By Emmanuel Obisue
Former President, Goodluck Jonathan has asked that arbitration hearings for contracts entered by the Federal Government with international organisations, be heard in Nigeria, not the United Kingdom.
The former president took the position over the weekend in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa capital, during a launch of the book titled “Arbitration and Dispute Resolution in Nigeria”, written by King Collins Daniel, the Traditional Ruler of Abureni kingdom, in Ogbia Local Government Area of the state.
Jonathan advised the bodies responsible for arbitration or resolving disputes in the country to work hard to ensure arbitration for government contracts are done in the country, for proper understanding.
“All the contracts the Nigeria government entered with international organisations, arbitrations are always done in the United Kingdom. Can’t we do some of these arbitrations in Nigeria?” Jonathan asked.
“I don’t know why it must be the United Kingdom — why it must be outside Nigeria. I think we need to work hard, so that some of these things will be done here in Nigeria,” he added, noting that resolving some disputes outside the courtroom is better, as the process will be short, less expensive and make people morally bound to the terms of resolution.
“As non-lawyers, we look at issues of resolving disputes in two different ways — one that takes place in the courtroom and one that takes place outside the courtroom.
“We think that society is so complex, going to court for judges to settle our disputes solve all our problems, because judges decide based on the facts presented to them. That is why people still get back home and start fighting — more especially, issues like land cases and chieftaincy cases.
“So, I believe solving disputes outside the courtroom will be a better and shorter way than going through court processes,” he added.
Arbitration is an alternative to conventional litigation, mostly used for the resolution of commercial disputes.