Malami inaugurates National Arbitration Policy Committee

Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar
Malami, SAN has charged the newly inaugurated members of the National
Arbitration Policy Committee to come out with a comprehensive policy
that will, among other things, ensure that domestic transactions
originating and terminating in Nigeria are arbitrated in the country.

This is contained in a statement issued by Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu,
Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the
Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice which was
made available to newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday the 13th day of October,

According to the statement the Minister spoke at the virtual inaugural meeting of the Committee for the Development of a
National Policy on Arbitration in Nigeria.

Malami said the proposed National Policy would also provide for sanctions against public officers who do not act in the national interest in the conduct of their official assignments.

He said the P&ID case has raised concerns on the impact of arbitral
cases and awards against the country leading to calls for the
development of a National Policy on Arbitration to guide the arbitral
process and agreements in Nigeria.

The Committee was charged with the responsibility of developing
transformational Arbitration Policy framework that addresses issues
relating to arbitration agreements, government contracts, domestic and
foreign contractual relationships and transactions arising or
terminating in Nigeria.

According to the Minister, the objectives of the proposed policy
include protecting Nigeria’s economy, ensuring that transactions
originating and terminating in Nigeria are arbitrated in Nigeria.

Other objectives were having the seats/venues of arbitrations in
Nigeria thereby creating jobs for and maximally harnessing the talents
of Nigerian lawyers who have specialized in Arbitration as well as
saving the country billions of dollars.

The Committee was mandated to review the current laws and policies on
Arbitration in Nigeria, proffer advice on a new national Arbitration
Policy, draft an Executive Order to support the application of the new
Arbitration Policy across government agencies, develop an
implementation plan; and advise on the required infrastructure for
setting up a world standard Arbitration Center in Lagos and Abuja.

“Our goal is to create an arbitration hub in Africa and to ensure that Nigeria remains
the venue of arbitration for transactions arising from Nigeria. It is
expected that the National Arbitration policy will be applied in
respect of government contracts, such that arbitration agreements in
respect of all disputes arising from governmental contracts,
especially with foreign entities will have Nigeria as the seat of
arbitration,” he said.

“It is also expected that the federal and state government agencies
will adopt this policy to be applied to all agencies, which will
encourage domestic arbitration and curtail the flight of arbitration
to other countries,” the statement added.

Members of the Committee included, Dr OLISA AGBAKOBA, SAN, Abubakar B.
Mahmoud, SAN, Prof C.J Amasike, of the International Dispute
Resolution Institute (IDRI) Mr. Akin Sowemimo, Mr Lawal Hassan from
the Federal Ministry of Power, Mrs. Halima L. Halilu from the Bureau
of Public Enterprises.

Other Members of the Committee included Wilfred Ikatari The Director
Regional Centre for International  Commercial Arbitration, Mr G. Umar
Andumar, Head of Legal, Nigerian Ports Authority, Chike Okoye Rep. of
the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Minister of Budget
and National Planning.

The Committee also comprises representatives from Federal Ministry of
Finance, Budget and National Planning, Nigerian National Petroleum
Cooperation (NNPC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Ports
Authority (NPA), Ministry of Power, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of
Works and Housing, Bureau for Private Enterprises, and representatives
of the Federal Ministry of Justice Regional Center for Arbitration.