Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi, has said that alternate dispute resolution is a tool that has the potential to enhance the growth of the Nigerian maritime sector.
Akpobolokemi who stated this while playing host to the Maritime Arbitrators Association of Nigeria (MAAN) in Lagos; decried the pace at which maritime sector disputes were adjudicated in the courts.
He said that maritime disputes in some instances linger in the courts for decades adding that this was to the detriment of the maritime sector.
He also assured stakeholders of the NIMASA’s commitment to providing the enabling environment for maritime arbitration to thrive in Nigeria as a dispute resolution mechanism.
“For the maritime sector which is an international industry, arbitration has proven to be an effective tool for dispute resolution and we at NIMASA are committed to ensuring that Nigeria embraces this trend to fastrack the growth of the Nigerian maritime sector,” he said.
President of the association, Dr. Omogbai Omo-Eboh, commended the NIMASA Director General for his efforts in repositioning the agency towards its primary role of providing an enabling environment for the development of the Nigerian maritime sector.
While noting that the Nigerian judicial system has challenges in adjudicating maritime issues, Omo-Eboh pledged the readiness of the association to work closely with NIMASA to resolve issues relating to the progress of the sector.
“In order to continue to maintain the role of Nigeria as the lead maritime sector in Africa, Nigeria needs the arbitrators,” he declared.
Omo-Eboh noted that setting up of an arbitration centre in Nigeria is more desireable than the present practice of traveling to New York, United States of America and Singapore amongst other places for arbitration, a practice he described as a drain on Nigeria’s foreign exchange.
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