The International and Comparative Law Department has been in existence since the creation of the Federal Ministry of Justice. it is one of the pioneer departments of the Ministry of the Ministry, a very important Department, vested with responsibilities of not only important to the Ministry but crucial to the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as a political entity and a player on the international scene.
in line with our statutory functions and in conformity with the SERVICOM's goal of effective service delivery, the Department's Vision and Mission are as follows:
Our vision is to ensure a proactive Nigerian image while cooperating with the International community in promoting world peace and that Nigeria is seen to be a forerunner in the fight against international and cross-border crimes.
Our mission is to protect Nigeria's interest and work towards derivinf a MAximum advantage from our foreign relations. Right from its creation the Department has performed the following rersponsibilities in accordance with the Ministry's white paper and each administrations policy.
Rendering Legal Advice on international issues to all Ministries/Extra-Ministerial Departments, Government Agencies and Nigeria's Missions Abroad so as to engender cordial relations between Nigeria and other nations as well as to international institutions and organizations. For example the Department advices the Ministry on Foreign Affairs in responding to foreign countries' requests for Nigeria's support for their candidature in various international organizations. we also advise on Nigeria's criteria for lending support to candidature for various international positions.
The Department represents the ministry in Nigeria's meetings and conferences of the United Nations and its organs, agencies as well as other international bodies to which Nigeria is a member. it undertakes negotiations and vetting of draft international agreements proposed between Nigeria and other countries in order to protect Nigeria's interest. For example, the Department has vetted the following bilateral agreements between Nigeria and various countries.
- Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) between Nigeria and Brazil; Nigeria and Republic of Trinidad and Tobago;
- Protocol of the Programme on Implementation of Cultural and Educational Cooperation Agreement between NIgeria and Brazil;
- Agreement on the Creation of the Russian/Nigerian Center for Cooperation in Industry; Engineering Trade and Information Technology.
- Cultural and Educational Agreement between Nigeria and Turkey
- Cultural Agreement between Nigeria and Egypt;
- Agreement for sending Russian Military Specialists form Russia to Nigeria;
- cooperation Agreement on fighting against International Terrorism, Crime and Illicit Tracing in Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances between Republic of Turkey and Nigeria;
- Economic Cooperation Agreement between Mozambique and Nigeria;
- Agreement on Immigration Matters between Nigeria and Malta;
- Technical Cooperation and Cultural/Scientific Agreement between Nigeria and Iran;
- MOU between the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Ethiopia on Information matters;
- Draft M.O.U. Between Nigeria and Netherlands on Police Matters;
- Economic Scientific and technological Agreement between Nigeria and Djibouti;
- M.O.U. between NNPC and National Oil of South Korea;
- Agreement on Cultural Tourism, Sports, Educational and Scientific Cooperation between Nigeria and China;
- Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation between Nigeria and Malawi;
- Agreement between Nigeria and Greece on Maritime Transport;
- Cooperation Agreement between Nigeria and Portugal on Culture, Education, Science, Youth, sports, Mass Media and Tourism;
- Cultural and Education Agreement between Nigeria and Sweden. To mention a few and the Department monitored the processes leading up to the signing of some of these Agreements.
4. Preparing Instruments of Ratification, Instruments of Accession, Instruments of Denunciation, as the case may be and Ratification of Treaties, Conventions and Protocols to which Nigeria is signatory.
5. Preparation of Memoranda to Council in respect of International Agreements, for which the Federal Ministry of Justice is the focal Ministry, e.g. Extradition Treaties, Agreements on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, judicial Cooperation Agreements, etc.
6. Ensuring that all Treaties entered into by Nigeria are deposited and Registered in the Ministry in accordance with Section 4 and 5 of the Treaties (Making Procedure) Act 1993.
7. Ensuring the observance of Nigeria's Treaty obligations by preparing and collating Nigeria's periodic reports and monitoring Nigeria's obligations in respect of certain international organizations, mostly those legal in nature e.g. AALCO, CLAS, UNAFRI, IOM ETC. we also ensure the payment of annually assessed Contributions to international Organizations such as Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (AALCO) UNAFRI, IOM and the Commonwealth Legal Advisory Service (CLAS) to which Nigeria is signatory.
8. Responding to Communications from the United NAtions Human Rights Commission (UNHCR) and the Frican Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) on allegations of Violations of Human Rights and appeaering before these commissions to present Nigeria's response.
9. Dealing with Letters Rogertory and Other requests for legal assistance from various embassies and the international community. For example, the department [participates in the following international meetings:-
i. UNGA: United Nations General Assembly;
ii. UNCITRAL: United Nations Commission on International Trade Law;
iii. UNIDROT: Institute for the Unifocation of Private Law;
iv. ECOWAS: Economic Community of West African States' Legal Expert meetings
v. ISBA: International Seabed Authority;
vi. Bi national Commission meetings between Nigeria and Algeria, and Nigeria and South Africa respectively, and meetings of several joint Commissions Nigeria has with other Countries.
10. Dedicated attendance and participation at inter Ministerial and international meetings on behalf of the Ministry.
11. In rare cases representing and coordinating Nigeria's defense internationally in cases before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) (as was in the Bakassi case), ECOWAS Community Court, etc, in conjunction with foreign lawyers retained by the Federal Government.
12. Ensuring communication of foreign processes and Cooperating in the process of enforcing foreign Judgement.
Instruments of Service Delivery
For an effective service delivery the department is divided into four Divisions in 2007. This has brought about an increase in the pace with which we respond to consumers. However with the restructuring our instrument of service delivery has been greatly enhanced, using the following media of management.
1. Departmental meetings where staff deliberate on knotty issues
2. Liaising with various MDAs in the process of serving them better.
3. Communicating through letters with various MDA to which we provide our sevices
4. Convening meetings of various MDAs.
5. Physical Instruments used include:
- The Nigerian Constitution
- Laws of the Federation of Nigeria
- Treaties in force series which are currently undergoing an update
- precedents in form of signed agreements
- internet which remains the most crucial instrument from where we get updates
- computers (Laptops, desktops, printers etc) and stationeries.
Complaint Redress Mechanism
Hitherto, complaints were rarely made about our services, however should there be any; such complaint would either come directly to the Director International and Comparative Law Department who in turn would take such complaint up personally, or bring such issues up during departmental meetings where officers of the department will deliberate on it.