This is the original Public Officers Protection Act (2009) before the proposed amendment by Honorable Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje. The amendment follows the original bill.
The Public Officers Protection Act 2009 repeals and re-enacts the Public Officers Protection Act (Chapter P.41, laws of the federation of Nigeria 2004)
The Act was earlier enacted as the Public Officers Protection Act (Cap 379 LLFN 1990)
The 2009 edition of the Act seeks to amend the old Public Officers Protection Act 2004.
Historically, the Public Officers Protection Act was first enacted in 1916 as the Public Officers Protection Act 1916 (Act No. 39 of 1916); as affected by Order 47 of 1951.
The text of the 1916 Act was set out in the Public Officers Protection Act (Cap 379, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LLFN 1990)
The same text was replicated in the Public Officers Protection Act (Cap P.41 laws of the Federation 2004)
That version is the extant law on the issue.
As stated above, the first version of the Public Officers Protection Act was enacted in 1916, and came into force on 21st September, 1916.
That enactment was a colonial one and predictably sought to protect public officers from suit for any alleged act, neglect or default in the performance of their duties.
The Act is therefore heavily weighted against the injured employees and other persons and leans heavily in favour of protecting the erring public officers.
INTENDMENT OF THE NEW ACT
THE PUBLIC OFFICERS PROTECTION ACT (2009)
1) The main plank of the 2009 Act is to increase the limitation period for instituting an action under the Act from Three months to Six months. Therefore an injured person can institute an action against a public officer within a period of Six months as against the former period of three months under section 2 of the old Act.
2) The new Act defines the expression “Continuing Injury” and allows the period to run until the injured person has been compensated for the injury complained of, if the court also decides.
3) The new law therefore leaves a little window which will permit the warring parties, in an appropriate case, to agree the appropriate level of damages and to tender pay and receive the said damages. (as provided in section 4.)
However, where the tender of damages fails, parties can return to court for adjudication. And the court will determine the matter according to law.
PUBLIC OFFICERS PROTECTION ACT AMENDMENT BILL (2009)
An Act to provide for the extension of limitation of time within which an action may be instituted against a public officer.
BE IT ENACTED by the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as follows:
The Public Officers Protection Act CAP P41 Laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004 hereinafter referred to as the Act is amended as set out in the Bill.
1) Section 2 (a) is amended by deleting from lines 2-3 the clause “three months” and replacing the same with the clause “Six months”
2) There is hereby inserted before the provision a new section 2(b) which shall read as follows:
a) “The period of Six months as specified in section 2(a) of this Act shall be calculated from the date of receipt of the letter by the aggrieved party, and not the date on which the said letter was written.”
3) Section 2(b, c, d) of the principal Act shall read as Section 2(c, d, e)
4) The provision is also amended at line 3 by deleting the expression “three months after the discharge of such persons from prison” and replacing same with the phrase “Six months after the discharge of such persons from prison”
5) This Bill may be cited as the Public Officers Protection Act Amendment Bill.