Chapter V, The Legislature Part I, B – Procedure for Summoning and Dissolution of National Assembly

Chapter V, The Legislature Part I

B – Procedure for Summoning and Dissolution of National Assembly

52. (1) Every member of the Senate or the House of Representatives shall, before taking his seat, declare his assets and liabilities as prescribed in this Constitution and subsequently take and subscribe the Oath of Allegiance and the oath of membership as prescribed in the Seventh Schedule to this Constitution before the President of the Senate or, as the case may be, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, but a member may before taking the oaths take part in the election of a President and a Deputy President of the Senate, as the case may be, or a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.

(2) The President and Deputy President of the Senate and the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representative s shall declare their assets and liabilities as prescribed in this Constitution and subsequently take and subscribe the Oath of Allegiance and the oath of membership prescribed as aforesaid before the Clerk of the National Assembly.

53.(1) At any sitting of the National Assembly –

(a) in the case of the Senate, the President of the Senate shall preside, and in his absence the Deputy President shall preside; and

(b) in the case of the House of Representatives, the Speaker of that House shall preside, and in his absence the Deputy Speaker shall preside.

(2) At any joint sitting of the Senate and House of Representatives –

(a) the President of Senate shall preside, and in his absence the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall preside; and

(b) in the absence of the persons mentioned in paragraph (a) of this subsection, the Deputy President of the Senate shall preside, and in his absence the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives shall preside.

(3) In the absence of the persons mentioned in the foregoing provisions of this section, such member of the Senate or the House of Representatives or of the joint sitting, as the case may be, as the Senate or the House of Representatives or the joint sitting may elect for that purpose shall preside.

54.(1) The quorum of the Senate or of the House of Representatives shall be one-third of all the members on of the Legislative House concerned.

(2) The quorum of a joint sitting of both the Senate or of the House of Representatives shall be one-third of all the members of both Houses.

(3) If objection is taken by any member of the Senate or the House of Representatives present that there are present in the House of which he is a member (besides the person presiding fewer than one-third of all the members of that House and that it is not competent for the House to transact business, and after such interval as may be prescribed in the rules of procedure of the House, the person presiding ascertains that the number of members present is still less than one-third of all the members of the House he shall adjourn the House.

(4) The foregoing provisions of this section shall apply in relation to a joint sitting of both Houses of the National Assembly as they apply in relation to a House of the National Assembly as if references to the Senate or the House of Representatives and a member of either Houses are references to both Houses and to any member of the National Assembly, respectively.

55. The business of the National Assembly shall be conducted in English, and in Hausa, Ibo and Yoruba when adequate arrangements have been made therefor.

56.(1) Except as otherwise provided by this Constitution any question proposed for decision in the Senate or the House of Representatives shall be determined by the required majority or the members present and voting; and the person presiding shall cast a vote whenever necessary y to avoid an equality of votes but shall not vote in any other case.

(2) Except as otherwise provided by this Constitution, the required majority for the purpose of determining any question shall be a simple majority.

(3) The Senate or the House of Representatives shall by its rules provide –

(a) that a member of the House shall declare any direct pecuniary interest he may have in any matter coming before the House for deliberation;

(b) that the House may by resolution decide whether or not such member may vote, or participate in its deliberations, on such matter;

(c) the penalty, if any, which the House may impose for failure to declare any direct pecuniary interest such member may have; and`

(d) for such other matters pertaining to the foregoing as the House may think necessary,

but nothing in the foregoing provisions shall enable any rules to be made to require any member, who signifies his intention not to vote on or participate in such matter, and who does not so vote or participate, to declare any such interest.

57. Any person who sits or votes in the Senate or the House of Representatives knowing or having reasonable grounds for knowing that he is not entitled to do so commits an offence and is liable on conviction to such punishment as shall be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.

58.(1) The power of the National Assembly to make laws shall be exercised by bills passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives and, except as otherwise provided by subsection (5) of this section, assented to by the President.

(2) A bill may originate in either the Senate or the House of Representatives and shall not become law unless it has been passed and, except as otherwise provided by this section and section 59 of this Constitution, assented to in accordance with the provisions of this section.

(3) Where a bill has been passed by the House in which it originated, it shall be sent to the other House, and it shall be presented to the President for assent when it has been passed by that other House and agreement has been reached between the two Houses on any amendment made on it.

(4) Where a bill is presented to the President for assent, he shall within thirty days thereof signify that he assents or that he withholds assent.

(5) Where the President withholds his assent and the bill is again passed by each House by two-thirds majority, the bill shall become law and the assent of the President shall not be required.

59.(1) The provisions of this section shall apply to:

(a) an appropriation bill or a supplementary appropriation bill, including any other bill for the payment, issue or withdrawal from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund of the Federation of any money charged thereon or any alteration in the amount of such a payment, issue or withdrawal; and

(b) a bill for the imposition of or increase in any tax, duty or fee or any reduction, withdrawal or cancellation thereof.

(2) Where a bill to which this section applies is passed by one of the Houses of the National Assembly but is not passed by the other House within a period of two months from the commencement of a financial year, the President of the Senate shall within fourteen days thereafter arrange for and convene a meeting of the joint finance committee to examine the bill with a view to resolving the differences between the two Houses.

(3) Where the joint finance committee fails to resolve such differences, then the bill shall be presented to the National Assembly sitting at a joint meeting, and if the bill is passed at such joint meeting, it shall be presented to the President for assent.

(4) Where the President, within thirty days after the presentation of the bill to him, fails to signify his assent or where he withholds assent, then the bill shall again be presented to the National Assembly sitting at a joint meeting, and if passed by two-thirds majority of members of both houses at such joint meeting, the bill shall become law and the assent of the President shall not be required.

(5) In this section, “joint finance committee” refers to the joint committee of the National Assembly on finance established pursuant to section 62(3) of this Constitution.

60. Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the Senate or the House of Representatives shall have power to regulate its own procedure, including the procedure for summoning and recess of the House.

61. The Senate or the House of Representatives may act notwithstanding any vacancy in its membership, and the presence or participation of any person not entitled to be present at or to participate in the proceedings of the House shall not invalidate those proceedings.

62.(1) The Senate or the House of Representatives may appoint a committee of its members for such special or general purpose as in its opinion would be better regulated and managed by means of such a committee, and may by resolution, regulation or otherwise, as it thinks fit, delegate any functions exercisable by it to any such committee.

(2) The number of members of a committee appointed under this section, their terms of office and quorum shall be fixed by the House appointing it.

(3) The Senate and the House of Representatives shall appoint a joint committee on finance consisting of an equal number of persons appointed by each House and may appoint any other joint committee under the provisions of this section.

(4) Nothing in this section shall be construed as authorising such House to delegate to a committee the power to decide whether a bill shall be passed into law or to determine any matter which it is empowered to determine by resolution under the provisions of this Constitution, but the committee may be authorised to make recommendations to the House on any such matter.

63. The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each sit for a period of not less than one hundred and eighty-one days in a year.

64. (1) The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each stand dissolved at the expiration of a period of four years commencing from the date of the first sitting of the House.

(2) If the Federation is at war in which the territory of Nigeria is physically involved and the President considers that it is not practicable to hold elections, the National Assembly may by resolution extend the period of four years mentioned in subsection (1) of this section from time to time but not beyond a period of six months at any one time.

(3) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the person elected as the President shall have power to issue a proclamation for the holding of the first session of the National Assembly immediately after his being sworn in, or for its dissolution as provided in this section.