Abubakar Malami, SAN, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), has urged for the creation of additional arbitration institutions and the inclusion of alternative conflict resolution methods in Nigerian school curricula, particularly at the tertiary level.
Malami made this appeal on Thursday during a keynote speech at the Nigerian Institute of Chartered Arbitrators (NICArb) 2022 Annual Conference, which was hosted at the Eko Hotels & Suites in Lagos with the theme of the conference was “The Future of Arbitration and ADR in Africa: Developments and Sustainability.”
Malami, who was represented by Mr. Larry Nwudu, a director in the ministry, advised lawyers to choose Nigeria as the destination of arbitration, particularly when the issue concerned the nation.
According to him, this will not only support Nigeria’s arbitration industry but also encourage travel and result in a significant increase in foreign direct investment, which will help the country’s economy.
“To attain this, there is need to ensure the continuous training and re-training of judges, lawyers and arbitration practitioners in order to enhance effective dispute resolution and administration of justice,” he said.
Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Justice Chima Nweze, in a keynote address titled: “Arbitration, Justice and the Rule of Law” remarked that a number of factors are working together to elevate arbitrators to a quasi-judicial status.
Nweze said that arbitrators, like Judges, have a duty to act judicially, and that this duty is not merely owed to the parties, but also owed to the public.
He urged members of the institute to always uphold the vital standards of independence and competence throughout the country and give effect to contractual rights in accordance with substantive and procedural legal principles, thereby helping to ensure the rule of law and effective delivery of justice.
He remarked that it was safe to conclude that Africa has achieved reasonable strides towards becoming an investment-friendly and resolution environment with the available arbitration laws and institutions in Africa.
“The role of the national courts and their disposition to support, rather than interfere in the application of other dispute resolution mechanisms will go a long way in promoting Africa as a destination for investment”, he said.
Nweze reiterated the need for African Governments to conscientiously drive infrastructural development that provided safe and efficient cities for arbitration.
The President and Chairman of council, NICArb, Prof. Fabian Ajogwu, in his remarks contended that there was a future for arbitration and ADR in Africa.