The former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Olisa Agbakoba, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to create a National Arbitration Policy.
Agbakoba, in an open letter written to the President which was obtained by Channels Television on Monday, said the policy promotes national interest by ensuring the resolution of disputes between Nigeria and foreign investors in relation to government contracts.
The lawyer’s call was in reaction to a recent judgment delivered by a British court, mandating the Nigerian government to forfeit $9.6billion in favour of a company – Process and Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID).
He believes “the incident would have been avoidable, if the advocacy for a National Arbitration Policy had been embraced over 20 years ago.”
According to him, the judgement “has grave far-reaching implications for the country, considering that it represents almost 20% of our foreign reserves, and 25% of our national budget.”
“Going forward, I suggest that we establisha 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,” he said.
The Federal Government, has, however, said it will appeal the judgment.
According to the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Dayo Apata, the government has instructed its lawyers to appeal against the ruling.
The ruling is the latest development in the case which started in 2010, regarding an agreement to build a gas processing plant in Calabar, Cross River State.
The project, however, collapsed between Nigeria and the Irish firm after Nigeria is said to have failed to meet its end of the bargain.