This article will attempt to give a brief breakdown of all the important things in the Nigerian Constitution that every Nigerian citizen should know: In January 2011, two amendments to the 1999 Constitution were signed by President Goodluck Jonathan, the first changes since the document was used in 1999.  This is the most important law in the country, it is the law from which all other laws in Nigeria derive their validity. Therefore, this is one of the laws that you must observe. The meaning of this law is probably why you hear people use the phrase « it`s unconstitutional » so often, because if something is unconstitutional, it cannot exist. The Constitution also contains all the basic human rights of Nigerian citizens. If you want to know more about the Constitution, you can read our article here – 14 things you should know about the Nigerian Constitution. Nigeria`s first constitution as a sovereign state was issued by a British decree to come into force immediately after independence, on 1 October 1960. Under this constitution, Nigeria retained Queen Elizabeth II as titular head of state as Queen of Nigeria. She was represented by Nnamdi Azikiwe as Governor-General.
 Nigeria is an extremely diverse country. « There are more than 374 multilingual groups, each with its own distinctive culture and tradition. »  Nigeria`s current diverse composition is one of the legacies of British colonial rule.  In fact, « the country as it is known today had not existed before, instead there were a number of states and kingdoms, so before 1914 it was not a single political entity. »  This diversity has also helped make Nigeria « one of the most deeply divided countries in the world. »  In order to « contain the conflict between the groups », Nigeria made numerous constitutional attempts before and after independence. These efforts included « civilian and military rule, centrifugal and centralized federalism, presidential and parliamentary systems, and various institutions to curb the legendary political corruption at the heart of the country`s crumbling ethno-political conflicts. »  In 1946, a new constitution was adopted by Westminster and promulgated in Nigeria.  Although it retained real power in the hands of the Governor General and the Executive Council he appointed, the so-called Richards Constitution (according to Governor General Sir Arthur Richards, who was responsible for its formulation) provided for an enlarged Legislative Council empowered to deliberate on matters affecting the whole country. In each of the three regions, separate legislative bodies, the Houses of Assembly, have been established to examine local matters and advise lieutenant governors. The introduction of the federal principle with consultative authority, which was transferred to the regions, marked the recognition of the country`s diversity. Although the Richards Constitution realistically assessed the situation in Nigeria, it undoubtedly intensified regionalism as an alternative to political unification. The 1979 Constitution, which introduced the Second Republic, abandoned the Westminster system in favor of an American-style presidential system with direct elections. To avoid the pitfalls of the First Republic, the constitution required that political parties and Nigerian cabinet posts reflect the « federal character » of the nation: political parties had to be registered in at least two-thirds of Nigeria`s states and each state had to be part of it with at least one cabinet member.  The Nigerian Constitution of 1999 is the supreme law of the country of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
It is a widespread misconception that all laws in Nigeria are included in the Nigerian Constitution. This is simply not the case. The Constitution is not a set of all Nigerian laws, on the contrary, it does not contain many laws. Most of the time when the provisions of the Constitution are all « administrative » things. These laws are the laws in which most (not all) criminal laws are found, they contain provisions on the acts that constitute a crime and the penalties imposed for committing the crimes. It contains crimes such as murder, rape, armed robbery, fraud, witchcraft (yes, witchcraft is a crime in Nigeria) and much more. Some offences have their own specific laws due to the importance or technical nature of these offences, for example money laundering is explicitly criminalised under the Money Laundering Act. However, most laws are contained in the Criminal Code or the Criminal Code. The reason why there are two different laws is that the Penal Code applies to most of the southern states of Nigeria and the Penal Code to most of the northern states of Nigeria. There are some important differences in the law that reflect the cultural differences between northern and southern Nigeria The 1993 constitution was supposed to provide for the return of democratic rule in Nigeria with the establishment of a third republic. It was never fully implemented and the army took power until 1999.   The pace of constitutional change accelerated after the enactment of the Richards Constitution.
It was suspended in 1950 in response to a call for more autonomy, which led to an interparliamentary conference in Ibadan in 1950. The conference drafted the terms of a new constitution. The so-called Macpherson Constitution, according to outgoing Governor General John Stuart Macpherson, came into effect the following year.