The Senate on Tuesday asked the Federal Government to stop receiving prisoners under the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, (TSP) from the United Kingdom.
The Senate said the government should wait for the regularization of the Agreement between the country and United Kingdom on the issue before any prisoners should be received.
It resolved to invite Attorney General of the Federation (AGF)and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama and Minister of Interior, Gen. Abdurahman Dnabazau to shed light on the TSP arrangement.
The resolutions followed a motion, titled “Urgent need to regularize the agreement between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the government of the United Kingdom on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons” sponsored by Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu .
The ministers were asked to appear before the joint Senate Committees on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, and Foreign Affairs.
The Senate said that Danbazau should be specifically invited to brief on his level of involvement in complying with the agreement on the transfer of sentenced persons between Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
It said that the Committee should invite the Minister of Justice to give update on the status of ratification of all treaties from 1999 to 2017.
In his lead debate, Ekweremadu said that the agreement was made by both countries on January 9, 2014 by former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke on behalf of Nigeria and UK’s Minister of Justice, Jeremy Wright respectively.
Ekweremadu added that “Based on this agreement, the government of the United Kingdom has commenced the return of several prisoners to Nigeria, and has currently initiated the application for the transfer of more prisoners to Nigeria.
The United Kingdom Government has referred to this agreement as compulsory, whereas the content of the agreement made no mention, nor indicated that the agreement was compulsory.
The senate is cognizance that international law is based on cooperation of states, as such the rule of international law implies that where parties have contracted a cooperation agreement, they are expected to do all that is necessary to ensure a successful implication of the agreement by following the essential internal constitutional and legal procedures required.”
He was disturbed that the provisions of Nigeria’s constitution regarding section 12(1) has not been complied with, saying that “the agreement in this instance signed by the then Attorney General of the Federation was not subjected to legislative scrutiny or enactment by the National Assembly; the agreement is therefore, not in force.
He further expressed worry that the British National Offender Management Service may not be under a misinformed impression that all the internal procedures have been completed warranting the entity into force of the agreement on September 29.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Monsurat Sunmonu informed the Senate that there were 321 memorandum of understanding with only 93 signed but not yet ratified.