The Nigerian Ambassador to Egypt, Nura Abba Rimi, has called for total reform of the country’s judicial system to provide the much-needed reassurance to investors that are ready and willing to come to Nigeria.
The Ambassador made the call at the opening of the 2021 Federal High Court foreign training in Cairo, Egypt, according to a statement issued by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).
The ceremony was also attended by the managements of AMCON led by its Managing Director, Ahmed Lawan Kuru; the Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), led by its Vice Chairman/CEO, Babatunde Irukera; and the Director General-Legal Academy, Dr. Fatihu A. Abba among others.
The envoy expressed disappointment that Federal Government agencies have court cases that drag on for years, noting that lack of a functional judicial system in Nigeria is hurting the economy.
He said while it is almost impossible to avoid disputes in commercial ventures, an investor is concerned about the mechanism in place for resolving any dispute that may arise in the course of his business.
According to him, in as much as the popular phrase “time is money” cannot be over-emphasised, as no investor is willing to tie down money, capital, or investment for an undefined period of time due to commercial disputes.
He said: “The fear is usually that the investment and/or capital would have lost its value at the time the dispute is eventually resolved. Thus, investors would be averse to investing funds in any country where dispute resolution is not reliable, effective and/or efficient. This is the case of the Nigerian judicial system. But this can be remedied or mitigated by judicial reforms through sustained dynamic training of the judiciary as demonstrated by the Hon. Chief Judge of the Federal High Court-Hon. Justice J.T. Tsoho.
“Many investors and investment have been lost over the years as a result of the failure to pursue efficient and/or effective judicial reforms. Indeed, timely disposal of cases in the OECD countries has sustained investor confidence in the economies of these countries. It demonstrates the remarkable efficiency of the judicial system in those countries. Accordingly, investors would be convinced that any dispute relating to their investments would be determined expeditiously by the courts in these countries.”
The fear is usually that the investment and/or capital would have lost its value at the time the dispute is eventually resolved. Thus, investors would be averse to investing funds in any country where dispute resolution is not reliable, effective and/or efficient. This is the case of the Nigerian judicial system.
Commenting, Kuru, while appreciating the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for the opportunity, said the Corporation cannot over-flog the important role the judiciary plays in national development, as earlier highlighted by Ambassador Rimi, and as such, judges remain vital to Nigeria’s success.
He added that “Quick, efficient and fair dispensation of justice is not only necessary but Godly. With specific reference to AMCON, we have repeatedly made the point at every opportunity that all stakeholders must view the AMCON mandate as one of serious national importance.
“If at sunset AMCON is unable to recover the huge debt of over N5trillion, it becomes the debt of the Federal Government of Nigeria for which taxpayers’ monies will be used to settle. The implication is that the public will be made to pay for the recklessness of only a few individuals who continue to take advantage of the loopholes in our laws to escape their moral and legal obligations to repay their debts. We should not allow a few individuals to escape with our commonwealth. And we want to do it within the confines of the law. We must encourage a society where people must be made to honour their obligation and should not find solace under any guise in any institution of government.”
Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice J.T. Tsoho, who described the gathering as ‘very historic’, being the first international training since the COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020, said the judiciary in Nigeria will continue to seek knowledge on how to better the economy and the country at large through trainings and knowledge sharing with their peers around the globe.
He said it was on that note that, “Today’s digital age and digital economy necessitated the need for our Court to be conversant with the technicalities of these regimes if we are to effectively adjudicate on matters relating to the concepts underpinning this Seminar. Indeed, it is these underpinnings that educated my decision to theme the programme, ‘The place of the Federal High Court in the digital age, for economic development and the stability of the financial system’.”