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Maritime arbitrators urge FG, port users to embrace ADR for trade disputes

By Adaku Onyenucheya
13 July 2022   |   4:04 am
The Maritime Arbitrators Association of Nigeria (MAAN) has emphasised the importance of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in the promotion and sustainability of effective and efficient business relationships between Federal Government agencies, port users, cargo and ship owners in the country's maritime sector.

The Maritime Arbitrators Association of Nigeria (MAAN) has emphasised the importance of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in the promotion and sustainability of effective and efficient business relationships between Federal Government agencies, port users, cargo and ship owners in the country’s maritime sector.

The President of MAAN, Bodunrin Adewole, who stated this in Lagos at the weekend, stressed that rather than resorting to litigation, port users should embrace ADR in settling disputes in trade contracts between themselves, the public and with the Federal Government.

Adewole also restated the commitment of MAAN to the promotion and sustainability of international best practices in maritime arbitration and ADR, through the creation and establishment of an International Maritime Arbitration and Dispute Resolution Centre in Lagos.

He also urged parastatals under the Federal Ministry of Transportation, especially the Nigerian Shippers Council, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) to also apply ADR in their agreements, adding that it is a much cheaper and faster way of dispute resolutions.

The MAAN President noted that the establishment of the International Arbitration Centre would further promote Nigeria as an attractive venue for settlement of maritime disputes through arbitration and ADR in West Africa.

He said it is expected that when put in place, the International Arbitration Centre would benefit the Federal Ministry of Transportation with all its existing contracts, especially as it concerns disputes arising from execution of contracts.

The Registrar of Ships at NIMASA, Mrs Nneka Obianyor, who spoke on the institutional framework for maritime arbitration and dispute resolution centre, recalled that in the past, the absence of formal arbitral institutions was identified as one of the reasons Nigeria was not considered as a viable centre for international commercial arbitration.

She, however, acknowledged that this is no longer the case since the maritime sector now has a number of reputable bodies such as MAAN that has a well-structured practice direction for ADR.

The Vice President of the Association, Mrs. Jean Chiazor Anishere, said since the inception of MAAN in 2005, its collaboration with various stakeholders in the maritime industry in Nigeria has led the drive to promote the resolution of maritime disputes through arbitration, mediation and all other ADR mechanisms.

She further noted that the association is set to undertake more programmes and initiatives in the coming years.