The 12th Annual Business Law Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association

Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL) took place at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, from 27-29 June 2018 with the theme: Bringing Down the Barriers: The Law as a Vehicle for Intra-Africa Trade”. The focus of discussions by panellists and speakers was the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). There were eight sessions in all which provided a robust discussions around the AfCFTA, including a speaking session by Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe, Nigerian Chief Trade Negotiator/Director General, Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations. This session had notable panelists like Professor Pat Utomi, Pan Atlantic University, Lagos and Professor Bola Akinterinwa, the Former Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs.

Reference to NIALS was made at Plenary Session 5 titled ‘Law Practice in the Time of the African Continental Free Trade Area: Reimagining African Lawyers.’ Whilst all panelists at the session noted the need for reform of law practice and the need to establish branches of law firms in African countries, Mr. OlumideAkpata, Chairman of the NBA –Section on Business Law emphasized the need for the establishment of a Centre for Commercial Studies within NIALS in conjunction with the NBA-SBL. He noted that the idea is to award certificates to students/awardees who would have successfully completed a program at the proposed centre.

Other notable panelists at the conference included Professor OserhiemeOsunbor, former Executive Governor of Edo State and Professor Jayanth Krishnan, Law Professor and Director, Milt and Judi Stewart Centre on the Global Legal Profession, Indiana University Maurer School of Law.

The Conference was attended by over 400 lawyers and was well organised. It provided a huge opportunity for NIALS Research Fellows to learn more about the AfCFTA, to benefit from the wealth of experience and knowledge exuded by the panelists and speakers within and outside Nigeria, and to network with other colleagues in the legal profession.

The Institute sponsored about Eight (6) Research Fellows and Professor to attend the Conference.
Professor Peter Akper, SAN, Dr. Irekpitan Okukpon, Mr. Emeka Odum, Mrs. Izuoma Egeruoh, Mrs. Nnenna Uche-Eboh, Mr. Lanre Ajetunmobi