Constitutional Law: A constitution is an instrument of government made by the people, establishing the structure of a country, regulating the powers and functions of government, the rights and duties of the individual and providing remedies for unconstitutional acts. In the human realm, the powers of government are wide and awesome, and the consequences of the exercise of the powers of government cannot be foretold.
A government by its policies or acts can regulate, sustain, recognize, standardize, kill or destroy any individual, people, body, enterprise or section of the country.
Therefore, the powers of government and public authorities must be properly defined and limited for there to be safety, and any procedure for the exercise of powers properly specified under the law and followed.
When the powers of government are not defined and limited under law, government may go wild and arbitrary and unimaginable hardship and consequences maybe visited on the people on the other hand if the powers, rights and duties of government are not defined by law, government may be hindered from discharging its constitutional and legitimate duties.
Constitutional law is the study of the constitution., Acts of the National Assembly, Judicial precedents, Doctrine of necessity are constitutional laws.
A constitution in a concrete sense simply means that the laws that make up the constitution of a country are authoritatively ordained or codified in a single document. On the other hand when we talk of the meaning of a constitution in abstract sense it means that the laws that make up the constitution of the country consisting of conventions, act of parliament, judicial precedents etc cannot be found in a single document.
When a government or public authority does what it has no power to do, such act is ultra vires, unconstitutional, null and void and it is liable to be set aside by court, at the suit of an agreed party. See the cases of:
- Williams V. Majekodunmi; and
- Agbaje V. Commissioner of Police.
- Garba & Ors V. University of Maidugri: in this case, Uwais JSC as he then was said “It is the view of this court that when a person is accused of committing a criminal offence, he must be taken to a court of law for trial and not merely be dealt with by a tribunal”.
Sources of Constitutional Law
- Judicial precedent
- Past constitutions of the state
- International laws
- Writings of jurists or highly learned scholars in the field of constitutional law.