The Federal High Court presided over by Justice A.R Mohammed has ordered Chams Consortium Limited to commerce arbitration as agreed in the concession agreement it signed in 2010 for the implementation of national identity card management scheme with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).
The NIMC was established by the NIMC Act No. 23 of 2007 with the mandate to establish, own, operate, maintain and manage the national identity database in Nigeria, register persons covered by the Act, assign a unique National Identification Number (NIN) and issue General Multi-Purpose Cards (GMPC) to registered individuals, and to harmonise and integrate existing identification databases in Nigeria.
The court granted the NIMC all the prayers it sought, including a stay of proceedings on the case filed by Chams against the government agency.
The motions for stay were unchallenged by Chams as it conceded to the prayers. Chams had sought for N25 billion being damages for breach of the non-disclosure agreement and termination of its contract with the NIMC. Prior to the filing of these suits, Chams had activated the Clause 4 of the concession agreement that made arbitration a means of settlement of the dispute arising from the concession agreement. The NIMC had, therefore, through its legal team, filed various motions urging the court to stay proceeding and direct that parties should observe the sanctity of the arbitration clause.
The counsel for the NIMC, Festus Esangbedo, said that they contested all the claims as they were unfounded and frivolous.
“The NIMC and the Chams currently have an arbitration panel which consist of the NIMC’s appointed arbitrator, Chams appointed arbitrator, and the presiding arbitrator appointed by the two arbitrators. The composition of the arbitral panel makes it almost impossible for any party to compromise it. The arbitrators will meet by September, 2015 and hopefully, a decision would be reached in December, 2015,” he said.