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The HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) hereby affirms that the announcement by the INSPECTOR General of Police Alhaji Usman Alkali Baba that his office will investigate the invasion by armed police operatives and other security forces of the Maitama Abuja home of the Honourable Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria Justice Mrs Mary Odili is inappropriate and should be rejected by stakeholders including the hierarchy of the National Judicial Council and the hierarchy of the Nigerian Bar Association.

This is because the Nigerian police Force can’t be trusted to transparently conduct an unbiased, dispassionate,  professionally objective investigation of its own conduct going by the fluid antecedents of the police. The police hierarchy suffers from self inflicted credibility deficits.

Take the simple and straightforward case of the indicted Assistant Commissioner of Police Alhaji Abba Kyari in which the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA through publications in the media accused the senior police officer of advance fee fraud in collaboration allegedly with one Mr. Ramon Abbas also known as Hushpuppi undergoing trial for alleged $1.1 million USD advance fee fraud in a court in the USA.

This simple investigation by the office of the IGP is shrouded in secrecy and high wired regional politics and has dragged on for almost ETERNITY.

The invasion of the house of the Justice of the SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA is a constitutional issue that ought to be handled by tested, trusted, credible forensic investigators to be drawn from the National Assembly,  the Executive arm and the judiciary including the representative of the Nigerian Bar Association because this is a matter that if not handled professionally will impede the CONSTITUTIONAL PRINCIPLE OF SEPARATION OF POWERS. Who gave the order for the invasion? Is it the Attorney General of the Federation or is it the office of the President? Who ordered the police, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,  Soldiers to invade the home of the second most senior serving Justice of the nation’s APEX COURT? These are CONSTITUTIONAL QUESTIONS THAT ARE BEYOND THE ROUTINE POLICE INVESTIGATION that is open to bureaucratic bottlenecks and manipulation.

The Nigerian Bar Association should wake up and do the needful by insisting that there has to be a totally independent verification and investigation of what transpired so this case is not swept under the carpets of impunity like many others. All lovers of democracy must insist that the right thing must be done to protect our constitution. The CIVIL RIGHTS ADVOCACY GROUPS MUST SPEAK OUT.

The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria made the theory of separation of powers a fundamental principle of governance. The 1999 Constitution in different sections vested the powers of government in separate organs of government as follows: Section 4 deals with the Legislative powers; section 5 deals with Executive powers, while section 6 is concerned with judicial powers. This kind of separation of powers is known as the horizontal separation of powers.

The importance of the theory of separation of powers in enhancing the role of judiciary in achieving sustainable democracy in Nigeria was succinctly stated by Ikenga Oraegbunam (2005): “There is no gainsaying the fact that a government of separated powers is less likely to be tyrannical and more likely to follow the rule of law. A separation of power can also make a political system more democratic. The division of powers also prevents one branch of government from dominating the others or dictating the laws to the public.”


The on- going democratic dispensation came into force on May 29, 1999, with a new constitution known as the 1999 Constitution. Under this Constitution, there appears to be some degree of separation of powers as between the Executive, which is made up of the president, the council of ministers, the civil service, local authorities, police and armed forces on the one hand, and the Legislature, i.e. the National Assembly, made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives, on the other hand. Our Legislature is bicameral; that is to say, there are two Chambers, each exercising a legislative role – although not having equal powers – and each playing a part.


The judiciary is that branch of the state which adjudicates upon conflicts between state institutions and between individuals. The judiciary is independent of both legislature and the executive. Separation of powers and independence of judiciary is indispensable to the maintenance and sustenance of democracy. Separation of powers ensures that each branch of state operates within its constitutionally allotted sphere of responsibility and independence of the judiciary ensures constitutionalism and guards against tyranny, despotism, dictatorship and totalitarianism.


doctrine of separation of powers in the delineation of governmental powers to institutions and functionaries of government in such a manner that each circuit of governmental powers namely: legislative, executive and judiciary are administered by separate and distinct individuals.

Legislative Arm of government is empowered to make, amend or even repeal laws. •Executive Arm of government is empowered to execute the constitution (laws), formulate policies and maintain law and order.

Judicial powers of government are vested in court of law duly established or recognised by the constitution.


Nigeria as presently constituted is a creation of our colonial master, the Great Britain, which had suzerainty over what is Nigeria today from 1855-1960, and shortly after the Berlin Conference, which dealt with the partition of Africa by the European colonial powers. Great Britain acquired control over different entities comprising the present-day Nigeria at different points in time, culminating in the amalgamation of Southern and Northern Protectorates in 1914 and to which Independence was granted in 1960.

Lord Lugard of the Royal Niger Company introduced some sort of governmental system for the new colony and the colony went through various constitutional phases, ranging from indirect rule to the Clifford Constitution of 1922, Richard Constitution of 1946, the MacPherson Constitution of 1951, and to the Littleton Constitution of 1954, and the Nigeria Independence Constitution of 1960. During these eras, few eminent Nigerians such as Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikikwe and Mallam Aminu Kano agitated for independence and self-determination from the Colonial Master, the Great Britain, which culminated in Nigeria being eventually granted independence on October 1, 1960.

Unfortunately, Nigeria has not been able to achieve sustainable democracy since her independence, owing to an array of factors that “held her back” and prevented the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria. Juan J. Linz and Alfred Stephan (1996) succinctly put it thus: “There are a variety of different forms of authoritarians that fundamentally constrain any democratic transition in characteristic ways and systematically create obstacle to affect democratic consolidation. Different authoritarianism regimes affect the subsequent trajectory of transition effort toward democratisation in systematic ways.”

The Nigerian state has been enmeshed in different kinds of authoritarianism right from the colonial era to this present day. The Nigerian state is engaged in fierce struggle to break loose from all forms of undemocratic governance.


It  is without any iota of doubt reasonable to say that no one is safe in a state where all powers are fused into one arm of government or where an arm of government is so much empowered to deal with another arm of government without recourse to the rule of law. This type of system  will breed tyranny and destroy the fabrics of democracy.

And so not until the tenets of separation of powers as entrenched in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria(as amended) are tenaciously and religiously obeyed, followed and complied with, the dividends of democracy will continue to elude many Nigerians.


A clear example case on separation of   power in Nigeria is in

the exercise of the executive powers of president Buhari in suspending Onnoghen chief justice of Nigeria (CJN) from office. It questions whether the power was rightly exercised by taking a look at applicable provisions of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended pertaining to the appointment and removal of judicial officers. It also examines the doctrine of separation of power in tandem with the rightful exercise of the executive powers of the President.


Also in the case of Attorney general of Abia state vs Attorney general of federation. Per Niki Topi J.S.C …All the arms of government must dance to the music and chorus that the constitution beats and sings.


We can also look at the case of HOPE V SMITH (1963)6W L R 464  @ 467.ACTION CONGRESS V INEC ( 2007)12 N W L R (Pt .1048) 222.


Finally in the case of INEC V MUSA39. .. The supreme court of Nigeria was prepared to accord the constitution a liberal interpretation to protect the judicial function on seperation of power.






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