

(2) The public accounts of a State and of all offices and courts of the State shall be audited by the Auditor-General for the State who shall submit his reports to the House of Assembly of the State concerned, and for that purpose the Auditor-General or any person authorised by him in that behalf shall have access to all the books, records, returns and other documents relating to those accounts.

(3) Nothing in subsection (2) of this section shall be construed as authorising the Auditor-General to audit the accounts of or appoint auditors for government statutory corporations, commissions, authorities, agencies, including all persons and bodies established by Law but the Auditor-General shall –

(a)  provide such bodies with –

(i) a list of auditors qualified to be appointed by them as external auditors and from which the bodies shall appoint their external auditors, and

(ii)  a guideline on the level of fees to be paid to external auditors; and

(b)  comment on their annual accounts and auditor’s report thereon.

(4) The Auditor-General for the Stale shall have power to conduct periodic checks of all government statutory corporations, commissions, authorities, agencies, including all persons and bodies established by a law of the House of Assembly of the State.

(5) The Auditor-General for a State shall, within ninety days of receipt of the Accountant-General’s financial statement and annual accounts of the State, submit his report to the House of Assembly of the State and the House shall cause the report to be considered by a committee of the House responsible for public accounts.

(6) In the exercise of his functions under this Constitution, the Auditor-General for a State shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other authority or person.

Appointment of Auditor-General

126. (1) The Auditor-General for a State shall be appointed by the Governor of the State on the recommendation of the State Civil Service Commission subject to confirmation by the House of Assembly of the State.

(2) The power to appoint persons to act in the office of the Auditor-General for a State shall vest in the Governor.

(3) Except with the sanction of a resolution of the House of Assembly of a State, no person shall act in the office of the Auditor-General for a State for a period exceeding six months.

Tenure of office of Auditor-General

127. (1) A person holding the office of Auditor-General under section 126(1) of this Constitution shall be removed from office by the Governor of the State acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the House of Assembly praying that he be so removed for inability to discharge the functions of his office (whether arising from infirmity of mind or body or any other cause) or for misconduct.

(2) An Auditor-General shall not be removed from office before such retiring age as may be prescribed by Law, save in accordance with the provisions of this section.

Power to conduct investigations

128. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, a House of Assembly shall have power by resolution published in its journal or in the Official Gazette of the Government of the State to direct or cause to be directed an inquiry or investigation into –

(a)  any matter or thing with respect to which it has power  to make laws; and

(b)  the conduct of affairs of any person, authority, Ministry or government department charged, or intended to be charged, with the duty of or responsibility for –

(i)  executing or administering laws enacted by that House of Assembly, and

(ii)  disbursing or administering moneys appropriated or to be appropriated by such House.

(2) The powers conferred on a House of Assembly under the provisions of this section are exercisable only for the purpose of enabling the House to –

(a)  make laws with respect to any matter within its legislative competence and correct any defects in existing laws; and

(b)  expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws within its legislative competence and in the disbursement or administration of funds appropriated by it.

Power as to matters of evidence

129. (1) For the purposes of any investigation under section 128 of this Constitution, and subject to the provisions thereof, a House of Assembly or a committee appointed in accordance with section 103 of this Constitution shall have power to –

(a)  procure all such evidence, written or oral, direct or circumstantial, as it may think necessary or desirable, and examine all persons as witnesses whose evidence may be material or relevant to the subject-matter;

(b)  require such evidence to be given on oath;

(c)  summon any person in Nigeria to give evidence at any place or produce any document or other thing in his possession or under his control, and examine him as a witness and require him to produce any document or other thing in his possession or under his control, subject to all just exceptions; and

(d)  issue a warrant to compel the attendance of any person who, after having been summoned to attend, fails, refuses or neglects to do so and does not excuse such failure, refusal or neglect to the satisfaction of the House of Assembly or the committee, and order him to pay all costs which may have been occasioned in compelling his attendance or by reason of his failure, refusal or neglect to obey the summons and also to impose such fine as may be prescribed for any such failure, refusal or neglect; and any fine so imposed shall be recoverable in the same manner as a fine imposed by a court of law.

(2) A summons or warrant issued under this section may be served or executed by any member of the Nigeria Police Force or by any person authorised in that behalf by the Speaker of the House of Assembly of the State.

Local Government Legislative Councils

As mentioned above, Local Government Legislative Councils (made up of democratically elected Councillors) constitute the last tier of the Nigerian Legislature. They are established and regulated by Local Government Laws enacted by each House of Assembly of a State. Sections 14 – 30 of the said Rivers State Local Government Law 1999 provide an example of basic provisions on Local Government Legislative Councils:

Establishment of Local Government Legislative Council

14. (1) The Legislative Council of each Local Government is hereby declared to be the Legislature of that Local Government Area.

(2) Accordingly, the legislative powers of a Local Government shall be exercised by the Local Government Legislative Council.

Leader and other officers of Local Government Legislative Council

15. (1) There shall be a Leader, Deputy Leader, Chief Whip and were there are any minority parties a Minority Whip of a Local Government Legislative Council shall be elected by the Councillors from among themselves. These shall be the officers of the Legislative Council.

(2) Any officer of the Local Government Legislative council shall vacate his office –

(a)  if he ceases to be a Councillor;

(b)  when the Local Government Legislative Council of which he was a member first sits after any dissolution of the Local Government Council;

(c)  if he is removed from office by a resolution of the Local Government Legislative Council supported by not less than two-thirds majority of its members.

Sittings and regulation of procedure

16. (1) The Local Government Legislative Council shall sit for a period of not less than six days and not more than eight days in a month.

(2) Subject to the provisions of this law, the Local Government Legislative Council shall regulate its own procedure, including the procedure for summoning and recess of the Local Government Legislative Council.

(3) The Legislative Council may appoint committees of its members for any specific or general purpose as in its opinion would be better regulated and managed by means of such a committee and may by resolution, regulate or otherwise as it thinks fit delegate any function exercisable by it to any such committee.

Chairman and supervisors to attend Legislative Council meetings

17. (1) The Chairman of the Local Government may attend a meeting of the Local Government Legislative Council either to deliver an address on the affairs of the Local Government Area or to make such statements on the policy of the Local Government as he may consider important to the Local Government Area.

(2) A Supervisor of a Local Government shall attend the Local Government Legislative Council if invited to explain to the Local Government Legislative Council the conduct of the affairs for which he has responsibility when those affairs are under discussion.

Mode of exercising legislative power of Local Government Legislative Council

18. (1) The legislative powers vested in the Local Government Legislative Council shall be exercised by bye-laws passed by the Local Government Legislative Council and except as otherwise provided by this section, assented to by the Chairman of the Local Government.

(2) A bye-law shall not become law unless it has been duly passed and subject to sub-section (1) of this section assented to in accordance with the provisions of this section.

(3) Where a bye-law has been passed by the Local Government Legislative Council, it shall be presented to the Chairman of the Local Government for assent.

(4) Where a bye-law is presented to the Chairman for assent, he shall within 30 days thereof signify that he assents or he withholds his assent.

(5) Where the Chairman of the Local Government withholds assent and the bye-law is again passed by the Local Government Legislative Council by two-thirds majority, the bye-law shall become law and the assent of the Chairman of the Government shall not be required.

Functions of a Local Government Legislative Council

19. (1) The Local Government Legislative Council shall, in addition to any other powers conferred on it by the Fourth Schedule to the Constitution, this law and any other law, have the following functions –

(a)  debating, approving and amending the annual budget of the Local Government, subject to the Chairman’s veto which may be set aside by two-thirds majority of the Local Government Legislative Council;

(b)  examining and debating statements of income and expenditure rendered to it by the Local Government Chairman;

(c)  performing such other functions as may be assigned to it, from time to time, by law.

Staff of Local Government Legislative Council

20. (1) There shall be a Clerk of the Local Government Legislative Council and such other staff as may be required by the Local Government Legislative Council to be appointed by the Local Government Service Commission.

(2) The Clerk to the Local Government Legislative Council shall be the Head of Personnel Management.

Oath of Office of Local Government Legislative Council

21. No person elected to be a member of a Legislative Council shall sit or in any way act as a member of the Council until he has taken and subscribed to the Oath of Allegiance and Oath of Office administered by a Magistrate before the Chairman of the Local Government.

Presiding at sittings of Legislative Council

22. (1) At any sitting of the Local Government Legislative Council, the Leader of the Legislative Council shall preside and in his absence the Deputy Leader shall preside.

(2) In the absence of the Leader and the Deputy Leader of the Legislative Council at any sitting, the members of the Legislative Council shall elect a member from among themselves to preside.

Quorum of Legislative Council

23. (1) The quorum of a Local Government Legislative Council shall be one-third of all the members of the Local Government Legislative Council.

(2) If objection is taken by any member of the Local Government Legislative Council present, that there are present in that Legislative Council (besides the person presiding) fewer than one-third of all members of that Council and that it is not competent for the Legislative Council to transact business and after such interval as may be prescribed in the rules of procedure in the Legislative Council, the person presiding shall ascertain the number of members, and shall then adjourn the Council for that reason.

Language to be used in Legislative Council

24. The business of the Local Government Legislative Council shall be conducted in English, but the Legislative Council may in addition to English conduct the business of the Legislative Council in any other language commonly spoken in the Local Government Area as the Legislative Council may by resolution approve.

Voting in Legislative Council

25. Except as otherwise provided by this Law, any question proposed for decision in a Local Government Legislative Council shall be determined by a simple majority of members present and voting and the person presiding shall cast a vote whenever necessary to avoid an equality of votes but shall not vote in any other case.

Vacancy, etc. not to invalidate proceeding

26. Subject to the Provisions of this Law, the proceeding of a Legislative Council shall not be invalidated by any vacancy among its members or by any defects in the election or disqualification of any member.

Minutes of meeting to be properly recorded

27. (1) Notes of the proceedings of every meeting of a Legislative Council shall be regularly entered in books kept for that purpose and shall be read and confirmed or amended, as the case may require, signed by the person presiding at the meeting or next ensuing meeting of the Legislative Council and any minutes so signed shall be received in evidence without further proof.

(2) The names of all members of a Council present at a meeting of the Legislative Council shall be recorded in the minutes.

(3) Until the contrary is proved a meeting of the Legislative Council in respect of the proceedings whereof minutes have been taken and signed as provided in sub-section (1) of this section shall be deemed to have duly convened and held and all members present at the meeting shall be deemed to have been qualified.

Minutes to be open to inspection

28. The minutes of the proceedings of a Council shall at all reasonable times be open to public inspection. Any person may obtain a copy by paying such fee as may be specified by the Legislative Council.

Disability of Members to vote on account of interest

29. (1) If a member of a Legislative Council has any pecuniary interest, direct or indirect, in any contract or proposed contract or other matter, and is present at a meeting of the Council at which the contract or other matter is the subject of consideration, he shall at the meeting disclose the fact and shall not take part in the consideration or discussion of or vote on any question with respect to the contract or other matters and if the person presiding so directs, he shall withdraw from the meeting  during such consideration or discussion.

(2) In the case of married persons living together, the interest of one spouse shall, if known to the other, be deemed for the purpose of this section to be also an interest of the other spouse.

Right of certain persons to attend and take part but not to vote at meetings

30. The Legislative Council may invite any person relevant to the matter in consideration to attend, and speak upon the matter at any meeting of the Legislative Council but no such person shall have voting rights.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

Sharing

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Leave a Reply

Copyright © 2016 Nigerian Law Resources | All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy