Following the recent signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian Institute of Chartered Arbitrators ( NICARB) has urged the Federal Government to leverage regional economic and monetary integration to position Nigeria as arbitration hub in Africa.
The institute wants the government to take proactive measures in ensuring that AFCFTA’S arbitration arrangements are favourable to Nigeria’s interest while making efforts at domesticating the continental free trade agreement in Nigeria.
“The institute called on the FG to leverage the regional economic and monetary integration through the signing and implementation of AFCFTA, and the African Union single currency initiative in positioning Nigeria and the West African sub-region as a major hub for international arbitration,” Shola Oshodi-john, the Registrar/ CEO of the NICARB, said at a recent press conference of the 40th anniversary conference and investiture of the institute themed, ‘Building a Culture of Arbitration and Sustainable Institutions in West Africa.’
According to OshodiJohn, there is a need to revamp Nigeria’s ailing industrial sector, hence the federal government must work to protect Nigeria interest and go beyond signing the continental free trade agreement.
“NICARB called on the current National Assembly to revisit the ‘Arbitration and Conciliation Act (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill’ and ensure the passage of the original bill propose by the arbitration practitioners into law as Nigeria positions to leverage AFCFTA,” she said.
However, the institute also advised the government to revisit the arbitration awards against it, in the case of the Federal Government of Nigeria v Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID). The NICARB also offers to provide technical assistance through its membership base in pioneering initiatives for corrective negotiations.
Akin Ibidapo Obe, a member of the governing council of NICARB, said government should support initiatives to build up arbitration in Nigeria, as it was now the trend in solving commercial disputes.
Obe however urged the members of the arbitration community and the general public to take advantage of the forthcoming annual regional conference in November, and register on events.nicarb.org.