Arms Of Government In Nigeria And The Tiers. Nigeria runs a federal system of government. In this system, there are three tiers of government often referred to as levels of government and three arms(branches) of government. In this system, the tiers of government are the Federal, the State, and the Local Governments. All 3 tiers of government work together for the growth and development of the country.  The arms of government are the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judiciary. The roles of the arms and tiers of government are different and these are explained below.

Arms Of Government In Nigeria

The arms of government can be referred to as the branches of government in Nigeria. There are 3 branches in the government of Nigeria and these are;

  • The Executive Branch
  • The Legislative branch and
  • The Judiciary branches

Arms Of Government In Nigeria And Their Functions

  • The Executive Branch

The executive arm of the Nigerian government structure is responsible for the implementation and maintenance of law, among other responsibilities. It is headed by an executive president. This branch of government is divided into several federal ministries that are headed by ministers appointed by the president. These federal ministries are civil service departments responsible for carrying out different types of government services. Ministers are appointed from all states of the federation in line with the principle of federal character. Each ministry has a permanent secretary, a senior civil servant.

Arms Of Government In Nigeria

  • The Legislative Branch

The legislative branch of the Nigerian government structure is the lawmaking body of the country. Nigeria operates a bicameral legislature at the federal level, and a unicameral legislature at the state level.

The Bicameral Legislature

The legislature at the federal level is called the National Assembly of Nigeria. It has two chambers: the upper chamber, and the lower chamber.

  • The Upper Chamber

The upper chamber, which is known as the Senate, consists of 109 members who are called senators. Each state has 3 senatorial districts with a senator representing each district while the federal capital territory supplies a lone senator. The Senate is presided over by a chairman, elected by indirect voting. The chairman is known as the Senate president and he is the third in the line of succession to the presidential seat. The Senate president is assisted by the deputy senate president in the guidance and regulation of the proceedings in the Senate.

  • The Lower Chamber

The lower chamber is known as the House of Representatives. It is presided over by the speaker of the house. The speaker of the house is assisted by the deputy speaker. The House of Representatives is made of 360 members who are elected in single-member constituencies from all states of the federation. Unlike the Senate, the seats at the House of Representatives are not equally shared between the states.

Functions Of Federal Legislature

The National Assembly serves as a check on the executive arm of the government. The National Assembly is also responsible for the approval or disapproval of bills passed to the house. Appointments made by the president are subject to the approval of the National Assembly.

  • The Unicameral Legislature

The legislative branch at the state level of the Nigerian government is called The state House of Assembly. The State House of Assembly consists of representatives from all local government areas within that state. It is the lawmaking body of the state and acts as a check on the executive recklessness in that state. It has similar functions as the National House of Assembly. The House of Assembly of each state consists of 3 times the total number of seats that state has in the House of Representatives.

  • The Judiciary Branch

The judiciary branch of the Nigerian government is saddled with the responsibility of interpreting laws as well as ensuring compliance with these laws. It serves as check and balance on the executive and legislative branch of the Nigerian government structure. The judiciary comprises of the Supreme Court of Nigeria which presides over the Federal Courts (the court of appeal, the sharia court of appeal of FCT, the federal high court, the customary court of appeal and the high court of the FCT), State Courts (the high court, the sharia court of appeal, and the customary court of appeal), and Election Tribunals.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria presides over the Supreme Court and he is assisted by 13 associate justices. The Supreme Court is the apex court in Nigeria and its judgment or decision is final. The Chief Justice of Nigeria also presides over the National Judicial Council, an executive body established by the Nigerian federal government to protect the judiciary branch from the influence of the executive branch. The President appoints the Chief Justice of the federation and once appointed, he cannot be removed from office except by death, retirement (at age 70), or by impeachment by the Senate. The Chief Judge of each state is appointed by the governor of that state on the advice of the National Judicial Council and the State House of Assembly.

Tiers Of Government

  • The Federal Government

The federal government is the most senior level of government. The president is the head of government and he also heads the Executive arm of the federal government. He is assisted by a Vice-president. The legislative arm of the federal government is headed by the Senate president who is also the chairman of the National Assembly. The Chief Judge of the Federation heads the judiciary arm of the federal government. The federal government structure includes bodies such as:

  • The federal executive council,
  • The national economic council,
  • The National Defense Council,
  • The National Mass Media Commission, and
  • The National Security Council.

The Federal Capital Territory is controlled and administered by the federal government. The president appoints his ministers and special advisers. They make up his cabinet.

Functions Of The Federal Government

  1. Defense: It is the duty of the federal government to protect the territorial integrity of the country as well as the internal security of its citizens. The federal government controls the military and the police as well as other defense setups in order for it to carry out its constitutional duty. Nigerian customs ensure goods coming into the country are those allowed in by the laws of the land while the Immigration is charged with controlling the movement of people in and out of the country.
  2. Education: The federal government regulates the education sector by setting minimum education standards. It carries out this duty through government agencies such as Joint Admission and Matriculations Board(JAMB), National examinations council(NECO), Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) and several others. It also caters for the education of its citizens by establishing institutions charged with educating Nigerians at different levels.
  3. Telecommunications: This tier of government also regulates the telecommunications sector through the National communications commission (NCC).
  4. International trade: The federal government regulates, monitors and controls trade between Nigeria and other countries. The federal government also ensures that goods coming into the country conform to international standards and are safe for use and consumption of citizens.
  5. Interstate trade: The federal government also oversees trades between different states in the country.
  6. Interstate roads: The federal government is charged with the duty of building, maintenance and repair of interstate roads. They are commonly called federal roads. This duty is carried out through the Federal Ministry of works and agencies such as the Federal road maintenance agency (FERMA).
  7. Aviation: The federal government controls the aviation sector. It is responsible for maintaining air integrity of the Nigerian airspace. It regulates the sector and ensures that the safety of air travelers in Nigeria is protected.
  1. Railways: The Railway system is also controlled by the federal government.
  2. Mining and Solid minerals: It is the prerogative of the federal government to regulate and control the mining sector of the country.
  3. Water resources: Water resources of the country is controlled by the federal government. Protection of waterways and control of resources in our national waters lies with this tier of government.
  4. Policy formulation: The policies that govern the country cutting across the states to the lowest level of government are formed at the federal level.
  5. Revenue Generation: The federal government is a key stakeholder in revenue generation.
  6. National laws: Laws that govern the country are passed and approved at the national level by the legislative and executive arms of the federal government.
  7. The judiciary has the prerogative to interpret laws with the Supreme Court as the highest level of the judiciary in the land.
  8. Health: The federal government is a key player in the health sector to ensure the health of its citizens are well taken care of by building and equipping hospitals, training health personnel, purchase and supply of drugs and also carrying out sensitization programs for citizens on health issues such as infant and maternal mortality as well as vaccination programmes for infants against diseases such as polio.

Intergovernmental collaboration exists between the federal government and state governments on health care and social welfare, antiquities and monuments, statistics and surveys, scientific and technological research, industrial, commercial and agricultural development and electricity.          

  • The State Government

At this tier of government, the country is divided into 36 states and a federal territory. Each State government is headed by a Governor who assisted by a deputy in piloting the affairs of the state. The federal capital territory is headed by a minister appointed by the president. The governor has the power to appoint the rest of his cabinet, which are the commissioners and advisers (unlike the federal level where they are called ministers). The governor assigns public responsibilities to his commissioners and advisers, to help in serving the state. The governor, deputy governor, and commissioners make up the STATE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL. The legislative arm of the state government is headed by the Speaker while the Chief Justice of the state heads the Judiciary.

Functions Of State Governments

The setup of state governments is similar to that of the federal government only that the scale is smaller. State governments are charged with carrying out duties that ensure quality living for people living in their states. They carry out duties such as road construction, they are stakeholders in the education sector, internal trade between states, agriculture, social welfare, health, surveys, electricity and even internal security. State governors are referred to as chief security officers of their states. They also generate revenues within their states.

State and local governments collaborate on issues related to the development of agriculture and non-mineral natural resources, health services and primary, adult and vocational education.

  • The Local Government

The local government in Nigeria is the third and the last level of government in Nigerian government structure. It is the level of government that is closest to the people and is within the people. Each state of the federation is divided into smaller units called local government areas. Currently, there are 774 local governments in the area. Kano has the highest number which is 44 while Bayless has the smallest number of 9. Each local government area is governed by a local government council. This LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCIL comprises of the local government chairman, who is in control of the council, his Councilors, and other elected members. They all work together to ensure the smooth running of the council and ensure that dividends of democracy are delivered to people at the grassroots.

Functions Of Local Governments

  1. Registration of birth, issuance of death and marriage certificates.
  2.  The naming of roads, streets, and numbering of houses.
  3. Provision of homes for destitute and infirm, cemeteries and burial grounds.
  4. Construction and maintenance of roads, street drains, street lighting, parks, open spaces, and other public highways.
  5. Establishment, maintenance, and regulation of markets, motor parks, etc.
  6. Provision and maintenance of public conveniences, and refuse disposal.
  7. Control and regulation of shops, restaurants, kiosks, and other venues for sales of food.
  8. Economic planning and development.

Funding Of The Tiers Of Government

Funding for the three is mostly being provided by the federal government. A certain percentage of the monthly allocation goes to states and the local governments. States and local governments presently have a joint account. This means states disburse funds to local governments under them. The states and local governments also look inwards within themselves to generate more funds to finance their activities.


Conclusion On The Arms Of Government In Nigeria And The Tiers

We have been able to look at all the arms of governments and the tiers, sit back and digest.

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