The federal government yesterday cautioned ministries, departments and agencies to desist from entering international treaty agreements with foreign counterpart without the approval of the statutory ministries responsible.
The warning is coming at the high rate of obligations the federal government has to oblige due to the consequences and implications of international treaties negotiated without the knowledge and consent of the federal ministries of justice and foreign affairs.
Minister of state for foreign affairs, Prof. Viola Onwuleri at a round table organised by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIAL), on International Treaties In Nigerian Domestic Law in Abuja.
Prof. Viola stated that, there are three procedures required by law to domesticate international treaties before it can be ratified and domesticated by the country, thus warned against flagrant disregard for these procedures that amounts to serious commitment on the part of government.
” There are three procedural considerations by government before ratification and domestication of international treaties. These procedures include, the financial, political and social importance of such agreements on the one hand and the mutual educational and cultural exchange between the parties”
” These considerations form the core value by government to freely and willingly enter into treaties it consider financially and politically relevant to the country before it can seek legislative approval for the domestication of such agreements”, the minister stated.
Warning against the huge commitment government may likely face in disposing the obligations arising from such treaties, the minister urged MDAs to seek the approval and registration of any international treaties it consider viable for the economy with the ministry of justice in other to professionally guide the terms of such treaties.
Speaking at the round table, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Adoke Mohammed, said Nigeria as a country has kept fate with all obligations of international treaties that has been domesticated over the years.
Represented by Prof. Peter Akpe SAN, the Attorney General of the Federation, called for a concerted effort between the executive and the legislative arms of government in the ratification and domestication of treaties to reduce the rift of monism.
He said the domestication of international treaties is and executive function that only requires the ratification of the national assembly in accordance with section 12 of the 1999 constitution as amended.
On the conflict of domestic laws being subterfuge to international treaties where the two laws differ on legal implications, the Director General of the institute, Prof. Epiphany Azinge said, countries go into treaties under no obligation but free will, therefore the crisis of domestic law conflict does not arise.
Prof. Azinge however said, in circumstances of any conflict, the parties naturally fulfill the terms of the treaties because it subscribe to the treaties and not because the domestic laws are subterfuge to a treaty.