Olisa Agbakoba Arbitration and Mediation Centre calls for National Arbitration Policy

 Mrs Priscilla Ogwemoh, a Director at the Olisa Agbakoba Arbitration and Mediation Centre, and Mr Victor Nwakasi, an Assistant Director, have made a case for the need to have a workable National Arbitration Policy.

Their presentation in a paper, pointed to the importance of such policy to investment development and economic growth.

The paper noted that disputes which usually arose in the course of commercial transactions were however arbitrated in foreign countries, for the fact that 80 per cent of those transactions were generated in Nigeria.

This development, according to the centre, is inimical to Nigeria’s economic empowerment plan and wealth creation, thereby making it necessary to have a policy to avoid such economic loss.
“Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution are crucial factors to investment development and economic growth and have become international best practices resorted to in resolving corporate disputes of various magnitudes.

“Nigeria generates a significant volume of commercial transactions (both domestic and international with about 80 percent of these transactions originating or terminating in Lagos. Unfortunately, dispute arising from these transactions are ultimately arbitrated in foreign countries.

“The flow of “domestic” (i.e. purely Nigerian) arbitration cases to arbitral venues outside Nigeria is unhelpful to Nigeria’s plan for economic empowerment, wealth creation and development. This means colossal loss of revenue to diverse experts and professionals and not just lawyers.

“There is now an urgent need to promote and support a national initiative on Arbitration. The aim will be the promotion of Arbitral Institutions, Legislation and Practice Culture in Nigeria,” the paper read in part.

In that vein, the law firm of Olisa Agbakoba Legal through its arbitration arm, Olisa Agbakoba Arbitration and Mediation Center, proposed to work with relevant stakeholders to promote a National Arbitration Policy Dialogue.

 The objectives according to the centre include, but not limited to, “Review the existing framework for arbitration and recommend appropriate legal, institutional and regulatory frameworks based on international best practices obtainable in developed economies.

“Advocacy for the adoption of State Uniform Arbitration Bills.

 “Drafting a Basket of Bills promoting arbitration as an instrument of dispute resolution.

“Designing an annual national program in form of conference or workshop on development of arbitration.

“Promoting adoption by government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of the policy of inserting domestic arbitration clauses in all federal government agreements.”

The centre said arbitration undoubtedly remained the preferred dispute resolution mechanism for corporate and commercial disputes and an important tool for economic development.

 It said that a National Arbitration Policy would position Nigeria as a hub of arbitration in sub Saharan African and a choice of investment center.