Leading experts and stakeholders in international law have called for clear and comprehensive regulations to maximize the full value of modern technologies for the development of the economy and in a manner that respects and fulfils all international human rights.

This recommendation was made at the 6th Annual Conference of the Nigerian Branch of the International Law Association (ILA Nigeria). Themed, The Role of International Law in the Regulation of New Technologies, the event was held at the Lagos Arbitration Court and had in attendance more than 300 participants both in person and online. Several dignitaries and leading international law experts attended the conference, including the immediate past President of ILA Nigeria, Prof. Fidelis Oditah, KC, SAN, new President, Professor Damilola Olawuyi, SAN, Former Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Bayo Ojo, SAN, Chief Counsel of Tayo Oyetibo LP,  Chief Tayo Oyetibo SAN, the Director General of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Professor Mohammed Tawfiq Ladan, Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, Associate General Counsel of Meta, Kaelo Ajuluchukwu, and The Director, WIPO Office Nigeria, Dr. Tobi Moody.

Others are the Government Affairs and Public Policy Manager at Google, Adewolu Adene, Head of Legal at the National Data Protection Bureau, Babatunde Bamigboye, Managing Partner of Aluko and Oyebode Law, Joke Aliu, and the Chairman of the Conference Organising Committee, Mofesomo Tayo-Oyetibo amongst others, who graced the occasion and delivered opening goodwill messages. The event was moderated by the award-winning legal journalist, Shola Soyele, who is Channels TV Judiciary Correspondent and Host of the Law Weekly.

While delivering the distinguished keynote lecture, Dr. Edward Kwakwa, the Assistant Director General, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Geneva, Switzerland gave a powerful presentation on how countries and societies can harness modern technologies to advance sustainable development. He emphasized the need for stakeholders in international law, including ILA Nigeria, to collaboratively build capacity to holistically address ethical, efficiency, regulatory and other multidimensional questions posed by metaverse, big data, artificial intelligence and other new technologies.

The conference also featured a debate session between students of the University of Lagos and Afe Babalola University Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), as well as panel discussions by leading practitioners on how multinational technology platforms can be effectively regulated.

The highpoint of the conference was the swearing in of the new executives of the Association under the leadership of the new President, Professor Damilola Olawuyi, SAN. A distinguished expert in energy and environmental law, Professor Olawuyi has authored several influential articles, books and reports on the role of international law in extractive resource governance. He has practiced and taught law in Europe, North America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Last year, he was appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council to represent Africa on the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights. He also received the BOK Visiting International Professorship at the University of Pennsylvania United States and has served as visiting professor at Oxford, Cambridge, Birmingham and Columbia universities.

Other newly inaugurated EXCO members include Mrs. Oludayo Olorunfemi who will serve as Vice President, Clement Osuya (Secretary General), Alex Oche (Treasurer and Deputy Secretary General) and Jacob Sule (Media and Communications Officer). Also inaugurated to serve on the Executive Council are Tolulope Aderemi (Chair, Committee on Arbitration and ADR); Joke Aliu (Chair, Committee on Banking, Financial Institutions and International Monetary Law); Dr. Oyeniyi Abe (Chair, Committee on Business, Human Rights and Justice; Dr. Eghosa Ekhator (Chair, Committee on the Teaching of International Law and the SDGs); Mofesomo Tayo-Oyetibo (Chair, Committee on International Law and New Technologies) and Joshua Daranijo (Chair, Young Members Committee).

While reacting to his emergence as President, Professor Olawuyi, SAN thanked the immediate past President, Prof Fidelis Oditah, KC, SAN for his meritorious and outstanding service to the Association and promised to consolidate on the achievements of the previous EXCO.

Professor Olawuyi said “It is an absolute privilege and honour to serve as the President of the Nigerian Branch of the International Law Association. For several decades, the ILA has played pivotal roles in the development and understanding of public and private international law. The Nigerian Branch, which was inaugurated in 2014 has benefited immensely from the steady guidance and remarkable leadership of Professor Oditah, KC, SAN for which are infinitely grateful. I thank members of the Association for their confidence in me and I very much look forward to working with them to advance ILA’s important work of deepening international rule of law in Nigeria and across the world”

The ILA was founded in Brussels in 1873. The ILA now has some 3,500 members in 45 national and regional branches around the world. It is headquartered in London under the leadership of Professor Christine Chinkin. ILA’s objective, under its constitution, is to promote the ‘study, clarification and development of international law’. ILA has consultative status with a number of the United Nations specialized agencies.

Membership of the ILA is open to anyone, including lawyers and non-lawyers, interested in international law. The Nigerian Branch of the ILA regularly hosts innovative lectures, seminars, conferences, and other capacity development programs to advance the study and understanding of international law in Nigeria. To learn more about the ILA, its activities, and events visit http://www.ila-hq.org]]>

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