Tag Archives: law

The First Female Supreme Court Chief Justice in Nigeria?


Nigeria may soon get its first female Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Justice Mariam Aloma, has been nominated to replace the outgoing Chief Justice Dahiru Musdapher. Musdapher will retire on July 16 this year.

http://www.vanguardngr.com/2012/04/first-female-cjn-emerges-july-16/

http://allafrica.com/stories/201204220060.html

 

Nigeria’s Islamic Police


http://www.economist.com/node/16311947?story_id=16311947&CFID=143594228&CFTOKEN=87017455

Interesting article at the link above from the Economist, about the role of the Hisba (Islamic police) in northern Nigerian states that have adopted Sharia law.

Goodluck Jonathan as President: Practicality -v- Illegality?


Jonathan’s confirmation as VP will hopefully put an end to the controversy (at least temporarily), and will give the leadership some semblance of order and due process. While we have arrived at a PRACTICAL solution, I am not sure that the manner and circumstances in which Jonathan was appointed acting VP was LEGAL.

There are numerous mechanisms for appointing the VP to acting President including:

a) Impeachment of the President
b) TEMPORARY incapacitation of the President
c) PERMANENT incapacitation of the President

The National Assembly did not do any of the 3 things above. Yar’Adua was not impeached or declared incapacitated on a temporary or permanent basis.

The basis for Jonathan to TEMPORARILY act as the President arises ONLY IF Yar’Adua HIMSELF informs the President of the Senate (David Mark) and the Speaker of the House of Representatives (Dimeji Bankole) that he is leaving the country on vacation or is unable to perform the functions of his office. Yar’Adua did not do that as per section 145 of the constituton:

“145. Whenever the President transmits to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a written declaration that he is proceeding on vacation or that he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office, until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary such functions shall be discharged by the Vice-President as Acting President.”

For Yar’Adua to be PERMANENTLY replaced, two overlapping actions are required. Firstly, two-thirds of the Federal Executive Council must pass a resolution declaring that Yar’Adua is unfit to discharge his functions; AND

The declaration then has to be verified by a medical panel of 5 doctors (including Yar’Adua’s own doctor), confirming that the President is PERMANENTLY incapable of discharging his functions.

I suspect that this is not the end of this saga, and that we will be hearing more about it from Yar’Adua supporters. Don’t be surprised if this ends up in court.

Remember Remember, Uzoma Okere


Who remembers Uzoma Okere?

For those that do not remember, this is the young lady that was assaulted in 2008 by the security men attached to a senior navy officer (Rear-Admiral Arogundade). She was beaten, whippd and had items of her outing clothing ripped off.

You can read details of her ordeal (and watch the video of the assault on her) at:

https://maxsiollun.wordpress.com/2009/02/08/update-on-uzoma-okere/

https://maxsiollun.wordpress.com/2008/11/10/video-of-lagos-woman-beaten-by-navy-officers-guards/

As a follow up, Ms Okere sued the men who assaulted her. I was cynical that anything would come of the lawsuit. To my pleasant surprise the court ruled in her favour and ordered her assailants to pay her 100 million Naira in compensation and publicly apologise to her in four national newspapers: This Day, The Guardian, The Nation and The Punch.

If this assault had never been caught on videotape, I’m sure it would have been buried and her ordeal forgotten. You can read details of the judgment at:

http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=165256

http://businessdayonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7939:okere-court-orders-navy-chief-4-others-to-pay-n100m-for-assault&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=18

In a week full of doom and gloom, I thought I’d conclude it with this bit of good news.

Have a good weekend everyone….

http://twitter.com/maxsiollun

Ojo Maduekwe Speaks Again – Explains Yar’Adua’s Absence


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGw3rAe3a7w&feature=autofb

I don’t want to turn this site into a Maduekwe fest, but the Foreign Minister has issued a lot of soundbites lately about the absence of President Yar’Adua.  Here is another interview with him where he speaks rationally, lucidly and with eloquence about the provisions of the constitution governing the President’s absence.

He looks much more assured this time than in his uncomfortable appearance on BBC Hardtalk. He has clearly done some preparation and his research. This is actually a good video for those who prefer visualisation to understand the legal provisions governing the President’s absence. Watch and judge for yourself….

Yar’Adua’s Illness and Nigeria’s Constitution – All You Need to Know


When the President is Sick – What is Supposed to Happen?

There have been rumours, counter-rumours, allegations of ill-health, death and brain damage. One American newspaper even went so far as to claim that Yar’Adua died on December 10. If this story is true it would would place Yar’Adua in very illustrious company as one of a select band of few human beings to resurrect from the dead (Yar’Adua was interviewed by the BBC this week).

For those that actually care about what is supposed to happen in crises/presidential absences such as these, here is a little primer on Nigeria’s constitution (yes, Nigeria does have one, even though it is not always followed):

Is Yar’Adua Supposed to Formally Hand Over to his Vice-President During His Absence?

No.

To all those people haranguing Yar’Adua for not “formally handing over” to his Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan, no such formal “hand over” is required. Once Yar’Adua informs the President of the Senate (David Mark) and the Speaker of the House of Representatives (Dimeji Bankole) that he is leaving the country on vacation or is unable to perform the functions of his office, from that moment on, his job functions automatically divest to his Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan under section 145 of the Constitution:

“145. Whenever the President transmits to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a written declaration that he is proceeding on vacation or that he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office, until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary such functions shall be discharged by the Vice-President as Acting President.”

The trouble is that section 145 does not say what will happen if the President does NOT give the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a written declaration of his absence from the country or incapacitation. Did Yar’Adua give such a notice to Mark and Bankole? If so, Goodluck Jonathan has de facto been exercising Yar’Adua’s powers since Yar’Adua left the country last November. If he did not give the written declaration…..the situation is murky. That is why we are in the current limbo.

So Why Doesn’t Yar’Adua Just Formally Designate that the Vice-President is in Charge Till He Returns?

The President and his supporters are far too politically savvy for that. Nigeria’s ruling PDP political party operates something called “zoning”. It “zones” (i.e. allocates and rotates) its presidential candidate between different parts of the country. The PDP’s previous presidential candidate was former President Obasanjo (a Yoruba Christian from the south) who stood as PDP candidate and President for two terms of office (1999-2003 and 2003-2007). When Obasanjo’s term of office expired in 2007, the PDP zoned the presidency to the north and its candidate Umaru Musa Yar’Adua (the current President and a Fulani Muslim from the north). The expectation is that Yar’Adua will serve 2 terms of office (i.e. until 2015) before the PDP “zones” the presidency back to the south.

Northerners fear that allowing Vice-President Jonathan to stand in for Yar’Adua will eat into or truncate its “turn” in the presidency.

Can Yar’Adua Be Removed From Office Due to His Absence?

Yes – but it is VERY difficult.

Two overlapping actions are required. Firstly, two-thirds of the Federal Executive Council (Nigeria’s cabinet) must pass a resolution declaring that Yar’Adua is unfit to discharge his functions; AND

The declaration then has to be verified by a medical panel of 5 doctors (including Yar’Adua’s own doctor), confrming that the President has been PERMANENTLY incapable of discharging his functions.

Yar’Adua’s Illness and Nigeria’s Constitution – All You Need to Know

There have been rumours, counter-rumours, allegations of ill-health, death and brain damage. One American newspaper even went so far as to claim that Yar’Adua died on December 10. If this story is true it would would place Yar’Adua in very illustrious company as one of a select band of few human beings to resurrect from the dead (Yar’Adua was interviewed by the BBC this week).

For those that actually care about what is supposed to happen in crises/presidential absences such as these, here is a little primer on Nigeria’s constitution (yes, Nigeria does have one, even though it is not always followed):

When the President is Sick – What is Supposed to Happen?

Is Yar’Adua Supposed to Formally Hand Over to his Vice-President During His Absence?

No.

To all those people haranguing Yar’Adua for not “formally handing over” to his Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan, no such formal “hand over” is required. Once Yar’Adua informs the President of the Senate (David Mark) and the Speaker of the House of Representatives (Dimeji Bankole) that he is leaving the country on vacation or is unable to perform the functions of his office, from that moment on, his job functions automatically divest to his Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan under section 145 of the Constitution:

“145. Whenever the President transmits to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a written declaration that he is proceeding on vacation or that he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office, until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary such functions shall be discharged by the Vice-President as Acting President.”

The trouble is, section 145 does not say what will happen if the President does NOT give the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a written declaration of his absence from the country or incapacitation. Did Yar’Adua give such a notice to Mark and Bankole? If so, Goodluck Jonathan has de facto been exercising Yar’Adua’s powers since Yar’Adua left the country last November. If he did not give the written declaration…..the situation is murky. That is why we are in the current limbo.

So Why Doesn’t Yar’Adua Just Formally Designate that the Vice-President is in Charge Till He Returns?

The President and his supporters are far too politically savvy for that. Nigeria’s ruling PDP political party operates something called “zoning”. It “zones” (i.e. allocates and rotates) its presidential candidate between different parts of the country. The PDP’s previous presidential candidate was former President Obasanjo (a Yoruba Christian from the south) who stood as PDP candidate and President for two terms of office (1999-2003 and 2003-2007). When Obasanjo’s term of office expired in 2007, the PDP zoned the presidency to the north and its candidate Umaru Musa Yar’Adua (the current President and a Fulani Muslim from the north). The expectation is that Yar’Adua will serve 2 terms of office (i.e. until 2015) before the PDP “zones” the presidency back to the south.

Northerners fear that allowing Vice-President Jonathan to stand in for Yar’Adua will eat into or truncate its “turn” in the presidency.

Can Yar’Adua Be Removed From Office Due to His Absence?

Yes – but it is VERY difficult.

Two overlapping actions are required. Firstly, two-thirds of the Federal Executive Council (Nigeria’s cabinet) must pass a resolution declaring that Yar’Adua is unfit to discharge his functions; AND

The declaration then has to be verified by a medical panel of 5 doctors (including Yar’Adua’s own doctor), confrming that the President has been PERMANENTLY incapable of discharging his functions.