Section 172, 173, 174 and 175 of the 1999 Constitution: Public Service of the Federation, Powers of the Attorney General of the Federation and Power of the President to Grant Pardon

Public service

The 1999 Constitution

Section 172

A person in the public service of the Federation shall observe and conform to the Code of Conduct.

(Any person who is working in the public service of the Federation is supposed to or must follow the rules contained in the Code of Conduct.)


Section 173 (1)

Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the right of a person in the public service of the Federation
to receive pension or gratuity shall be regulated by law.

(Following whatever is stated in the 1999 Constitution, the right guiding a person working in the public service of the Federation to receive any pension or gratuity is to be or must be regulated by law.)


Section 173 (2)

Any benefit to which a person is entitled in accordance with or under such law as is referred to in subsection (1) of this section shall not be withheld or altered to his disadvantage except to such extent as is permissible under any law, including the Code of Conduct.

(A person who is entitled to any benefit as mentioned in sub section 1 of this section 173 of the 1999 Constitution shall not be prevented from enjoying said benefit either by withholding or altering it to his disadvantage except to an extent which the law or Code of Conduct has permitted.)


Section 173 (3)

Pensions shall be reviewed every five years or together with any Federal civil service salary reviews,
whichever is earlier.

(Pension is to be reviewed every 5 (five) years or together with whenever Federal civil service reviews salary, whichever of the two occurs first.)


Section 173 (4)

Pensions in respect of service in the public service of the Federation shall not be taxed.

(Pensions for people who work in the public service of the Federation is not supposed to be taxed.)


Section 174 (1)

The Attorney-General of the Federation shall have power –

(The powers of the Attorney of the Federation are as follows; )


Section 174 (1)(a)

to institute and undertake criminal proceedings against any person before any court of law in Nigeria, other than a court-martial, in respect of any offence created by or under any Act of the National Assembly;

(The Attorney General of the Federation shall have the power to start and carry out criminal proceedings against any person in any court of law in Nigeria as long as the offence such person is on trial for was created by an Act of the National Assembly. The only exception is a Court Martial i.e. Military court.)


Section 174 (1)(b)

to take over and continue any such criminal proceedings that may have been instituted by any other authority or person; and

(The Attorney General of the Federal also have the power to take over and continue any criminal proceeding which was started by an authority or person; )


Section 174 (1)(c)

to discontinue at any stage before judgement is delivered any such criminal proceedings instituted or
undertaken by him or any other authority or person.

(Just like how the Attorney General of the Federation has the power to institute i.e. begin criminal proceedings, he also has the power to discontinue at any stage of the proceeding as long as judgment has not been given in such matter, any criminal proceeding which was started by him, any authority or any person.)


Section 174 (2)

The powers conferred upon the Attorney-General of the Federation under subsection (1) of this section may be exercised by him in person or through officers of his department.

(The powers which the Attorney General of the Federation have been given under this section of the Constitution can be exercised by him directly or through officers that are in his department.)


Section 174 (3)

In exercising his powers under this section, the Attorney-General of the Federation shall have regard to the public interest, the interest of justice and the need to prevent abuse of legal process.

(When the Attorney General of the Federation exercises his powers which have been listed in the Constitution, he must do so taking into account the interest of the public, the interest of justice and the need to prevent an abuse of legal process.)


Section 175 (1)(a)

The President may –
(a) grant any person concerned with or convicted of any offence created by an Act of the National Assembly a pardon, either free or subject to lawful conditions;

(The President has the power to grant any person who is concerned with or convicted for any offence which have been created by an Act of the National Assembly, a pardon and such pardon may either be free i.e. without conditions to comply with first or subject to lawful conditions.)


Section 175 (1)(b)

grant to any person a respite, either for an indefinite or for a specified period, of the execution of any
punishment imposed on that person for such an offence;

(The President also has the power to grant any person respite (postpone) the execution of any punishment which a person has been sentenced for an offence committed or a punishment imposed on a person for an offence committed. This respite granted can either be indefinite (without a time period) or for a specified period of time.)


Section 175 (1)(c)

substitute a less severe form of punishment for any punishment imposed on that person for such an offence; or

(The President also has the power to grant a lesser form of punishment to a person who has been imposed any punishment for an offence committed.)


Section 175 (1)(d)

remit the whole or any part of any punishment imposed on that person for such an offence or of any penalty or forfeiture otherwise due to the State on account of such an offence.

(The President has the power to remit i.e. cancel or refrain/ stop from exacting or inflicting (a debt or punishment) – the entire punishment or part of it which has been imposed on a person for an offence or penalty or something to be forfeited which such person owes the State because of the offence committed by such person.)


Section 175 (2)

The powers of the President under subsection (1) of this section shall be exercised by him after consultation with the Council of State.

(Before the President can exercise the powers which have been mentioned in sub section 1 of this section 175 he has to have consulted/ discussed with the Council of State.)


Section 175 (3)

The President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of State, may exercise his powers under
subsection (1) of this section in relation to persons concerned with offences against the army, naval or air-force law or convicted or sentenced by a court-martial.

(Based on the powers to grant pardon which have been mentioned under sub section 1 of this section 175, the President has the power to exercise those powers under sub section in relation to persons concerned with offences against the army, naval or air-force law or convicted or sentenced by a court martial (military court).)


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