$9 bn USD Fine: Agbakoba urges Buhari on need for National Arbitration Policy

Dr. Olisa Agbakoba SAN
Dr. Olisa Agbakoba SAN, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to give an Executive Order that can immediately drive the process of creating a National Arbitration Policy for the benefit of the nation’s commercial interest when having businesses with foreign investors.
In his letter to the President, dated Sept. 2, 2019, Agbakoba said his concern about the matter was purely for national interest, considering the recent enforcement order granted by an English Court against Nigeria for the payment of US$9, 000, 000, 000 (Nine Billion US Dollars) arbitration award to a company, Process and Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID).

Expressing further concerns that “This monumental award secured by a foreign company against Nigeria has grave far-reaching implications for the country, considering that it represents almost 20% of our foreign reserves, and 25% of our national budget,” Agbakoba mentioned that there were still a significant number of arbitral awards made against Nigeria.

Agbakoba said that some countries had already enacted National Arbitration Policies, and that if Nigerian had taken that action in like 20 years ago, the incident of such huge fine would have been avoided.

He explained that: “A National Arbitration Policy promotes national interest by ensuring that the resolution of disputes between Nigeria and foreign investors in relation to government contracts will be determined by institutional arbitration mechanisms, which will have the seat of arbitration in Nigeria.”