Implementation of treaties in Nigeria: issues, challenges and the way forward
Treaties between Nigeria and other subjects of international law do not transform into domestic laws unless they are specifically domesticated, that is, enacted into laws by the National Assembly. But the National Assembly has, over the years, shown little interest in discharging this all-important constitutional task; hence, most treaties, which Nigeria is a party to, have not been domesticated many years after their ratification. And this has stripped Nigerian legal system of the requisite support and complementarity which it ought to derive from those ratified but domesticated treaties. The objective of this paper is to examine the relevance of treaties in the development of the Nigeria legal system and the place of treaties in the hierarchy of Nigerian law. The paper also examines the causes of poor implementation of treaties in Nigeria, as well as the effects of the 1999 Constitution (Third Alteration) Act, 2010 on the application of treaties in Nigeria. The research methodology adopted by the researchers is purely doctrinal whereas the approaches employed herein are chiefly analytical, descriptive and prescriptive. This paper concludes that noninvolvement of the National Assembly in the negotiation of treaties is largely responsible for the poor implementation of treaties in Nigeria. The researchers therefore, recommend immediate amendment of the Treaties (Making Procedure Etc) Act, 2004 by the National Assembly so as to make the participation of the National Assembly compulsory in treaty-making in Nigeria. Also, the paper recommends an outright repeal of section 12 of the 1999 Constitution so that every treaty to which Nigeria is a party shall be justiciable in Nigeria without any legislative intervention.
Keywords: Treaties, International law, Constitution, Implementation, National Assembly