The Legal Conundrum in the Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Nigeria

Ibrahim Danjuma, Karatu Afabwaje Joel


International law or treaty binds a state where such state signed, ratified acceded or domesticated same. In a monist State, ratification alone suffices for the international law or treaty to become binding whereas, in a dualist State, domestication as a condition must have complied. It is because of the peculiarities within various nations' legal systems (Monist or Dualist system). In 1989, The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), an international human rights instrument came into force. Since its domestication as the Child Rights Act (CRA 2003) in Nigeria by the National Assembly, only about 24 States have enacted the law for onward enforcement. Nigeria is a nation which became independent in the year 1960 comprising now of 36 states and Abuja as its Federal Capital Territory all under the Federal Government. Since its domestication as the Child Rights Act (CRA 2003) in Nigeria by the National Assembly, many States have enacted the law for onward enforcement. However, few states are yet to comply and raise a question as to whether the said CRC has a binding force in all the States of the Federation. This study aims to examine the extent of how the UNCRC and CRA are being enforced in Nigeria. This study's research methodology is purely doctrinal, where library materials such as books, articles from journals, and online articles have been carefully selected and analyzed for this research. This paper recommends establishing a global agency or organ that should be saddled with the responsibility of ensuring full compliance and enforcement of international laws or treaties.


Children’s Rights; Domestication; Enforceability; State Responsibility

Full Text:



Achilihu, Stephen N. A Comparative and Legal Analysis of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Universal-Publishers, 2010.

Adegbite, Olusola Babatunde, Oreoluwa Omotayo Oduniyi, and Jubril Akinwunmi Farinde. “Separation of Powers Under the 1999 Nigerian Constitution: The Core Legal Dilemmas.” Sriwijaya Law Review 3, no. 2 (2019): 235–52.

Anushiem, C.E. Okeke and M.I. “Implementation of Treaties in Nigeria: Issues, Challenges and the Way Forward.” Nnamdi Azikiwe University Journal of Internastional Law and Jurisprudence 9, no. 217 (2018).

Aust, Anthony. Domestication of International Law Modern Treaty Law and Practice. Cambridge University Press, 2019.

Azoro, C. J. S. “The Place of Customary International Law in the Nigerian Legal System-A Jurisprudential Perspective.” International Journal of Research (IJR) 1, no. 3 (2020).

B.N. Garner. The Black’s Law Dictionary. 8th ed. West Group, St Paul MINN, 2004.

Balarabe Alkassim. “Non-Domestication of Child Rights Act by States Worrying.” UNICEF, 2018.

“Cameroon v Nigeria 2002 ICJ Reports (Boundary Dispute between Cameroon and Nigeria on Land and Maritime),” n.d.

Child Rights Act 2003 (n.d.).

Clarendon Pres, Oxford, and United Nations Treaty Collection, Treaty Reference Guide. Definition of Key Terms, 1999.

Cohen, Cynthia Price. “The Role of Nongovernmental Organizations in the Drafting of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.” Human Rights Quarterly, 1990.

D. D Caron. “Land and Maritime Boundary between Cameroon and Nigeria 2002.” American Journal of International Law, n.d.

Ese Malemi. Nigerian Legal System. 3rd ed., 1999.

EU Law Glossary. When a Dualist State Signs a Treaty, the Treaty Becomes Binding Only If It Is Incorporated by a Domestic Statute. Oxford University Press, 2008.

F, Daniels. A. “Historical Survey of Amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Police Departments of Nigeria in 1930.” European Scientific Journal 8, no. 18 (2011).

Hannum, Hurst. “The UDHR in National and International Law.” JSTOR 3, no. 2 (1998): 144–58.

Legal, US. “Legal System Law and Legal Definition.”, 2019.

Nike Adebowale. “Why Every State in Nigeria Must Adopt and Implement the Childs Rights Act,” n.d.

Nurhidayatuloh et. al. “Does Limitation Rule in International and Regional Human Rights Law Instruments Restrict Its Implementation?” International Journal of Recent Technology and Engineering 8, no. 2S9 (2019): 597–600.

Okpalaobi & Ekwueme. United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child: Implementation of Legal and Administrative Measure in Nigeria. NAUJILI, 2015.

Oladiji, Geofrey Njoku and Sharon. “Calling on 15 States Left to Protect Their Children.” Allafrica, 2009.

O A. Hathaway “Do Human Rights Treaties Make a Difference?”, The Yale Journal Vol. 111, No. 8 (Jun., 2002, pp. 1935-2042 (108 Pages) (The Yale Law Journal Company, Inc.)

Tobi N. Sources of Nigerian Law. Edited by U S Abbo and Others Umar Alkali. Internatio (Lagos: M.J. Professional Publishers Ltd, 1996.

Umar Alkali, U S Abbo and Others. “Nature and Sources of Nigerian Legal System: An Exorcism of a Wrong Notion.” International Journal of Economics, Law and Business 5, no. 4 (2014): 1–10.

UN WOMEN. “Overview and International Legal Instruments,” 2020.

United Nations. “United Nations General Assembly Resolution 44/236.” In 85th Plenary Meeting, 1989.

United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child 1989 Part 1 Art 1 (n.d.).

“WILLIAMS v WILLIAMS.” Victorian Reports, 1965.

Find Law. 2016 What is International Law. Available from: [retrieved: December 24, 2020 at 18:07]

Iceladic Human Rights Centre. International Law Instruments. Available from: [retrieved: October 02, 2019 at 22:15]

Premium Times 2019. Why every Nigerian state must domesticate, implement Child Rights Act. Available from: why-every-nigerian-state-must-domesticate-implement-child-rights-act.html [retrieved: December 23, 2020]The 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, Article 2 (1) (b) (n.d.).

Unicef. The 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child. Available from: -is-the-convention [retrieved: December 24, 2020 at 09:13 am]

Yusuf Ali & Co. “Nigeria Weekly Law Report,” 1992.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License

Sriwijaya Law Review (SLRev) ISSN: 2541-5298 | e-ISSN: 2541-6464 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

SLRev has been indexed by:
View full indexing services
SLRev Member of :                                    Plagiarism Detection by: