By Olisa Agbakoba
I refer to the recent enforcement order of US$9,000,000,000 (Nine Billion US Dollars) made against Nigeria, by an English High Court, which was based upon an arbitration award secured by a company, Process and Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID).
This monumental award secured by a foreign company against Nigeria has grave far-reaching implications for the country, considering that it represents almost 20% of our foreign reserves, and 25% of our national budget.
I write purely out of concern for National interests. This incident would have been avoidable, if the advocacy for a National Arbitration Policy had been embraced over twenty years ago.
We recommend an immediate and urgent audit as we are aware that there are a significant number of arbitral awards made against Nigeria.
A National Arbitration Policy promotes national interest by ensuring that the resolution of disputes between Nigeria and foreign investors in relation to government contracts will be determined by institutional arbitration mechanisms, which will have the seat of arbitration in Nigeria. Please note that some countries have already enacted National Arbitration Policies.
Going forward, I suggest that we establish a National Arbitration policy, represented by an enactment of an Executive Order that will commence the process and procedure of creating the policy. This will ensure that Nigeria’s interests are protected in its commercial relationships with foreign investors.
Dr. Olisa Agbakoba SAN
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