oa The Constitution - Emergency powers in Nigeria: legal and constitutional issues



This article examines both the legal and constitutional validity of the various actions pertaining to the emergency rule in Plateau State, Nigeria. The article argues that the presidential constitutions of Nigeria, namely 1979 and 1999, lay down procedures for the exercise of legislative and executive powers. Furthermore, the article underlines the procedures which were clearly exploited by the President in the declaration of a state of emergency in Plateau State. Relying on constitutional instruments and case law, the article argues that the President has powers to declare a state of emergency but the constitution does not give the President unqualified discretion as there are procedures to be followed in the exercise of those powers. While calling for bold judicial review that would give primacy to due process, the article concludes by noting that no where in the constitution is the President of Nigeria granted powers to remove elected officers from office. Thus, by declaring a state of emergency, he acted against the letter and spirit of the constitution.


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