The legislators said the compilation and publication of the country’s laws on a website will allow for easy access by citizens and non-citizens alike, and prevent duplication of laws.
The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a motion calling on the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Nigerian Law Reform Commission to commence the review, revision, consolidation, compilation and publication of all laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
The lawmakers also urged the office of the Attorney General of the Federation to operate a website where every enacted and gazetted laws of the Federation can be uploaded and published for easy access from any part of the world, just as it mandated its Committees on Justice and Legislative Compliance (when constituted) to ensure compliance.
The resolutions were sequel to a motion titled: “Need for the Federal Government of Nigeria to Revise, Consolidate, Compile and Publish the Laws of the Federation and Operate a Website for Publication of Laws Passed in Nigeria.”
Presenting the motion, Rep. Patrick Umoh (PDP, Akwa Ibom) said there was need for harmonisation and consolidation of all laws passed in the country for easy access.
The House notes that the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, which provides the basis for governance in Nigeria, have not been reviewed, revised, consolidated and compiled into one single document for about 19 years.
House also notes that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) the supreme law governing Nigeria and upon which other laws draw their source, has been altered for the fifth time while some of its provisions have been deleted, however, there has not been a corresponding consolidation of the constitutional alterations into an official single legal document.
“There is no official government website that uploads or publishes every law enacted by the National Assembly and signed into law by the President as it is obtainable in advanced jurisdictions.
“Also, the non-revision of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria have left obsolete and obsolescent laws promulgated several years past in our statute books, and these old laws do not reflect the modern, economic realities in Nigeria.
“Further disturbed that the non-consolidation of laws of the Federation have left in our statute books deleted, amended, replaced, displaced or laws struck down by the court, thereby creating confusion in the system of applicable laws in Nigeria.
“Concerned that the non-compilation of the laws of the Federation of Nigeria has affected easy access to,and creates uncertainty as to, the applicable laws in Nigeria, and impedes the legislature from effectively performing their legislative functions of making or amending laws, the judiciary from properly interpreting the laws of the land, the law enforcement agencies from knowing the right laws to enforce, etc.”
The lawmakers lamented that the non-operation of a website that publishes every law enacted in Nigeria has impeded easy access to laws by Nigerians, and investors in particular, from any part of the world whether for investment or research purposes.
They stressed the need for the comprehensive, predictable and accessible body of laws in a democratic society like Nigeria, based on the rule of law cannot be emphasized given that it provides basis for governmental actions, informs citizens, investors and residents of what is legally demanded of them, and promotes development and investment.
According to them, “the advantages of revising, compiling and online publication of laws are enormous in that it simplifies and enhance legislative practice, legal practice and justice administration in Nigeria, avoid duplication of laws, and ease the referencing of laws by the public, and will fast-track national development and growth promised by the current Federal Government.”