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19 May 2014



The National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (“NASS”) which is comprised of the Senate and the House of Representatives (“HoR”) is vested with powers to conduct investigations and/or to direct the conduct of investigation into matters in respect of which it is empowered to make law.

This investigative power of the NASS derives from section 88 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) (“the Constitution”) and covers the conduct of affairs of persons, authority, Ministry or government department charged with or intended to be charged with the execution or administration of Acts of the NASS and the disbursement and administration of moneys appropriated by the NASS.

However, this power of the HoR is only exercisable within constitutionally defined parameters such that the Constitution sets limits on the powers. Here, we examine the powers of the HoR in relation to its oversight functions in tackling corruption in Nigeria with a keen interest on the limitations set on those powers.

The Powers of the HoR to conduct investigations:

The Constitution provides that the NASS shall have power to make laws for the peace, order and good governance of the Federation or any part thereof with respect to any matter included in the Exclusive Legislative List.1 It is general knowledge therefore that the primary function of the NASS is law making, amendment of existing laws and repeal of laws that have become stale or obsolete. The NASS is also vested with the power to, amongst others, conduct investigations2 so as to expose corruption and thereby ensure transparency and public accountability.
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