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Lawyer harps on importance of arbitration in resolving energy disputes


Scale of Justice

An associate counsel at the law firm of Wole Olanipekun & Co., Omolade Adeyemi has emphasized on the importance of arbitration, which serves as a dispute resolution mechanism in energy sector.
According to her, a dispute that is arbitrable or not must be determined.

She said one of the things to determine is whether the dispute could be compromised lawfully by accord or if the dispute leads to a change of status, as well as to know if the dispute is within the contemplation of the parties as reflected in the agreement.

Her words: “Not all disputes are ipso facto arbitrable. Only disputes arising from commercial transactions are referable to arbitration.
“Disputes not falling within the category of commercial disputes would not be arbitrable under Arbitration and Conciliation Act (ACA), though they may be referable to customary arbitration.

Such disputes as competition or anti-trust disputes with elements of criminality and nullification of patent rights are generally not arbitrable although, there are some exceptions.
“Essentially, the test for determining the arbitrability or otherwise of a dispute has been posited by benchmarking same against the contractual concept of accord and satisfaction.”
Adeyemi stated this at the 2nd lawyers in Oil and Gas conference with the theme “Gas to power: the role of the 21st century lawyer”, organized by Bromshy Communications in Lagos last week.
The event had other speakers such as Prof. Konyinsola Ajayi (SAN), Mr Sadiq Adam, Mr AU Mustapha (SAN), Mr Babatunde Ajibade (SAN) and among others.

The speakers spoke on various topics including appraising the regulatory framework in Nigeria, domestic power production in the aid of socio economic development-role of lawyers and overcoming power distribution deficiencies in Nigeria.
Also, Prof. Gbolahan Elias (SAN) identified the challenges of power generation and transmission.
According to him, the government has no further investment in the sector and they are high-handed.
“The government is too slow to grant other guarantees, they are slow to grant liquidity support and fund the NBET.
“The government bad faith is in the poor enforcement machinery for owing consumers and power thieves,” he said.

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