The House of Representatives has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to transmit treaties signed between the federal government and other countries or any other party to the National Assembly.
The call was the result of resolution by the House at its Plenary on Thursday based on the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai (PDP Delta) titled “Transmission of all Treaties by Federal Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) to the National Assembly”.
It also called on the federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to transmit all signed treaties, international multilateral and bilateral agreements to the registrar of treaties in the Ministry of Justice and the National Assembly within two weeks.
“In turn, the registrar of treaties in the Ministry of Justice would transmit the list of all ratified and domesticated treaties and International Agreements to the National Assembly with three weeks for further legislative action”.
It lamented that over 400 treaties were reportedly ratified but less than 40 were recorded by the Justice ministry.
The lawmakers demanded that the President should ensure that all signed treaties are presented to the National Assembly within 30 days for domestication to pave way for early engagement and involvement of the Legislature in the negotiation of any treaty and international agreement with Nigeria.
The House also added that the President should also ensure that signed treaties and other international agreements are presented to the National Assembly as an Executive Bill and no counterpart funding or protocols with financial implications should begin until the agreements are domesticated by the National Assembly.
While moving the motion, Ossai lamented that records from the United Nations have indicated that Nigeria has ratified over 400 bilateral and multilateral treaties on different matters out of which less than 40 have been recorded by the Federal Ministry of Justice.
“The House notes that local statutes of any country are not always sufficient to address issues of man’s existence and sustenance, hence the undoubted need for International laws to complement local statutes.
He reminded that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN had on 21st August 2017 reportedly identified a major challenge to the domestication of treaties in Nigeria because of the lack of an arrangement for early involvement of the National Assembly in the negotiation processes which affects facilitation, domestication and full protection of the country’s Internal Agreements.
The House noted that some of the undomesticated treaties could have a direct positive impact on advancement of the fundamental rights of the citizenry and the nation’s economic growth.
It therefore expressed concerned that the non-involvement of the National Assembly in the negotiation process and the failure to transmit all signed treaties and international instruments to the National Assembly by the Executive arm of government have affected the rate of domestication of the treaties and denied citizens the benefits associated with the issues.
“Also cognizant that the intention of Section 12 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) which vests the National Assembly with power to enact treaties is not a clog in the wheel of Executive progress but a sword in the hand of the Legislature to defend Nigeria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“Informed that an urgent engagement by the Legislature and the Executive will create a synergy that will lead to a collaboration between both arms of government for proper realization of the objective of section 12 of the Constitution”.
The motion was unanimously supported by the members when subjected to voice vote by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila.
The House therefore mandated its committee on Treaties, Protocol and Agreements to, as a matter of urgency, commence the reviews of all treaties, agreements and protocols signed and ratified by Nigeria.