Chris Steven, Abuja
The Federal Government has expressed preparedness of its Judiciary and the Federal High Court to support all efforts aimed at promoting trade within the West and Central Africa sub-regions.
This, according to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, would encourage direct foreign investment, boost Nigeria’s foreign trade reserves, strengthen the currency and improved standard of living.
He said the efforts would also reduce the current high cost of living and move the nation out of the current economic problems.
Speaking in Abuja on Tuesday at the validation colloquium on the United Nations’ convention on contracts for the international carriage of goods wholly or partly by sea also known as The Rotterdam Rules, Justice Auta said that the Rotterdam Rules were voluntary aimed at balancing the interest of both ship owning and cargo owning nations.
He explained that the countries of West and Central Africa are cargo owning nations some of which according to him are without a coastal border.
While explaining that the Federal High Court is the court empowered constitutionally and statutorily to determine maritime disputes, the Chief Judge said that the Federal High Court since its creation in 1973 has been involved in laying down principles of law particularly in the area of the of carriage of goods by sea.
“The various regimes of the Hague and the Hamburg Rules have been pronounced upon by the Court. The bulk of the jurisprudence in this area is in the judgements of the Federal High Court since maritime matters hardly ever go on appeal” he said
Justice Auta gave assurance that Federal High Court would collaborate with the courts in the two sub regions in the area of Maritime Law reporting in furtherance of the spirit behind the colloquium.