Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have been urged to transmit all 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.
Attorney general of the federation and minister of justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, made the call in his speech during the commissioning ceremony of the National Depository of Treaties in Abuja recently.
The minister said it became necessary as 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 civil service of the federation as directed by the Federal Executive Council.
According to him, 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.
Malami identified the goals of the project which he described as noble to include: achieve functional National Depository of Treaties, maintain a comprehensive/updated register of treaties and ensure that all treaties, agreement and protocols entered into by the government are preserved.
He appreciated the efforts of the solicitor general of the federation and permanent secretary, Dayo Apata, SAN, for his support, and the various roles played by the director, International and Comparative Law Department, Mrs. Stella Anukam, towards successful launch of the project.
Earlier in his welcome address, the solicitor general of the federation and permanent secretary, Dayo Apata, SAN said Section 4 of the Treaties (Making Procedure, Etc.) Act 2004, empowered the Federal Ministry of Justice to be designated as the depository of all treaties entered into between the Federation and any other country.
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 Federal Ministry of Justice for record purposes.
He noted that it was also the duty of the Federal Ministry of Justice to prepare and maintain a register of treaties, saying the 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.
The permanent secretary maintained that the Federal Ministry of Justice to the exclusion of any other ministry or authority has power to give notification on the conclusion of any new treaty to the Federal Government Printer for purposes of publication.
Our correspondent reports that the electronic depository of treaties is one of the ways, the Federal Ministry of Justice is utilizing in taking advantage of technology to make accessibility to the. depository easy and faster.
The electronic National Depository of Treaties is expected to serve as the depository of all treaties entered into between the Government of the Federation and any other country of any Ministry, Agency or Department in line with Section 4 of the Treaties (Making Procedure, Etc.) Act Cap. T20 Laws of the Federation (LFN) 2004, which domiciled the National Depository of Treaties in the Federal Ministry of Justice.