The Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, SAN has called all Ministries, Departments and Agencies to transmit executed agreements, Memoranda of Understanding and treaties in their custody and those to be entered in the future in their original form to the National Depository of Treaties domiciled in Federal Ministry of Justice (FMOJ).
He made this call during the official commissioning ceremony of the National Depository of Treaties on Tuesday, 7th January, 2020 in Abuja.
Malami explained that, the electronic National Depository of Treaties will serve as the depository of all treaties entered into between the Governments of the Federation and any other country of any Ministry, Agency or Department in line with Section 4 of the Treaties Act Cap. T20 Laws of the Federation (LFN) 2004.
Adding that, it is in further compliance with the Service wide, Circular Reference No. HCSF/LU/FEC/M/938 dated 2nd March, 2017 issued by the head of the civil service of the Federation as directed by the Federal Executive Council.
While narrating the goals of the noble project, HAGF said, it is to achieve functional National Depository of Treaties, maintaining a comprehensive/updated Register of Treaties and ensuring that all Treaties, Agreement and Protocols entered into by the Government are preserved.
“It is about transparency, accessibility and order in line with the tenements of Open Government Partnership and access to justice which the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to uphold”, HAGF explained.
He concluded that very soon the National Depository of Treaties would be in the cloud for a more global outlook and accessibility from any part of the world.
The Solicitor General of Federation and Permanent Secretary, Dayo Apata SAN in his welcome address said, the Electronic Depository of Treaties is one of the ways, the Ministry is utilizing in taking advantage of technology to make accessibility to the depository easy and faster.
He noted that register is open at all reasonable times for inspection by members of the public on the payment of such token fee as may be determined from time to time.
According to him, all treaties entered into before the commencement of the Act between the Government of the Federation and any other country by any Ministry, governmental agency, body or person, shall be deposited with the Ministry for record purposes.
Chairman House Committee on Treaties, Protocols and Agreements Honourable Ossai Nicholas Ossai in his goodwill message, noted that, commissioning of the Depository of Treaties is commendable, adding that the Committees engagements in the last few months has shown that over 400 Treaties, Protocols and Agreements entered into by successive Government of Nigeria are yet to be ratified or domesticated.
Ossai explained that, his Committee has commenced the process of reviewing all Treaties, Protocols and Agreements entered into by the Nigerian Government.
He said they would be organizing a Special Public Hearing and amongst others to review existing treaties and ascertain status of its implementation, discuss way to ensure that Nigeria’s treaties making procedures are harmonized, compliance with relevant laws and develop a National Policy on Arbitration.
Chairman, Nigeria’s Bar Association Paul Usoro in his goodwill message noted that Nigeria is very bad in record keeping which makes the commissioning of electronic National Depository of Treaties by FMOJ a milestone in the history of Nigeria
The Director General National Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Prof. Tawfiq Ladan said, in 1970 to 80s the institute initiated the need to identify and put together the treaties forms in Nigeria and it took them 7 years to put together the works of 1960s and 70s .He said it was a big development that FMOJ taken over the responsibilities in accordance.
For: Deputy Director