Nigeria has one basic law and legislative constitution, known as the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which was enacted in 1999. The country gained its independence in 1960. Four constitutions were drafted and enacted prior to 1999.
Prior to 1960, Nigeria was ruled as a Crown colony under the United Kingdom. While there was a constitution drawn in 1960 noting Nigeria as a sovereign state, Queen Elizabeth II remained as its official head of state. In 1963, Nigeria claimed itself a federal republic; the period from this declaration until 1979 became known as the First Republic. In 1979, a new constitution was drawn with a presidential system put in place. This was known as the Second Republic. In 1993, the Third Republic was established with a new constitution, but it was weak.
Nigeria's present-day constitution was implemented in 1999, and it is similar in many ways to the Constitution of the United States. It gives Nigerian citizens a right to life, as well as other natural rights. The constitution also determines legislative powers deemed to the federal, state and local governments of Nigeria. The Federal High Court of Nigeria, under amendments to the 1999 constitution, has jurisdiction over all other courts and makes the final decisions on any matters.