France raises concern on commercial disputes in Nigeria, Osinbajo replies

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says as part of measures to attract foreign investors, Nigeria is promoting the adoption of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and creating the necessary infrastructure which will enhance the speedy resolution of business related disputes.

He spoke on Thursday, while answering questions during a virtual interaction with members of the French Business Confederation (MEDEF).

The event featured representatives of several top French companies and officials from both governments of Nigeria and France.

Reacting to a concern on the resolution of commercial disputes in Nigeria, Osinbajo said the country has a robust judiciary and most companies engage some of the best lawyers in Nigeria, many of whom are internationally acclaimed.

“Our courts, the commercial courts are doing well. Sometimes there may be delays in the length of time that it may take to resolve disputes which is why arbitration is the preferred mode of resolving disputes. And am sure that most companies have an arbitration clause in their agreements and contracts.

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“Alternative Dispute Resolution is something that we are promoting as a government and we are trying to create infrastructure for it. And I know that most businesses don’t even want to go to court. They will rather resolve their disputes through commercial arbitration. And that is an area we are looking to explore in greater detail.”

The VP added that ADR such as arbitration and mediation should always be in contracts, especially where companies may be wary of going through the legal process that may be long-drawn.

“I think that on the whole, the resolution of commercial disputes is one that we have done quite well. And I am very confident that the Federal High Courts, especially in the commercial nerve centres in the country – Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano are doing a decent job.”

On Nigeria’s terms of doing business competitiveness, Osinbajo noted that efforts made by the Buhari administration across diverse areas of creating a conducive business environment are yielding results.

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He said generality of the Ease of Doing Business reforms comprising improvement in port operations, checking of smuggling, and the adoption of a common trading platform had improved Nigeria’s competitiveness.

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