AGF, Bulkachuwa, Ojo Urge More Use of ADR in Settling Dispute

Attorney-General of the Federation

• As A’Court set to commission ADR centres nationwide
Alex Enumah in Abuja
Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and his counterparts in the temple of justice including President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, a former AGF, Bayo Ojo (SAN) and others have lend their voices on the need for Nigerians to employ the use of Alternative Dispute resotlution mechanisms (ADR) in resolving a lot of disputes.

Malami, Bulkachuwa and Ojo in their various presentations at the opening session of the Biannual African Arbitration Roundtable in Abuja on Tuesday argued that prompt resolution of business disputes through ADR will not only attract foreign direct investments, but will enhance the success of government’s policy aimed at ensuring ease of doing business in the country.

The event which was put together by the International  Centre for Arbitration and Mediation Abuja (ICAMA) attracted a broad representation of critical stakeholders in the field of arbitration.

Speaking at the  occasion, the AGF who admitted the importance of effective dispute resolution mechanism in attracting investment, said government is ready and willing to work with all stakeholders in the public and private sectors to ensure that disputes were resolved timely.

Malami assured that FG will continue  to collaborate with the Judiciary in ensuring the overall efficacy of dispute resolution mechanisms in the country, including a ADR.

While commending Ojo and ICAMA for working to promote ADR practice in the country, he urged participants to dwell on ways in which arbitration and mediation could better serve the nation’s economy as a tool for timeous resolution of commercial investment disputes.

In her presentation, president of the Court of Appeal Bulkachuwa, was of the opinion that it was time Africa develop its ADR capacity, including providing skilled hands to drive the process in view of the increasing numbers of arbitration cases involving Africans and African businesses.

She urged that Africans should put behind them the era when arbitral disputes were exported to other continents for settlement.

Bulkachuwa disclosed that her court would, by the end of the year commission its ADR centres in Abuja, Lagos and two other divisions as a way of activating the provision of Order 16 of the Court of Appeal Rules 2016.

She said under the arrangement termed: Court of Appeal Arbitration Process (CAAP), where the ADR mechanism pursued under the Court of Appeal Rules 2016 succeeds, the court shall adopt the agreement reached by parties as judgment of the court. But where it fails, the appeal shall be subjected to the normal procedure.

Similarly, ICAMA Chairman, Bayo Ojo SAN, remarked  that African countries seeking to attract foreign direct investments must first put in place a conducive business environment, of which prompt resolution of dispute is key.

The former AGF, who noted that arbitration was fast becoming the preferred mechanism for oiling the wheel of economic growth, said there was the urgent need to reverse the practice where arbitral dispute were exported by evolving ways of growing and sustaining domestic arbitration in Africa.

The event has as its theme: “Growing and sustaining domestic arbitration and ADR in Nigeria.”