Abuja and Lagos — The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, says the existence of an effective commercial dispute resolution mechanism is crucial for investment drive and economic growth.
He noted that in the last few decades, there had been considerable expansion in global trade and investments, resulting in significant increase in the volume of cases before the courts yearly.
Onnoghen spoke at the yearly investiture and awards of the Nigerian Institute of Chartered Arbitrators (NICArb) where he was represented by Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour. The theme of the event was Ethics and Professionalism Arbitration.
President of the institute Prof. Fabian Ajogwu, intimated the audience of this very important session of the programme where distinguished invitees are given the floor to share insights, discuss the theme and chart a way forward.
According to the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), arbitration and other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms had gained more ground globally, stressing the need to strengthen the system in the country.
He said: "Therefore, from within and outside, the arbitration community should do a re-examination of the ethos and principles on which the profession is built with a view to reaffirming, upholding and entrenching accountability and integrity among arbitrators in both the private and public sectors."
Meanwhile, the immediate past Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, has blamed the socio-economic challenges confronting the nation on bad leadership.
Speaking yesterday at a reception and award night held in his honour by Society Watch Media Limited (SWML), the jurist listed corruption, kidnapping, ritual killings, lack of infrastructure, favouritism, nepotism and religious crisis as some of the major problems plaguing the country.
His words: "At the root of these challenges is leadership. What we have been lacking in Nigeria are good, purposeful, nationalistic and patriotic leaders."
Faulting the harassment of judges, Auta described as erroneous the general perception that judiciary was a corrupt.
According to him, the institution and the judges were merely victims of allegations, adding that the claims stay because judges are barred from speaking to the media.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SWML, Michael Balogun, agreed with the judge that country lacked focused and committed leaders.