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Monday, August 15, 2022

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National AssemblyGreen Chamber#FactFile: 10 Steps to impeaching the Nigerian President

#FactFile: 10 Steps to impeaching the Nigerian President

 

Our focus in the last week has been on ‘Impeachment’ amid the threat of impeachment issued to President Muhammadu Buhari last Wednesday.

With divergent reactions trailing the notice and questions raised about the possibility of the same at a time like this, this piece highlights – 10 Steps to Impeaching the Nigerian President.

READ ALSO: Impeachment Threat: Why Senators walked out on Lawan at plenary

Introduction

Impeachment of an elected office holder in the executive falls constitutionally within the purview of the legislature.

It is also seen as a means of maintaining the check and balances system that exists within the Presidential System of Government, especially in checking the excesses of the executive arm of government.

Section 143 (1) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution spells out the reasons and processes governing the process(es) of impeaching a President or Vice President from office.

It has however been largely been described as a highly rigid protocol for change.

READ ALSO: #ThrowbackThursday: Attempts at impeaching the Nigerian President (1999-2022)

Process(es) of impeaching the Nigerian President or Vice President


Step 1:
Written notice of allegation (s) signed by not less than one-third of the members of the National Assembly (both Chambers).

Step 2:
Notice of allegations bothering on gross misconduct in the discharge of his duties presented to the Senate President.

The specifics of the misconduct must be clearly stated.

NOTE: Gross misconduct is defined as a grave violation or breach of this constitution, or conduct of such a type as, in the opinion of the National Assembly, amounts to gross misconduct.

Step 3:
The Senate President serves each member of the National Assembly and the office-holder a copy of the Notice.

Timeline: This must be done within 7 days after receiving the same.

Step 4:
The President/Vice President has a right of reply to the allegations.


The Senate President arranges for any such response to be served on each member of the National Assembly.

Step 5:
Each chamber of the National Assembly decides by motion without any debate whether or not they shall investigate the allegation.


Timeline: This must be done within 14 days of the notice being presented to the Senate President whether or not the office holder exercises the right to reply.

NOTE: If the motion fails to be approved by a two-thirds majority of all members of each chamber of the National Assembly, the process is immediately stopped and no further action shall be taken.

Step 6:
The Senate President asks the Chief Justice of Nigeria to appoint a panel of 7 individuals to investigate the allegation.

Timeline: Within 7 days of the motion being approved by a two-thirds majority of each chamber of the National Assembly.

NOTE: The panel must be constituted of individuals who, in the opinion of the CJN, are of unquestionable Integrity, not members of any public service, legislative body, or political party.

Step 7:
The Panel provides its conclusions to each Chamber of the National Assembly.


Timeline: Within 3 months after its appointment. 

Step 8:
The officeholder whose conduct is under investigation appears before the panel and defends him/herself.


This guarantees the right to a fair trial prior to impeachment and can be in person or be represented by a lawyer of his/her choice. 

NOTE: No further action shall be taken in the case where the panel notifies each chamber of the National Assembly that the claim has not been proven.

Step 9:
Each chamber of the National Assembly reviews the panel report.

Timeline: Within 14 days of receiving the panel’s report.

If the report states that the allegations against the office holder are proven, this is to be followed by the introduction of a resolution for its adoption.

Step 10:
Each chamber of the National Assembly moves a motion for the adoption of a resolution on the reviewed panel report. 

The resolution is deemed adopted If the motion is backed by not less than a two-thirds majority of all members of the National Assembly.

The President or Vice President stands removed from office as of the day the report is adopted.

Tammy Asawo-Fila
Tammy Asawo-Fila
A quick-thinking, result-oriented and creative individual with a burning devotion to work and people skills. A Law Graduate from the North American University, Benin Republic, he is currently a Programme Assistant at OrderPaper Nigeria where he does research, data analysis, and reports news.
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