By Jonathan Ugbal
The Federal Government of Nigeria Monday in Abuja backed the Emergency Powers Act, 1966 Bill, (SB 182) sponsored by Senator John Owan-Enoh (APC Cross River Central).
Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Abubakar Malami made known the government’s position in a public hearing held by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters on four different bills.
Represented by an assistant director in the legal drafting department of the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Patrick Eyoh, the AGF said that the bill’s impact on governance will be positive while the Senate President, Mr. Bukola Saraki had earlier elaborated on the bill which he said impacts on Nigerians of all classes and charged those present to make meaningful contributions.
“The Emergency powers Act No. 1 of 1961 which came into operation on the 30th of March 1961, has been utilized for the purpose of maintaining and securing order and good government during the period of emergency in the country.
“The Act actually predates the 1963 Republican Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and it is not contained in the 1990 compilation of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria and the current compilation of the 2004 laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
“It must be clearly stated today (Monday) that this Bill has nothing to do with removal of state governors and appointment of sole administrators during a state of emergency. Under the present constitutional arrangement as contained in section 188 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, an elected state governor can only be removed or cease to hold office by impeachment, resignation, permanent incapacitation, death and by expiration of tenure.
“Any attempt to remove an elected state governor under the guise of ‘declaration of state of emergency’ will be undemocratic and unconstitutional,” Mr. Saraki said.
Other bills read at the hearing were; the National Commission for Peace, Reconciliation (Establishment etc) Bill, 2017 (SB 74) sponsored by Senator Shehu Sani (APC Kaduna Central); Revised Laws of the Federation Bill, 2017 (SB. 391) sponsored by Senator David Umaru (APC Niger East) and the Arbitration and Conciliation Act Cap. A18 LFN 2004 (Amendment) Bill, 2017) (SB. 427) sponsored by Senator Monsurat Sunmonu (APC Oyo Central).
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