The State And The Rule Of Law

Table Of Contents

1. State Institution Responsible For Formulation And Enforcement Of The Rule Of Law.
2. Assessment Of The Performance Of The Enforcement Agencies In Nigeria.

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

1. The Legislature:

The legislature is the organ of government responsible for making laws. It is aslo empowered to enforce laws through its oversight functions of the executive and judicial arm of government.

The legislature in Nigeria comprises of the National Assembly and the State House of Assembly. The National Assembly has two lagislative chambers, the Semate and the House of Representatives. Eash state has a House of Assembly, ie there are 36 State Houses Of Assembly.

Members of the legislature are the elected representatives of the people.

i. They make laws for good governance, peace, stability and progress of the country.

ii. They assess, debate and pass executive bills and policy programmes.

iii. They also initiate bills which later become laws.

iv. They vet and approve annual budgets of the executive, and monitor budget implementation to ensure compliance with approvals made.

v. The senate screens and confirms executive appointments like Ministers, Special Advisers, Ambassadors and Chairmen of federal Boards to ensure that merit, due process and the federal character principles are observed in such appointments.

vi. Through its oversight function. The legislature ensures that due process and rule of law are observed by government ministries, parastatals and agencies in the performance of their duties.

vii. Accordingly, it can querry ministers and heads of ministries, parastatals and agencies for non performance or misconducts. In the process, it investigates, audits and probes executive departments, commissions and agencies of government.

viii. The legislature undertakes constitutional reviews and amendments to ensure that stability, unity and good governance of the nation are guaranteed.

2. The Executive:

In Nigeria, the executive is composed of the president and Ministers, Advisers, and heads of agencies and parastatals. At the state level, the Governor, Commissioners and head of governmenr parastatals and agencies, political office holders appointed by the Governor.

i. The executive is the arm of government that initiates and implements policy programmes.

ii. The executive initiates bills which when passed by the legislature become laws.

iii. It formulates budget proposals which constitute the financial revenue and expenditure law of the country for a year.

iv. The executive implements budgets and is answerable for problems arising from budget implementation.

v. It can veto legislative bills if they are considered inconsistent with the rule of law.

3. The Judiciary:

In nigeria, the judiciary consists of the law courts which are the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the High Court, the Sharia Court; the Magistrate Court, the Customary Court, Election Tribunals, industrial Court.

i. The judiciary is the organs of government that interprets the law.

ii. It arbitrates and settles disputes arising from the interpretation of laws between the executive and the legislature arms of government.

iii. It ensures that laws made by the executive and the legislature arms are good laws.

iv. The judiciary applies and enforces laws so that both the citizens and constituted authority obey the law.

v. It ensures that the rule of law is observed in the conduct of both the executive and the legislature.

vi. It can render, null and void or ultra vires, such acts that do not conform with the rule of law.

vii. The judiciary is the last hope of the common man because it protects both the weak and mighty from the arbitrary powers of men and constituted authority.

viii. It thus interprets and enforces the law so that citizens do not suffer oppression and injustice.

4. The enforcement Agencies:

The enforcement agencies ensure that the rule of law is observed by citizens. They are those agencies which act to safeguard the values of society, maintain law and order which guarantee economic and social stability, good life and peaceful co-existence of citizens. The following are enforcement agencies of government.

a. The Police:

The police is a major law enforcement agency. It is responsible for the maintenance of law and order and fighting crime in the society. It investigates crime, arrests and prosecutes suspects. The police ensures peaceful and orderly conduct of citizens and prevents from taking laws into their hands.

The police enforce traffic rules and regulations on our roads. But the police cannot perform its role of detecting, prevention and fighting of crime, if the citizens do not assist the police with useful information.

b. The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency(NDLEA)

This is the agency of government that enforces drug laws. It has power to investigate persons who are suspected to be involved in illicit drug business. Illicit drugs are the prohibited or hard drugs which include, india hemp( marijuana) cocaine and heroine. Illicit drugs are dangerous drugs. Their production, distribution or consumption are prohibited by the law. The NDLEA has power to arrest drug traffickers. It has power to seize and destroy such drugs. The NDLEA destroys drug farms and loads of Indian hemp( marijuana). It prosecutes drug offenders, and confiscates properties and wealth which are proceeds of illicit drug business.

c. The National Agency For Food And Drug Administration And Control ( NAFDAC).

NAFDAC is the agency of government which enforces quality standards in the production, distribution and consumption of food products and drugs in Nigeria.

* It ensures that drugs and food products are produced according to quality control standards.

* It ensures that substandard food products, cosmetics and chemical products do not enter the markets or get imported into the country.

* It ensure that adulterated food products and drugs are not imported and consumed in Nigeria.

* It confiscates fake and substandard food products and drugs in the markets.

* NAFDAC ensures that those who produce or distribute counterfeit drugs and food products are prosecuted.

d. The Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)

The EFFC is the agency of government that fights economic and financial crimes in Nigeria. Economic and financial crimes are crimes which disrupt or sabotage the nation’s economy. They include, counterfeiting of the currency( Naira) money laundering by persons in high offices, oil bunkering, abuse of office, embezzlement of public funds, possession of unverifiable source of wealth;

* The EFCC fights against illegitimate( unlawful) acquisition of wealth through money laundering, advance fee fraud ( otherwise known as 419) and other dubious means of wealth making.

* It fights corrupt enrichment and abuse of office to acquire wealth and other forms of financial crimes against the state.

* It investigates all cases of fraudulent financial enrichment and mismanagement of public funds.

* It confiscates the assets and properties of persons indicted for corrupt enrichment and money laundering.

* It ensures that indicated persons are prosecuted.

e. The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission ( ICPC):
The ICPC is the agency of government that fights corruption and other related offences.

* It investigates reports and petitions against corrupt practices by private citizens and public office holders.

* It works to reduce opportunities and processes for corruption and corrupt enrichment in public life.

* It organized public education campaigns against corruption and related offences.

*. It prosecutes indicated corrupt persons.

f. The Standard Organisation Of Nigeria (SON).

i. The Standard Organization of Nigeria ensures that quality control is maintained in the production of goods and services ( both locally and imported). Such goods include: radio, television, motor batteries and electric cables, motor tyre electric cables.

ii. Advices government on policy standards and quality control.

iii. Collaborates with the States and Federal Ministries of Health to ensure that only genuine products are in the market.

iv. Ensures that those who produce or distribute fake or poor standard goods face the law.

g. The Consumer Protection Council (CPC)

i. Promotes and protects the interest of consumers in products and services.

ii. Handles complaints made by consumers against poor standard products.

iii. Educates consumers on their rights concerning products and services.

h. The Prison Service:

This is an agency of government that is created to enforce social order through the rehabilitation of prisoners. Prisoners are those who are sentenced for crimes or those awaiting trial for various offences. Such persons are usually dangerous characters in the society.

They therefore require an environment and a programme that can reform and transform them into responsible and law abiding citizens, when they serve out their terms. The prisons are therefore designed and structured to perform that role.

* The prisons cater for the welfare of the inmates by providing them with food and health facilities.

* They provide legal services and recreational facilities.

* They provide counseling services and other re-orientation programmes to reform the character of prisoners.

* They provide religious and moral instructions to intimates.

* The prisons provide formal educational opportunities for the illiterate inmates and opportunities for improving the education of other in mates.

* They teach them basic skills and vocational trades such as carpentry, tailoring , hair dressing etc, which can help them becomes self employed after imprisonment.

Assessment Of The Performance Of The Enforcement Agencies In Nigeria

On a general assessment, the laws enforcement agencies in Nigeria have not performed well. The reasons are various.
The Police for instance lacks the capacity and where with all to fight crime. The police personnel are poorly trained and poorly equipped. They are insufficient in number and a good number of policemen are social dropouts hence from the police system in Nigeria is highly extortionist and very unfriendly to the citizens. This is largely why the average citizen looks at the police with disdain and suspicion.

The NDLEA has been relentless in the fight against drug abuse and drug trafficking.

The problem of the organisation is the lack of adequate manpower to police the areas, especially the rural area where drug consumption is on the increase. Young people, are getting involved with drug life in the society, without restricted. Drug use is too rampant in the rural areas, as the young ones smoke marijuana publicly these days. This problem is further compounded by mass unemployment of school leavers and poverty which ravages the environment.

THE EFFC AND THE ICPC
These two agencies that fight graft, corruption., and financial crimes are handicapped by undue legal technicalities in the prosecution of suspects. There is also the problem of political interest of government.

The complexity of our legal system especially in the proof of guilt, has worked again the performance of the two agencies. This has resulted to undue delays and protracted suits in law courts against suspect. As a result, highly placed individuals in government. Who defrauded the nation or states. Walk free in the society, years after they committed the crimes.

The issue of immunity enjoyed by certain category of office holders has its effect on the ability of the EFCC and ICPC to prosecute crime Governors, the president and other highly placed office holders cannot be prosecuted while in office. These category of persons take refuge in immunity to commit financial crimes against the state.

The NAFDAC, SON and the CPC are doing well in the discharge of their mandate to fight substandard, counterfeit and adulterated products from getting into our markets. However lot more needs to be done.

The Prisons lack the where with all to cope with the large army of inmates. The prisons are terribly congested. They lack facilities for healthy living of inmates. The inmates are poorly fed and are malnourished. A hungry man is an angry man. Therefore, the reform and rehabilitation objective of the prisons are not achievable. The effect is that prisons inmates are exposed to hardship which further hardens them and embitter them towards the society.

Suggested Posts: