In the past few days, there have been allegations made against some distinguished senators of the Nigerian upper legislative chamber, accusing them of plotting the impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari.
It was reported on Tuesday 12th July, that Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe during an executive session openly suggested that the President should be impeached.
Many of the senators present at the session have since denied the allegation.
The process of impeaching a Nigerian president is rather long, winding and complex. If the senators truly want to remove President Buhari, they would have to follow these 12 procedures below as contained in Section 143 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended):
1.There must be a notice of any allegation in writing signed by not less than one-third of the members of the National Assembly.
2.The Notice of Impeachment requires the signature(s) of at least one-third (1/3) of all the members of the National Assembly. That means among the 469 members in the National Assembly. A minimum of 157 members of the National Assembly must sign the notice to commence the process.
3.It is then presented to the president of the senate in this case Bukola Saraki, stating that the holder of the office of President is guilty of gross misconduct in the performance of the functions of his office, detailed particulars of which shall be specified.
4.The President of the Senate shall within seven days of the receipt of the notice cause a copy thereof to be served on the holder of the office and on each member of the National Assembly, and shall also cause any statement made in reply to the allegation by the holder of the office to be served on each member of the National Assembly.
5.Within fourteen days of the presentation of the notice to the President of the Senate (whether or not any statement was made by the holder of the office in reply to the allegation contained in the notice) each House of the National Assembly shall resolve by motion without any debate whether or not the allegation shall be investigated.
6. A motion of the National Assembly that the allegation be investigated shall not be declared as having been passed, unless it is supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds majority of all the members of each House of the National Assembly.
7. Within seven days of the passing of a motion under the foregoing provisions, the Chief Justice of Nigeria shall at the request of the President of the Senate appoint a Panel of seven persons who in his opinion are of unquestionable integrity, not being members of any public service, legislative house or political party, to investigate the allegation as provide in this section.
8. The President whose conduct is being investigated under this section shall have the right to defend himself in person and be represented before the Panel by legal practitioners of his own choice.
9.A Panel shall be appointed which shall;
(a) have such powers and exercise its functions in accordance with such procedure as may be prescribed by the National Assembly; and
(b) within three months of its appointment report its findings to each House of the National Assembly.
10. Where the Panel reports to each House of the National Assembly that the allegation has not been proved, no further proceedings shall be taken in respect of the matter.
11. Where the report of the Panel is that the allegation against president has been proved, then within fourteen days of the receipt of the report at the House the National Assembly shall consider the report, and if by a resolution of each House of the National Assembly supported by not less than two-thirds majority of all its members, the report of the Panel is adopted, then the holder of the office shall stand removed from office as from the date of the adoption of the report.
12. No proceedings or determination of the Panel or of the National Assembly or any matter relating thereto shall be entertained or questioned in any court.
And according to the constitution “gross misconduct” means 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.
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