Government

Nigeria is a republic with a federal democracy and an executive president. The president is head of both state and government, and leads the Federal Executive Council (cabinet).

Legislative power is vested in the government and the bicameral legislature; the latter consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House of Representatives has 360 members elected for a four-year term in single-seat constituencies. The Senate has 109 members elected for a four-year term in three-seat constituencies, which correspond to the country’s states, and one seat in a single-seat constituency, the capital (Abuja).

The president is elected every four years by universal adult suffrage, and is required to include at least one representative of each of the 36 states in the cabinet.

There are 19 federal ministries, covering all relevant sectors of the polity. Each has a minister and, in some cases, an additional minister of state at the centre of affairs, all of whom are appointed by the president. The permanent secretary is the accounting officer and administrative head of each ministry, while the head of Service of the Federation is the administrative head of the civil service.

The Federal Republic includes the Abuja Federal Capital Territory and 36 states, and for local government purposes there are some 770 authorities.

Nigeria has a mixed legal system consisting of English common law, Sharia law and customary law. The constitution guarantees the independence of the judiciary and permits the exercise of Sharia law for consenting Muslims.

The Supreme Court is presided over by the chief justice and has up to 15 justices. It is the final court of appeal; and it has jurisdiction over disputes between the states, or between the federal government and any state, particularly in relation to the allocation of funds and resources, and over disputes arising from elections. The Federal Court of Appeal is headed by a president and has at least 35 justices, with a minimum of three with expertise in Sharia Law, and three in customary law.

There is the Federal High Court and a high court in each of the 36 states. States are entitled to have a Sharia court of appeal and a customary court of appeal. Judges in the federal courts are appointed by the president on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council and approved by the Senate. Judges in the state high courts are appointed by the state governors, also on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, and approved by the state assembly.