A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF MODERN AND CUSTOMARY ARBITRATION IN NIGERIA
This thesis conceptualized dispute as an integral part of man’s existence and a common occurrence in human societies which could arise as a result of differences in opinion, political ideologies, bad governance, ethnic nationalism, land matters, family issues, some economic or religious reasons, and in some cases a combination of two or more of these factors which may lead to conflicts. These conflicts may result in strained relationships, loss of lives and/or properties, hence the need for a dispute settlement mechanism which may be modern or traditional. The major issues for determination are, whether arbitration is a necessity and has been a successful tool in amicable resolution of disputes; and whether customary arbitration is more effective than modern arbitration. It is in the light of the foregoing that this work compared modern arbitration to customary arbitration. The comparison is with a view to realizing which option would be more practicable in terms of amicable resolution of disputes. The research methods adopted are doctrinal and empirical. Judicial decisions, statutes and books on arbitration were useful to this research. Data was also collected through distribution of questionnaires. This thesis examined the concept of arbitration as a dispute resolution process. It also examined some provisions of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, Cap A18, LFN 2004 and some case laws on the essential ingredients of arbitration. It noted that arbitration has been used successfully over the years to achieve amicable resolution of disputes. However, inspite of its tremendous achievements, arbitration is faced with some challenges. These include the attitude of Nigerian courts towards enforcement of customary arbitral awards, high level of illiteracy of the customary arbitrators, highly formalized and legalistic nature of modern arbitration. At the conclusion of the research, it was found among other things that modern arbitration is expensive and may not be accessible to the common man. It was also found that feuding parties in traditional communities use traditional approaches to resolve their conflicts because they find customary arbitration more accessible, quick and cheap. Consequently, the thesis recommended for the promotion of modern education and capacity building in the form of paralegal training for the operators of customary arbitration and that priority should be given to customary arbitration which is cheaper, faster, less formal and accessible to the common man.