Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami has been unanimously elected as the Chairman of the 78th session of the General Assembly of the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT), an international organization that seeks to harmonize international private laws across 63 members countries. The election which took place at the 78th General Assembly Meeting held on Thursday December 12th, 2019 in Rome, Italy followed the proposal by four counties; South Africa, Egypt, Australia and Spain that the Nigerian AGF be elected to chair the Assembly of the state parties.
The nomination was unanimously supported by the General Assembly of member states including United State of America, United Kingdom, Germany, France and Canada. This is contained in a statement issued by Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, the Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, and made available to newsmen in Abuja on Friday 13th December, 2019. In his address shortly before the election, the Chair of the General Secretary (2018-2019), Paul Duhr, Ambassador of Luxembourg to Italy noted that the post of Chair of the General Assembly has traditionally rotated among the four geographical regions of UNIDROIT pursuant to the Article 7(7) of the UNIDROIT regulations. Addressing the Assembly as the newly elected Chair, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice noted that Nigeria has been an active participant member of UNIDROIT since 1964. Malami who described Nigeria as a major global commercial player in the African continent said the country is “Africa’s largest economy and projected to be among the top 20 economies by 2050”. He recalled that a former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Michael Aondoaka, SAN was elected for a five year term (2008-2013) to the UNIDROIT Governing Council.
The Minister said with the Nigeria’s advancement in areas such as telecommunication and e-commerce, the country has taken greater interest in the emerging global legal architecture being developed by UNIDROIT.
As the Chairman, Malami resolved commitment to boosting the activities of UNIDROIT during his tenure as the Chairman and work assiduously towards ensuring the “entry into force of the Protocol to the Cape Town Convention on matters specific to Mining, Agriculture and Construction of Equipment (MAC Protocol) the text of which was recently adopted at the diplomatic conference held in Pretoria, South Africa November, 2019”. “Following extensive consultations with stakeholders on the future Legal Guide on Agricultural Land Investment Contracts”, the Chair said he hoped to see to the “finalization of the draft text for presentation to and adoption by the Governing Council in May, 2020”.
While maintaining commitment to “entry into force the Luxembourg Rail Protocol, which currently requires only one more Contracting State to enter into force” he said with that Protocol’s entry into force, it could “begin facilitating cross-border and domestic financing of railway rolling stock, thereby generating economic growth, and provide further momentum in attracting more Contracting States to that Protocol. For the Institutional development, the Chair said he will work vigorously to ensure the adoption and implementation of UNIDROIT’s Work Programme for the 2020-2022 triennium, which he said has great importance in guiding the use of UNIDROIT’s limited resources and determining its various projects and their respective priorities.
Malami expressed determinatipn to ensure full implementation of the recently adopted compensation and social security reforms, together with possible further improvements to UNIDROIT’s Regulations and its overall administrational framework. It is on this note that he called on all state parties to work hard in achieving their objectives.
“The unification of private law is a great task UNIDROIT is saddled with. It, therefore, behoves on this session for all hands to be on deck to ensure issues on the agenda are tackled expeditiously. I have no doubt in this endeavor, I can presume your cooperation and assistance throughout this session,” he said. It could be recalled that the Minister was at one time President of International Anti-Corruption Academy and Member International Court of Arbitration.