One of the core objectives of the Lagos Court of Arbitration (LCA) is to create an enabling environment for businesses in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa to thrive and resolve disputes quickly.  Every month the LCA brings together business leaders and practitioners to deliberate and disseminate authoritative content on globally accepted means of resolving commercial disputes using ADR mechanisms tagged as the “LCA ADR Speaker Series”.

April’s edition of the series featured a true pioneer in arbitration practice in Nigeria, the former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice of Nigeria and former Judge of the International Court of Justice, Prince Bola Ajibola, SAN.

The esteemed Learned Silk linked his experiences of serving on various diplomatic and tribunal capacities in Europe, America and Africa to his motivation of championing the enactment of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act 1988, during his tenure as Attorney General of the Federation and Commissioner for Justice in 1985 which for many years was heralded as internationally commended legislation.

Bola Ajibola (SAN) at LCA

Mr Yemi Candide-Johnson SAN, President, Lagos Court of Arbitration, Prince Bola Ajibola SAN (m), Mrs Oyinkansola Badejo-Okusanya, Director, Lagos Court of Arbitration at the LCA ADR Speaker Series in Lagos.

Prince Ajibola, SAN noted that developed economies have long embraced structured alternative means of resolving business disputes, a vital attribute that he reckoned contributed to the long term success of these economies. He commended the efforts of the government in developing the practice of ADR in Nigeria through various reforms and its commitment to enhance contract obligation and the rule of law.  He charged citizens to intensify the promotion of Nigeria as a favourable seat for arbitration and ADR through patronising its various institutionalised dispute resolution centres such as the Lagos Court of Arbitration and Multi-door Court Houses. “Nigeria has all of the infrastructure, capacity and competences to handle the resolution of disputes for all African businesses.  Preserving the strength of our currency and economy is our collective responsibility. Who better understands a dispute than those involved?”

While entertaining questions from the audience the former Judge insisted that Nigeria was an attractive seat for arbitration and ADR in Africa, Prince Ajibola, SAN stated that “the Lagos Court of Arbitration and International Centre for Arbitration and ADR is a highly recommended centre for businesses that require dispute resolution services.  It is an ideal venue with all the facilities and panel of neutrals that are also available in developed societies.”

In his closing remarks, Prince Ajibola, SAN urged Nigerians to maintain a positive outlook during the current economic strain that the nation is experiencing and encouraged young Nigerians to pursue careers and specialisations in the field of ADR.  He cited that various opportunities abound in the practice of arbitration and ADR which include access to knowledge and resources, a broader perspective and appreciation for human and cultural diversity, and extensive business and social networks.

Announcing the guest speaker for the next ADR Speaker Series, the President of the LCA, Mr Yemi Candide-Johnson SAN encouraged stakeholders to attend and contribute their perspectives in the discussion with Mrs Hairat Balogun, OON, first Nigerian female Life Bencher and first Nigerian female member of the Council of the International Bar Association on Wednesday May 25, 2016 at 2pm at the International Centre for Arbitration & ADR in Lekki.