By Edith Ike-Eboh
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva has urged legal practitioners to ensure clarity in drafting of laws in the country, especially for the oil and gas sector.
Slyva made the call in Abuja on Tuesday at a two-day capacity workshop for Counsels in the Ministry of Justice.
The workshop was organised by the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), with the theme: “Enhancing the Quality of the Legal Services in the Oil and Gas Sector’’.
“It is better to write our laws clearly, it will reduce a lot of fight in the industry. It is good that you people look at the bubble points in our laws to avert a lot of crisis in the industry,’’ he said
Represented by his Chief of Staff, Mr Dayo Olamide, the minister reiterated the need for constant training of lawyers, adding that the workshop was a step in the right direction.
He urged participants to use the capacity workshop to look at issues concerning the oil and gas sector critically, especially in the area of alternative dispute resolution.
“As ministers in the temple of Justice, your work is to ensure speedy discharge of justice in all areas and the oil and gas sector being very important to the nation, your efficiency remains very necessary.
“The industry is dynamic, production, exploration issues are complex and you need to understand how this evolves in current times.
“This kind of workshop will help you to understand the sector and to deliver on some arbitration that might affect the industry to deliver on its mandate for national development,’’ he added.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary, Dr Bello Gusau said that the major focus of PTDF was to build the capacity of Nigerians, stakeholders as well as support research funding to help develop the oil and gas sector in the country.
Gusau said that workshop was in line with its mandate, adding that it was necessary for the judiciary to keep abreast with the development in the sector.
He noted that the workshop would help to bring to fore current happenings in the sector as well as discuss the important areas of legislation in the sector.
Gusau, while commending President Muhammadu Buhari for signing into law the Amended Deep offshore oil contract Act, said that there was the need to understand how the law works.
“This is why the PTDF found it very necessary to have this kind of workshop, to strengthen its relationship with the ministry, and to boost the knowledge of the counsels for the betterment of the country,’’ he said.
Also speaking, the Minister of Justice Malam Abubakar Malami said that the ministry was ready to partner with agencies that would help it to achieve its mandate to meet the needs of the society.
“To handle cases relating to oil and gas, lawyers need to be trained in the area.
“For us, the choice of the topic is apt because it covers current happenings relating to crimes, constitutional offenses, dispute resolution, arbitration relating to the oil and gas sector.
“I urge participants to participate effectively and ensure the use of the benefits of the capacity workshop in carrying out their duties,’’ he said
Represented by Hamza Tahiru, the Director, Legal Drafting, Malami urged PTDF to sustain the partnership to help pave way for efficiency in the oil and gas sector.
“I will also ask that you extend this capacity workshop to private legal practitioners and also include the staff of the ministry in your post graduate programmes,’’ he added. (NAN)