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$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.”

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