Nigerian Journal of Legislative Affaris

Year : 2017-01-01

Year: 2017-01-01

Volume: 7

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While all legislations enacted by the National Assembly are binding and important, there are many laws that are significant for their span or because they point to a major and official decisive moment for the country. Since the return to democratic governance in 1999, the National Assembly has passed several critical legislations aimed at transforming state institutions that have become moribund under successive military regimes and influencing particular attitudes and social behaviours on a large scale. This paper critically assesses such "landmark legislations" in Nigeria that were passed from 1999 to 2016 in terms of their potentials for positive impacts on development and democratic re-engineering. These legislations cover such areas as finance and the economy, politics, security, corruption, democracy and governance, and the social sector among others. Also, some of the challenges faced in their implementation are discussed.

It has become a familiar trend that every governor aspires to be in the National Assembly after an eight-year-tenure as head of the executive arm of government in their respective states. To many of the ex-governors, as found out in this paper, the Senate is another platform through which they could continue to provide service and actualize their political goal as far as local and national politics is concerned. The paper contends that there is nothing wrong about former governors aspiring to be senators but that what is important is that they should be in the Senate to serve the interest of their constituencies as opposed to their personal interests. It concludes that if the experiences of former governors in managing the affairs of their states for eight years is put into good use and backed with patriotic intentions, they would be a great asset to the National Assembly as a democratic institution.

Nigeria's external indebtedness dated back to pre-independence period but the debts were not much of a burden on the economy. However, with the oil glut of 1978, things began to change in the direction of accumulated external debts. Following the adverse effect of the debt burden on the country, the new civilian administration that emerged in 1999 was poised to tackle the debt problem headlong. However, the democratic context in Nigeria is such that no arm of government has absolute control over the formulation and implementation of government's policies; there was the need, therefore, for cooperation between the executive and the legislature on the debt issue. This article examines the role of actors within the executive and legislative arms aimed at securing debt cancellation for the country in 2005. It argues that Nigeria was able to secure debt cancellation due largely to synergy of actions between the executive and legislative institutions, informed by both arms‟ recognition of the impact of the excruciating debt burden on the country. The article concludes that there is need for more institutional cooperation in order to achieve greater prospects for the country's democratic aspirations.

This paper examines the role of the Nigerian National Assembly in the economic diplomacy of external debt relief between 1999 and 2006. Using secondary data, the findings show that the National Assembly played a critical and complementary role to the Executive arm in attaining Nigeria‟s foreign policy objective of securing external debt relief. This paid-off with the grant of US$18 billion debt relief to Nigeria by the Paris Club of Creditors in 2005. Since the 1999 Constitution provides for shared responsibility between the Executive and the National Assembly in foreign policy, the effective participation of both arms of government in foreign policy making is necessary for the development of clear and focused policy goals as well as effective coordination of domestic forces in forging a robust and effective foreign policy.

The right to privacy under section 37 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN) is one of the key human rights provisions of the CFRN and is recognised in most jurisdictions. However, the spate and apparently recurring episodes of violence from terrorist activities has put this right at risk of constant derogation by law enforcement agencies both in Nigeria and other terrorist besieged countries. This has led to questions as to whether protection of human rights should be abandoned in favour of fight against terrorism or whether more robust laws should be enacted to safeguard these rights. A practical instance of where this challenge is exposed is in deciding the extent of the derogation of rights that can be sanctioned by laws that seek to empower law enforcement agencies to intercept telecommunications. This paper attempts to answer the question, to what extent can law derogate the rights to privacy, under the instrument of section 45 of the CFRN 1999 as amended without hurting the purpose of the fundamental human rights provisions of the CFRN.

This paper tries to establish the state of functionality of Anambra State House of Assembly as a Legislative organ of government in the State. Its assessment is based on the common practices of the legislature, isolating the two functional responsibilities of law making and oversight. It anchors its analysis, with the aid of „General Role Theory‟, on data from parliamentary activities (Bills and oversight reports) of Anambra State House of Assembly (2003–2015) generated from the House. The paper find that there was dominance of the position of the executive on the activities of the House, and that the record of bills (presented, passed or not passed) had little to show inputs from the constituents, civil society groups and professional bodies. It was also found that the legislative processes were constantly perverted to satisfy the demands of the executive. The paper further finds that the oversight functions were made rather „routinistic‟, using only the Standing Committees of the House and does not appear to have made reasonable positive impact on the governance. The paper therefore recommends, among others, that there is a need for more public participation in the affairs of the House. Therefore, members of the civil society and civil society organisations need to take more definite steps (through seeking and making information available) to press for more and deeper legislative processes and oversight duties by the State House of Assembly.

  • Jake Dan-Azumi

  • Bethel Uzoma Ihugba

  • Pius O. Udoh

  • C. Jaja Nwanegbo