A comparative study of the scope of jurisdiction of the investment and securities tribunal of Nigeria: Matters arising
Authors Dr Eric Okojie, LE Enakemere, Peace Folorunsho
Affiliations: Senior Lecturer, Business Law Department, Faculty of Law, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria; Abuja, FCT-based legal practitioner; Solicitor/barrister of the Supreme Court of Nigeria
Source: Journal of Comparative Law in Africa, Volume 4 Issue 2, p. 105 – 129
The jurisdiction of the Investment and Securities Tribunal as a court of first instance to the exclusion of regular courts in matters pertaining to the capital market has generated debate within the legal community because of Nigeria’s previous history with ouster clauses under military rule. This is more so when the independence of the tribunal is subject to question due to the wide powers conferred on the Finance Minister in Nigeria in the appointment of the chairman of the tribunal, for example, active legal practice is not an obligatory criterion for legal practitioners who may be considered for membership of the tribunal as only their experience in the capital market matters. Adjudication by the tribunal is preferred by some aggrieved because unlike the regular courts it is not burdened by technicalities, arbitration is swift and just like the regular courts, an aggrieved has a right of appeal. Despite these features, agitation for the removal of the exclusive jurisdiction has continued to heighten. This paper argues that there is a need for the review of the provisions of the enabling Act on membership of the tribunal; particularly for legal practitioners by requiring that such a member must be in active legal practice prior to his appointment as a means of assuaging the frequent appeals on the grounds of lack of fair hearing at the appellate courts. There is also the need for the public, key investors in the capital market about the activities of the tribunal as an alternative means of judicial redress. It concludes with the position that various securities tribunals/regulatory bodies must be manned with persons of expertise knowledge and technical know-how. This would ensure that securities tribunals are efficient, strong, transparent and responsive to the investors in the capital market.