The constitution of Nigeria establishes code of conduct for public officers to moderate the conducts of public officers in the performance of their duties.
The public officers that fall under the code of conduct includes the President of Nigeria, Vice President, President of Senate and his Deputy, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Speaker and deputy speaker of House of Assembly of States and all Staff of the legislative House.
Others are Governors and Deputy Governor of a State, Ministers and Commissioners, Serving Chiefs, Army, Naval and Air Staff and members of Armed Forces, Inspector General of Police and security agents, Head of Service, Permanent Secretaries and Directors, Secretary to Government of the Federation, Civil Service and Public Servants in the Federation and States, Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Officers of Nigeria Mission Abroad, chairman and staff of local government, chairman and staff of code of conduct tribunal, chairman and members of the board of statutory corporations, companies of federal and state government, all staff of universities, college and institutions owned and financed by federal, state and local governments and chairman and staff of permanent commission or councils on full time.
The code of conduct of the public officers is enforced by the code of conduct tribunal which consists of chairman and two other persons while the code of conduct Bureau is made up of a chairman and nine other members.
The chairman of the tribunal must be a person qualified to be a judge. The code of conduct tribunal is charged with the functions of investigating a public officer alleged to have breached the conduct to his office; to find him guilty, and to punish the public officer where he is found guilty.
Punishment like vacation of office or seat, disqualification of membership or from holding public office for a period not exceeding 10years, seizure and forfeiture to the state of the property or assets acquired in abuse of office or corruption of office and criminal punishment imposed by law are enforced.
However, an officer found guilty by the code of conduct tribunal has the right of appeal to the Court of Appeal. The decision of the code of conduct tribunal is subject to appeal at the instance of any party to the proceedings.
Furthermore, the President of Nigeria or State Governors cannot apply the executive privileges in prerogative of mercy to any person punished under the code of conduct tribunal.
The code of conduct tribunal has powers to investigate allegations involving breach of the code of conduct of public officers in the following areas:
- Where the personal interests of a public officers conflicts with his duties and responsibilities.
- Where the public officer receives double salaries from different public offices at the same time.
- Where a full time public officer engage in management or running of any private business, profession or trade except farming.
- Where the president, vice president, Governors, Deputy Governors, Ministers, Commissioners, members of National Assembly and public officers maintain or operate bank account in any country outside Nigeria.
- Where a retired public servant, receives or accept more than one remunerative position as chairman, Director or employee of a government company or public authority.
- Where the President, Vice President, Chief of Justice of Nigeria, Governors and Deputy Governors of the state secures employment in a foreign company or enterprise.
- Where a public officer asks for or accepts property or benefit for himself or any other person on anything done or omitted to be done in the discharge of his duties.
- Where the President, Vice President, Governor and Deputy Governor, Minister and Commissioner, Permanent Secretary, Head of Public Corporation and University accept loan from non government agents, and any benefit from any company, contractor, business men, or his agents.
- Where a person offers a public officer property, gift or benefit of any kind as an inducement or bribe for any favor or discharge in his favor of the public officers duties.
- Where a public officer does or direct to be done in abuse of office any arbitrary act prejudicial to the right of any other person knowing that such act is unlawful and contrary to any government policy.
- Where a public officer belongs to a society incompatible to the functions of his office.
- Where a public officer fails to declare his assets, liabilities and properties at the end of every four years or team of office and those of his children less than 18 years.
Any person who has allegation against a public officer writes a petition to the chairman of Code of Conduct Bureau for investigations and punishment of the offender.