The Senate has directed the Ministry of Justice and the Foreign Affairs counterpart to produce a comprehensive data on the status and management of treaties in the country.
Specifically, it asked the Federal Government to produce a comprehensive record of all treaties entered into by the country, indicating those already ratified by the National Assembly.
This followed a motion on: “The urgent Need to Exercise Constitutional Powers of the National Assembly to Ratify Treaties in Nigeria” sponsored by Senator Bala Na’Allah during plenary on Tuesday.
While presenting the motion, Na’Allah noted that Section 12 of the Constitution, as amended, provided that “no treaty between Federal Government and any country should have force of law except if enacted into law by the National Assembly.
According to him, out of over 250 United Nations Treaties, Conventions, Charters and Protocols which Nigeria is a party, over 50 has not been ratified while many others require succession, signature, acceptance or notification.
He expressed worry that a huge number of treaties had not been submitted to the National Assembly for domestication due to reliance on provisions of Section 3(2) of Treaty Making Procedure Act CAP T20 LFN, 2004.
He said: “In the 5th Assembly, only 11 treaties were enacted into law by the National Assembly out of 1, 000 bills considered.
“While 61 executive bills out of 619 bills considered by the 7th Senate with none on treaties are still in the 8th Senate, only three executive bills so far have been presented for ratification of treaties.”
Na’Allah, who is Senate Deputy Leader, regretted that “the good reputation and image of Nigeria may continue to be low in the eyes of the international community”.
He added that the country may suffer multi-dimensional losses if the National Assembly was denied its powers of ratifying treaties to acquire the force of law for municipal application.
Contributing, Senator James Manager who seconded the motion, stressed the need for National Assembly to exercise its constitutional powers of ratifying treaties in the country.
In his remarks, President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, said the importance of the issue could not be over-emphasised.
He thereafter mandated the Senate Committees on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters and Foreign Affairs to liaise with relevant ministries affected by the resolutions to facilitate collation of documents on the matter.
He announced that the committees had four weeks for the assignment.