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How NBA-SBL, NCDMB partnership will drive enforcement of local content for lawyers

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Ayuli Jemide, chairman, Nigerian Bar Association-Section of Business Law (NBA-SBL) (left); Mohammed Umar, director, legal services, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB); Dr. Adeoye Adefulu, vice chairman, NBA-SBL, and Nkechiyere Udu Nwachi, supervisor legal services, NCDMB, at the NBA-SBL/NCDMB colloquium in Lagos.

The Director, Legal Services, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Muhammed Umar, has said that the success of any good law such as the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content (NOGICD) Act cannot be hinged on the elegance of its form or content but the commitment of all stakeholders to make a success of it, in spite of any observed limitations.

Speaking during a one-day symposium organised by the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL) and NCDMB themed: “NOGICD ACT-Strides: Challenges and Opportunities”, Umar disclosed that the engagement with NBA-SBL is one of the stakeholders’ engagement mechanisms geared towards bringing out the activities of the board, seeking understanding and engaging people on what the board is doing.

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He also stated that through collaboration, stakeholders’ engagements and education, there would be an understanding between the board and its stakeholders, which has lawyers as critical stakeholders.

“If you don’t comply and we do our best to engage you, the board will have no other option but to take you before the court where sanction would be applied. Either the contract is cancelled or you pay five per cent of the contract value as a fine. We keep doing our best and we hope we will make progress with time.

“Before the act, things were done in a different way, after the act, we try to change the way things are done. In the past, you had businessmen, portfolio, service companies that would take a job in Nigeria and outsource the entire job out of the country but now we insist that jobs be done in Nigeria, by Nigerians using Nigerian goods or Nigerian services. There would be challenges but those who understand what is good for the country are compliant,” Umar explained.

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In his remarks, the chairman NBA-SBL, Ayuli Jemide said the section noticed that the Nigerian content for lawyers was not really being enforced, so the body has been in engagement with the NCDMB and part of that engagement is to create awareness about the activities as it pertains to lawyers.

According to him, the NBA-SBL entered a strategic partnership with the NCDMB in a bid to enforce the Nigerian content for lawyers.

Jemide who stated that this is just the beginning of many more events between the section and the NCDMB assured that the partnership will help open constant engagements with the NCDMB that would be a huge success, such that the NBA-SBL can always go to the NCDMB when it has complaints about its activities or the regulations.

His words: “The long-term gain is to work with the NCDMB to ensure the Nigerian content development for lawyers is properly enforced. This will improve thousands of Nigerian law firms and Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, (GDP). We will keep engaging to make enforcement successful.

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“The NCDMB under the leadership of Simbi Wabote has been very forward-looking and dynamic. Following the leadership, the director, legal services, Muhammed Umar has also been very dynamic. It is of great pleasure that the NBA-SBL is partnering with the NCDMB on this event.

“At the end of this, we would have documented outcomes and these outcomes will form the basis for other discussions that will help Nigerian content policies in Nigeria.”

Also speaking at the event, Akintunde Adelana, director, Monitoring and Evaluation, NCDMB explained that the NCDMB is a government agency responsible for the growth of local capacity in the oil and gas industry and by extension, the entire economy.

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Adelana stated that part of NCDMB ‘s mandate was to create that linkage to other sectors in the economy.

“Establishing a board is a legal instrument, which is in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Development Act, 2010 and a legal instrument of such magnitude is a great role for lawyers. So, at this point, we need lawyers to support the interpretation of the act and also to drive compliance in the industry in terms of implementation of the provisions of the act.

“Lawyers play key roles in the activities of the oil and gas industry; putting together contracts here and there, interpreting the acts because this is a global industry and there are a lot of legal documents arising from oil and gas business in several sectors of the economy and in several environments in the world. Lawyers are very relevant in this area. So, there are a lot of opportunities for Nigerian lawyers and this partnership will help to drive that,” he explained.

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