The Nigerian Institute of Chartered Arbitrators, NICA, has expressed displeasure over alleged intimidation of Niger Delta communities by multinational companies operating in the area.
The body which is advocating for the use of mediators and arbitrators in handling differences between firms and individuals, communities or workers stated that big firms use their huge resources to marginalise their host communities during dispute.
While speaking at a three day Fast Track Associate Training Programme for over 20 personnel in Port Harcourt on dispute management, the Chairman, NICA, Bayelsa State, His Royal Majesty, King Collins Daniel, expressed worry that oil producing communities are being marginalized by multinationals operating in their areas.
Daniel explained that reason for the training is to build capacity of persons that would serve as mediators between communities and firms to reduce frictions and encourage friendliness.
He said, “When it comes to dispute resolution communities suffer in the hands of companies. The multinationals have the money but the communities are poor and sometimes they find it difficult to retain legal practitioners that can effectively handle disputes for them and in that scenario you find out that the oil producing communities are marginalised they are oppressed and sometimes that leads to violence when they don’t have the means to confront these multi nationals.
Daniel said, “We should know that there is a body that can take your case to consideration and you don’t need to hire a lawyer. Arbritation is not all about going to retain your legal practitioner, although it’s a choice so that is what we do.”
Meanwhile, the Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of the body, Shola Oshodi-John said focus of the body is in line with the Federal Government’s drive on the ease of doing business.
Oshodi-John said that NICA is building capacity of professionals in order to tackle litigation between organized institutions and individuals or communities, noting that it would make the business environment of the country safe for investors.