- Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, each House of the National Assembly shall have power by resolution published in its journal or in the Official Gazette of the Government of theFederation to direct or cause to be directed an investigation into: (a) any matter or thing with respect to which it has power to make laws; and(b) the conduct of affairs of any person, authority, ministry or government department charge, or intended to be charged, with the duty of or responsibility for:(i) executing or administering laws enacted by the National Assembly, and(ii) disbursing or administering moneys appropriated or to be appropriated by the National Assembly.
- The powers conferred on the National Assembly under the provisions of this section are exercisable only for the purpose of enabling it:(a) to make laws with respect to any matter within its legislative competence and to correct any defects in existing laws; and (b) to expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws within its legislative competence and in the disbursement or administration of funds appropriated by it.
Power as to Matter of Evidence
- For the purposes of any investigation under section 82 of this Constitution and subject to the provisions thereof, the Senate or the House of Representatives or a committee appointed in accordance with section 58 of this Constitution shall have power: (a) to procure all such evidence, written or oral, direct of circumstantial, as it may think necessary or desirable, and to examine all persons as witnesses whose evidence may be material or relevant to the subject-matter;(b) to require such evidence to be given on oath;(c) to summon any person in Nigeria to give evidence at any place or to produce any document or other thing in his possession or under his control, and to examine him as a witness and require him to produce any document or other thing in his possession or under his control, subject to all just exceptions; and(d) to issue a warrant to compel the attendance of any person who, after having been summoned to attend, fails, refuses or neglects to do so and does not excuse such failure, refusal or neglect tothe satisfaction of the House or the committee in question, and to order him to pay all costs which may have been occasioned in compelling his attendance or by reason of his failure, refusal or neglect to obey the summons, and also to impose such fine as may be prescribed for any such failure, refusal or neglect; and any fine so imposed shall be recoverable in the same manner as a fine imposed by a court of law.
- A summons or warrant issued under this section may be served or executed by any member of the Nigeria Police Force or by any person authorised in that behalf by the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives, as the case may require.
It must be borne in mind that each of the Houses has powers to regulate its own procedure including the procedure for summoning and recess of the House. Each House has power to appoint a committee of its members for such special or general purposes that it thinks fit for the effective performance of its functions. And in this regard provisions are made which allow the House to delegate any of its functions to any committee by way of resolution, regulations or otherwise.
It must also be remembered that provisions are made compelling the Senate or the House of Representatives to sit for a period of not less than 181 days in a year; while the Federal Electoral Commission is being saddled in the Constitution with the responsibility and modes of conducting elections. To this end, the commission is permitted to make laws and regulations binding elections to a National Assembly.
Lastly, it must be remembered that all elected people to any of the Houses must declare their assets and liabilities and also take oath of the office before they can function either as a member of the Senate or the House of Representatives.
The 1989 Constitution goes a long way to enforce dedication of duties. It is no longer easy for an elected member to abandon his or her functions to the electorates after election without taking the booth and face the reprisal of being recalled. Since section 68 of the Constitution provides as follows:
“A member of the Senate or of the House of Representatives may be recalled as such a member if:
(a) there is presented to the Chairman of the National Electoral Commission a petition in that behalf signed by more than one- half of the persons registered to vote in that member’s Constituency alleging their loss of confidence in that member; and
(b) the petition is thereafter in a referendum conducted by the National Electoral Commission within 90 days of the date of receipt of the petition, approved by a simple majority of the votes
of the persons registered to vote in that member’s Constituency