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; a very important Department, vested with responsibilities 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 fore runner in the fight against international and cross- border crimes.
Our mission is to protect Nigeria's interest and work towards deriving a Maximum advantage from our foreign relations. Right from its creation the Department has performed the following responsibilities in accordance with the Ministry's white paper and each administration’s policy.
Functions Of The Department Of International And Comparative Law
1. 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 advises the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in responding to foreign countries' requests for Nigeria's support for their
candidature in various international organizations.
2.We also advise on Nigeria's criteria for lending support to candidature for various international positions.
3.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 Centre 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 from 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 Korea;
- Educational and Cultural Agreement 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 Educational Agreement between Nigeria and Sweden. To mention but 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 sand 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 (UNHRC) and the African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) on allegations of violation of human rights and
appearing before these commissions to present Nigeria's response.
9. Dealing with Letters Repertory 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;
(ii) UNIDROIT: Institute for the Unification 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/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 Judgment.