Section 158 and 159 of the 1999 Constitution: Independence and Quorum of Government Bodies and the National Population Commission


The 1999 Constitution

Section 158 (1)

In exercising its power to make appointments or to exercise disciplinary control over persons, the Code of Conduct Bureau, the National Judicial Council, the Federal Civil Service Commission, the Federal Judicial
Service Commission, the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission, the Federal Character Commission, and the Independent National Electoral Commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other authority or person.

(This means that the following bodies have absolute authority to use their respective powers to make appointments or to discipline persons and no other person or authority can control or direct them:

  1. the Code of Conduct Bureau, 
  2. the National Judicial Council, 
  3. the Federal Civil Service Commission, 
  4. the Federal Judicial Service Commission, 
  5. the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission, 
  6. the Federal Character Commission, and, 
  7. the Independent National Electoral Commission)

Section 158 (2)

The National Population Commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other authority or person:-

(This means that no persons and no authority can control the National Population Commission when they are doing the following things; )

Section 158 (2)(a)

in appointing, training or arranging for the training of enumerators or other staff of the Commission to assist it in the conduct of any population census;

(hiring or training or organising the training for any staff that will help them to conduct population census😉

Section 158 (2)(b)

in deciding whether or not to accept or revise the return of any officer of the said Commission concerning the population census in any area or part of the Federation;

(accepting or modifying the census report for any part of Nigeria from any of their census staff; )

Section 158 (2)(c)

in carrying out the operation of conducting the census; and

(conducting the census; )

Section 158 (2)(d)

in compiling its report of a national census for publication.

(preparing its census report.)

Section 159 (1)

The quorum for a meeting of any of the bodies established by section 153 of this Constitution shall be not less than one-third of the total number of members of that body at the date of the meeting.

(This means that the minimum number of members needed to have an official meeting of any of the bodies created by Section 153 of this constitution is 1/3 (one third) of the total number of members of the body on the date of the meeting.)

Section 159 (2)

A member of such a body shall be entitled to one vote, and a decision of the meeting may be taken and any act or thing may be done in the name of that body by a majority of the members present at the meeting.

(Every member present at the meeting shall have the right to one vote. Decisions from the meeting will be decided by majority vote. The decisions from the meeting shall be official as if the body made the decision.)

Section 159 (3)

Whenever such body is assembled for a meeting, the Chairman or other person presiding shall, in all matters in which a decision is taken by vote (by whatever name such vote may be called) have a casting as well as a deliberative vote.

(The Chairman of the meeting or whoever is presiding over the meeting shall have the right to vote like any other member present. In the case of a tie, he/she shall also have the tie-breaking vote.)

Section 159 (4)

Subject to its rules of procedure, any such body may act or take part in any decision notwithstanding any
vacancy in its membership or the absence of any member.

(It does not matter whether any position is vacant or whether any member or officer is absent for the actions and decisions of a meeting to be valid. This rule may be limited by the rules of procedure of the body.)

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