Nigerian Constitution

Nigeria Constitution

The Nigerian Constitution is the supreme law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It was first adopted in 1960, when Nigeria gained independence from Britain, and has been amended several times since then, with the most recent amendment taking place in 2018.

The Nigerian Constitution establishes Nigeria as a federal state, with powers shared between the federal government and the 36 states. The Constitution outlines the powers and functions of the three branches of government – the Executive, Legislature, and Judiciary – and provides for the protection of fundamental human rights.

Some key provisions of the Nigerian Constitution include:

  • The establishment of a federal system of government, with powers, shared between the federal government and the states.
  • The separation of powers between the Executive, Legislature, and Judiciary, with each branch having its own specific functions and responsibilities.
  • The protection of fundamental human rights, including the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as well as freedom of speech, religion, and association.
  • The establishment of an independent judiciary, with the power to interpret the Constitution and to ensure that the actions of government are in compliance with the law.
  • The establishment of a bicameral legislature, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives, with the power to make laws for the country.
  • The establishment of a presidential system of government, with an elected president as the head of state and government.

The Nigerian Constitution has undergone several amendments since its adoption, with some of the most significant amendments including the 1979 and 1999 amendments, which restored civilian rule after periods of military rule. The most recent amendment, in 2018, changed the order of elections and also reduced the age qualification for running for political office.

Sources of the Nigerian Constitution

Sources for the Nigerian Constitution include the following:

  1. Conventions: Conventions use guidelines that have gained acceptance through time.
  2. Common Law: The Nigerian Constitution also draws on common law, which is founded on people’s conventions and beliefs and is acknowledged by the court
  3. Historical documents: Documents conveying historical accounts of individuals and their customs are referred to as historical documents.
  4. Judicial precedents: Law derived from earlier court rulings, often from higher courts. They are also known as case laws.
  5. Legislative Act: State and federal governments enact laws.

Features of the Constitution of Nigeria

There are eight separate chapters in the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, and each chapter is divided into smaller sections and parts.

  • Chapter 1: The Federal Capital Territory of Abuja and the states of the Federation; supremacy of the constitution
  • Chapter II: This chapter focuses on the core goals and guiding ideals of public policy.
  • Chapter III: Highlighting concerns pertaining to citizens, this chapter focuses on citizenship.
  • Chapter IV outlines the basic human right.
  • In Chapter V, it is shown how the federal and state legislatures would be set up and how they will work.
  • Chapter VI: It sets provisions for federal executives and lists all the requirements for the post of president, including eligibility, election, term, and disqualification.
  • Chapter VII: This chapter details the legal system, including the Supreme Court, the court of appeals, the state’s Sharia court of appeal, and the customary court of appeal.
  • Chapter VIII: This chapter offers additional supplemental legislation and includes provisions for Abuja, the federal capital area.

Federal Republic of Nigeria’s Constitution (Promulgation) Decree

Section One: General Rules

Fundamental Goals and Directing Principles of State Policy

Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Promulgation) Decree

  • Chapter One: General Provisions
  • Chapter Two: Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy
  • Chapter three: Citizenship
  • Chapter Four: Fundamental Rights
  • Chapter Five: The Legislature
  • Chapter Six: The Executive
  • Chapter Seven: The Judicature
  • Chapter Eight: Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and General Supplementary Provisions
  • First Schedule: States of the Federation. Definition of Federal Capital Territory Abuja.
  • Second Schedule: Legislative Powers
  • Third Schedule: Federal Executive Bodies & State Executive Bodies
  • Fourth Schedule: Functions of a Local Government Council. Functions of a Local Government Council
  • Fifth Schedule: Code of Conduct for Public Officers Public Officers for the purposes of the Code of conduct
  • Sixth Schedule: Election Tribunals
  • Seventh Schedule: Oaths

We, the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, have firmly and solemnly resolved to live in unity and harmony as one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign nation under God, committed to the promotion of inter-African solidarity, world peace, international cooperation, and understanding, and to provide for a constitution for the purpose of promoting good government and the welfare of all people in our country, on the principles of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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