By Ebunoluwa Sessou
Chairman, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, CIArb, Nigeria branch, Mr. Olatunde Busari, SAN, has said that the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution, ADR, has helped decongest crowd in court saying its use will strengthen the economy.
Busari who said this at the Annual Conference tagged: “Positioning Africa: The Changing Landscape in Alternative Dispute Resolution,” noted that, ADR, is a better and attractive dispute resolution mechanism for the development of Nigeria.
According to him, the number of African countries that have signed the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, AFCFTA, which is an agreement aimed to boost intra-African trade by making Africa a single market economy, and the United Nation Economic Commission for Africa, UNECA, is presently at 54 percent which indicates that the implementation of the agreement could increase intra-African trade by 52 per cent by 2022 and double the share of intra-African trade by the start of the next decade.
He noted that part of the main objectives under article of the agreement is to establish a mechanism for the settlement of disputes concerning the rights and obligations of State Parties.
While stressing on the need to improve the capacity of dispute resolved in African Countries as Africa embarks on the road to greater intra-Africa trade as well as increased trade with countries outside the continent, he noted that the courts in Nigeria have made significant efforts to bring about a change in the litigation culture.
Adding that several states including Lagos, Oyo, Kano, Delta Rivers and Abuja have established multi-door Court houses, offering court connected ADR and thereby making available alternative doors for dispute resolution.
He said:” The United Nation Commission on International Trade Law, UNCITRAL, announced agreement on a United Nations Agreements Resulting from Mediation also known as the Singapore Convention.
“The instrument is regarded as a long sought after mechanism to give cross border disputants the confidence that if they engage in mediation of international commercial disputes any resulting agreement will be enforceable by its terms.
”As mediation takes center-stage in the new UN treaty on mediation, it has become necessary to undertake an in-depth study of the Singapore Convention and it’s implication for cross border settlement in Nigeria.”
Also, speaking, Dr. Kariuki Muigua, Ph.D., FCIArb, Chartered Arbitrator, Africa Trustee, in his submission reiterated that, ADR is not a new concept in Africa adding that, it is a way of life.
“Africans have known for hundreds of years that they could sit down and negotiate, meditate and arbitrate good neighborliness, harmony and peace has been a key pillar of African societies. ADR is known for its attributes of informality, cost effectiveness and its capacity to ensure relations between individuals and communities remain intact
“Arbitration has been used to settle disputes in the commercial and other sectors. Indeed arbitration has the effect of building bridges across legal jurisdictions”, he said.