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CONSTITUTIONAL LAW

(COURSE CONTENTS)

Constitutional law is that part of the Law which regulates the structure of the principal organs of government and their relationship to each other and to the citizen, and determine their main function. Historically, the Nigerian Constitutional Law was adopted from the English legal system based solely on the fact that we inherited the English legal system through the instrumentality of colonialism. The practice of constitutional law is influenced by the general legal context that prevails in England. The major statute guide for constitutional law in Nigeria is the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.

 

This course gives an in-depth exposition of basic points typically relevant and found in commonwealth jurisdictions most of which gained independence from the British colonial masters. As enumerated in the outline below, the topics deals with the underlying issues concerning the manner in which constitutional law is put into use in a democratic and law governed society.

1. DEFINITION AND SCOPE OF CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AND TRADITIONAL CONSTITUTIONAL CONCEPT

Definition of Constitutional Law

Scope of Constitutional Law

Traditional Constitutional Concept

Constitutional Law and Administrative Law

 

2. SOURCES OF A CONSTITUTION

Sources of a Constitutional

Nature of the Constitutions

Constitution as a Social Contract

 

3. FEDERALISM

Definition of Federalism

Constitutional Forms

Basis and Justification of Federalism

 

4. SEPERATION OF POWERS 

Definition of the Concept called Separation of Powers

Military Rule and Separation of Powers

Civil Rule and Separation of Powers

 

5. THE RULE OF LAW

Historical Evolution of the concept of Rule of Law

Definition of Rule of Law

Supremacy of the Law

Equality before the Law

Enforcement of Rights

Rule of Law: Nigerian Experience

Requirements to the Validity of the Rule of Law

 

6. CLASSIFICATION OF CONSTITUTIONS

Definition of Constitution

Nature, Function and Origin

Unwritten and Written Constitution

(a) Unwritten Constitution

(b) Written Constitution

Rigid and Flexible Constitution

 

7. SYSTEMS OF GOVERNMENT

Federal and Unitary Systems of Government

  1. Federal System

  2. Definition of Federation

  3. Characteristics of a Federal System of Government

  4. Unitary System of Government

  5. Merits of a Unitary System of Government

  6. Demerits of a Unitary System of Government

Presidential and Parliamentary Systems of Government

(a) Presidential System of Government

(b) Merits of a Presidential System of Government

(c) Demerits of a Presidential System of Government

(d) Parliamentary System of Government

 

8. CONSTITUTIONAL SUPREMACY

Sovereignty or Supremacy in Modern Era

Independence Constitution 1960

Republican Constitution 1963

Military Dictatorship

Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1979 and 1999

Where Lies Sovereignty or Supremacy

Benchmark of Sovereignty or Supremacy

Sovereignty or Supremacy in relation to Nigeria

(a) Legislative

(b) Executive

(c) Judiciary

 

9. PARLIAMENTARY SUPREMACY

The Constitution 

Unwritten Constitution

Written constitution

Written and Unwritten Constitution

Sovereignty or Supremacy

(a) Power in Pre-Colonial Nigeria]

(b) The sovereignty or Supremacy in Colonial Times

(c) Sovereignty or Supremacy in Pre-Modern Nigeria

 

10. CONSTITTUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF NIGERIA: (PRE-COLONIAL NIGERIA TO BRITISH RULE) 

Historical Background of Nigeria

Pre - Colonial Nigeria

1900-1919

1920-1950

(a) Clifford’s Constitution

(b) Richard’s Constitution

1951-1956.

(a) MaCphersons Constitution

(b) Lyttleton’s Constitution

The 1957 and 1958 Constitutional Conference 

 

11. CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF NIGERIA: 1960-1979

The Independence Constitution

The 1963 Republican Constitution

 

12. CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA 1979 TO DATE

The 1979 Constitution

The 1989 Constitution

The 1995 Draft Constitution

The 1999 Constitution

 

13. POWERS OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AND FEW CONSTITUTIONAL CONCEPTS

Amendment or Alteration

The Executive Powers of the Federation

Judicial Powers

Further Powers of the Court

The Doctrine of Ripeness

Retrospective Legislation

Few Constitutional Concepts

The Position of Sovereignty in Nigeria

Ministerial Responsibility

Separation of Powers

 

14. FUNDAMENTAL OBJECTIVES AND DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES OF STATE POLICY

Political Objectives

Economic Objectives

Social Objectives

Educational Objectives

Foreign Policy Objectives

Relevance of the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy

The Constitutional Provisions on Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy

(a) Political Objectives

(b) Economic Objectives

(c) Social Objectives

(d) Educational Objectives

(f) Foreign Policy Objectives

(g) Directive on Nigerian Culture

(h) Obligations of the Mass Media

(i) National Ethics

 

15. FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS 

Right to Life

Right to Dignity of Human Person

Right to Personal Liberty

Right to Freedom from Discrimination

Compulsory Acquisition of Property

Restriction on and Derogation from Fundamental Rights

 

16. RIGHT TO FAIR HEARING

Provision Dealing with Impartiality

Bias and Likelihood of It

Civil Rights

Fair Trial within a Reasonable Time

Authenticated Copies of Judgement

Right to an Interpreter

Opportunity to Defend

Right of Confrontation and Cross Examination

Right to Counsel

Compulsory Acquisition of Property

 

17. THE LEGISLATURE

Vacation of Seats

Tenure of Seats of Members

Qualifications for Membership of National Assembly

Disqualifications

The Life Span of the Legislature

Duty of the President in Relation to the National Assembly

Mode of Exercising Federal Legislative Power: General

Mode of Exercising Federal Legislative Power: Money Bill

 

18. POWERS AND CONTROL OVER PUBLIC FUNDS

Authorisation of Expenditure from Consolidated Revenue Fund

Authorisation of Expenditure in Default of Appropriation

Contingency Fund

Remuneration of the President and Certain Other Officers

Audit of Public Accounts

Appointment of Auditor-General

Tenure of Office of Auditor-General

Power to Conduct Investigation

Power as to Matter of Evidence

Miscellaneous Provisions

Recall

House of Assembly of a State

Tenure of Seats of Members

Powers and Control over Public Funds Recall

 

19. THE EXECUTIVE 

The President

Removal of President from Office

Permanent Incapacity of President

Discharge of Functions of President

The Vice-President

The Appointment of Special Adviser

The Ministers

The Establishment of Certain Federal Executive Bodies

Independence of Certain Bodies

State Executive

Deputy Governor

The Commissioners of State Government

Qualification for Appointment as a Commissioner

Special Advisers

 

20. REMOVAL OF GOVERNOR OR DEPUTY GOVERNOR FROM OFFICE

Tenure of Office of Governor

Permanent Incapacity of Governor or Deputy Governor

Establishment of Certain State Executive Bodies

State Executive Bodies

(a) State Council of Chiefs

(b) State Judicial Service Commission

(c) State Local Government Service Commission

(d) The Public Service of a State

(e) The Attorney-General of a State

Prerogative of Mercy

Declaration of State of Emergency

Immunity from Suits or Legal Proceedings

 

21. JUDICATURE 

The Supreme Court of Nigeria

The Court of Appeal

The Federal High Court

The State High Court

The Sharia Court of Appeal

The Customary Court of Appeal

Jurisdiction of State Court in respect of Federal Cases

Tenure of Office of Judicial Officers

Removal of Judicial Officers from Office

Determination of Cases and Matters

Establishment of other Courts or Tribunals

Restrictions on Legal Proceedings

Appellate Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court

Appeals from Decisions of Presidential Election Tribunals

The Constitution under the Military

 

22. JUDICIAL REMEDIES 

Analysis of Sections 42, 44, and 45 of the 1979, 1989 and 1999 Constitutions (Respectively)

Prohibition and Certiorari

Mandamus

Habeas Corpus

Injunction

Summation and Comments on Judicial Remedies

When Injunction will be Refused

 

23. NATURAL JUSTICE AND FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS (ENFORCEMENT PROCEDURE)

Enforcement Procedure

Fundamental Right (Enforcement Procedure Rules)

Application for Judicial Review

Jurisdiction on Appeal/Supreme Court

 

24. JUDICIAL REVIEW

Application for Judicial Review

(a) Cases Appropriate for Application for Judicial Review

(b) Joinder of Claims for Relief

(c) Grant of Leave to Apply for Judicial Review

(d) Delay in Applying for Relief

Mode of Applying for Judicial Review

(a) Statements and Affidavits

(b) Claim for Damages

(c) Application for Discovery, Interrogatories, Cross-Examination etc.

(d) Hearing of Application for Judicial Review

(e) Saving for Person Acting in Obedience to Mandamus

(f) Consolidation of Applications

(g) Scope of Judicial Review

(h) Raising Jurisdiction on Appeals

 

25. THE PRINCIPLES OF NATURAL JUSTICE AND THEIR APPLICATIONS IN NIGERIA THROUGH CASES 

Natural Justice

The Nigerian Experiment

Adjournments

Witnesses and Natural Justice

Locus Standi

 

26. CONSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURE AND NATURE OF THE NIGERIAN MILITARY GOVERNMENT

Structure of Government

Composition

Structure of Government in the States

 

27. STRUCTURE AND ADMINISTRATION OF THE JUDICIARY

The Chief Justice of the Federation

The Chief Justice of the States

Hierarchy of Courts

 

28. DEMARCATION OF FUNCTIONS OF GOVERNMENT  

The Supreme Military Council

The Head of State

The National Council of States

The Federal Executive Council

 

29. LAW MAKING

Law Making Process by the Legislature

Law Making in Military Regime