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THE CONCEPT OF SOVEREIGNTY IN INTERNATIONAL LAW: ISSUES CHALLENGES AND LESSONS FOR NIGERIA

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ABSTRACT

New trends and innovations in modern communications and commerce

have dealt a great blow on the political boundaries of states otherwise

referred to as Sovereignty. Sovereign equality presupposes that each

state enjoys the rights inherent in full sovereignty. This seems to be the

basic principle of international law equally recognized by the United

Nations. Sovereignty is the central pillar of the contemporary international

system. No wonder, within the United Nations (UN) itself, sovereignty is

not regarded as an obstacle to the maintenance of peace or the protection

of human dignity.

The lowest common denominator envisaged by this opening

paragraph is that sovereignty is the basic principle of relations between

states thus promoting non intervention, sovereign equality, inviolability of

frontiers and the possibility of peaceful change. There is no doubt that,

while respect has been accorded independent states particularly in the

area of non intervention in their domestic affairs, new issues have

continued to emerge in international law and that is the area of human

rights protection. Thus human rights has made a significant impact on

international law.

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More recently, allegations of the possession of weapons of mass

destruction, protection of democracy amongst others have variously been

listed as grounds upon which the sovereignty of a state was tempered

with. These new issues have no closed category and have variously

threatened emerging states of its survival as this concept no longer

possesses the limitations which it earlier had. More also civil unrest’s and

factional fighting as in the case of Liberia, Si


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