A re-examination of the requirement of domestication of treaties in Nigeria
One of the ways of acquiring obligations at international law is by agreeing to the text of the treaty stipulating such obligations. An intention to be so bonded is often evidenced by becoming a signatory to the said treaty. Sometimes though, in addition to being a signatory to a treaty, such a treaty may also have to be domestically incorporated by the state assuming such obligation before her citizens can fully benefit from its provisions. Section 12 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) is one such instance. It requires that a treaty be domesticated by the Nigerian legislature before it can be admitted in Nigerian Court. This paper examines the intendment of the drafters of the said section of the Nigerian constitution and its draw backs to enforcing treaty obligations. It concludes that the requirement of domestication acts as a shield to some in undermining treaty obligations. It applauds the Third Alteration Act 2010 to the Constitution and recommends that same should be extended to human rights treaties especially those providing for socio-economic rights.
Key words: Domestication, International treaties, Constitution, Municipal courts, Obligation.