I. INTRODUCTION: ARBITRATION IN NIGERIA— HISTORY AND INFRASTRUCTURE
A. History and Current Legislation on Arbitration
1. Historical evolution of law relating to arbitration
Customary arbitration was a recognised form of dispute resolution in Nigeria before the advent of British colonial rule and court system. Hitherto, various indigenous communities in Nigeria practised an organised system of dispute resolution whereby disputes were referred to a village head or elders having some authority over the parties and village head or elders would resolve the dispute in accordance with native law and custom at a meeting at which the disputing parties were present. According to Webster J. B. and Bouhen A.:
Quarrels between individual of different families in the ward were settled before the people in the ward, elders acting as arbiter. Quarrels between wards comes before the full assembly.... A man might attempt to settle with the individual who had aggrieved him, if this failed he could ask a respectable elder to intervene or call members of the family together, he could also ask the ward or village head to solve the case.
For a long time, customary arbitration continued to be a common means of resolving land disputes, matrimonial disputes, chieftaincy and religious disputes in Nigerian indigenous communities until the advent of British colonial rule when more and more cases were being referred to courts.