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Published On: Fri, Sep 4th, 2020

FG pressing to make Nigeria investment arbitral centre, says AGF

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By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja

Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami,SAN, has said that the Federal Government has learnt some lessons with the imbroglio that ensued relating to the Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) contract.
Malami stated this while presenting a keynote address during the African Arbitration Day at the virtual international conference organized by British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL), Babcook University and the School of International Arbitration at Queen Marry University of London (QMUL).
This was contained in a statement yesterday by the Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations to the AGF, Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu.
According to Malami, “the whole saga associated with P&ID contract was a product of corruption, fraud and non-compliance with processes and procedures”.
He pointed out that associated processes and procedures that are required from the agencies involved, associated approvals and permits were not obtained, stressing that the Federal Executive Council approval was never sought for the contract and yet the contract was signed “without allowing these processes and procedures to be consummated,” he said.
According to him, “The greatest lesson that is apparent, arising from this, is to put our house in order by way of ensuring that we have in place standard operating procedures relating to each
and every agreement that has the potential of affecting our national
economy and national interest and ensure that the stated standard operating procedures are followed at the end of the day and ensure that there are consequences for corrupt practices relating to the officials of government that are saddled with the responsibility of processing agreements and ensuring at the end of the day that due
processes and procedures are complied with”.
“It is the component of tightening our situation within the context of compliances to procedures and ensuring that there are consequences for wrong doings associated with officers that are found wanting or perhaps compromising along the line,” he said.
The Federal Government, the AGF said, was working towards making Nigeria an
arbitral proceedings hub rather than working towards a direction of submitting to other jurisdictions as per as arbitration is concerned.
Malami said the government is determined to see what can be done in terms of encouraging the choice of Nigeria as a seat of arbitration “so that what we are doing in terms of strengthening our arbitration and arbitral processes and proceeding are strengthen within the context of making us a hub of arbitration proceeding within the African continent”.
He said Nigeria has two arbitration centres in Abuja and Lagos that fully equipped and provide all the services required of an arbitration centre.
The Minister noted that Arbitration and Conciliation Act (ACA) 1988 Cap A18, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 is the National Law Governing Arbitration in Nigeria believing that Nigeria’s legal literature and jurisprudence as its relates to arbitration has substantially developed.
Malami said Nigeria has elaborate rules on arbitration as an alternative to litigation adding that Nigeria’s arbitral rules are consistent with the prevailing best practice situation in Africa and
the world.
He said Nigeria’s economic power in Africa now makes it imperative for the country to keep resolving investment disputes through arbitration in order to make Nigeria an investment hub of the continent.

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