The federal government, its agencies and the freight forwarders operating in the Maritime industry had been admonished to embrace mediation as a better option opened for them to resolve the on-going dispute over the new tariff on imported vehicles in Nigeria.
A Maritime Lawyer, Barr. Valentino Buoro who made this call in Lagos Wednesday said that both the federal government and the freight forwarding industry are losing huge sums of revenue as a result of the recent disagreements between the two parties over the implementation of the new auto policy which have consequently led to the disruption of import activities at the ports.
He admitted that while it was the prerogative of the government to make policies considered best for the nation, there are stakeholders who are affected by those policies and therefore have the democratic rights to contribute or demand alterations or amendment of the policies if considered not in their best interest.
The legal practitioner said that both parties in the dispute over the new auto policy have legitimate claims and the situation only requires that the parties “see their divergent views as a joint problem which can be harmonized and resolved together by their representatives under the guidance of a neutral third party”.
“These divergent views and legal rights can only be harmonized amicably through the process of mediation where a neutral party called a mediator will facilitate a negotiated settlement based on the merits of respective claims.
“It is a worldwide phenomenon that when government decisions have potentially serious impacts on people’s lives and commercial interests, conflicts are bound to arise. Emotions run high and people are ready to fight either through protests, the courts or sometimes even through angry confrontations or violence,” Buoro stated.
Buoro, who is an Alternative Dispute Resolution consultant, also called on the government to show commitment to its appointed port commercial regulator- the Nigeria Shippers’ Council by mandating the Council to convene a mediation wherein competent neutral parties will be called in to facilitate negotiation between representatives between the two parties.
“It is only by such acts that government can begin to institutionalize the spirit and letters of alternative dispute resolution to engender a user friendly maritime industry which in no distant time will attract additional foreign investments into our economy”, he further stated.