The chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL), Mr. Olumide Akpata has assured that the section would continue to raise the standard of commercial law practice in Nigeria.
Akpata, who made the comment in his welcome address at the opening ceremony of the 11th Annual Business Law Conference of the Section, which is holding in Lagos from June 18 to 20th stated that the SBL intends to sharpen the focus on capacity building for the Nigerian commercial lawyer.
He said: ‘ We are however mindful of the fact that there is a limit to what can be achieved at a three-day conference and as such the objective would be to lay down markers with respect to the key issues that would be raised at this Conference and thereafter, take these forward through our Committees who are the real drivers of the activities of the Section.”
He noted that quite a number of the subject matter areas that form the core of commercial law practice today are not being taught in Nigerian universities. According to him, SBL have commenced discussions with the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) with a view to collaborating with that institution on the establishment of a Centre for Commercial Law Studies where some of those subjects would be taught.
Still on the subject of capacity building, our Council, he said, also recognises that on-the-job training is one sure way of building capacity and it stands to reason therefore, that where there is a dearth of legal work, capacity building on the part of the commercial lawyer may not be fully achievable.
“To this end, Council has resolved that, as a necessary first step, we will engage with all relevant stakeholders with a view to ensuring that where any law places certain categories of legal work within the exclusive purview of Nigerian lawyers, we shall ensure that such laws are fully complied with.
“This Council has also resolved that it will be fully engaged in facilitating the ease of doing business in Nigeria. This position is informed by Nigeria’s persistently dismal ranking in the World Bank’s Index on Ease of Doing Business and it is also borne out of enlightened self-interest as we realise only too well that, where business is impeded, there will be little or no work for the business lawyer.
“In the course of today’s ceremony, we will be showcasing our strategic collaboration with both the Presidential Ease of Doing Business Council (PEBEC) and the National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable (NASSBER), of which we are extremely proud. The objective of both engagements is essentially to facilitate the ease of doing business through the instrumentality of law reform,” he declared.