This study, “ROLES OF LEGISLATURE IN IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS UNDER 1999 CONSTITUTION” contains concise information that will serve as a framework or guide for your project work. The project study is well-researched for academic purposes and are usually provided in complete chapters with adequate References.
Keywords: ROLES OF LEGISLATURE IN IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS UNDER 1999 CONSTITUTION
The Constitution of Nigeria ensuring the separation of power as an underlining
principle of the Nigerian governmental system by vesting legislative power of the
Federal Government in the National Assembly. It provides thus:
The legislative power of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be vested in a
National Assembly for the Federation which shall consist of a Senate and a
House of Representative.1
For the purpose of this study, the role of the legislature will be considered on
impeachment proceeding under the 1999 Constitution. Impeachment process has
become a topical issue on the Constitutional development of Nigeria. The starting
point was the impeachment of Alhaji Balarabe Musa of an Ex-Governor of Kaduna
State2. It has been contained that impeachment has been so much abused by the State
Assemblies who do it without recourse to laid down Constitutional measures.
1 Section 4(1) of the 1999 Constitution Federal Republic of Nigeria.
2 See Alhaji Balarabe Musa Vs Speaker Kaduna House of Assembly (1982) 3 NCLR 450.
Section 1883 is impari materia with section 1704 of the 1979 Constitution of the
Federal Republic of Nigeria on impeachment proceeding. The section forecloses
recourse to the Court of Law in impeachment proceeding.
The section provides thus:
No proceeding or determination of the panel or of the House of
Assembly or any matter relating to such proceedings or
determination shall be entrained or questioned in any Court.
This provision ousted the jurisdiction of the Court in matter relating to impeachment
embarked upon by the Legislature.
Impeachment rarely occurs therefore the term is often misunderstood. This
misconception occurs where it is confused involuntary removal of Officer from
office. The word impeachment derives its root from a latin expression ‘to be caught’
or ‘entrapped’. Thus impeachment as a Constitutional process is not designed as a
weapon of political oppression, suppression or harassment of a President or Governor
whose face the Legislature does not want to behold any longer in the power.
However, impeachment when used appropriately will put the government of the day
on its toes, thereby making such government responsible and accountable.
3 Section 188 of the 1999 Constitution Federal Republic of Nigeria.
4 Section 170 of the 1979 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria.
1.1.0: BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY:
This work will examine the roles of the Legislature in Impeachment proceedings, the
loopholes of such proceedings and recommendation to curb the lapses created by
Impeachment was first employed in the Nigerian history during the second republic in
the case of Balarabe Musa, Ex-Governor of Kaduna State. Since then impeachment
process has become a topical issue in Nigeria’s Constitutional development. The case
of the Governor of Plateau, Joshua Dariye. It is against this background that
impeachment will be considered.
The word impeachment derives its root from latin expression ‘be caught’ or
‘entrapped’. The purpose of impeachment has been abused by the Legislature, who
use impeachment as a tool of oppression and intimidation for those in impeachment
proceeding is wroth nothing. A proper study of these impeachment proceeding has
shown the legality or otherwise.
1.2.0: OBJECTIVE OF STUDY:
The objective of this study is to depict the roles of Legislature in impeachment
This long essay will examine the Constitutional problems arising from the
Constitutional provisions dealings on impeachment of elected Officials in Nigeria.
This long essay will consider the Legislative mechanism to check and investigate
Officials alleged of partaking on corruption while in office.
1.3.0: SCOPE OF THE STUDY:
This long essay is limited to the role the legislature performs during impeachment
proceedings. This research work would be confirmed to the definition of
impeachment historical perspective, the roles of the three arms of Government on
impeachment matters. The Constitutional provision and role of Courts of record, i.e.
High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court on impeachment matters/cases will
be delved into in order to compare and analyze the decision of the Courts.
Nevertheless, it may incidentally refer to some other related areas as deemed
necessary, likewise statutory and judicial authorities will be made reference to. In
order to achieve the aim of the long essay.
1.4.0: FOCUS OF THE STUDY:
This long essay will focus on the roles and position of the legislature on impeachment
In Nigeria Constitutional history, there have been four Constitution. These are the
1960, 1963, 1979 and the 1999 Constitution respectively.
Although there existed and still existing provisions from the removal of executive
office holders like the President. In some of these Constitutions, there has never been
a successful presidential impeachment in Nigeria’s political history.
This impeachment saga in Nigeria is replete only with the removal of Governors of
the Federating States and some Chairman at the Local Government level in some
To achieve an intellectual result in the course of this research work of the removal of
Govenor Alamieyesegha’s of Bayelsa State, Senator Ladoja’s of Oyo State, Governor
Fayose of Ekiti State, Peter Obi of Anambra State and Joshua Dariye of Plateau
State.some few deputy governors.Abiodun Aluko former Deputy Governor of Ekiti
State,Senator Bucknor Akerele Deputy Governor of Lagos state . An Appraisal of
Obong Chris Ekpenyoung Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom state.
Emphases will be laid on primary sources are relevant statues and legislations,
Reported Judicial Authorities etc. The Secondary materials include Newspapers,
articles by Legal authors, Internet resources, seminar papers Textbooks. These will in
no doubt give an holistic approach to the subject matter of discourse.
1.6.0: LITERATURE REVIEW:
There are textbooks, articles, and statutes that cover the topic: Roles of Legislature in
impeachment proceeding. In view of this, the following books and articles are
In a paper delivered by Layi Babatunde SAN5, he said:
Impeachment has been problematic both in its context and effect ….. In
modern times, there is no doubt that with the judicial intervention of the
Supreme Court in the crisis of impeachment in Oyo State as reported in
Inakoju V Adeleke 30RS(2007)/SC even Nigeria’s judicial process can
never be the same again….
Ibrahim Iman and M.A. Mustapha opined that one of the legislatures mechanisms to
check and investigate public Officers alleged for perpetrating corruption in office is
through the legislative power of impeachment6.
5 See Layi Babatunde SAN “Roles of Legislature in Modern Democracy” being a paper presented at the
Annual Public Lecture organized by the Law Student Society 12th March 2007.
6I. Imman and M.A. Mustapha “Combating corruption in Nigeria – available at
www.unilorin.edu.ngl…18 accessed 4th November, 2010.
Ben Nwabueze, in his book, examines in details the role, the method and manner the
legislature look in removing these Governors from office. He criticized President
Obasanjo on how he subverted the Autonomy of the National Assembly.7
Autonomy of the National Assembly.7
K.K. Eleja’s Legislative power of impeachment under the Nigeria Constitution stated:
The provisions of 1999 Constitution on Impeachment earlier referred to has
not changed but has remained operational8
Mojeed Alabi and Wahab Egbewole in their book ‘perspective on the legislature in
the Government in Nigeria stated:
The power conferred on the National Assembly under the provisions of this
section are exercisable only for the purpose of enabling it to expose
corruption inefficiency or waste in the executive or administration of laws
within its Legislative competence and the disbursement or administration of
funds appropriated by it.9
7 Ben Nwabueze “How President Obasanjo subverted the Rule of Law and Democracy”. Gold Press
Limited Pg. 97 – 118.
8 K.K. Eleja “Legislative power of impeachment under the Nigeria Constitution”. Published in Journal of
Law Student Society, Faculty of Law, University of Ilorin. Vol.11, 2006. Pg. 102 – 105.
9MOA Alabi and Wahab Egbewole in their book ‘perspective on the legislature in the Government in
Professor Sagay, the leading academic voice in Constitutional Law in the
country gave the three forms of checks by the legislature over the President’s
exercise of power. They are:
(a) Approval for Presidential action
(b) Inquisition into the President’s administration.
(c) Impeachment of the President and the Vice-President.
Sagay’s view was that check and balances exist at every level of a free and
1.7.0: DEFINITION OF TERMS:
The following terms will be used often in the course of this research work.
Legislature may be defined according to black’s Law Dictionary as the
Department assembly or body of person’s that makes statutory laws for
the State and Nation.
Impeachment according to black’s Law Dictionary is defined as the act of
calling for the removal from office of a public official accomplished by
presenting a written charge of the alleged misconduct.
10 Itse sagay “Roles of Legislature under the Nigerian Constitution”
Punch Newspaper (Monday and Tuesday 16th August 2010) Pg. 85 and 106.
Constitution is the fundamental and organic Law of a Nation or State;
establishing the conception, character and organization of its government
as well as prescribing the extent of its sovereign power and the matter of
It is also a written instrument embodying this fundamental Law.
This research work has discussed extensively the objectives, Background to the study,
Scope, focus and the methodology used. It is my humble belief that at the conclusion
of this research work, the content would become another material to be recon with in
the area of chosen topic.
Keywords: ROLES OF LEGISLATURE IN IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS UNDER 1999 CONSTITUTION