Know Your Constitution: Part 1

Know Your Constitution

The 1999 Constitution Breakdown

SECTION 5

(1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the executive powers of the Federation: 

(a) shall be vested in the President and may subject as aforesaid and to the provisions of any law made by the National Assembly, be exercised by him either directly or through the Vice-President and Ministers of the Government of the Federation or officers in the public service of the Federation; and 

Basically, what the above section means is that the full powers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria rest in the President and such powers shall be exercised by the President, subject to the laws made by the National Assembly. It also states that the President may either use such powers himself or through the Vice President or the Ministers or officials of the Civil or Military Service. (this section basically is what gives power to all officials of the Federal Republic of Nigeria)

(b) shall extend to the execution and maintenance of this Constitution, all laws made by the National Assembly and to all matters with respect to which the National Assembly has, for the time being, power to make laws. 

This is the same as above except this is specific to the Constitution and enforcement of laws made by the National Assembly (these are called Acts e.g. Companies and Allied Matters Act and are domiciled in the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria published by the National Assembly)

SECTION 5(2)

Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the executive powers of a State: 

(a) shall be vested in the Governor of that State and may, subject as aforesaid and to the provisions of any Law made by a House of Assembly, be exercised by him either directly or through the Deputy Governor and Commissioners of the Government of that State or officers in the public service of the State; and 

What the above section means is that the full powers of a State in the Federal Republic of Nigeria rest in the Governor of that State and such powers shall be exercised by the Governor, subject to the laws made by the State House of Assembly. It also states that the Governor may either use such powers himself or through the Deputy Governor or the Commissioners or officials of the Civil Service. (this section basically is what gives power to all officials of the State-you will notice that the Military and Police are not included in this explanation, this is because they are powers vested in the Executive)

(b) shall extend to the execution and maintenance of this Constitution, all laws made by the House of Assembly of the State and to all matters with respect to which the House of Assembly has for the time being power to make laws. 

This is the same as above except this is specific to the Constitution and enforcement of laws made by the State House of Assembly (these are called Laws of the State e.g. Landlord and Tenant Law of Rivers State and are published by the State)

The main difference between an Act (Law) of the National Assembly and the Law of a State is that the Act applies all over Nigeria while the Law of the State only applies within that State. An Act is vastly superior to a Law. Also, only the National Assembly can make laws that govern things on the Exclusive Legislative List.

SECTION 5(3)

The executive powers vested in a State under subsection (2) of this section shall be so exercised as not to:- 

(a) impede or prejudice the exercise of the executive powers of the Federation; 

(b) endanger any asset or investment of the Government of the Federation in that State; or 

(c) endanger the continuance of a Federal Government in Nigeria. 

This is telling the State that while it exercises its powers within its boundaries, it shall not do anything that will affect the powers of the Presidency or the assets of the federal government or endanger the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

SECTION 5(4)

Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section:- 

(a) the President shall not declare a state of war between the Federation and another country except with the sanction of a resolution of both Houses of the National Assembly, sitting in a joint session; and 

To engage the country in a war is such a serious matter that, the President cannot do such by himself but must seek the approval of both the Senate and the Federal House of Representatives, who must jointly sit to give such an approval.

(b) except with the prior approval of the Senate, no member of the armed forces of the Federation shall be deployed on combat duty outside Nigeria.

No soldiers can be deployed to fight a war outside the shores of Nigeria without the approval of the Senate 

SECTION 5(5)

Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (4) of this section, the President, in consultation with the National Defence Council, may deploy members of the armed forces of the Federation on a limited combat duty outside Nigeria if he is satisfied that the national security is under imminent threat or danger: 

Provided that the President shall, within seven days of actual combat engagement, seek the consent of the Senate and the Senate shall thereafter give or refuse the said consent within 14 days. 

This means that the President can deploy soldiers outside Nigeria if he is convinced that the security of Nigeria is threatened. (for instance, soldiers fighting Boko Haram at the borders of Nigeria can engage them outside Nigeria, assuming the battle takes them into another country and they can be deployed outside the border to prevent Boko Haram from coming back into Nigeria.

However, the President must get the approval of the Senate within 7 days of such combat and the Senate must approve or refuse within 14 days.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.