Ex-NBA boss, Agbakoba seeks national policy on arbitration

By Dotun Omolaja, Lagos

 

A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) has called for a national arbitration policy as a way of boosting economic empowerment and development.

 

He said despite the fact that Nigeria generates a significant volume of commercial transactions, 80 percent of which originate or terminate in Lagos, disputes arising from such transactions are ultimately settled through arbitration in foreign countries.

 

This, he said, results in a colossal loss of revenue to diverse Nigerian experts and professionals, and not just lawyers.

 

Agbokoba called for a review of the existing framework for arbitration, while emphasising the need for appropriate legal, institutional and regulatory frameworks based on international best practices.

 

Also needed, he said, is an advocacy for the adoption of State Uniform Arbitration Bills, and the drafting of a “Basket of Bills” promoting arbitration as an instrument of dispute resolution.

 

He suggested designing an annual national program in form of conference or workshop on development of arbitration, and adopting the policy of inserting domestic arbitration clauses in all Federal Government agreements.

 

In a statement issued by his law firm, Olisa Agbakoba Legal, through its arbitration arm, Olisa Agbakoba Arbitration and Mediation Center, he said they would work with relevant stakeholders to promote a National Arbitration Policy Dialogue.

“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.

 

There is no doubt that arbitration is the preferred dispute resolution mechanism for corporate and commercial disputes and an important tool for economic development.

 

“A National Arbitration Policy is desirable to position Nigeria as a hub of arbitration in sub-Saharan African and a choice of investment center,” the statement, signed by the centre’s Director Mrs Priscilla Ogwemoh and Assistant Director Victor Nwakasi, said.

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