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‘ILA promotes greater respect for and adherence to international law’

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Prof. Fidelis Oditah

International Law Association (ILA) is a body which focuses on the study, clarification and development of public and private laws. The president of ILA, Nigerian Branch, Prof. Fidelis Oditah QC, SAN in this interview with JOSEPH ONYEKWERE highlights the objective of the group as well as the theme of its annual conference taking place today in Lagos.

How is the International Law Association (ILA) different from the International Bar Association (IBA)?
While International Law Association is a body for the study, clarification and development of International Law both public and private, and the furtherance of international understanding and respect for international law, International Bar Association is the global voice of the legal profession. International Law Association’s membership is not restricted to lawyers, rather, it admits all persons who have interest in the objectives of the body. In contrast, IBA admits only lawyers.

What are the aims and objectives of ILA?
The ILA aims to bring together all interested in international law worldwide, from legal and mediation practice, the judiciary, academia, business and international, governmental and non-governmental organisations; foster understanding of international law both generally and, particularly through its scholarship fund, among young persons across the world; promote greater respect for and adherence to international law

This year’s conference will be the 4th, how has the previous conferences achieved its purpose?
This branch of the ILA has done relatively well towards achieving the objectives of ILA. We did the inaugural conference in 2014. The former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Mukhtar was present and inaugurated the branch. We discussed investment in the era of cross border threats. In the second conference, ILA concentrated on discussing Nigeria as a destination for international dispute resolution (particularly of arbitration), the challenges and solutions. The Lagos Court of Arbitration collaborated with ILA for this conference. The audience in that conference cut across practitioners, judicial officers, and users of arbitration and mediation. We know that the various participants were enhanced to face the challenges of arbitrating in Nigeria or making Nigeria a better destination for international arbitration. The third conference focused on Environment. It discussed Nigeria, oil and environment. It was a collaborative effort with International Institute for Petroleum Energy Law and Policy (IIPELP), Abuja. This year has a special focus on young people and it is intended to discuss sundry subjects of international law for the benefit of young people. For instance, there has been an assemblage of young and experienced experts to discuss international transactions, corporate insolvency, international dispute resolution, enforcement of foreign judgment, arbitration and the teaching of international law.

Who are you expecting at the conference as participants?
We are expecting the President of ILA Nigeria, Prof Fidelis Oditah QC, SAN, Prof Akin Oyebode, a foremost International Law lecturer, Prof Gbolahon Elias SAN, Prof Yinka Omorogbe, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Edo State, Prof D S Olawuyi who is the Vice President of ILA, Mr Uche Obi SAN, Mr Seni Adio SAN, and a host of other persons. The good thing about this year’s conference is that it reserved speaking slots for young people and attendance slots and scholarship for students of various tertiary institutions.

What informed your choice of the resource persons?
We have 11 speakers who will speak on sundry subjects. Most of the persons I gave their names earlier will be speaking. In addition to them, we have a list of young persons who will also speak during the conference. The choice to give young people speaking slots was to reflect the theme of this year’s conference, which seeks to encourage emerging voices.

Looking at your theme, which is “the impact of international law on domestic law and practice”, what issues are you going to examine at the conference?
As I mentioned earlier while responding to your earlier question, there will be three panels. The Panel session on International Business Transactions has- Professor Gbolahan Elias, SAN (Moderator), Mr Uche Val Obi, SAN (Capital Market), Dr. Kubi Udofia (Corporate Insolvency) and Mrs Lemea Abina (Taxation).



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