AN ANALYSIS OF DELAY IN ENFORCEMENT OF CONTRACTUAL JUDGMENTS AS IMPEDIMENT TO FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENTS (FDI) IN NIGERIA
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is about economic prosperity and wealth creation of developing economies, (FDI) brings with it capital, technology, it provides a platform for the creation of jobs and links to the world economy which brings development. The New Partnership for Africa’s Development [NEPAD] asserts that to meet its developmental challenges, Africa will have to rely more on foreign direct investment [FDI] than aid. Given the fact, the aid flows to Africa have significantly declined over the years and that the continent has now to compete with other countries for the same resources needed for development. Therefore, [NEPAD] places greater emphases on the importance of foreign direct investment [FDI] as Africa’s new engine of economic growth, particularly in the manufacturing and agricultural sector, as opposed to the oil and gas and other natural resources. However, the contribution firms, and foreign direct investment [FDI] make to the society is determined principally by the investment climate. There are many features of a good investment climate, aside of legal framework, provision of security and maintaining infrastructure, which provide the opportunities and incentives for the investment to flow and flourish and create confidence in the mind of the investors, to invest productively, and they include strong and vibrant contract enforcement. Delays or uncertainties in the enforcement of contractual rights erode the value of property rights and diminish the opportunities and incentives to invest. Therefore, the process of seeking redress through the normal court system is too protracted and unsatisfactory to continue to serve as primary recourse option of executives and potential investors, and this also explain the slow of improvement in FDI in the manufacturing and agricultural sector inflow to Nigeria. There are additional reasons for all these difficulties and hurdles that constitute a clog to an efficient contractual enforcement. The legal system that made judges of regular courts to also handle election petitions and other ad-hoc assignments to the detriment of the regular pending commercial cases before the courts. Secondly, there currently distinct rules for each state of the Federation and there number of civil procedure rules required to be complied with to move cases through the system from filing to judgment enforcement. This has created additional and unnecessary procedures that elongate the process of contract enforcement. Thirdly, despite these enormous powers of the Sheriff and bailiffs in the process of trials and enforcement of contractual judgments, in Nigeria majority of the bailiffs in all our courts including the courts of records are either retired police or military officers with no formal training on their powers and obligations in accordance with the provision of the law.The dissertation mainly recommended the creation of Commercial courts or Commercial divisions throughout the federation to handle contractual and commercial cases; secondly, Secondly, it is recommended for the unification and adoption of a single the civil procedure rules throughout the country. Lastly to institutionalize the training and retraining of sheriffs and court bailiffs on the provisions of the rules as it relates their functions of giving effect to court orders and judgment.These would go a long way in providing an effective and speedy movement of civil cases through the system of trial and subsequent enforcement in our courts, which may further create confidence and improve the investment climate for the inflow of the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in to Nigeria.