Impeachment of a president is the process of removing the official from office especially for misconduct. In Nigeria, this process of impeaching a president is rather complex and long winding. All the details of the process of removing the Nigerian top official is stated clearly in Section 143 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended). In the course of this article, we will take a gander at this stated process and highlight them for you step by step. This will help you to know how and when can a president be impeached in Nigeria.
There are many things involved in impeaching a sitting President in Nigeria, and this make it a very critical process to carry out. The complexity of the process is because it would result to the president abdicating the supreme office and this amounts to reversing the decision of a majority of the people who have voted the President into that office for a stated term. Another reason is due to the fact that it simply amounts to effectively ‘sacking’ the number one citizen of the country.
With this, you can’t expect the process to be that easy. Also, the process for impeaching a President is very constricted due to the severity of the issue. All details about the process is contained in the Nigerian Constitution – a document which has a very strict process and procedure for amendment. We will go through what is stated here and outline in a simple way, the process of impeaching the Nigerian President out of office.
The Full Process of Impeaching a President in Nigeria
The process for impeaching a President in Nigeria is very stringent as it involves an extended period to carry it out. All information and order of the president impeachment is contained in Section 143 of the 1999 Constitution. We will infer from the stated rules here and give a simple process on how to obviate the country’s top official.
Steps for Impeaching the Nigerian President
Below is the step by step rundown process of how to impeach a Nigerian President;
Step 1: President must have committed a misconduct
Firstly, the President must have made a misconduct before such impeachment process will be commenced. As such, a notice of the allegation in writing alleging gross misconduct on the part of the President. A large part which is precisely one-third of the members of the National Assembly (both the Senate and House of Representatives) must sign this notice. After the signing, the notice is then presented to the Senate President.
In a related note, let’s shed some light on what’s gross misconduct. It is defined by the Constitution as ‘…a grave violation or breach of the provisions of this Constitution or a misconduct of such nature as amounts in the opinion of the National Assembly to gross misconduct.’ That’s it on the first part.
Step 2: Allegation should be submitted to Nigerian senate
A copy of the notice of allegation must be served by the Senate President within 7 days. This should be given to the President and each member of the National Assembly This process help for the impeachment proper to commence.
Step 3: President is giving the right to reply
Nonetheless, the President has a right of reply (he/she does not have to reply however), and any such statement in reply to the allegation must be served on each member of the National Assembly.
Step 4: Motion will be moved in the National Assembly
In the succeeding step, each House of the National Assembly shall resolve by motion without any debate whether or not the allegation shall be investigated. This would be done within 14 days of the presentation of the notice to the Senate President. This motion presented to the House of Assembly needs to be passed by at least two- thirds majority of all members of each the house.
Step 5: Panel is set for impeachment inquiry
On the off chance that the motion fails to reach the required majority (two-third), the impeachment process immediately stops, and no further action will be taken. Nevertheless, if the two-third majority of the National Assembly voted in favor of the impeachment and the motion is passed, then the Senate President will within 7 days of the passing of the motion, request the Chief Justice of Nigeria to appoint a Panel of seven persons. These people should be of unquestionable integrity to investigate the allegations. This meaning that the members of this panel cannot be members of any public service, legislative house or political party.
Step 6: Report of panel is sent to National Assembly
The Panel is to report its findings within three months from the time of being appointed. The findings will be reported to each House of the National Assembly – Senate and the House of Representatives. During the proceedings of the Panel, the President shall have a right to defend himself, and can be defended by a legal practitioner of his/her choice.
Step 7: Adoption of report is made, depending on findings
The Panel through their findings of the case, they have the right to further or cancel the impeachment process. Where the Panel reports that the allegation has not been proven, there will be no further action and hence the process elapses. In the other way, if the report against has been proven, then the National Assembly will consider the report, and a resolution for the adoption of the report shall be moved.
Step 8: Two third majority is required to impeach the Nigerian President
This adoption must be supported by not less than two-thirds majority of all the members of each House. Other than this, the resolution won’t be adopted. Once adopted the President shall stand removed from office. As at now, the President remains impeached and it takes effect from the date of the adoption of the report. That’s when the rigorous process of impeaching the Nigerian no. 1 citizen is being concluded.
The Consequences of the President’s Impeachment
Here is what will aftermath effect of the impeachment of the president;
- Once the resolution of the President impeachment is adopted, there is no recourse to any court of law or judicial proceedings.
- The President stands impeached upon the adoption of the report by two- thirds majority of the National Assembly. He/She will most immediately vacate the office of President.
- The office of the President will pass to the incumbent Vice-President who will then take the oath of office.
- The President cannot challenge the decision of the panel or the National Assembly.
- The President of the Senate shall hold the office of the Vice-President for a period of not more than three months. In this space of time, there shall be an election of a new President, who shall hold the office for the unexpired term of office of the last holder of the office.
- Normally, the Nigerian President is entitled pension and other benefits upon vacation of office. In this case, he or she loses this pension for life upon impeachment.
The process of impeaching a president is always critical. Since there are many things involved here in the Nigerian case, the process is not very often. As such, the impeachment of the country’s top official is infrequent and has not happen before in the history of the country. If peradventure that it may be happening anytime after, then this write-up was stack up with the full process of impeaching a president in Nigeria.