THE PACTA SUNT SERVANDA SOLACE FOR PERSONS DETAINED INDEFINITELY IN NIGERIA ON SUSPICION OF COMMITTING CAPITAL OFFENCES

Chukwunonso Nathan UWAEZUOKE

Abstract


Nigerian Constitution still has room for detention of persons reasonably suspected of committing capital offences for an indefinite period of time. A number of reasons are often proffered for this position. These reasons can be broadly categorized into State security and public order. These have strong base in the concept of sovereignty. However, from practice we know that there is no state that can claim absolute sovereignty in domestic and international matters. A concrete evidence of this restriction is the principle of Pacta sunt servanda that requires states to observe, in good faith, treaties they had ratified. Nigeria has ratified at least a treaty whose provisions run contrary to the constitutional provision permitting persons suspected of committing capital offences to be detained indefinitely. We contend that Nigeria, in compliance with this treaty, has to amend the provisions of her constitution, particularly on this issue, because of the doctrine of Pacta sunt servanda.

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