In the light of the need for a smooth international trade and relationship, the role of international arbitration in the resolution of dispute that may arise in the course of this international relationship cannot be overstated. This work seeks to analyze the general concept of arbitration with reference to the workings and enforcement of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Dispute Convention (ICSID) awards. While examining the limited role played by Nigerian Courts in the enforcement of awards made pursuant to the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Dispute Convention.this work embodies five chapters. Chapter one is the general overview of the work and the purpose of this work. Chapter two deals with the general concepts of arbitration as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism. Chapter three deals with enforcement of arbitral awards in Nigeria vis a vizthe role of Nigerian courts. Chapter four centres on International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Dispute Convention (ICSID) awardsand its enforcement in Nigeria while focusing on the limited role played by our domestic courts toward its smooth enforcement. Finally, chapter five is my conclusion and recommendations.



Tittle                                                                                                                                        i

Approval                                                                                                                                 ii

Certification                                                                                                                            iii

Dedication                                                                                                                              iv

Acknowledgements                                                                                                                v

Abstract                                                                                                                                  vi

Table of Contents                                                                                                                   vii

Table of Cases                                                                                                                         ix

Table of Statutes                                                                                                                     xi

List of Abbreviations                                                                                                              xii



  • Background of the Study                                                                                     1
  • Statement of Problem 2
  • Purpose Of Study                                                                         2
  • Purpose Of Study                                                                         2
  • Significance of Study 2
  • Methodology             2
  • Definition of Terms 3


2.1       Merits of Arbitration over Litigation                                                                          5

2.2       Criticisms of Arbitration                                                                                             7

2.3       Types of Arbitration                                                                                                   10

2.4       Arbitrability                                                                                                                14

2.5       Arbitral Awards                                                                                                          14


3.1       Recognition                                                                                                                 15

3.2       Enforcement                                                                                                               15

3.3       Methods of Enforcing Municipal Awards                                                                  15

3.4       Grounds for Refusal of Recognition and Enforcement of Municipal Awards          22

3.5       Enforcement of International Arbitration                                                                   24

3.6       Roles of Courts in Nigeria                                                                                          44



4.1       Jurisdiction of ICSID                                                                                                 49

4.2       Capacity of Parities under ICSID                                                                              49

4.3       Enforcement under the International Centre for the Settlement of

Investment Dispute (ICSID) Convention.                                                                 50

4.4       Challenges in the Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards In Nigeria                     51

4.5       Implication of this Unholy Attitude                                                                           55



5.1       Conclusion                                                                                                                  56

5.2       Recommendations                                                                                                      56




Abacha v Fawehinmi (2000) 6NWLR (pt.660)228                                                                36

Access Bank v Erastus (Suit No. M/563/2013)                                                                      54

Adwork ltd v Nigerian Airways Ltd (2002) 2NWLR (pt. 645) 415 at 433                           40

Agromet Moto Import Ltd v Mauden Engineering Co (1985) 2 ALL 436                           53

Agu v Ikewibe (1991) 3NWLR (pt.180) 385 p.407                                                               10

City Engineering Nig. Ltd v Federal Housing Authority (1997) 9NWLR (520) at 244        52

Collins v Collins 28LJCH 186                                                                                                5

Commercial Assurance Ltd v Alli (1992) 3 NWLR (pt 232) 401 at 405                               23

Dolman & Sons v OssetCoproatin (1912) 3KB 257                                                              12

Ext. Munro (1876) 1QBD 726                                                                                               13

Guardalupe Gas Product Corporation v Nigeria ICSID case No. ARB/78/1                                    50

Igwego v Ezeugo (1992) 6 NWLR (pt. 249) @61                                                                 15

Imani& Sons Ltd v Bill Construction Co. Ltd (1999) 12 NWLR (pt 630) 254 @256          22

INEC v Musa (2002) 11 NWLR (pt. 778)                                                                             46

Josiah v The State (1985) NWLR (pt. 1) 125                                                                         46

Kwasi v Larbi 13 W.A.C.A. 76                                                                                              17

Macaulay v R.Z.P of Australia (2003) 18 NWLR (pt.8)                                            28,30

Marine & General Assurance Co. Plcv Overseas Union

Insurance Ltd &Ors (2006) LRCN vol. 145 2520                                               29,30

Mensah v Takyiampong (1940) W.A.C.A. 116                                                                      16

Murmansk State Steamship v Kano Oil Millers Ltd (1997) ALL NRL 893                     52,54

Norska Atlas Insurance v London General Insurance Company 14 Times L.R 541              18

Ofomata&Ors v Amoka&Ors (1974) ECSLR 251 p.253                                                      10

Oline v Obodo (1958) 3 FSC 84 p. 86                                                                                   10

Onwuka v Nka (1996) NWLR (pt.458)@5                                                                            18

Onyenge v Ebere  (2004) 6SCNJ 126@141                                                                           15

Oyimah v Sampire (1948) W.A.C.A. 350                                                                              17

Re Tompson (1864) QB 462                                                                                                   57

Savoa v A.O. Sonubi (2000) 12 NWLR (pt. 682) 539 @547                                                            41

Taylor Woodrow Nig Ltd v S.E.W GMH (1993) NWLR 127 @141                                   41

Thames Iron Works Co. Ltd v The Queen (1869) 20 KLT (N.S) 318                                   43

Thorton v Shoe Lane Parking (1971) ALL ER 686                                                               5

Toepher v Edokpeolor (1965) ANLR 307                                                                         11,25

Tulip (Nig) Ltd v Noleggio Transport Maritime SAS (2011) 4 NWLR

(pt.1237) 284, 254                                                                                                             52

VAB Petroleum Inc. v Mr Mike Momah (2013) MRSCJ Vol. 19,60                        30

Ward v Griffith (1818) Wills Ch34                                                                                        18

Willam v Wallis & Co. (1914) 2KB 479@485                                                                       42




Arbitration and Conciliation Act Cap A18 LFN 2004

Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999

Evidence Act Cap E14 LFN, 2011

Foreign Judgment (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act, 1990

Foreign Judgment (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act, 2004

ICSID Convention of 1965

New York Convention of 1959



ALL ER          –           All England Report

Ch                   –           Chancery

FSC                 –           Federal Supreme Court

FWLR             –           Federal Weekly Law Report

ICSID             –           International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Dispute.

JCA                 –           Justice Court of Appeal

JSC                  –           Justice of the Supreme Court

KB                  –           King’s Bench

LFN                –           Laws of the Federation of Nigeria

MRSCJ           –           Monthly Report of Supreme Court Judgment

NWLR                        –           Nigerian Weekly Law Report

QB                  –           Queen’s Bench





  • Background to the Study

International commercial arbitration provides an attractive alternative to the traditional method for the settlement of investment dispute. It avoids the demerits of litigation in domestic courts. It offers the parties the opportunity to select arbitrators who enjoy their confidence and have the necessary expertise in the material field.

Where an award debtor immediately carries out the terms of an arbitral award, the question of enforcement does not arise. However, as is mostly the case especially with respect to arbitral award made pursuant to the ICSID Convention between a state and a national of another state, the unsuccessful party may be unwilling to comply with the terms of the award or may even seek to challenge it. Unfortunately, the arbitral process cannot by itself enforce its own award, because the arbitrators do not have executive powers to enforce its award. As such, it often means that the successful party may have won the battle but is yet to win the war.

Therefore, in order to secure the enforcement of the award, the successful party must take steps after obtaining the award in a foreign jurisdiction to have the award enforced by Nigerian court so that the machinery of the court processes can be used to enforce it. In so doing, the first thing a successful party has to do is to decide which of the enforcement regime he wishes to adopt in having the award enforced.

However, most often than not, our courts are unwilling to pronounce in favour of an arbitral award especially award made pursuant to ICSID Convention. This work attempts to identify the reason for our courts’ unwillingness to influence the enforcement of ICSID awards and thereby proffering possible way out of this current quagmire.

  • Statement of Problem

The problem lies with the discretion of Nigerian courts to influence the enforcement of ICSID awards in deserving cases.

  • Purpose Of Study

This work attempts to identify why our courts are passive with respect to enforcement of awards made pursuant to the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Dispute (ICSID) Convention

  • Scope Of Study

This work is limited to identifying the limitation imposed on Nigerian courts in the enforcement of ICSID award.


  • Significance of Study

The importance of this work is as follows:

  • Identifying the various regimes for enforcement of arbitral award in Nigeria
  • Identifying the reasons for our court’s passive role in enforcing arbitral awards
  • Identifying possible way out of this limited enforcement procedure.


  • Methodology

The approach adopted in this work is a doctrinal approach, as this research work is based on information obtained from case laws, statutes, conventions, journals and textbooks.


  • Definition of Terms

1.7.1 Award

According to Black Law Dictionary, an award is defined as “the decision or determination rendered by arbitrators or commissioners, or other private or extra judicial deciders, upon a controversy submitted to them; also the writing or document embodying such decision.”[1]

An award is the decision or “judgment” of the arbitration panel and thus the end product of the arbitral proceedings.[2]

1.7.2 Enforcement

According to the Black’s Law Dictionary, “Enforcement is making sure a rule or standard or court order or policy is properly followed.”[3]

[1]Black’s Law Dictionary(2nd ed.St. Paul, Minn.: West Publishing, 1891) p.149

[2] C Ibe, Insight on the Law of Private Dispute Resolution in Nigeria (Ed ‘Demak Ltd. 2008)p.175

[3]Op.cit. p364