Reps pass bill to protect Nigeria’s sovereignty, economic power

The House of Representatives yesterday passed through second reading, a bill aimed at protecting the nation’s sovereignty and economic power. Titled “A bill for an Act to repeal treaties (making procedure) Act, Cap 120, Laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004 and to re-enact new Treaties (making procedure) to protect Nigeria’s sovereignty and economic power, it is sponsored by Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta).

Section 8 of the bill made it mandatory for the approval of the two Houses of the National Assembly before any Ministry, Department and Agency (MDAs) body or person signs any treaty or agreement for and on behalf of the federation of Nigeria with any other country or foreign based company or foreign body. Sponsor of the bill, Hon. Ossai said this will forestall the repetitionof NigeriaandChina loans agreements and others.

Section 9 of the bill also made it mandatory for MDAs, body or person who is a party in any signed treaty or agreement with any country to within one month transmit same to the Federal Ministry of Justice, the depository of all treaties and to the two Houses of the National Assembly.

It also sought to avoid conflict with the constitution and ensure conformity as some of the provisions of section 3 of the Principal Act that talks of ”Classification of Treaties” was in conflict with section 12 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, which provides for ”Implementation of Treaties and Agreements.”

The bill removed the word ”Classification” as provided in the Principal Act and only extended the Implementation provision of the constitution. The proposed legislation provided in the same way as it was in the constitution that Treaties and Agreements shall not be presented to the President for assent. It adopted the provisions of section 12(2) of the constitution by including both the Concurrent and Exclusive Legislative Lists as matters to be legislated upon by the National Assembly. Section 8 of the bill, which provided for approval of the National Assembly before any Treaty or Agreement entered into by MDAs should be signed, upheld Order 18 Rules 93 of the House Standing Orders, which directed the Committee on Treaties, Protocols and Agreements to be, ”Liaising with all the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government (MDAs) before treaties are entered into by the Federal Government pursuant to section 12 of the constitution”.




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