By Udeme Akpan
Nigerian Lawyers have been enjoined to get more involved and active in the ongoing reforms in the Oil and Gas Industry. Engineer Simbi Wabote, the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) made this call on Tuesday at a Panel session in the 58th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association in Abuja.
Speaking on the topic, “Managing transition and transformation of the Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Industry”, Wabote posited that lawyers have a big role to play and that includes getting more involved in the development of the laws and regulations and keeping the emerging legal regime simple for easy implementation and compliance.
In providing legal advisory to their clients, he also appealed to members of the NBA to first explore peaceful resolution of oil and gas disputes and advised, “their clients to default to out of court settlements”, noting that “long drawn legal battles are killers of great initiatives and sow the seeds of bitterness in the business environment.”
Earlier in his remarks as the lead speaker, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu catalogued the challenges that faced the petroleum industry before President Mohammed Buhari took over the reins of power in 2015 and measures taken by the Administration to bring back efficiency, stability, increased oil production and numerous transformative policies. He also enjoined lawyers to get involved in the reforms going on in the sector.
Other speakers at the session included Special Adviser to the Minister on Petroleum Fiscal Policy, Dr. Tim Okon, who spoke on the emerging petroleum fiscal law; Special Technical Adviser to the Minister on Gas, Mr. Gbite Adeniji, who made a presentation on the new Gas Policy; and a Partner in Bambo and Ighodalo Law Firm, Ms. Stella Duru.
The theme of the 58 Annual NBA Conference is “Transition, Transformation and Sustainable Institutions.”