Reps move to restrict Fed Govt on loans, agreements, others

The House of Representatives on Tuesday held a public hearing on the Treaties (Making Procedure) Bill 2020, which sought to review and amend the Treaties (Making Procedure, etc.,) Act of 1993 imposed by the military.

The bill seeks to repeal the Nigerian laws relating to treaties and agreements and re-enact them to be in line with democratic principles as contained in the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

When the bill becomes law, it will become compulsory for the Federal Government to seek the approval of the National Assembly and two-third of the state Houses of Assembly during negotiation and after signing international agreements and protocols as well as contractual agreements and borrowing terms with other countries or organisations.

The bill is seeking to repeal the Treaties (Making Procedure, etc) Act 2004 and re-enact a Treaties Act 2020. It passed first reading on July 21, 2020, and second reading on September 17, 2020.

Chairman of the Committee on Treaties, Protocols and Agreements, Mr Nicholas Ossai, had sponsored the bill at a time when his committee was reviewing commercial agreements and external loans signed by the Federal Government on behalf of Nigeria.

Ossai had raised the alarm over ‘dangerous’ clauses in the loans already taken by Nigeria from China.

While declaring the hearing open, Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, noted that when the amendment bill becomes law, it would make Nigerian laws on treaties and protocols fully compliant with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and align the country with global best practices in this area.

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