…describes development as deplorable
The National President of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, Mr. Malachy Ugwummadu, has expressed deep concern over the embarrassing report that Nigeria does not have available, inclusive and updated record of treaties and conventions to which she is a signatory.
Ugwummadu, a human rights lawyer who spoke in Abuja after a sub-regional conference on Africa Industrialization Day, described the development as regrettable and unacceptable.
He wondered why a government would openly and gleefully tell her citizens in this age and time that it did not have a list of both multilateral and bilateral treaties, much less of a compendium.
In his view, somebody obviously is not doing his job.
According to him, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice “must be held responsible for this uninspiring and upsetting lapse because of the office he occupies.”
Quoting Section 150 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, Ugwummadu said the Attorney-General, as the nation’s Chief Law Officer “should be a repository of all laws and legal instruments with a responsibility to advise government and its agencies on critical legal issues, which also border on treaties, protocols, conventions and adjunct matters.”
Anything to the contrary, he insisted, smacked of abdication of duties. “What then is the quality of advice he gives, if he does not have a record or register of treaties and conventions to which Nigeria is a signatory?”, he asked.
Recall that treatise and conventions binding on Nigeria are not only gazetted but domesticated into the corpus of legislations pursuant to the requirements of Section 12 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended. And this information is easily accessed with the help of information technology.
Like most Nigerians, especially those in the human rights community, Ugwummadu expressed the belief that as a democratic country, “Nigeria cannot afford to isolate herself from her legal obligations, international agreements, human rights treaties, conventions and related issues.”
He, therefore, called on those concerned to urgently take steps that would remedy the anomaly before it’s too late.