‘N/Assembly ready to domesticate Kampala Convention on IDPs’
By Aaron Ossai
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has assured that the National Assembly will domesticate the Kampala Convention Treaty on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
The Speaker gave the assurance while receiving a delegation from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Nigeria led by the head of mission in Nigeria, Mr Eloi Fillion.
He added that the government is working within its powers to ensure the speedy resettlement of the refugees and internally displaced persons, especially in the North East where insurgency left people displaced but that for now, one cannot vouch for their security and other related matters if they were to return to their former places of abode.
Dogara informed the delegation that the Kampala Convention Treaty on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) which was ratified by the government of Nigeria in 2012 is yet to be domesticated because the Executive has yet to forward it to the National Assembly.
He said although the parliament was aware of the ratification of the Kampala Treaty on IDPs, the Constitution of Nigeria does not give the National Assembly powers to initiate matters related to treaties.
He added that the House is now waiting for the Executive to forward the treaty for domestication, while assuring that it will get a quick passage.
“By constitutional design, the legislature does not enter into treaties, does not negotiate treaties. Treaties are supposed to be the exclusive preserve of the Executive. But the Constitution equally gives us the power to domesticate them and that is where our own influence comes.
“I believe that as soon as this one is transmitted to the parliament, in no time, because of its importance of this instrument, we will domesticate it.
“For now, we are trying to get the Executive to get them to transmit it to the Legislature. We have reached the Attorney General of the Federation to get to the President on the need to transmit this document so that he can transmit it to the National Assembly.
“I’m happy to report to you that from the preliminary discussions, the government holds no objection to this”, he explained.
Dogara expressed gratitude to the ICRC for the humanitatian works it has been doing to support IDPs in the north-east.
Earlier, the head of mission of ICRC in Nigeria expressed concern that the domestication of the Kampala Convention is yet to be done by the parliament, adding that they are ready to provide technical support to enhance the lawmakers’ capacity to draft a Bill on the convention for onward domestication.
The delegation also presented a report to the Speaker on a study carried out in the north eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States with recommendations on steps to be taken for the implementation of the Kampala Convention.
The delegation also commended the House for its efforts to cater to the needs of IDPs, notably, the constitution of a standing committee specifically dedicated to IDPs and refugees.