Posted by / Monday 19 December 2016 / No comments

How Rule of Law is practiced in Nigeria

Definition of rule of Law
Rule of law has two definitions, the classical meaning as proposed by A. V. Dicey and the modern definition by the New Delhi declaration in 1959 at a meeting of the International Commission of Jurists.

According to A. V. Dicey, in his classical opinion, Rule of Law means the law is supreme. In other words, the law is the highest authority of the land in the absence of which nothing else can prevail. For example, the law does not reside in the bosom of anybody.

The contemporary definition, as developed by the International Commission of Jurists states that it is the conditions, structures, institutions, processes and procedures that must exist so that the individual can enjoy his life in dignity, security and prosperity.

Independence of the judiciary
One of the evidence that Nigeria is practicing Rule of Law is the independence of judiciary. Section 17 (1) (e) of the Nigerian constitution provides for the independence and impartiality of the Nigerian judiciary. The judges are appointed by the executive but after that they cannot be removed from office until their age of retirement or are not capable of performing their functions anymore. The judges are free to carry out their duty without any fear of being victimized by the government.

Freedom of the press
Another factor that shows that Nigeria is practices Rule of Law is the freedom of the press. In Nigeria, there are several radio stations, television stations, newspapers and news portal that are free to criticize the government if it goes astray without any fear of punishment.

Power of judicial review
In Nigeria, the judiciary has the power to declare null and void any actions of the executive and the legislature if they violate the Nigerian constitution. In other words, the executive and the legislature cannot act beyond the powers that are granted them by the constitution. This helps to prevent arbitrariness.

Constitutional restrictions
Another proof that Nigeria is practicing Rule of Law is the restriction the constitution places on the legislature to prevent it from taking certain actions. For example, the 1989 constitution of Nigeria bars the parliament from passing any law that takes retrospective effect.

Periodic elections
In Nigeria, elections are held every four years to renew the mandate of a government or to remove a government from power. The freedom to choose who rules over one’s country is a requirement of Rule of Law and Nigeria has kept faith with this requirement by ensuring that elections are held every four years.

Fundamental Human Rights
The constitution of Nigeria has outlined several rights that the citizens of the land must enjoy. Some of these rights include the right to life, the right to own property, the right to fair trial in the law court and many others. The evidence of the opportunity to enjoy these rights show that Nigeria is indeed practicing Rule of Law.

1. Explain five ways in which it is applying the concept of Rule of Law is being practiced in Nigeria. [15 marks]
2. Show with evidence, five ways in which Rule of Law has deep roots on Nigeria. [15 marks]

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