State Institutions Responsible For Formulation And Enforcement Of The Rule Of Law

Everyone must obey the law. The law in every country is above its citizens, and every individual is equal before the law. The citizens of a country are also protected by the laws of their country. These laws are formulated and enforced by the state through certain institutions. E.g. the Police, EFCC, NDLEA, NAFDAC, etc.

State Institutions Responsible For Formulation And Enforcement Of The Rule Of Law

There are certain institutions of the state that have been given the responsibility for the formulation and enforcement of the rule of law. Such institutions are:

1. The Legislature
2. The Executive
3. The Judiciary
4. The Enforcement Agencies

1. The Legislature

The arm of government that makes laws is the legislature, and it does this through the legislative process. When the executive (president or governor) makes a policy or wants to take an action on any matter, it takes it to the legislature for approval; and the legislature can also initiate its own policies. Whether these policies come from the executive or the legislature, they are called proposals and when they are tabled before the legislature for debate and approval, they are called bills. When these bills are approved and signed by the executive president, they become laws.

The constitution empowers the legislature to uphold the rule of law. The legislature supervises the activities of the executive and the judiciary. By so doing, the legislature is upholding the rule of law.

2. The Executive

The laws made by the legislature are put into practice and carried out or implemented by the executive arm of government. Members of the executive at the federal level include the president, vice president and ministers. At the state level, they include the governor, deputy governor and commissioners. The executive may use many other officers in carrying out its duties. These officers are civil servants, the police, the army and other public officials.

The executive is also responsible for carrying out the decisions of the judiciary. For instance, the police can arrest law offenders or law breakers and take them to court. Once they are tried and convicted by the judiciary, the prison department keeps the prisoners in prison. Therefore, the executive agencies can use the various law enforcement agencies in making sure that the rule of law is strictly followed. The executive can also organize some people (commission of inquiry), to investigate any case which it feels has violated the rule of law.

3. The Judiciary

It is the third arm of government, and also the third major institution in the enforcement of the rule of law. The judiciary interprets the laws made by the legislature simply by explaining what the law says, and ensuring what that the laws are obeyed by everybody. The judiciary sees to it that all the offenders of the law are punished. When somebody wins an election or is given an appointment by the government, it is the judiciary that performs the swearing in ceremony or administers what is called the Oath of office, either with the Bible or the Quran.

The judiciary ensures that the rule of law is followed and that nobody is above the law. It can also protect human rights by interpreting or explaining what it means and punishing any person for the abuse of human rights.

4. Agencies That Enforce The Rule Of Law

Certain agencies have been established in Nigeria to enforce the rule of law and ensure that it is strictly followed. Some of these agencies are as old as Nigeria, while others were created with time, as the need for them arose. Some of these agencies are:

i. The Police
ii. The Prison Service
iii. National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA)
iv. National Agency For Food And Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC)
v. Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC)
vi. Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission (ICPC)
vii. The Nigeria Customs Service
viii. The Nigerian Immigration Service
ix. The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC)
x. Consumer Protect Council (CPC)

i. The Police

This is an official organization whose job is to make people obey the law and to prevent and stop crimes. The Nigeria Police force was established by an Act of Parliament under the Independence Constitution (1960) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Nigeria Police is under the command of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) who is appointed by the President. He is assisted by the deputy inspector general of police. In the State, the police is headed by the Commissioner of Police.

ii. The Prison Service

The Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) is the correction and rehabilitation department. Remand homes and centres are made for only the youth. When somebody is found guilty of committing a crime, he is sent to prison to spend some months or years depending on the gravity (seriousness) of the offence. This is to punish him and stop him from committing more crimes, and influencing other people in the society. The Prison Service is under the Comptroller General. The first Nigerian prison was established in Lagos 1872.

iii. National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA)

In 1989, Nigeria was then being ruled by the military. The constitution of the country was suspended and military decrees were put to use. Drug abuse and trafficking became a big challenge to the federal military government at that time, and it became necessary to set up the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency under Decree No. 48 of 1989. The agency was given many responsibilities with regard to drug related offences in the country.

iv. National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC)

This agency was also established during the military government when the constitution was suspended and Nigeria was governed by military decrees. NAFDAC was approved under Decree No. 15 of 1993, but the agency officially started off in January 1994, as a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Health. This agency was given the responsibility of enforcing the laws concerning drugs along with NDLEA. They also monitor sales and use of drugs in the country to avoid their abuse. Drugs, beverages, etc, are registered under them. Other items include food, cosmetics, water (sachet & bottled), bottled drinks and so on.

v. Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC)

The EFCC was established and charged with the responsibility of enforcing the laws on financial crimes. It also investigates, arrests and prosecutes some other offenders in such areas as pipeline vandalism, terrorism, examination malpractices, cultism, and so on.

vi. Independent Corrupt Practices And Related Offences Commission (ICPC)

The ICPC was established by the administration of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, during his first tenure as president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The ICPC Act 2000, was officially signed into law on the 13th June, 2000. The body was charged with the responsibility of fighting corruption and other related offences.

vii. The Nigeria Customs Service

This is the government department that collects taxes and duties on goods produced and sold in Nigeria, those imported into Nigeria and those exported out of Nigeria into other countries.

viii. The Nigerian Immigration Service

This is another agency of government in the paramilitary class that is responsible for enforcing the rule of law. They do a lot of their work through the Nigerian embassies abroad.

ix. The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC)

This is an agency set up by government to complement the work of the police or help them in the enforcement of laws. They can arrest people who break the laws but must hand such people over to the police.

x. Consumer Protection Council (CPC)

This is another agency of government set up to protect the Nigerian consumers from manufacturers and other persons offering goods and services. The CPC ensures that these goods and services are offered in accordance with the relevant laws which protect the fundamental rights of citizens.

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