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Jan 27, 2020

Effect Of United Nation's Resolution In The Oil & Gas Industry of 3rd World Countries

Before the legal regime of oil and gas in developing nations (like Nigeria), developing nations had little or no right over their natural resources as developed nations were taking advantage of the developing nations.  Eventually, developing nations could concede almost all their territories to the powerful foreigners, as obtained in Nigeria by the Colonial government in 1938 which gave Shell BP all the territories in Nigeria (357,000 square miles).

The old way of acquiring right to explore natural resources in the developing countries is through concession. Concession was the term used to describe the grant, by a state to private persons or companies, of the right to explore for, and if found, to produce oil. A concession connotes or implies a relationship between the weak and the strong. It contains an element of capitulation and the nature of a gift. The very liberal terms of the earliest concessions appear to support these points of view. The transactions appeared one-sided, between a king who knew very little about the possibilities of the commodity and was too easily satisfied with his royalty of a few gold sovereigns and the oil company; rich, powerful and knowledgeable.(1)


The term concession was therefore regarded as a transaction in which a monarch "unminded of the interests of his people, gave too much for little, and gave to foreigners who were only too eager to build a colonial system upon the grant".2


The features of the concession regime are:
• It lasts for very long duration.
• It covered a vast expanse of territory.
• The consideration of the concession to the host government was minute and ridiculous. In some instances, a bottle of Scotch whisky was said to be sufficient.

The foundation for Nigeria's mineral and mining law was laid down shortly after the Berlin Conference3 by the Petroleum Ordinance of 1889 which was followed by the Mineral Regulation (oil) Ordinance of 1907.4 These pieces of legislation therefore established the basic framework for the development of mineral mining in Nigeria.

However, after the amalgamation of 1914, Sir Lord Lugard passed the 1914 Mineral Ordinance to repeal the 1907 Ordinance and thereby making mineral mining in Nigeria a wholly British concern. Section 6(1) of the Ordinance provides:

"No lease or license shall be granted except to a British subject or to a British
company registered in Great Britain or in a British Colony and having  its
principal place of business within her majesty's dominion, the chairman and
managing director (if any) and the majority of the directors of which are British subjects"

The import of this section is ostensible; it maintains the legacy of imperialistic concession by vesting the right to search for, win, and work minerals exclusively in British subjects or companies controlled by them. 

Moreover, the natives were given no right to challenge the lessee during the currency of the mining lease agreement while the mining company retained the sole right to commence exploration of the minerals found on such land.
The 1961 Ordinance was promulgated. It would be worthy to note that the 1916 Ordinance was a reproduction of the 1914 Ordinance to the extent that it re-affirmed the control and ownership by the British Crown over mining and oil rights in Nigeria.5 However, it differed significantly from the 1914 law as it gave some considerations for the local land owners by providing for the payment of compensation to owners of properties damaged in the mining process.6 This Ordinance failed to address the problems existing of it time. About 40yrs later, the 1959 Mineral Oil Act repealed and replaced it.
After the Second World War, the devastating impact of the war had serious effects on the world powers.. They had relied so much on the developing countries. They felt that going individually will make little or no success, but going as an organization could help achieve their aim. They had to come together and look for a way forward.

The name "United Nations", coined by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt was first used in the Declaration by United Nations of 1 January 1942, during the Second World War, when representatives of 26 nations pledged their Governments to continue fighting together against the Axis Powers. The United Nations struggled to handle the oppression of developing nations and on the other hand the interest of industrialized countries.
On 24 October 1945 The United Nations officially came into existence. In 1945, representatives of 50 countries met in San Francisco at the United Nations Conference on International Organization to draw up the United Nations Charter. 

The delegates deliberated on the basis of proposals worked out by the representatives of China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States at Dumbarton Oaks, United States in August-October 1944. The Charter was signed on June 26, 1945 by the representatives of the 50 countries. Poland, which was not represented at the Conference, signed it later and became one of the original 51 Member States. 

The United Nations officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, when the Charter was ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States, and a majority of other signatories. United Nations Day is celebrated on 24 October each year. 

The controversy over mineral resources was between the industrialized nations and the developing nations, while the former canvassed the idea of investor ownership and control of a state's natural resources, the latter clamored for a shift in balance of power and control of natural resources in their favour. An attempt to resolve this gave rise to the passing of the resolution conferring on member states generally the right to permanent sovereignty over natural resources. This is the United Nation's General Assembly Resolution 1803 (Xvii) Of 14 December 1962, "Permanent sovereignty over natural resources".


The principle of permanent sovereignty over natural resources otherwise known as the landmark resolution, was first raised by the Chilean delegation at the Eight Session of the Human Right Commission, when it was working on the preparation of the Draft International Covenants on Human Rights in pursuance of the General Assembly Resolution No. 455 (IV) of February 5, 1952.7

In this Resolution, the General Assembly decided to include the right of all peoples and nations of self-determination as part of the Human Rights Covenants and requested the commission to prepare a draft on the subject.8

After a long discussion, the Commission's working party agreed to include in the draft covenants the following paragraph:

"The right of the people to self-determination shall also include permanent sovereignty over their natural wealth and resources. In no case may a people be deprived of its own subsistence on the ground of any rights that may be claimed by other states".

It also decided further that, in the conduct of the full survey of the status of the permanent sovereignty of peoples and nations over their natural wealth and resources, due regard should be paid to the rights and duties of States under international law and to the importance of encouraging international co-operation in the economic development of developing countries, bearing in mind its resolution 1515 (XV) of 15 December 1960, in which it recommended that the sovereign right of every State to dispose of its wealth and its natural resources should be respected, considering that any measure in this respect must be based on the recognition of the inalienable right of all States freely to dispose of their natural wealth and resources in accordance with their national interests, and on respect for the economic independence of States.9

Historically, the principle of permanent sovereignty over natural resources is a logical outcome of the principle of self-determination which brought about the dissolution of the colonial empires after the Second World War.10 After attaining political independence, it was meaningless if foreign control endured in the economic sector all the more since for most developing countries soon realized that by political independence, their natural resources generally represented their only economic asset.

It was therefore, not surprising that the objectives which the developing countries established for their natural resources conflicted with the interests of foreign based companies protecting their usually advantageous investment conditions.11

The developing countries regarded the principle of permanent sovereignty over natural resources as inalienable, as a rule of ius cogens (compelling law), a norm accepted and recognized by the international community of states as a whole and from which no derogation is permitted unless by a subsequent norm of general international law having the same character. The effect of this proposition put forward by the developing countries is that foreign investment agreements which are inconsistent with the principle of permanent sovereignty over natural resources would lose validity in law.12



As a corollary to this resolution, member Oil nations made municipal laws governing their natural resources. The effect of the resolution in Nigeria is the enactment of section 44(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), and the Petroleum Act of 1969. The Federal Government of Nigeria, under the leadership of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCFR), in March 2010 signed into law the Nigerian Local Content Act which aimed at promoting  industrialization  of  the  nation's  oil  and  gas  industries and  thereby improving  the economic and social well-being of citizens engaged in the industries, which is a paradigm shift from the old arrangement.
The above enactments feature some novel provisions which include, but not limited to:

• The conferment of the entire ownership and control of all petroleum in, under or upon any land to which the Act applies shall be vested in the state;
• Introduction of oil exploration license, oil prospecting license and oil mining lease;
• The emergence of National Oil company (NOC);
• Provides for operation of refineries with the licence from the Minister;
• Mandatory participation of Nigerians in the oil and gas industry;
• Mandatory training of Nigerians to be proficient in the oil and gas industry.
Flowing from the foregoing, it is evident that developing nations (Nigeria inclusive) owing to the landmark resolution now have a firm grip of their natural resources through these measures, and other measures in the Acts such state may deem expedient.
On the other hand, OPEC formed in 1960 by 5 member states which Nigeria joined in 1971, also aids member nations to have control of their natural resources and for the economic, political and social development of member nations.
In conclusion, United Nation played a vital role for the sovereignty over natural resources by 3rd world countries.

Author: 
Chinedu Innocent Nwobodo (LLB, BL, ChMC)
He is an Associate under the litigation department of Chris Ogunbanjo LP, a leading commercial law firm in Nigeria which has been in existence for over five decades.
He holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree from Enugu State University and Barrister at Law Degree from the Nigerian Law School, Lagos campus. He is an Associate of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators.
chineduinnocentnwobodo@gmail.com
08165191968




REFERENCES:
1. Lawrence Atsegbua, "Oil and Gas Law in Nigeria: Theory and practice" (Third Edition) Benin, Fifers Lane Publishers, 2012, p.36
2. Ibid.
3. 1885 Berlin Conference for the Balkanization of Africa
4. Lawrence Atsegbua, Op. Cit at 42.
5. Section 3(1) of the Ordinance provides that the entire property in and control of the minerals, and mineral oils, in under or upon any land in Nigeria, and of all Rivers, streams and water courses, throughout Nigeria, is and shall be vested in the Crown, save in so far as such rights may in any case have been limited by the express grant made before the commencement of this Ordinance
6. Section 34(1) of the 1916 Ordinance provides that the mining lessee shall pay compensation to the owner of any building, or any economic trees, or crops removed, destroyed or damaged by the lessee, his agents workmen: provided that compensation shall not be payable in respect of any building erected or trees or crop planted on land in respect of which surface rent is paid by the lessee under section 32 after the date of which such rent commences to be payable.
7. S.K Benerjee. "The Concept of Permanent Sovereignty Over Natural Resources" (1968) 8 Indian J. Int'l Law 515 @ 517
8. Ibid.
9. http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/NaturalResources.aspx
accessed at 12:10pm on Jan., 20, 2020.
10. Benerjee, supra, note 2 at 515.
11. Lawrence Atsegbua, Op. Cit, at 306
12. Ibid, at 313

Paul Usoro, SAN Constitutes Technical Committee for 2020 Annual General Conference

            

The President of the Nigerian Bar Association,NBA, Paul Usoro, SAN has, in preparations for the 60th Annual General Conference of the NBA, duly constituted the Technical Committee on Conference Planning, TCCP.

Lawyers who participated at the last conference will agree that it was one of a kind and one of the best Conferences ever. 

Full list of persons on the TCCP include - 

-Prof Konyinsola Ajayi, SAN M Chairman

- George Etomi M Member
- Uche Obi, SAN M Member
- Sani Hussaini Garun-Gabbas, SAN M Member
- Oyinkansola Badejo-Okusanya F Member
- Mfon Usoro F Member
- Ayotola Jagun F Member
- Sule Shu'aibu M Member
- Chukwuka Ikwuazom M Member
- Chinyere Okorocha F Member
- Akin Ajibola M Member
- Toyosi Alabi F Member
- Kelechi Obi M Member
- Adetola Bucknor-Taiwo F Member
- Hannatu Dauda Simon F Member
- Sylvester Udemezue M Member
- Tosin Iyayi F Member
- Yusuf Abdullahi Abdulkadir M LOAN Chairman
- Oludayo Olorunfemi F Ikere-Ekiti Chairperson
- Dr. Paul Ebiala M Calabar Chairman
- Mohammed A I Akande M Ilorin Chairman
- Paschal Ugwuanyi M Nnewi Chairman
- Sylvester Adaka M Port Harcourt Chairman
- Seni Adio, SAN M SBL Chairman
- Oluseun Abimbola M SPL Chairman
- Dr. Paul Ananaba, SAN M SPIDEL Chairman
- Prof Oluyemisi Bamgbose, SAN F NBA WF Chairperson
- Tobi Adebowale M President, YLF Council
- Banke Olagbegi-Oloba F National Treasurer
- Joshua Usman M National Welfare Secretary
- Kunle Edun M National Publicity Secretary
- Asue Ighodalo M Consultant
- Gbenga Oyebode, MFR M Consultant

Dele Adesina SAN felicitates with NBA Calabar

                          

I write with profound joy to felicitate with the leaders and distinguished members of the NBA Calabar Branch on this occasion of her Law Week and Bar Dinner, holding in Calabar, Cross River State on the 27th of January to the 2nd of February, 2020.

Jan 24, 2020

Photo News: Valedictory Court Session In Honour Of Hon. Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa and Hon. Justice Eugenia Iyizoba, JCA (rtd)

Photos from the valedictory court session in honour of the  President of the Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa and Hon. Justice Eugenia Iyizoba, JCA (rtd) held today 24th January, 2020. 

NBA Women Forum Free Mentorship Programme For Young Lawyers



The Nigerian Bar Association Women Forum (NBAWF) through its Mentorship Committee has developed a mentorship programme for members. The programme offers free mentoring for young female lawyers from 0-5 years at the bar. NBAWF mentoring is intended to encourage and assist members to develop to their full potentials in all areas of career and life and will be held at different locations in the country. In designing this programme, we plan to incorporate areas of concern to you prior to the rollout. 

The NBAWF invites interested female lawyers within the 0-5 year bracket to share suggestions, mentorship needs and contact details including Bar Branch with the Secretary at ugo.esq@gmail.com or on NBAWF social media handles. Senior female lawyers interested and willing to inspire younger female lawyers as mentors are requested to send their contact details to  ugo.esq@gmail.com. The window for this consultation is two weeks ending on 7 February 2020.

Follow us on:
FB - NBA WOMEN FORUM
TWITTER - @ForumNba
LinkedIn - NBA WOMEN FORUM

Let's work together to Empower Female Lawyers.

Jan 23, 2020

Operation AMOTEKUN, National Security and Countenance of the Law | Daniel O. Adedigba



In what appears like a New Year gift, the South - West governors on January 9, 2020 inaugurated Operation Amotekun, a security outfit directed to combat killings and kidnapping in the zone. According to the governors, the security outfit is necessary at this point following the persistent serial killings and kidnapping in the zone by Fulani herdsmen. 

Following the sequence of insecurity in the South West, on the 5th day of May, 2019, there was an abduction of a lecturer of Obafemi Awolowo University, Professor Olayinka Adegbehingbe at the Ikoyi/Apomu junction of the Ife/Ibadan expressway of Oyo State. Also, on the 13th day of July, 2019, there was a report that gunmen who were suspected to be herdsmen killed Funke Olakunrin, a daughter of the Afenifere leader on the Ondo-Ore road. On the 2nd day of August, 2019, a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God and four others were kidnapped at the Ogbere area of Ogun State. These incidents among others gave birth to Operation Amotekun.
Reactions have however trailed the inauguration from certain quarters that choose to name the security outfit as illegal. These reactions include threat from the Miyetti Allah Organisation to deny south west of the 2023 Presidential seat as well as terming the outfit as a possible disaster for Nigeria. 

The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN similarly declared the security initiative as illegal relying on the position that the power over security is an exclusive duty of the Federal Government.

In the midst of the comments parading the Amotekun initiative, its pronouncement as illegal and the occasioned counter arguments, it becomes extremely instructive to make recourse to the law for the determination of its legality or otherwise.

The primary provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria relating to government and security is Section 14 (2) (b) which provides, "the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government." Flowing from the provision, it become worthy to acknowledge that security is a responsibility of the government and any government that fails in providing security for its people has failed a statutory obligation and it follows quickly that the event of the failure of the government will open doors for citizens to make productive steps to secure themselves. A clear study of Section 14 (2) (b) speaks of government generally whether Federal, State or Local Government.

The antagonists of the Operation Amotekun initiative have argued that the initiative is unnecessary owing to the constitutional recognition of the Nigerian Police Force. However, Section 214 CFRN which establishes the Nigeria Police Force, provides, "there shall be a police Force for Nigeria, which shall be known as the Nigerian Police Force, and subject to the provisions of this section no other police force shall be established for the Federation or any part thereof." By this provision, the constitution merely established the Nigeria Police without spelling out in clear terms their functions or their exclusivity in criminal or security matters. 

Section 4 of the Police Act however did a deep illumination into the functions of the Nigerian Police Force. It provides, 'the police shall be employed for the prevention and detection of crime, the apprehension of offenders, the preservation of law and order, the protection of life and property and the due enforcement of all laws and regulations with which they are directly charged...' By interpretation, the law did not in any part make the security of lives and property the exclusive duty of the Nigeria Police to the exclusion of any other entity. From Section 214 CFRN, it becomes clear that any state or local government can establish any entity in their bid to comply with the security obligations of Section 14 (2) (b).

From the above statutory directives, it is clear that Operation Amotekun is not illegal by any constitutional directive. The pronouncement of the Attorney General of the Federation of Operation Amotekun as illegal therefore is lacking force as the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation created by Section 150 CFRN does not have the power conferred to the courtroom under Chapter VII of the constitution.
In the instance of any confusion, it is instructive that the Attorney General of the Federation should approach the Supreme Court which is constitutionally robed with an original jurisdiction over this matter.

Pending the predictable pronouncement of the Supreme Court, Operation Amotekun has the presumption of legality and should be given all the supports needed to achieve its overall objectives.

Daniel O. Adedigba
adedigbadaniel01@gmail.com
08108019481

NBA Elections: If You Must Cry, Do Not Shed Crocodile Tears!

A few days ago, I read a few commentaries which were so laden with crocodile tears that I thought it necessary to write and provide this 'mop' to wipe our floor clean again. For context, I have reproduced two of those commentaries below:

"The entire Nigerian political and moral systems are deteriorating fast and sickening. The forthcoming NBA national elections and intrigues by some aspirants are shameful and condemnable by morally upright lawyers. Does it mean that our conscience as a noble profession is lost? Are we getting so gullible to be bought by free dinners and concerts? Trying to buy our votes through dubious and messy programmes is silly. NBA should not get into the arena of the obvious moral decadent political system of the country. This emerging morally bankrupt programmes by aspirants should be condemned by all well-meaning lawyers. If we fail to raise the wise alarm now, it will get to actual vote buying with cash as it is with the present election system in the country. Let's all rise up against the morally bankrupt agenda of corrupt minds from taking over our national body (NBA) through dubious means." [sic]

"When we make excuses for what is ethically unacceptable in the legal profession, I weep for our once noble profession. In the forthcoming NBA election, we as lawyers must make a distinction between those who are ready to serve and those who believe our votes can be bought by giving us appearance of being nice. Those who have not been greeting us or praying for us on social media before will start doing so now. Those who never care to pay practising fees for young lawyers will suddenly start to do so now. Those who never attend or organise social functions for lawyers, will start doing so now. Those who have nothing to offer the profession in terms of brevity and speaking out against the declining ethnic in the profession are now doing so. Those whose conduct fall far below the expected standards of conduct will be pontificating now as messiah of the Bar. We are descending to so low standard of conduct in the conduct of our election that I really don't see the difference between our NBA election and the conventional politics in Nigeria. As lawyers we must avoid giving appearance of impropriety in our quest to occupy any post in NBA. Time has come for us as lawyers to respect our rules of professional conduct in the legal profession if we want the society to take us serious. This is what is on my mind today." [sic]

I have refrained from producing the names of the persons who made these comments simply to protect them from the backlash of their own myopia and amnesia, details of which are discussed below. As a preliminary point, I must confess that I am tempted to respond generously to the commentators' confusing reference to moral standards when the NBA's 2015 Constitution as amended (the "Constitution") clearly specifies what amounts to legally permissible electoral conduct. I must also confess that I am going to fall into that temptation with joy! So far, and to the best of my knowledge, none of the aspirants appears to have breached the electoral provisions in the Constitution, and all their conducts are legally permitted. Importing morality, without more, into this is therefore a cheap attempt to muddy otherwise clear waters, especially in the face of the highly elusive and relativist nature of morality.

What the first commentator considers as moral may be deemed immoral by someone else. So, the first commentator has no standing to declare what may amount to morally acceptable standards, or what may comprise a moral system, or who may qualify as a morally upright lawyer. Having said the above, I must state that I am not incurably positivist. Neither am I incurably naturalist. I understand the normativity of law, I understand the normativity of morality, and like Devlin and Paton, I also appreciate the moral content of law. In this respect, we should only raise questions of morality if we can show that they comprise the moral content of clear provisions of law, but the first commentator woefully failed to do that.

Interestingly, the Austin Alegeh administration and the writers of the Constitution also appreciate the moral content of law and that was why they instituted universal suffrage and electronic voting. These were designed and introduced to eliminate the highly corrupt delegate voting system through which NBA leaders were 'selected' in the past. I am therefore shocked by the commentators' amnesia. They appear to have forgotten the road we travelled before getting to this point. They appear to have forgotten that they were active participants in the previous corrupt system. Permit me to refresh their memory:

When we operated the delegate system, it was an open secret that it was fraught with corruption. Candidates and their cronies had access to the delegate lists, targeted delegates, sequestered them in hotels, paid them monies, and literally bought their votes. It was a disgraceful system that had to be terminated. The commentators and their folk were around when this was going on. They were complicit either directly by monetising votes or indirectly by failing to cry as they are now doing. In fact, a story has been told of a particular candidate in a previous election cycle who had sequestered delegates in a hotel (all-expenses paid) but subsequently lost the election. The report was that the candidate angrily evicted all those delegates from the accommodation immediately he received news of his loss. Well, this is hearsay and I am not reporting it to assert its truth. I am only reporting it to prove that it was said and I heard it. To the readers who were around then and can assert its truth, wink.

Anyone who has knowledge of the previous system must acknowledge that we have made significant progress by instituting universal suffrage and electronic voting. A failure to acknowledge that is clearly a medical case of amnesia. Assuming, but not conceding, that there is any merit in the commentators' views, how many votes can one person buy under the new system? How many lawyers can one person pay practicing fees for? How may free dinners and concerts can one person sponsor? Assuming there is someone who has that kind of capital to risk, and indeed risks it, can that person micromanage voting as was done during the era of delegate voting? The answer to this last question is clearly in the negative.

Voting, under the new system, is a private matter conducted in the comfort of the voter's home or office. At the end of the day, the voters are free to vote as they please. The allegations of actual or perceived political inducement, therefore, not only fail to make any sense; they also insult the collective nous of the voters, who are all learned people and are capable of taking independent decisions that they consider most favourable for them and their professional association. At the very best, the actions complained about by the commentators would only result in increased voter awareness of the candidacy of particular individuals especially as voters are still free to vote as they please. The commentators' sudden concern for the conscience of our noble profession is simply bellyaching on account of their loss of control. They want the delegate system back at all costs, so that they can control the elections and make money off it. In fact, at the 2019 Annual General Meeting of the NBA, at least one of the commentators and their cronies were very vociferous in advocating for the re-introduction of the discriminatory, inept and corruption-laden delegate voting system.

As lawyers, we understand what an innuendo is. The commentators' views are laden with innuendos, and even the blind can see who the target is. This fact, in my view, significantly worsens the commentators' amnesia and points to their myopia. Only one of the aspirants is known for sponsoring scholarships, capacity-building trainings, NBA Branch meetings, and the likes. This aspirant sees what the future of the profession would be – something which the commentators clearly cannot see. This aspirant has been doing these for at least eight (8) years now, to my knowledge. In all that time, the commentators and their cronies did not describe any of those programmes, sponsorships or scholarships as morally bankrupt, or sickening, or dubious, or any of the other choice adjectives in the commentators' kitty. The commentators' moral compasses are suddenly functional simply because it is an election season and this aspirant is gathering the most momentum, to the commentators' chagrin.

In any event, if the only complaint now is that a particular aspirant took a few people to a concert or to a dinner, then we are doing very well given our recent history. The new system may not be 100% perfect, but it is better than the delegate system by several million light years. The commentators should, therefore, stop complaining about very tangential and irrelevant matters, especially when there is clear evidence showing that the matters complained about predate these elections by several years and are not merely a gimmick. Let us focus on the key issues bedevilling the NBA. Let these campaigns be issue-based. Stop messing the campaign floors up. Save the crocodile tears for something else.

Prince Ifenna J. Okeke

Jan 22, 2020

Dele Adesina SAN, a Bar man per excellence


I would like to tell you about a man who has been consistent in his position on national issues as it affects the country as a whole and the NBA in particular. A man filled with enormous experience in the running of the affairs of the Bar and has proven to be a trailblazer while he occupied Bar leadership positions.

Dele Adesina SAN is not a man to be intimidated or cowed by political bullies. He speaks up against draconian policies and programs irrespective of whose ox is gored.

Dele Adesina SAN, a Bar man per excellence is very active both at the Bar and also in private legal practice. He was the Publicity Secretary, the Secretary, and Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja Branch at various periods. In 2002, he was elected the General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association. The leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association at the time during which he occupied the power house of the Association in the capacity of the General Secretary is reputed for creating promotion of the welfare of Lawyers, uncompromising defence of Rule of Law, protection of the independence of the judiciary and the promotion of sustainable democracy. A few examples will suffice.



As the general Secretary of the Bar, he moved the leadership of the Bar to mount a sustained protest and demonstration against the then Governor of Anambra State - Chinwoke Mbadinuju after the brutal murder of the then Onitsha Bar Chairman- Barnabas Igwe and the wife. The NBA's stance on the assassination ensured that Mbadinuju was not returned for 2nd Tenure as the NBA took a stand on that issue.

Again, about two years ago when a Female Lawyer was assaulted by a DPO in Onitsha, Dele Adesina SAN personally brought the issue to the Commissioner of Polici Anambra State and mobilized some senior members of the Onitsha bar to see that justice was done.

Dele Adesina SAN did not just suddenly start showing interest in the affairs of members of the Bar few months/years to contesting for the office of the President of the NBA. He loves the Bar and has the interest of lawyers at heart.

I will rather stand with a man who has been consistent in protecting the interest of lawyers and speaking up against abuse of power and disregard to the rule of law, than with one who suddenly started showing interest in the Bar because he wants to be President. You should too, my learned friend.

Obinna Akpuchukwu (HOD) Esq.

Jan 21, 2020

NBA Decides: We Must Not Permit The Manipulation of History | Orji Uka




In the famous words of Aaron Levenstein, "Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital." The same can be said of history, particularly when manipulated to achieve a desired end.

Jan 20, 2020

It's 10 Days to the Career Training for Lawyers, have you registered?




Are you a Nigerian lawyer looking to improve your competence in International Trade Law? Will you like to know the rules that govern cross-border transactions, the international regime for intellectual property registration and become an expert negotiator? 

Then you should register for the International Trade Law and Conflict Management training for lawyers. 


Details include  -

· Theme:  "Lawyers at the center of African Trade"





· Modules:  
- Negotiation & Conflict Management 
- International Arbitration 
- Cross Border Finance 
- International Trade Law
-  Production Sharing Contracts
- Intellectual Property Law


· Date: 30th and 31st of January, 2020 

·Time: 9am – 5pm daily

·Venue: Neca House, Hakeem Balogun Street, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.

·Audience: Lawyers

Registration Details

Fee per delegate     - N50,000                                                       

For registration, Please contact Lawlexis on 09095635314; 08055424566 or send a mail to lawlexisinternational@gmail.com.

Jan 17, 2020

The Premier Bar Rises up to the Challenge


On 7 January 2020, a member of the Nigerian Bar Association ("NBA" or the "Association"), Jake Okechukwu Effoduh, stirred the hornet's nest when he tweeted that he had just paid the sum of N15,000 for his Bar practicing fees for the year. He also noted that he has been paying his practicing fees for the past nine (9) years and wondered what the NBA has done for him and the many others who pay these annual fees, statutorily required of all members of the Association.

Rather than overlook the tweet, which understandably went viral and resonated with a number of young lawyers, the tweet gave me cause to pause and truly consider what the NBA does for the thousands of its members, and more importantly, what the NBA can do for its members.

The NBA is the umbrella professional association of all lawyers admitted to practice in Nigeria and as stipulated in the Constitution of the NBA 2015 (as amended), part of the aims and objectives of the Association include the maintenance and defence of the integrity and independence of the Bar and the Judiciary in Nigeria; the promotion and advancement of Legal Education, Continuing Legal Education, Advocacy and Jurisprudence, etc.
The NBA is made up of 125 branches across the country, 3 professional sections, 2 specialised institutes, 3 forums and 8 practice-cadre forums. The National Secretariat of the NBA is managed from the Abuja office and the Association has an organisational structure which consists of a National Executive Committee, a National Officers/Management Board, Sections, Forums, Committees, Working Groups and a National Secretariat. The NBA organises annual conferences in August of every year and holds its general elections to elect its national officers every two years.

As well as the Association has arguably done, there should be no argument that it has not lived up its massive potentials, and can clearly do more. It is for this reason that one cannot but wholeheartedly commend the Lagos Branch of the NBA (aptly christened 'the Premier Bar') under the Chairmanship of Mr. Yemi Akangbe for the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) agenda of the Branch. The Premier Bar has in recent times made it a cardinal principle of investing directly in the members of the Branch especially the young lawyers, giving them hope of a better professional future and providing platforms for their upliftment by promoting their social mobility as essential building blocks for the development of the Bar of our dreams.
The Branch has taken up the mantle of the promotion and advancement of Legal Education and Continuing Legal Education in Nigeria and it is one of the few branches in the country, if not the only one, that has a dedicated and focused CPD committee.  This CPD committee has organised many innovative trainings, and mentoring initiatives all of which have been made available to members for free. The committee has had A-list speakers speak on topical issues at each of the last 26 monthly meetings of the Branch; introduced the group/speed mentorship initiative and a 1-1 mentorship programme; coordinated law firm led trainings and other collaborative initiatives. 

This week, the Branch raised the stakes a notch higher when it announced the approval of part sponsorship for 100 members of the Branch (in the sum of Four Million Five Hundred Thousand Naira at Forty-Five Thousand Naira, each) for the Nigerian training element of the CIArb/ NBA collaboration on Associateship certification courses. According to the Chairman of  the CPD Committee of the Branch, Tobenna Erojikwe, the Branch had earlier announced the successful negotiation of a reduction of about 50% of the costs of the training and the sponsorship will go to the first 100 (60 young lawyers and 40 others) members that make the £60 payment for the UK online assessment element of the training. 

We have also been assured that in the coming months, the CPD Committee will be launching the Branch's Career Development Center and the Law Firm Mentorship Initiative. This is highly commendable and resonates with me as one who is deeply-rooted in such intiatives.

Consistent with the excellent spirit prevalent at the Branch, some private individuals have also taken it upon themselves to sponsor young lawyers to various career development trainings. Indeed, there is currently a Practice Preparation Course organised by 'Legally Engaged' and part of the participants are a group of 30 young lawyers drawn from different parts of the country who were fully sponsored to attend by Friends of Olumide Akpata, who has for long been a vanguard of similar capacity building programmes. It is hoped that other well-meaning members of the Bar will key into this crusade and sponsor similar trainings/programmes.

As a business law practitioner and an advocate for specialisation, I call on the young lawyers in the Branch to take advantage of this glorious opportunity. I also call on the NBA Lagos Branch to continue to blaze the trail and for the other branches of the NBA to match or surpass this. Above all, I call on the national body of the NBA to contribute to this discourse so that when next the likes of Jake Okechukwu Effoduh and other well-meaning young lawyers, demand to know what the NBA has done, and can do for them, we can at least point to this and hopefully other achievements.  

Desmond Ogba is member of the NBA Lagos Branch 

Jan 15, 2020

NBA Politics, Facebook Polls and Unintended Consequences | Douglas Ogbankwa Esq.

Politics and propaganda have been close friends since the dawn of time. Every NBA election cycle that I have had the privilege of observing had its fair share of propaganda, but it appears that the next elections will have a large serving of propaganda with extra sauce! Interestingly, most of the propagandist attacks so far have been aimed at a particular aspirant – Mr. Olumide Akpata. Why 'The Establishment' and their cronies seem particularly perturbed by this aspirant's unmatched popularity amongst the NBA's electorate leaves me bewildered. But, whatever the reason is, it is certainly not for the collective good of ALL members of the NBA.

In the past month, three interesting propagandist attacks were launched: the first, by a respected Silk on Twitter, was rather sad and clearly demonstrated why only progressive lawyers should lead the Nigerian Bar. Leaving aside the fact that this attack deliberately ignored Mr. Akpata's long history of sponsoring scores of lawyers to NBA and other capacity building events; the attacker conveniently forgot, or did not know, that the event in question was literally a trade fair for young and progressive lawyers! In the modern market for legal services, clients are looking for lawyers with skills in intellectual property, data protection, music and entertainment law, fashion law, amongst others. Outside events of that nature, where else would a young and progressive lawyer meet and network with dozens of key players in the entertainment industry and a horde of young artists looking for the next record deal – contracts which young lawyers can easily draft to supplement the sad salaries they receive from key members of "The Establishment"?

Well, Mr. Akpata's track record within the NBA, the throng of lawyers who are direct and indirect beneficiaries of his numerous sponsorships, and a host of progressive lawyers quickly reduced the potency of this propagandist attack to levels below zero. I think the attack was not really about the sponsorship itself. It was about something much more subtle – a deliberate question on that poster. Something that made the headlines in the last election and which would be the subject of another piece, or even a series!

The second attack, which was painful to read on account of the particularly poor writing skills of the attacker, attempted to use clear provisions of the 2015 NBA Constitution to distort the NBA's political history. Well, we know our history and we know our Constitution. We cannot be deceived.

The third attack which, quite frankly, is the most interesting started on Facebook. As some of you may be aware, the administrator of a Facebook group called "Nigerian Bar Association Members", created a Facebook poll on 12 January 2020 or thereabouts. This poll required members to vote for whom they reckon would become the next NBA President. To the organiser's dismay, the poll had an unintended consequence!

As a preliminary point, I must state that the name of that Facebook group is suspect. The unauthorised use of the NBA's official name as the name of the group creates the false impression of an official affiliation with the NBA. The NBA has several times warned members to desist from the unauthorised use of its name. Efforts must be made to draw the NBA's attention to this group impersonating it.


The organiser of the said poll, who also doubles as an administrator of that Facebook group, is known to prefer a particular  aspirant – Dr Ajibade SAN. I wondered why he would organise such a poll, on a closed group, when he cannot be an unbiased umpire. I treated the poll with scepticism because I knew it was designed to create the manifestly false impression that Dr Ajibade SAN was popular. Sadly, the organiser could not even pretend to be fair. He deployed several clandestine machinations to frustrate Mr. Akpata's chances of success and to guarantee his preferred aspirant's success. For instance, the comments section under the poll was open and there were comments supporting Dr Ajibade SAN. The organiser had no problems with this. There were about sixteen such comments. Shortly after just two comments in support of Mr. Akpata were posted, the organiser turned off the comments section, creating the false impression that the significant majority of commentators preferred Dr Ajibade SAN.

As if that was not enough, only members of the group could vote on the poll. The organiser was very reluctant to approve the join requests of anyone whom he was not sure would vote for Dr Ajibade SAN. There were numerous supporters of Mr Akpata who complained that their join requests were not approved and were automatically prevented from voting. All attempts to publicly call the organiser's attention to this were frustrated since all posts on the group required his approval.

Mr Akpata won the poll notwithstanding these hurdles. In announcing the results, the organiser shamelessly put his bias on display and even used Anthony Joshua's first loss, and subsequent victory, against Andy Ruiz as a metaphor to console himself, Dr Ajibade SAN and his supporters. After that, some of Dr Ajibade SAN's supporters started circulating posts on WhatsApp suggesting that Dr Ajibade SAN outperformed Mr Akpata, and even describing the vote margin as 'paltry'. Well, a winner is a winner and a loser is a loser, irrespective of the margin.

I am reasonably sure that the organiser of that Facebook poll did not intend Mr Akpata to win, but he won. That poll is largely irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, but as with all things with a political undertone in this period, it must be put in its proper place of worthlessness.

With the foregoing said, it is very important for these propagandists to note a few things:

the NBA elections will be conducted nationwide, using a universal voting system. To a large extent, it is immune from the kind of bias that plagued this Facebook poll;

a cursory look at this Facebook poll reveals that most of the participants are from the South West (particularly Lagos), a handful from Abuja, one or two from Kano and other branches, and a couple of law students. It cannot even qualify as a microcosm of the NBA as it did not have up to an aggregate of 500 votes. It cannot be relied on as indicative of anything but the popularity of Mr Akpata even within the strongholds of the organiser and his preferred aspirant; and

I concede that the organiser achieved the goal of creating the very false impression that Dr Ajibade SAN was popular and could rank next to Mr Akpata. They are now riding on this to flood social media with false tales of Dr Ajibade SAN's successful campaign. Nothing is further from the truth, and we all know that. Mr Akpata will not only win all such popularity contests, biased or not; he will win the upcoming NBA elections.

As we square up for the NBA elections, I personally expect that Mr. Akpata's detractors will device even more mischievous shenanigans to distract us from the more important issues of merit and competence. However, these propagandist attacks prove only one thing: Mr Akpata is the leading aspirant, by several miles; and his only known "offence" is challenging the status quo which furthers the selfish agenda of The Establishment to the detriment of the larger demography of Nigerian lawyers.