PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE
FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA
HON. SENATOR ANYIM PIUS ANYIM
President of the Senate, Federal Republic of Nigeria
At The Formal Presentation of the Book:
NOTATION AND REVIEW OF FEDERAL LEGISLATION,
1990 -1999 At The House of Representative’s Hearing Room 1,
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, September 27, 2001
May I thank the facilitators of today’s occasion for the privilege of asking me to formally present the book, NOTATION AND REVIEW OF FEDERAL LEGISLATION. 1990 – 1999.
I am indeed delighted that the book presention is coming a few days to the 41st Anniversary of our Nation’s Independence. With my working knowledge of the Chief Host, Alhaji Ghali Umar Na’Abba, Honourable Speaker, House of Representative, I can imagine that the choice of this period and in fact today was not a mere coincidence. I am persuaded to believe that the timing was deliberate in order to sufficiently provoke informed legislative and intellectual discourse as the nation celebrate its 41* Independence from British rule.
Let me straight away state that this book is primarily a notation on the nation’s legislation both extant, repealed and expired. The Notation is a concise summation of the Laws of the Federation 1990 (as was variously amended) Decrees and Statutory instruments promulgated by the mililary regimes since 1990.
The book is incisive and comprehensive. The research work that produced the Notation book is indeed outstanding and commendable considering the paucity of publicity that is associated with military legislation which had been our lot for the greater part of our nationhood. With the emergence of democratic government in May 1999, our Country was faced with the challenges of reviving our derelict institutions that are fundamental for democratisation, rule of law and principles of separation of power.
Nigeria, like the rest of the world is constantly changing. For the Laws of our land to meaningfully serve as a vehicle of social engineering, they must be dynamic both in substance and interpretation.
A piece of legislation ordinarily must be well publicised, it must be known, it must be precise and it must be certain. These attributes without doubt are necessary to minimise the hardship that may occur on the basis of the legal maxim ignorance of the law is no excuse.
The process of law making calls for enlightenment. It deserves broad consultation. It also requires adequate publicity. It is trite that a piece of legislation must not only be contemporaneous, it must also be futuristic in concept, context, content and interpretation.
Against the foregoing, I associate myself with view of Hon. Ghali Umar Na’ Abba in his forward to this book where he stated thus: “The anticipated effect of this “book” (sic) is to bring to focus, firstly legislations still in our statute books which are no longer part of our laws due to repeals and amendments, secondly, rearrange disjointed legislations scattered in our statute books which unless employed and understood together will not represent the whole letters and spirit of legislations in question.”
It is evident that for a piece of legislation to conform to civilised standard, it must have a purpose. And the purpose(s) must be easily and truly understood by the majority of the populace. Similarly, the intention of the legislation must be discernible to those trained in the art and skill of advocacy and juristic construction.
May I also point out for the benefit of non Lawyers amongst us, that this book properly speaking is but a notation and not a review of Federal Legislations. For an exercise to qualify as a review of legislations (i.e. to make commentaries or propose amendment to the laws under review), the reviewing authority must be so mandated by law, e.g. the Law Reform Commission, or under a constitutional duty
e.g. a parliament.
To that effect I am delighted that the preface to the book admitted that much where it stated thus:
“As one of the purposes of this “Review” (should have been Notation) is to stimulate proper legislative reforms, we deliberately refrained from evaluating the laws or commenting on the repeals, amendments, etc., by so doing we avoided introduction of unnecessary bias into the minds of those whose constitutional duty it is to make and develop our laws.”
My Lord, Chief Justice of the Federation, Distinguished Senators, Honourable members of the House of Assembly, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my honour and privilege to present this book to the public, today. I also dutifully recommend same for painstaking perusal and study by every Law maker of the Federal Republic of
Nigeria, Lawyers, Judges, Law teachers, Human Right Communities, public commentators, professional and trade groups, etc.
It is my sincere wish that this book will serve as a catalyst for informed individual, groups, corporate and professional bodies to forward proposals, memoranda and bills to the National Assembly for the much desired legislative reforms that will further secure democracy dividend for the good people of Nigeria.
I thank you.