Tag Archives: #Executive

Powers of The National Assembly (Legislature) To Summon Members of The Executive Arm Under The 1999 Constitution

Barr S. G Idress, PP S. G Idress & Co. (Al-Mufeed Law), Bauchi State, Nigeria.

The recent seeming show of shame by the National Assembly in its joint Committee seating where it invited the Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN) has exposed the National Assembly, especially when after raising some concern or allegation of corruption or wrong doing in public, they later while the Minister did not get the full opportunity to respond to the issues raised, called for Executive Session and the Minister in his wisdom refused the offer.

Let’s consider section 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended) which gives the National Assembly the power to summon any member of the Executive with the view of examining the extend of their power in that regard. Section 88 provide thus:

” (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 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 National Assembly, and

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

(2) The powers 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.”

It is obvious from the provision of section 89 of the Constitution that the only reason that enable the members of the National Assembly to invite the members of the Executive is for the purpose of law making or exposing corruption and in doing so it laid down the necessary procedures for so doing. The section provide thus:

“(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, refused 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.”

Having a community reading between section 88 and 89 of the Constitution will only suggest that the National Assembly power under section 88 (2)(b) allow them to expose corruption, but one can hardly understand how they can expose corruption by going behind closed doors.

By: Barr. Idrees Safiyanu Gambo

Autonomy: FG No Turning Back ON The President’s Executive Order

The Committee on the implementation of the Executive Order 0010 by President Muhammadu Buhari on autonomy to State Legislature and Judiciary, the Federal Government declared on Tuesday that there will be no going back.

As the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), said the current administration will work with Governors on modalities for effective implementation of the order.

Malami said the implementation Committee will incorporate valuable submissions from the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and other stakeholders.

He further said the Federal Government has appreciated the fact that the governors have agreed to the constitutionality of the state Legislature and the Judiciary.

He said the government came out with the Executive Order No- 0010 in order to deepen democracy from grassroots and ensure effective implementation of the doctrine of separation of powers.

He made the clarifications in a statement in Abuja through his Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu.

The clarifications became necessary against the backdrop of claims by the governors that President Buhari had halted action on the implementation of the autonomy.

But Malami said the Federal Government only wanted submissions from the governors and other stakeholders.

He said the granting of autonomy to State Legislature and the Judiciary is sacrosanct.

He said: “The re-enforcement of the constitutional provisions on the autonomy of the state legislature and judiciary as contained in Section 121(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria necessitated the Executive Order No 0010.”

He said the government noted “with appreciation that the Governors of the 36 States of the Federation have agreed to the constitutionality of the autonomy of the state legislature and the Judiciary.”

He said: “The essence of the Order was to see to the implementation of the autonomy.”

The statement added: “While congratulating Nigerians on this landmark historic achievement geared toward engendering democratic principles at the grassroots, the Minister called on more inter-agency support for the Order which he said will accelerate development Nigerian masses have been clamoring for.

“In furtherance of the implementation of the Order, the Federal Government and Nigerian Governors’ Forum are jointly working on modalities for effective implementation of the order.

“The Executive Order implementation Committee will incorporate valuable submissions from Governor’s Forum and other stakeholders with a view to seeing practicable implementation of the Executive Order.”

Shortly after an audience with the President on Monday, the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Dr. Kayode Fayemi said: “After listening to the concerns of the governors about the constitutionality of the Executive Order, President Buhari agreed to delay the gazetting.

“We have a delegation of the governors’ forum here to discuss some matters of fundamental importance to the nation and the President has asked that we meet with the AGF, the Chief of Staff and the Minister of Finance Planning and Budget on the issue.

It is an issue that has seized the interest of many of you in the media and a lot of people across the federation, it is about the autonomy of the state legislature and the judiciary and we’ve met with the President before now on it and the President was very pleased that for us as governors, we are all united in support of the autonomy of State judiciary and the legislature; that’s the position of the 36 governors of the federation.

What is the issue? It is on the constitutionality of the modalities of what had been put in the Executive Order and the President was gracious enough to say okay, given your concerns about that, we will delay the gazetting of the order and allow you to meet with the AGF and Finance Minister to work out the modalities.”

“In any case, we have been meeting at our level with the Conference of Speakers. The Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Governor Tambuwal of Sokoto State, was delegated to lead a number of governors who have gained legislative experience either because they were in the House of Representatives or they were Speakers of State Assemblies, or they were senators and that committee has been meeting with a delegation of the Conference of Speakers, working out the modalities and we believe that all of that would be settled amicably without any resort to court.” He concluded.