LEGISLATURE – LEGISLATIVE POWER – Power of the National Assembly and State House of Assembly to make/amend laws; power of the Courts where a statute is enacted in breach of the Constitution

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“It is settled law that the power bestowed on the legislature, in this case, the Anambra State House of Assembly, to make, enact and pass laws is undiluted so long as any laws passed by it is within its own legislative competence and authority. Not only can the legislature enact laws, it can also amend any existing law passed by that arm of government as circumstances may permit. In Amoshima v. State (2001) LPELR 471 (SC), this Court stated that: “It is trite law that whereas it is the duty of the legislature to enact law, that of the judiciary is to interpret the laws so made. It follows therefore that where there is dissatisfaction with the State of the laws as it exists, and a desire for a change thereof is expressed by the people, it is the duty of the legislature which made the law in the first place to effect the needed reforms by amendment thereto. The duty both to make and amend laws so made belongs exclusively, by constitutional arrangement, to the legislature as provided under Section 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.” It therefore stands to reason the power to make laws, and in appropriate cases, amend the laws, is vested in National or State Assembly. But where a statute is enacted in breach of the Constitution, the Courts must come in to stop the breach. This the Court can do only by one or more parties seeking the Court’s jurisdiction to declare the Statute void. By the express provisions of Section 4(8) of the CFRN 1999, as amended, the exercise of legislative powers by the National Assembly or by a State House of Assembly, shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the Court. It states thus: “Save as otherwise provided by this Constitution, the exercise of legislative powers by the National Assembly or by a House of Assembly shall be subject to the jurisdiction of Courts of law and of judicial Tribunals established by law, and accordingly, the National Assembly or a House of Assembly shall not enact any law that ousts or purports to oust the jurisdiction of a Court of law or of a judicial Tribunal established by law.” See also: A-G Ondo v. A-G Federation (2002) 9 NWLR (Pt.772) 222; AG Bendel v. AG Federation (1983) 1 SCNLR 239; A-G Abia v. AG Federation (2006) 16 NWLR (Pt. 1005) 265 at 382 – 383 paras E – H and 385 (paras C – D).” Per ABDU ABOKI, JSC In NWOKEDI v. ANAMBRA STATE GOVT & ANOR (2022-LCER-46521-SC) (Pp 31 – 33; Paras D – C)

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