Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has reiterated the commitment of the green chamber to prioritising issues related to human rights and protection of the environment.
He said this on Wednesday at a public hearing by the House Committee on Treaties, Protocols and Agreements on two bills pertaining to domesticating the Stockholm convention and the Rome Statute; international instruments on the protection of the environment and human rights respectively.
He listed increased foreign direct investment and lowering the administrative cost of taxation as some of the advantages of implementation.
“You will agree with me that these two Bills are very important to us as a Country because they are meant to protect human lives and secure the health of the people as well as the environment. In addition, they will lower the administrative cost of taxation and encourage the inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to our country.”
He added that the House considers health and environmental issues to be of utmost importance, especially as both bear a direct impact on economic growth and development.
“Let me stress here that the House of Representatives is aware of the need to be responsive and take initiative on issues of the environment and health, as well as national economic challenges. That is the essence of these two Bills. Moreover, the issues that these two Bills reinforce the provisions of the Right to Life in Section 33 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.
The passage of these Bills into Law will further assure our international partners that we are alive to the obligations to which our country as a member of the global community is committed.”
Speaking on the process of making treaties part of the nation’s laws, he cited constitutional provisions and also explained the importance of public hearings.
“As we may all know, the process of making Treaties, Agreements and Protocols to become part of the Nigerian Laws is well encapsulated in Section 12 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended. It is this process of Legal transformation that we are working on that will validate the instruments and the extension of the rules laid down in such Treaties, Agreements and Protocols to individuals in our country.
Let me point out here that this Public Hearing, is an important segment of our Legislative process as it enables us to interface with the people we represent. It gives us the opportunity to obtain inputs from relevant stakeholders, and this enriches our Laws. This process makes the Parliament to be on the same page with the people and institutions for whom the Laws are made, thereby making the Laws to have acceptability and ability to stand the test of time.”
The bills being considered are: A Bill for an Act to Give Effect to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants; and for other Related Matters (HB. 658), and A Bill for Act to Provide for the Enforcement and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes, Genocide and for Other Related Offences and to Give Effect to Certain Provisions of the Rome Statute of the International Court in Nigeria (HB. 593).