From Akilani Abdullah, Lagos
The Senator representing Lagos East senatorial district, Senator Gbenga Ashafa will be re-presenting the treaty making procedure bill which was recently deliberated on by the National Assembly as a mandatory Treaty-making procedure to all treaties entered into between the federation and any other country or body.
It would be recalled that the presentation was stood-down based on the contribution made on the floor of the Senate by Senator Ita Enang representing Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial District who informed the legislators that there is still more work to be done on the bill before the amendment can pass through the second reading.
Ashafa in a statement released to newsmen in Lagos yesterday by his media aide, Babatunde Adegunju explained that the intention of the bill is to ensure the active participation of the whole or a committee of the legislative body in the process of initiating and making treaties.
He noted that the bill sponsored by the senator if passed into law would facilitate both the easy and quick comprehension of such treaties as well as speed their approval by the National Assembly.
The statement quoting Ashafa said: “The central aim of this bill is to ensure that treaty making is a concurrent function as it is the case in other countries of the World. The measure also puts a check on Presidential power as well as to have representatives of the states and of the people, make inputs at the negotiation and ratification stages of treaty making.”
He explained that the proposed amendment seeks to amend section 1 of the Principal Act on Treaty Making Procedure by inserting a subsection 3 that makes consultation with the relevant committees of the National Assembly mandatory before such treaties are signed.
These consultations will serve as an avenue for the National Assembly to be involved at the conception stage of the treaty, rather than serving as “Rubber Stamp Legislators” in ratification of what has been decided and entered into by the executive arm of government. It is expected that the bill would be re-presented for consideration and further debate before the year ends.
The statement quoting Ashafa further said: “the issue of the Green Tree Treaty entered into by the Federal Government of Nigeria and Cameroun readily comes to mind. It was designed to implement a ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of 2002 under which Bakassi Peninsula was transferred from Nigeria control to that of Cameroun.
“The Peninsula, which is rich in natural resources, was a long-time cause of disagreement between Cameroun and Nigeria until in June 2006, the United Nations backed the “Green Tree Agreement” in which Nigeria recognized the authority of Cameroun over the disputed region. You will agree with me that if this agreement had passed through the National Assembly, the people of Bakassi would have a say in the agreement through their elected representatives” it said.