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Nigeria: Bill Granting More Powers to Auditor-General Rejected

(May 14, 2009) It was reported on May 8, 2009, that a bill seeking to make Nigeria's Auditor-General independent of the executive body and create an audit commission, entitled “Act to provide for additional powers and functions for the office of the Auditor General of the Federation and for matters connected therewith,” was refused a second reading at the House of Representatives. (Sule Lazarus & Otei Oham, Reps Oppose Bill Seeking More Powers For Auditor-General, DAILY INDEPENDENT, MAY 8, 2009, available at

Uche Ekwunife, the representative who sponsored the bill, argued that if the office of the Auditor-General is not independent from the Executive body, it will be difficult to tackle corruption. Ekwunife noted that government offices use the constitutional provision that limits the Auditor-General to only conduct periodic checks to avoid auditing. (Id.)

Representatives that oppose the bill argue that the Auditor-General is a constitutional body and no additional powers could be conferred upon it through legislation. Any such move can only be accomplished through a constitutional amendment. Supporters of the bill, on the other hand, hold that only if the additional powers are contrary to the Constitution would there be a need for an amendment and that so long as the amendments are in sync with the Constitution, there is no need for amending the document. (Id.)

Under the Nigerian Constitution, while only a simple majority in both houses of the National Assembly is required to pass a law, a constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds majority of all members in both houses and an approval by resolution of the Houses of Assembly of not less than two-thirds of all the States. (Id.)