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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
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
“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.

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