Stakeholders advocate increased lawyers’ participation in aviation law

Olumide Akpata

Stakeholders in the legal and aviation industry have insisted that gaps in the aviation law could be bridged if lawyers show more interest in the sector.Speaking at the annual seminar of the Nigerian Bar Association, Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL) Aviation Committee conference, the stakeholders also noted that there is need for lawyers to be more educated on issues in aviation industry in order to effectively discharge their responsibilities.

With the theme: ‘Unlocking the potentials of Aviation Law and Practice in Nigeria”, chairman NBA-SBL, Mr. Olumide Akpata noted that the essence of organizing the programme is to allow young lawyers maximize the opportunities in the aviation sector.

According to him lawyers should not only go into litigation, but also tap opportunities in the aviation industry. He further stated that SBL (Aviation Committee) would organize more programmes that would build lawyers’ capacity.

Similarly, Chief Executive Officer, Air Peace, Mr. Allen Onyema, noted that there are enormous opportunities for lawyers in aviation industry. According to him, it is not as if there are no aviation lawyers in the industry, but “out of million lawyers, you start counting on your fingers in aviation sector. I am talking in my position as a lawyer and an operator; there is need for more lawyers in the industry.”

On his part, Managing Partner, Jurist Law, Mr. Pekun Sowole stated that in order for lawyers to unlock the potentials in the aviation industry, they have to do a lot of homework. For instance, he said, some months ago he received a call from a lawyer that an action was filed against an airline at the State High Court, but the Judge later ruled that the High Court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the case.

“Unfortunately, he messed up the client because if he had done his homework, he should have filed the case at the Federal High Court,” he noted.Similarly, acting COO, South African Airways, Mr. Aaron Muntesi stated that for young lawyers to succeed in the aviation industry, they must first realize that airlines are in the service industry.

According to him, young lawyers must also stick to the basics in order to make meaningful progress. “You must not complicate a simple business,” he declared, urging them to enjoy the demographic dividends of being Africans.

Managing Director, Landover Aviation Company Limited, Captain Edward Boyo said the aviation industry cannot survive without lawyers, insurance operators and accountants. He therefore urged lawyers to rise up to their responsibilities.

CEO Speedy Aviation Consulting, Mrs. Fati Garbarti advised lawyers to get involved in aviation laws and help set up laws that would ease operations in the sector.

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NBA-SBLOlumide Akpata
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