The Federal Executive Council (FEC) Wednesday approved the publication of laws of the federation of Nigeria.
Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, said this whilst briefing State House correspondents at the end of the valedictory FEC meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said a South African company would handle the publication periodically.
“As you are aware, there was a second extraordinary meeting of the Federal Executive Council that was held yesterday been Tuesday the 23rd day of May 2023. Three FEC memos were presented by the Office of the Attorney General for the Council and the three memos were taken, deliberated upon and approved.
“The first memo that was taken was a memo to the regularization of the Public Private Partnership arrangement between the Federal Ministry of Justice and Lexis of South Africa.
“And it has to do with publication of the laws of the Federation of Nigeria and all materials of the law. This is about publication of the compendium of laws of the Federation.
“In 2003, and 2005, there was an agreement entered into between the Ministry of Justice and a company in South Africa, which contract has to do with continuous publication of the laws of Nigeria having been compiled as a book for 15 years.
“Now, that contract was meant to be a roll over contract, so that by way of a sustainable arrangement, we will be having a compendium of laws of the federation published periodically.
“That contract had eventually elapsed, and we felt there were numerous developments that set in while the contract was in place; technological development set in and a lot of other needs inclusive of the ICRC Act, inclusive, among others, the need to review, so as to factor the interest of Nigeria.
“So it was arising from that that the contract is now reviewed, one, to allow for the accommodation of the technological development that set in. And indeed, the application and operation of the ICRC Act as it relates to public private partnership. So the implication is, with the approval of the Council, we will have a continuous publication of the laws of the Federation of Nigeria, in the form of a book, and in a way, and manner that will conform to the quality and indeed international best practices associated with the quality,” he said.
The minister said the council also approved the standardization of the use of discretion by lawyers, so as to protect the interest of the nation in international cases.
He said the new move will help check the insertion of clauses that are injurious to Nigeria in international agreements or contracts.
“The second memo is a memo relating to operationalization and deployment of the government’s contracts administration system. When we came into office, we inherited an arbitral award liability of around $10 billion against the Nigerian government arising from the purported breach of a contract, which is popularly known as P&ID.
“And then our assessment of the contract is the fact that a lot of discretion on the part of the lawyers responsible for vetting government contracts was underrated, which discretion now resulted in some level of overlooking of the major clauses that will have at the end of the day, provided some level of protection to the interest of the Nigerian government.
“So with that unfortunate situation in mind, the need have arisen for us to consider the best way that we can minimize the level of discretion being exercise by lawyers, and bring about standardization in line with international best practices that can now afford protection to the interest of the Nigerian government and the differ contract administration system was not put in place, which is now a digitalized arrangement, going to be a commodity of international contracts, and clauses that can now limit the exercise of discretion of the lawyers as it relates to the fundamental clauses or in an agreement, which clauses most naturally protect the interest of the government. So, the memo was approved,” he said.
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