A CRITICAL COMPARATIVE REVIEW OF PUBLIC OFFICERS PROTECTION ACT

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A CRITICAL COMPARATIVE REVIEW OF PUBLIC OFFICERS PROTECTION ACT

CHAPTER ONE

1.1  Background To The Study

Public Officers Protection Act/Laws

The Public Officer Protection Act “provide for the protection against actions of persons acting in the execution of public duties”, and commenced as a colonial Ordinance on 21st September 1916. The English Public Authorities Protection Act of 1893 was the source of the public officers protection Act  which  was applied to Nigeria as a statute of general application until it was repealed by the Public Officers Protection Act 1916.4 The provisions of them Public Officer’s Protection Act are the same with that of the Public Authorities Protection Act of 1893. The idea of limiting the time within which to sue public officers for acts done in the discharge of their public duties or responsibilities predates our colonial history. It dates back to the feudal era in English history when the divine right of the king was in full force.5 Gradually, the king waived his privilege of giving consent to have his officers sued. By the end of the 15th century, the idea that the king’s agent could be held liable was beginning to be recognized. Two hundred years later, the doctrine to the effect that the king’s command affords no immunity to officers of the king developed. High officers of the state and all their subordinates must answer before the ordinary law for any wrong act committed by them. Initially no time limit was required for instituting an action against a public officer but later on, a statute of limitation dealing with  common law actions was enacted in 1623. Also, there were protective provisions otherwise known as the special protections requiring notice of action within a limited time and imposing a period of limitation for bringing an action after the accrual of the cause of action against a public authority or officer. The purpose of the notice was to give the defendants an opportunity to tender amends. In 1893, these special protections, especially those relating to periods of limitation were consolidated in the Public Authorities Protection Act

  • of 1893.6 This statute was made applicable to Nigeria as a statute of general application until it was repealed by the enactment of the Public Officers Protection Act of 1916. However, the 1916 Act adopted verbatim the provisions of section 1 of the English Act of 1893. The comparative jurisprudence on the material difference between the two Acts as construed by the courts has always been until recently,7 that while the purpose of the English Act was to protect public authorities in their corporate personality when engaged in the discharge of public responsibilities imposed by the

parliament,8 the Nigerian Act is aimed at protecting public officers in the discharge of their duties.

    International Journal of Liberal Arts and Social Science Vol. 4 No. 1 January, 2016

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1.2  Statement of the Problem

The evolution of the Public Officers Protection Act was not backed with   wrong intentions and objectives. As it implies, the Public Officer Protection Act “provide for the protection against actions of persons acting in the execution of public duties”, and commenced as a colonial Ordinance on 21st September 1916. The English Public Authorities Protection Act of 1893 was the source of the public officers protection Act  which  was applied to Nigeria as a statute of general application until it was repealed by the Public Officers Protection Act 1916.The provisions of them Public Officer’s Protection Act are the same with that of the Public Authorities Protection Act of 1893. The idea of limiting the time within which to sue.The many reported cases of misconduct and crimes alledgedly committed by public officials under the act evoked public outcry over the Act. Consequently The Nigerian Law Reform Commission submitted the Proposed Bill for the Repeal of the Public Officer Protection Act through the Committee for the Review and Reform of the Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria set up by the Honourable Speaker, the Report (including Proposed Bills) was submitted to the Hourable Speaker, Dogara, on November 12, 2015.The problem confronting the research is to proffer A Critical Comparative Review of Public Officers Protection Act .

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A CRITICAL COMPARATIVE REVIEW OF PUBLIC OFFICERS PROTECTION ACT

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