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Treaties represent an important instrument by which States undertake and accept responsibilities
in the international arena. Nigeria has in furtherance of its international relations entered into a
number of multi-lateral and bilateral treaties. Nigeria has by its constitution expressly provided
for the treaty making procedure and how treaties can acquire the force of law in Nigeria. It is
however, apposite to note that the applicability of a treaty is dependent on a number of factors
beyond the signing ceremonies that usually attend the process of signifying consent to be bound
by the provisions of the treaty in question. Ratification and Domestication, which are the central
focus of this work, are integral part of that procedure.
This work, therefore, examines how treaties acquire the force of law, the inter-relationship
between the Executive and Legislative Arms of Government in treaty making, Procedure for
ratification and domestication and its challenges for Nigeria.
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
A great number of laws that make up the Nigerian body of laws emanates from treaties.
Consequently in Nigeria, treaties do not automatically have force of law or becomes applicable
and enforceable unless enacted into law by the National Assembly. Hence, Section 12(1) of the
Constitution provides as follows:-
No treaty between the Federation and any other country shall have the force of law except to
which any such treaty has been enacted into law by the National Assembly.
This Section further provides that where the subject-matter of a treaty falls outside the Exclusive
Legislative List, a bill for an Act of the National Assembly to give the treaty the force of law
must be ratified by a majority of all the Houses of Assembly in the Federation before it is
enacted into law and assented by the President. It follows, therefore, that until a treaty has been
domesticated in Nigeria, it cannot be applied within the country.
Treaties are governed by intern
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