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Jul 31, 2018

EZEAFULUKWU-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,TRANSCORP SPEAKS ABOUT PAUL USORO


Paul Usoro, a man I met in 1998 after NYSC at a point when I was at the crossroad of deciding which path to pursue in my legal career. When it looked like doing things the crooked way paid better, when it looked like hard work was a dullard's option. Paul taught me integrity, he embodied hard work and lived it. He taught me to overlook the short term financial advantage some of my colleagues who went into "charge and bail" had over me then, which was really a source of concern to me then, as they earned almost 4 times my initial salary at that point in time. He taught me astuteness and how to remain focused on the big picture notwithstanding the challenging circumstances of the day. 

I learnt a lot of principles from him, especially humility. He would hesitate making promises when he knows he cannot keep it. I learnt elegant drafting from him. He taught me never to rush into issuing post dated cheques as it is one of the easiest way to ruin the reputation of a lawyer. Paul believes in challenging young lawyers and I remember him challenging me to take a contentious motion against an SAN in my first month of practice, and how joyous I was to get the ruling in favour of our client. He taught me how to separate business from pleasure. Paul has extensive corporate experience having served as a director of many blue chip companies. 

He has foresight and vision. When Nigeria was still sleeping Paul anticipated the telecommunication revolution and positioned himself for the revolution that changed the economic landscape of Nigeria. He is a team player and believes in dialogue. He often told me in those days that if proper dialogue was had, the Nigerian civil war would have been averted. He taught me family values even as I was a bachelor then. Case in point: One day, due to power outage and limited capacity of the generator at the then NIDB House on Broad Street, where his office was, our entire office was only allowed to power two air conditioners on. Of course, the air conditioner in the library must be one of the two, being our production lab. 

The challenge was which of Paul's office or his wife's office should have the privilege of the 2nd A/C being on. His wife, Mfon, was the managing partner then. Paul invited the technical guy in charge of power allocation in the building into his office, which was already hot, eliciting some sweat from him. He asked the technical guy if it was not possible to give the firm one more A/C slot so his office and that of his wife would be powered. The answer was outright 'No'. So Paul had to make the decision which of the two offices should have the 2nd A/C slot. To our amazement, he chose his wife's office and asked the technical guy to go and connect the wife's office. I looked at him in amazement, and I remember his words to me. "You that you are not married, better be learning how to treat your wife o", he said to me. 

The real lesson of that encounter was that technical guy ended up connecting his office and that of his wife. I think that  sharing my knowledge of Paul Usoro, SAN, and my experience of working with him in this era of political blackmailing, is a duty I owe my conscience. I have no doubt that all the candidates for the office of NBA President appear to be qualified in their own right, but Paul obviously is the most qualified. Vote wisely!

Chris Ezeafulukwu
Executive Director
Transcorp Hilton

As for me, I stand with PU. Robert Uchenna

As the NBA elections draw near, it is important that we brace up our minds with the right attitudes and right reasons. The fundamental concern is that for the next two years, we will decide how we raise the noble Bar by the decision we make now. It will be left to us whether we want to see our noble profession attain the next level or remain a stagnant water.  It is now we have the opportunity to affect the outcome of what the future holds in stock.

Beyond sentiments and 'adoption', we stand a chance to re-write the future by securing it with our own reasoning and choices. Let us all build together a Bar that works,  based on established antecedents, dignity, expertise, exposure, professionalism; with a leader that will tackle abuse and impunity; a leader concerned with lawyers' welfare; a man engaged in the promotion and protection of human rights,
the rule of law and good governance in Nigeria. Let us reinstate the NBA to its observer-status with the African Commission on Human and People's Rights, and protect the rights of  Nigerian lawyers. Let is reposition the Bar for excellence.

Let us raise the Bar with our votes for the right man for the job. Let us vote for Paul Usoro, SAN!

As for me, I stand with PU.
Robert Uchenna

Make Your Vote Count

 
I love the fact that I am a Nigerian lawyer. Our profession was carved to ensure that we respect our seniors at the Bar, in as much as we all pay respect to our elders at home. I took time to observe the similarity and it is simply amazing! Well, that is another topic for another day. Now, the advent of technology is gradually changing the trend, when an elder tweet most of the time you don't wait to find out if the person is your father's age mate before you respond. The response sometimes is given in the speed of light and in an equal portion to the original twiit that you are responding to. In a nutshell, members of the profession can easily talk back at seniors without any fear of reprimand.

A Nigerian author, Chinua Achebe, once wrote: "Proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten..."  I simply can't understand why we cannot take our destiny into our own hands and vote wisely. The three Presidential candidiates have a life before this election, all we need to do is check their track record holistically. How much is each paying his juniors? what is their international network? what is the track record of their success in the business world? what is their practice like?  And a host of other questions. Well, your guess is as good as mine.

Charity, they say, begins at home. The only person that stands out without an iota of doubt is Paul Usoro, SAN.
The facts speak for themselves. We all know these facts and that is why we have seen a lot of blow-him-out strategies.

It is not necessary to blow out the other person's lantern to let one's own shine (Swahili proverb)
But the more they try the more they increase his chances and popularity.
But God is not mocked, PU keep up the clean and good work, succeess is yours!
Even if you dance in the water, your enemies will accuse you of causing dust.
We understand their game plan but it won't work . Make your vote count by voting PU.

My name is Emmanuel Ugochukwu

Raising The Bar Towards Excellence | Idris Abubakar

We may have to pause, draw a deep breath and then transform the way we cast out our most-cherished votes for candidates. I don't want your esteemed self to vote for P. U. because he's the most admirable, or the most charismatic, or have the flashiest outfit or the coolest gait. 

I don't want you to vote for him because he shook your hands at dinners or took a snapshot with you at an event, or because he's the guy you'd most like to have a tea with. I don't want you to vote for him because of some loud media type online, on print, television or radio told you to vote for him. I don't want you to vote for him because some "expert" tell you he's blazing the trail. 

I don't want you to vote for him because he gave some fine and
flowery speech alone about the plight and welfare of young lawyers. Details are easily accessible on the daily reflections and manifestos. And I most especially i don't want you to vote for P. U. because you're voting against the other candidate.

Beyond all that, I have the  sincere pleasure to present here a gentleman who is honoured in owning up to his words; his excellence, articulation and records are unmatched. Here is a man with professionalism, courage, competence and foresight. I am fully convinced that he would deliver on all his promises.

Let us raise the bar towards excellence by voting for Paul Usoro SAN. 

Idris Abubakar

Jul 30, 2018

Overwhelming Support Pours In For NBA Presidential Candidate, Paul Usoro


A lot has been said of the Astute Litigator and Strategist, Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN, the Presidential candidate for the fort coming Nigerian Bar Association elections. Supporters from both junior and senior lawyers have shown steadfastness amidst the campaigns of calumny and smear campaigns on Social Media and Whatsapp platforms against their choice (Paul Usoro, SAN). They have demonstrated that exceptional believe on the course they stand for, #PUTTINGYOUFIRST.  Suffice to say that they are the real 'die hard fans' as commonly used among football fanatics.


In this write up, we have extracted some of the quotes from some supporters of the Paul Usoro, the NBA Presidential election candidate who are proud to be #PURIFIED.  The captivating quotes as written in their own words encapsulate the essence of what PU stands for.


"Surely, there is no Justice in every disposition until you can concede humanly that indeed, someone is more meritorious than you're. Paul Usoro SAN you're more meritorious than others, we therefore remain #PURIFIED because you're Putting Us First!"
Abdul Quadri Alhaji Sanni


"It is not of him that willeth, it is of the Lord, that showeth Mercy", "The race is not unto the strong, the battle is not unto the swift, time and chance happeneth to them all". The Holy Bible If you wished, suspend Officials of the Forum, who stand on the path of Truth, 'cause crises in Branches, snatch microphones in an unlawyerly manner,  just because you want to force a candidate down our throat, "Que Sera Sera Sera ", what will be, will be ". #IStandWith Paul Usoro SAN, the man suited for the job!
Douglas Ogbankwa


This is the deal. The opposition have coalesced and all working towards one goal. The opposition have done the maths and everything points to the fact that we will win in the election ahead as scheduled by the ECNBA. So what do they do? Send out attack dogs. Throw everything and anything - muddle the waters as much as possible. Discredit the NBA and its electoral process. Create doubts in the minds of the electorate.


The attempt at interpreting annual reports displays total unimaginable ignorance. Even a limited quest for knowledge would have made them consult lawyers in financing or capital markets or accountants to deconstruct the meaning of the screenshot annual report referenced but their interest is not in the truth but to cause confusion. The disingenuous argument of a 150 member EBF (according to Prof Ojukwu) falls flat.


All of these were expected. That is why the Team PU are calm and focused in our campaign.
Recall and be encouraged by the words of our leader: "If his track record is anything to go by, I fully expect him to recycle his distorted facts and untruths, come up with further jaded arguments and continue to pursue his futile goal of running me out of the NBA Presidential race. Do I need to worry about these expected reprocessed attacks? No. Discerning readers, lawyers and non-lawyers alike, have seen through Odinkalu's campaign of calumny and all that remains to be said is that a million Odinkalus cannot change God's Will."
Adetola (Ibironke) Bucknor-TAIWO


"I focus on my candidate, I don't discuss other candidates, I wish other candidates best of luck, as for Paul Usoro SAN, welcome him, he is the next NBA President for the next two years, by the special grace of God. You and I will make it possible. He will turn the NBA around for the benefit of you and me".
Rafiu Tolani Esq


"I am a staunch supporter of Chief Mazi Afam Osigwe, I am also a member of EBF. I reside and practice in Asaba same with Aurthur Obi. Some candidates believe so much in adoption and they can do anything to keep that up. The Midwest Coordinator for Paul Usoro, SAN, Mr. Ogaga Emoghwanre approached me, having seen everything on ground and in the absence of Afam Osigwe in the election; the only viable candidate and the person that can turn around the affairs of the bar positively is Paul Usoro, SAN. I have been #PURIFIED".
Stanley Ofor



The PU statement was well-thought-out! I faced similar intimidation and thuggery in 2012 and eventually lost my younger brother on eve of the NBA manifesto night, when I contested the position of NBA President against the dictates of those who believed they were the NBA CABALS.
You should know what followed after the elections and how just two(2) votes were allotted to me!
The shameless thuggery and intimidation are growing with the play on words called ADOPTION.


My position has remained that if any position is zoned to any REGION, let anyone from that Zone who is interested and qualified be allowed and encouraged to vie for it! ADOPTION is very undemocratic and tyrannical. It breeds desperation that may turn NBA politics into a do-or-die affair. I DO NOT SUPPORT IT. I WILL NOT ACCEPT ANYONE IMPOSING HIS WILL ON ME.


I have been fighting against it for years. I have not changed my STAND. I have won many elections in NBA by swimming against the tide. It made me stronger and much more determined. I was nick-named the one-man-riot-squad and I got awarded with the title - CPHB. I was even denied audience in an EBF meeting hosted and held in my Branch! So u see, my dear Paul Usoro, SAN, to be fair to EBF, it did not start with you.


The DESPERATION in the NBA politics is a shameful and painful thing! We had thought that with the introduction of universal suffrage and electronic voting, desperation and intimidation might gradually fade away. I pray and believe that we do not further degenerate.


No one can ADOPT my vote! I am too enlightened for that. I strongly believe every Legal Practitioner/NBA Voter should be allowed to vote according to his personal convictions.
That is the only way we can elect credible Bar Leaders and retire the NBA CABALS, or encourage them to go and join their likes in the Nigerian politics of KILL-AND-BURY YOUR OPPONENTS TO WIN ELECTIONS!
E.B. UKIRI,Esq.


When I saw the line-up of candidates for this current NBA elections, I was indeed thrilled by their personalities and must confess that I felt so proud to be part of the zone producing the president for the incoming leadership. Truth be told, since I didn't know anyone of the personally I wanted to root for a certain academician whose legal works has contributed and still do contribute to my wealth of legal experience: by divine arrangement I was added to the PUC team by a cherish friend and leaned senior who I respect a lot as a legal icon and one of my personal legal role models. Instead of exiting from the group as I had resolved, I decided to stay and understand why Mrs Eke and my friend would throw their weight behind a man I know nothing about. Indeed I have seen, read and learned a lot about this legal luminary.


In summary, PUSAN's profile is not only overwhelming but his achievements are mind blowing.  However, what captivates me most are the testimonials from both serving associates, partners and staff in his employment; this one settled any confusion for me  and should also do for you if you have the future of the bar at heart.


Credible, Capable and Tenacious Seniors who are ready to provide mentorship to younger lawyers matters a lot to me and should to you also. I am saddened by the level of poor practise and lack of pupillage for younger lawyers. I see in Paul Usoro, a bar with an agenda for the new and aged wigs, which is something so fundamental but lacking in the profession now.


If you eligible, please vote for Paul Usoro, if you are not, campaign for him as I am doing, not for what you will profit right now but for the future of the Nigerian Bar. Our profession is Noble and must continue to maintain its Nobility in the strictest sense of words.
Boma-Jaja Philip-Obi

The Dealers

The Nigerian Bar Association is a body established with the sole aim of seeing to the Welfare of lawyers, most importantly, to also serve as a watch dog to the society. Over the years, the Association has gradually deviated from her core values; lawyers are indiscriminately arrested and molested all over the country. Yet all we get is a press statement and sometimes a letter. We don't need to consult a seer to know that something is fundamentally wrong with our dear Association. Every member of the Association is entitled to full protection, welfare packages, insurance, rapid response system and a whole lot more. 

The NBA is one of the professional bodies in Nigeria that has continued to neglect her members and the sacred duty expected of her by the society. What deal do you have with NBA? Have you sat down to think about what you have benefited from your Association since you have been called to the Bar?
It's an election year, It would surprise you to know that majority of the key players promoting one candidate or the other might have a deal with the candidate they are supporting. It may not be because they love you or because they are extremely passionate about the Association, it may all boil down to ulterior interests. They demand the agree deal to support a candidate the moment the candidate wins. Their choice of candidate is not based on whether the candidate is good as a leader for the association but just for the deal they have with them.

If you still believe that we can rescue the future of this Association then we must stand firm and vote wisely. If we don't vote for the right candidate, it means jeopardizing the future of this noble association. 

Aren't you tired of the dealer?
However, I know one man who is absolutely independent. He is not a dealer. He has no obligation to favor A against B and no adoption. Just a mission to salvage the Bar. Permit me to introduce you to Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN. The only true candidate who can fearlessly protect the rights of lawyers and restore the lost glory of the Bar.

This is my message, think and vote wisely. PU, putting you first all of the time.
Ifeanyi Ubachi

A Critical And Unbiased Assessment Of The Best Candidate For The Office Of NBA President



I am not really interested in NBA Politics, I wil rather focus on my practice. But the tensed atmoshere created by this year's election is practically irressitable. As an independent observer, I have carefully examined all the candidates for the election. Though the person disquailified appears unique and smart, that aside, we have three standing aspirants for the prestigious office of the President of the largest association of lawyers in the African continent. 

Just for the record, all of them are eminently qualified and adequately exposed to man the office, considering the fact that they are all Senior Advocates of Nigeria. Having said that, we must realize that in all contest there must always be a winner. On that basis, permit me to assist you in making that crucial decision.
A critical look at all NBA elections before now would clearly reveal a sudden shift in the norms; technology has played a key role in this year's election, and this is just the beginning, because the world is moving towards a very tech system and the legal profession cannot be left aside.

Take time to study the pattern and system of other international Bar foras and you would discover that Nigeria is far behind.
95% of Nigerian lawyers cannot compete with their colleagues in other jurisdiction, it is very sad! Majortiy of our practice areas have continued to shrink and the process has only just begun.

We urgently need a president that can turn the fortunes of NBA around, someone with international networking and a deep understanding of the global system.
We need to move from the norms of what we used to know or what we have been taught and embrace the furture.

We obviously don't want someone who is simply a stogy for another person or who lacks the capacity to firmly take up the challenges of the furture.

Having carefully gone through the manifestos of all the contestant along side the unfriendly tantrums across boards, I have come to the irresistible conclusion that the best man for the job is Pual Usoro SAN.

He has all that we need for the desired furture Bar, his track record of success speaks volume. In other clans, this is someone we should all desire to lead us.

Fortunately, he has volunteered to serve, let's join hands to create the Bar of the future and recreate new practice areas for lawyers .
Vote Pual Usoro SAN, putting you first all of the time.

Chinwe E.

Freedom For The Bar | Robert Uchenna


Over the years, past leaders have done their best to bring about the desired changes and make the NBA more meaningful for the younger ones. One major obstacle that has continued to prevent us as an Association from achieving the desired changes is the fact that we have developed a group of highly respected elders who are now king-makers.
They determine who heads the Association well ahead of time and usually, the most important yardstick is not competence and vision but loyalty and reverence. 

Thus, when the person that is installed gets to power, it becomes difficult for such a person to perform.

Most of the time, they fall out with their political godfathers because of the desire of the godfathers to continue to dictate the affairs of the Bar.

My worry is that we have simply refused to learn from the past; we have continued to make the same mistake as a country and as an Association. When you vote for someone without a godfather, someone without adoption, someone who is not indebted to so many for favors rendered during and before election, what you have simply done is that you have the Bar-freedom.

You have set the Association free. A man on a mission with a vision. With clearly stated goals and purposes. Such a man who easily delivers and do the right thing at the right time without fear or favour.

Paul Usoro, SAN is the right man for the job; he can deliver without rancor. This is the bridge-builder. You can be rest-assured that he will put you first not just when it's convenient, but all of the time.

We as lawyers should set the pace and example for the traditional politicians in the society with quality examples. Thus, we have a very sacred role to play, not just for the Association, but for its members and the society at large. 

If we can get our elections together, definitely Nigerians would follow with ease. Vote for the only candidate that has the capacity to deliver all of his promises and much more. 

Robert Uchenna

10 Tips for Legal Career Direction and Specialization for Young Lawyersby Uchechi Anyanele


The people who will truly understand us are on "the journey" themselves. What journey? It is different things for different people, but we may think of career fulfilment as an element of success. As the call for professional specialization in the 21st Century rages on, all those steering the ship of their career face diverse navigational challenges that vary according to individual circumstance.

Jul 29, 2018

The Uselesness of Nigerian Political Parties | Adedunmade Onibokun



A political party is generally known by what it stands for, the policies it supports and the interests it upholds. A major factor of a political party is its ideology, for these Political ideologies shape policy debates and choices.

A political ideology is a certain set of ethical ideals, principles or doctrines,  that explains how society should work and offers some political and cultural blueprint for a certain social order. In a nutshell, party ideologies explain the evaluative and orientative way of thinking of a political party.

IN SUPPORT OF PAUL USORO, SAN BY CHIEF KANU AGABI, SAN


"Paul Usoro, in spite of your great and numerous achievements you have remained simple and humble. As humble as you are, you give no one cause to take you for granted. You know the law and that is the source of your confidence. You have a studious disposition and that is how a lawyer ought to be. You are honest and courageous. And that is what the times in which we live now demand. A time will never come when we shall forget you. You are a remarkable man. May the Lord remember you for the labour that you have laboured. May he remember your dedication and steadfastness. May he reward your generosity and public spirit. May the Good Lord remember your greatness of heart and your courage.  Paul, because you are a man of rank and position, I take the liberty to say that in spite of all the odds we shall celebrate. Because of men and women like you, we live in hope." — Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN ( Former Attorney General of the Federation)

Jul 26, 2018

Why Nigerians Don’t Care About Functional Carriers – Or Dysfunctional Elections | By Ayo Sogunro



Last week, the Nigerian government unveiled ‘Nigeria Air’, introducing our latest national vanity project to the world. Several commentators have raised concerns on the transparency, economic expediency, and sustainability of the project, but I am more troubled that the policy interests of our politicians do not necessarily align with those of a majority of Nigerians.

Jul 25, 2018

Trademark, Patents And Designs |


For every business, building your brand is not complete without protecting your brand. As entrepreneurs or business owners, you work tirelessly to grow your brand especially as profits only begin to roll in after the brand has been established, and it has become an easy choice for the target market. However, it is commonplace for business owners to overlook the importance of protecting their brands or products.

Copyleft: An Anti-Copyright Protection Concept?


The term "copyleft" was invented by the Free Software Foundation. Copyleft as a legal concept is not as popular as copyright. This is most likely as a result of the technical nature of the creative endeavours to which it mostly applies, namely software.
Copyleft has its beginnings in copyright. In relation to software, a copyright gives the author of the software an exclusive legal right to determine whether and under what rules and conditions the software can be copied, modified and distributed.
The permission given by copyright holders to copy, modify and distribute their software is called a licence. Copyleft is a form of licensing that involves the use of copyright to ensure freedom of modifying and distributing copies of a work and works derived from it, with the condition that the same rights be preserved in such derivative works. It is therefore a conditional licence. The concept of copyleft does not exist in isolation due to the fact that it requires the use of copyright to achieve its aim of safeguarding freedom.
The main aim of copyleft is to encourage invention and contribution. Copyleft however should not be confused with public domain. In public domain, copyright ownership is not claimed by the original author of the work, hence there are no restrictions placed on subsequent users of the work. Although the lack of restrictions allow for freedom of modification and redistribution, it makes it possible for subsequent users of the work in question to make modifications and release their copy as proprietary software, thus effectively stripping others of the freedom to modify and redistribute same.
On the other hand, copyleft does not mean the absence of restrictions. On the contrary, restrictions are placed for the sake of safeguarding freedom. Therefore under copyleft, the author of the work relinquishes some of the rights they have as copyright holders. Collective effort is encouraged and as such software developers are given the opportunity to actively contribute their modifications to the work without any fear of it being converted into proprietary software.
After explaining the concept of copyleft, the next thing to look at is how to copyleft a work. The process of covering a work by copyleft begins with stating that it is copyrighted. Once that is done, distribution terms are included. These terms will state that everyone has the right to use, modify and redistribute the work, including derivative works, with the condition that the distribution terms remain unaltered. Thus any person who decides to use the work in question will be legally bound to abide by the distribution terms.
The advancement in technology has made it important to be familiar with the concept of copyleft due to the effect licencing decisions can have on a software project.
A common occurrence in the software development industry is community effort. Hence it is possible to see existing code libraries built by different developers being used in brand new software. This saves developers time that would have been spent reinventing the wheel. The nature of the copyleft licence can determine the available code libraries a developer can use in their software project. Thus regard must be had to the goals, community, ideology and resources of a software project when offering legal advice to a person who is considering a copyleft licence.

Difference between Copyleft Licences and Permissive Licences
Another form of software licencing is a permissive licence. A permissive licence grants the user of the software the right to copy, modify and distribute the software. Although a permissive licence is a free licence it is not the same as a copyleft licence.
What makes it different from a copyleft licence are the usage terms. While copyleft licenses ensure that users of the software can copy, modify and distribute same so long as the same freedoms are passed on to other users, permissive licenses do not require users to transfer the same freedoms to other users. Hence users of software covered by a permissive licence are not restricted to a particular licence.
Since permissive licences do not mandate users to transfer freedoms to other users, it is possible to use code libraries that are covered by permissive licences in works that are covered by copyleft licences. This means that it is possible for a user to borrow code covered by permissive licences and include them in a work that they intend to cover by a copyleft licence. However, code covered by a copyleft licence cannot be used in work covered by a permissive licence due to the fact that a copyleft licence requires the user to pass on all the freedoms available to them to subsequent users.
Permissive licences have the effect of facilitating widespread usage of software. Users of copyleft licences, on the other hand, are more concerned about exercising some degree of control over the software project.

Commercial Usage of Copylefted Software
A question that frequently comes up when discussing the issue of copyleft is the possibility of commercial use. Those hearing about the concept of copyleft for the first time usually make the mistake of assuming that the freedom secured automatically translates to "free of charge".
It is possible for a work covered by a copyleft license to be used commercially. It can also be bought or sold. For example, an author of software covered by a popular copyleft license called the GNU Public License can charge for the work so long as the source code is made available. Although from a strictly commercial point of view it seems counterproductive to attempt to charge for a work that can be easily shared for free, it is not impossible.

Conclusion
It can therefore be seen that copyleft is not an anti-copyright protection concept. Copyleft requires copyright to exist. Technology is growing at a fast pace and new legal issues come up along the way. The aim of this article was to give an insight into the legal concept of copyleft in order to be able to advise clients in the software industry about their rights and responsibilities under copyleft licensing.


Judy-Vallery Imasuen is a legal practitioner at the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights who has an interest in Alternative Dispute Resolution, corporate law and information technology.

BE GUIDED AGAINST MISINFORMATION, HOLD ON TO YOUR BELIEF


In the wake of the forthcoming elections of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), the online and social media landscapes have had their share of fake stories and misinformation by troll armies or from the camp of the troll armies. 

Smear campaigns and coordinated attacks are usually synonymous to election years, with the sole purpose of creating fake trends thereby spreading misinformation about a credible candidate.  The online space and other platforms such as Whatsapp have had their share of "fake news" and complicated topics that are baseless. This wrong information gets spread on social media and respected news blogs and gets amplified by noble personalities in the profession.

Let's bear in mind that misinformation and smear campaigns are age-old propaganda techniques, and common occurrences in political campaigns. The NBA as a professional body is not immune to this. Even if this is a usual practice, it should not be embraced by lawyers as a tactic to distract supporters of one candidate and hopefully lure them into their camp.

Acknowledging the fact that humans by nature are susceptible to violating the laws, hence the numerous rules and regulations (laws) put in place to guide and curb excesses. Even in the holy books (the Bible and the Quran), there are laid down guidelines by God meant to be followed strictly by man if he must make eternity.

In the guidelines of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) 2018 Elections of National Officers,   Paragraph C (2) on disqualification from holding national office is clear on acts that lead to smear campaigns; "That he/she sponsors or is associated with sponsoring a newspaper or magazine article or any electronic or social media broadcast vilifying other candidates". The above rightly addresses our subject of discussion on smear campaigns. But the onus rests on the ECNBA to ensure that all aspirants and their supporters are well guided so they don't truncate their chances of making it into the executive positions of the NBA.

One thing history has shown, which I believe as far as electioneering campaigns are concerned is, no amount of smear campaigns can mar the chances of the right candidate or the people's mandate. Barrack Obama, the former President of the USA was a victim of smear campaigns even from high profile citizens; still he made it to the White House.

Bringing it home to the NBA, in previous elections, most past presidents and even the current president, AB Mahmoud, SAN were all victims of smear campaigns.  Despite the attempts made by distractors; their pedigree, intelligence and character stood them out and they came out victorious in their respective elections. Barrack Obama and AB Mahmoud, SAN were not hampered by smear campaigns because they were judged based on their leadership qualities.

In every society or organisation, leadership is very important. As we look forward to electing a new President and other executive members, be mindful that there will be distractions in many forms. Every lawyer should make conscious effort to look beyond smear campaigns and judge the presidential aspirants by their leadership qualities; experience in corporate governance, intelligence, honesty, patriotism, commitment, decision-making capabilities, accountability, creativity, Innovation, among others.

The take out for me is that those who troll misinformation and lies via online publications and social media platforms are mere distractors of the good course. My singular advice to members of the Bar is that everyone should be well guided. It is important to make the distinction between genuine information and dubious blog posts, fake social media threads and coordinated smear campaigns that spread false information targeting an individual or a group of people. Lawyers should exhibit the nobility of their profession.

Ogbonnaya Modestus

NBA ELECTIONS: 8 THINGS YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT CHAMS PLC



The advancement of ICT and its effect in providing solutions to a number of challenges cannot be over emphasised.  The NBA contracting ICT companies to manage elections in recent times is the right step in the right direction.

Below are 8 facts about Chams you should definitely know;

1. Chams PLC is Nigeria's leading provider of integrated identity management and payments transactional systems and solutions provider. Over the last three decades, Chams has evolved from computer and hardware maintenance to providing enterprise technology solutions in the identity management and transaction payments space to public and private sector institutions.
2. Chams PLC has been part of every major success story in Identity management in Nigeria since 1992 to date.
3. Deployment of Online E-voting Infrastructure for Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria – 4years running.
4. ICT solution providers for CBN, INEC, PHCN, UNILAG, Nigerian Air Force, Osun State Govt., Anambra State Govt., NITDA among others.
5. Chams is the first home-grown company to be listed in Guinness Book of Records for setting up the mega ChamsCity Digital Mall and also the first computer technology company listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange under ICT.
6. Chams PLC is the front end partner to the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).
7. Chams pioneered Nigeria's first payment card scheme, Valucard, with VISA, and is licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria for Independent ATM Deployment, POS Terminal Service Provider, Mobile Payments, etc .
8. Won several awards both local and international, including the Datacard Presidential Awards, Canada, 2008 by DataCard Group Canada.

It will be recalled that on July 18, 2018; Chidi Anslem Odinkalu had written an article on Premium Times with the title – "CHAMSGATE: Understanding NBA's Latest Election Rigging Scandal". He was subsequently invited by the NBA President,  AB Mahmoud, SAN to attend a stakeholders meeting at the NBA House in Abuja to witness CHAMS presentation, question and or defend his allegations against CHAMS but he lose the courage to appear or make a statement and like the cowardly hyena, ran away in the presence of lions.

At the stakeholders meeting, it's instructive to note that the recommendations by Chams were considered sound, articulate and professional, leading to a unanimous adoption.  Chams is a renowned ICT solution organisation; it will be a disservice to the association to lose the experience and professionalism they bring to electioneering using the e-voting system.

The truth remains that whether CHAMS OR ANY OTHER ICT provider conducts this election, it's clear that their weak strategy of deliberate falsehood will not turn the electorate against Paul Usoro, SAN. The hundreds of thousands of intelligent lawyers that support Paul Usoro, SAN are doing so willingly and have based their loyalty on his goodwill as well as the excellent reputation he has built over time.

As the elections draw closer, are we going to support an NBA leadership that will ride on falsehoods? Are we going to live on lies without gathering concrete facts? Will respected lawyers follow campaigns of calumny and forget to take the right decision by standing with the man that will #PutYouFirst? We need to watch because the closer the day, the more the drums of deceit will beat louder.

Long Live the Nigerian Bar Association.

For more information on Chams PLC, visit https://chamsplc.com/about-us/

Alozie Ugomma

Day 10: Paul Usoro SAN's Reform Manifesto For Presidency Of The NBA


Conclusion 

These goals and objectives can only be achieved through sustained and constant stakeholder engagement and consultations.  I will operate an open-door policy and all stakeholders will continually be consulted on issues that affect and/or relate to them.  It is my belief that every lawyer must have a voice in the affairs of the Association and, in particular, in matters that affect them.  There will therefore be clear channels of communication that would make it easy for NBA members to reach and have access to me and Bar leaders generally. 

I also intend to lead by example in institutionalising transparency and accountability in the administration of the NBA.  The programmes that I have articulated in this Manifesto, I must mention, are auditable constitute my pact with members of the NBA and I am willing to be judged by and held accountable therefor.  I also commit to use my network of relationships in the corporate world in achieving these goals and for the benefit of the Association.  It is my hope that at the end of my tenure as the NBA President, the Association would be the better for it and be the envy of other professional associations in and outside Africa.    

 

PAUL USORO, SAN, FCIArb

29 June 2018

Jul 24, 2018

Paul Usoro SAN On The Art Of Cross-Examimation

PAUL USORO SPEAKS ON THE ART OF CROSS-EXAMINATION AT THE NBA, LAGOS BRANCH AGM

At the 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos Branch, which held on the 23rd of July at the Lagos State High Court, Igbosere, Learned Silk, Paul Usoro, SAN presented a paper during the Knowledge Sharing Session titled, "The Art of Cross-Examination".

Speaking during the session, Usoro began by giving 'The 10 Non-Exhaustive Commandments' of Cross Examination and explained the processes involved in cross-examination using his experience on the case of the Senate President, Dr. Olubukola Saraki. "In using these commandments; you must have a strategy, you need to know the case, you must plan your cross-examination questions, you must study and know the witnesses, you must understand that friendship always works and many others".

The Astute Litigator and Strategist went on to encourage lawyers to imbibe the act of practicing cross-examination as they can only get better by frequent practice.  "Practice makes perfect. So I admonish you to always look for opportunities to cross examine and be as calm as possible during the process. Do not let any tension build up in you because that could distract you from your focus. Therefore you need to display a high level of confidence to carry on with the process".

In conclusion, Paul Usoro showered encomium on the Executives of the NBA, Lagos Branch, led by the Chairman, Chukwuka Ikwuazom for organizing the AGM and inviting him to present a paper that speaks to his experience as a Bar man.

"I thank the executives of this prestigious branch for giving me the privilege to present this paper in our Knowledge Sharing Session on such an important topic. The session is one of the innovative ideas by the Executives who are concerned about helping lawyers in the branch to acquire and develop skills that will impact on their practice", He said.

Paul Usoro SAN's Reform Manifesto: Promotion Of The Rule of Law And Good Governance

DAY 9
PUTTING YOU FIRST
PAUL USORO, SAN'S REFORM MANIFESTO FOR PRESIDENCY OF THE NBA

PROMOTION OF RULE OF LAW AND GOOD GOVERNANCE
In regard to the promotion and protection of the Rule of Law, the NBA under my leadership shall -  

I. Advocate for and promote the culture of obedience to Court Orders and compliance with the principles of Rule of Law. 

II. Monitor, identify and condemn cases of impunity and executive lawlessness in Nigeria and take active steps to ensure the remediation of such impunity. 

III. Advocate for access to justice by facilitating pro bono and quality legal defence and representation for certifiably poor and vulnerable persons. As a corollary thereto, re-activate and upgrade the NBA Pro Bono Scheme so as to achieve the objectives for setting up the scheme.

IV. Advocate for the respect and protection of human rights of citizens and tackle gender inequalities wherever they exist or  are being perpetrated.

V. Develop and advocate for programmes and projects relating to prison decongestion in Nigeria.

VI. Launch an NBA Annual Human Rights Report. This would be achieved by monitoring and documenting cases of human rights complaints and violations through NBA human rights committees at NBA branches, the media, and other human rights stakeholders. This would help us determine the frequency (increase or decrease) of human rights abuses in Nigeria. 

VII. Advocate for the approval of the National Action Plan for Human Rights in Nigeria by the Federal Executive Council. 

VIII. Develop and enforce procedures for swift responses to national issues and in this regard, hold monthly press briefings on national issues.

IX. Institutionalize conflict resolution, gender and peace advocacy.

X. Propose comprehensive constitutional reforms with regard to the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, as amended, especially as it relates to the Judicature. 

The proposed constitutional amendments would seek to:
a. Ensure the independence of the Judiciary
b. Strengthen judicial accountability and performance
c. Reform procedure of judicial recruitment and discipline
d. Enhance access to justice and the protection of the rule of law.
e. Strengthen financial autonomy of the judiciary.

XI. Advocate for the domestication and implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 at State levels in Nigeria.

XII. Develop a much improved and comprehensive Legislative Advocacy Programme for the NBA.

XIII. Champion the reform of Justice and Accountability Institutions for better service delivery.

PAUL USORO, SAN, FCIArb

Police Invitation is a Mere Political Game, Says Saraki


Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has stated that the invitation to him by the Police to report to a station in Guzape over the Offa robbery investigation is a mere afterthought which is designed to achieve a political purpose.

Saraki in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, stated that he has it on good authority that the Police had already decided on the suspects to arraign in court in Ilorin, Kwara State on Wednesday based on the advice of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mohammed U.E. and that the turn around to invite him was a ploy aimed at scoring cheap political points.

"I have been reliably informed that the police invitation was planned by IG as a ploy to stop an alleged plan by some Senators and House of Representatives members from defecting from the All Progressives Congress (APC). It was also said that if I was detained between Tuesday and Wednesday, that will abort the so-called defection plan.

"While I continue to maintain that the issue of my position on the 2019 elections is not a personal decision for me alone to make, it should be noted that all these concoctions and evil plots cannot deter me. Those behind this fresh assault will fail as I have nothing to do with the robbery incident or any criminal matter for that matter.

"I am aware that following a request made by the Police on June 13, 2018 to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) of the Fedeeation had written a legal advice  dated June 22, 2018, in which he stated on page 5, paragraph (f) that "For the Senate President and the Kwara State Governor, this office is unable to establish from the evidence in the interim report a nexus between the alleged office and the suspects".

"The Police have obviously corrupted and politicized their investigations into the Offa robbery incident. They have turned it into an instrument for the party in power to suppress perceived opponents, witch hunt issue for blackmailing people from freely choosing which platform on which they want to pursue their ambitions and a matter for harassing the people whose exit from APC would harm the chances of the party in the forthcoming elections.

"I want to make it apparent that I have no hand in either the robbery incident or any criminal acitivity. The Police in their haste to embarrass me sent the invitation to me at 8pm and requested that I report to the station by 8am tomorrow morning. This obviously demonstrated their desperation as I do not see why they are now in a hurry.

"They also stated in today's letter that because in my response of June 7, 2018 to their own letter written on June 4, 2018, I stated that I was responding simply to the contents of the letter and that the full text of the statement made by the arrested suspects which they claimed indicted me was not made available to me, they were now including the suspects statements in the current letter. Yet, instead of including the suspects' statements, they only attached two copies of my own letter to the invitation. No suspects statement was made available.

"This plot aimed at compelling me and my associates to stay in a party where members are criminalised without just cause, where injustice is perpetrated at the highest level and where there is no respect for constitutionalism is an exercise in futility and it will fail.

"Once again, my confidence in God and our judicial system remains intact and unshaken. The truth shall also prevail in this case", he stated.

Signed
Yusuph Olaniyonu
Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to the Senate President

Jul 22, 2018

Animal Cruelty Law In Nigeria

What constitutes an act of animal cruelty? 

Did you know anyone found guilty of an offence of cruelty to animals is liable to 6 months imprisonment and/or a fine of 50 naira. - Section 495 Criminal Code Act
50 Naira right, that's about 7 cents !!!!!!!! Lol 

Jamb Question - Has anyone ever been prosecuted for animal cruelty in Nigeria? 

#legalnaija #nigerianlaw #blawg #laws #legal #animalcruelty #animallaw #animalkingdom #crime #penalties

The Audacity Of Impunity - @segalink

The series of unfortunate events (dearth of National cum internal security due to over concentration on Regime Security) in the past 3years in Nigeria clearly demonstrate that there is no rights to personal liberty in Nigeria. Despite the fact that the clarity of the 1999 constitution as amended on that matter is obvious to the blind-

"Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person, and accordingly, no person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment." — Section 34 (1)

The Impunity of our police service especially those of the special Anti-Robbery Squad is alarming. The purpose of policing has since be altered for some evil agenda weaponized against the innocent citizenry, with an unwritten clear mandate to terrorize the youth of our nation based on recent data as mined by the #EndSARS #ReformPoliceNG Movement over one year of advocacy.

There are growing Concerns on adolescent killings across Nigeria. —

Emeka Ojinze obtained his VISA to the UAE to study alternative energy sources but was killed in the Anambra in 2017) by a Policeman seeking to extort him, He was 23.

Angela Nkechi Igwetu Corper In Abuja, with just a few hours to passing out, but was gunned down by a trigger happy Police officer. She was 23.

Richard Peter Gora was tortured to death by Policemen over a N10,000 Phone he allegedly bought in market, purported by police to have been stolen in Kaduna. He was 22.

Sofiyat Yekin, nursing mother in Bodija Ibadan, Oyo State, was gunned down by a police while displaying their show of force while intimidating innocent youth in the area for extortion. She was 23.

Final year student Salisu Haruna, plunged to his death in a well in Ekpoma Edo State, while trying to escape the religious abduction by the special anti-cultist squad (SACS) that terrorizes the hostel he visited. He wasn't found until days later. He was 23.

Mrs Kudirat was killed by the bullet of SARS operatives showing force and high handedness while chasing young boys perceived indiscriminately by them to be yahoo boys.

There are many others shot in the head in public, and several okada riders & bus drivers killed over bribes. Studies also have shown that over 2000 persons have been killed extrajudicially in the past 10years by the police without any closure on the cases and a plethora of cases of abduction and unjust incarceration without charges running into thousands across Nigeria. Suffice to say that the abuse of human rights in Nigeria is becoming a culture.

It is helpful to think about what keeps criminals under control in our society. Ask any sane police officer globally: it is not the police and the courts who keep criminals at bay. It is the society as a whole. It is the ordinary people who call the police when they hear a problem starting. It is the ordinary people who trust the police and cooperate with them to bring criminals to justice. That public trust is held by a thin line which only works when it is backed up by the vast majority of ordinary people.

This, by the way, is why police brutality is so damaging to law and order in our society. If ordinary people lose trust in the police, they wonʼt call and they wonʼt cooperate. If they fear that calling the police to solve crime could result in their neighborsʼ kids being shot dead, they wonʼt call. And they also wonʼt cooperate in more serious cases. Without community backup, the "thin line of trust" starts to feel very thin indeed. And criminals become bolder.

Today, Citizens are violated by Police every 45minutes if not less across Nigerian major cities. Only a fraction of these human rights abuses are reported. Of the reported cases 90% border on armed robbery and kidnapping for ransom using police stations as bases or driving round in circles on our highways while inflicting horrendous physical and psychological damages to their innocent victims.

A wise man once said our adaptability can be both a blessing and a curse, a prolonged look upon wonder and abomination begins to make them mundane. The system however is not broken, it was built that way leading to the current spiraling execrable standards of the modern day when compared to what is obtainable in saner climes .

We have journeyed from domesticity to embracing primitivism under the oppression and impunity of a vile and anachronistic police system. But each time the people demand accountability, it is often met with media costuming and prevarication. They begin to mention training, addition of tags and dramatic reactions that simply moves furniture around without any definite, effective or meaningful restructuring.

A Yoruba apothegm aptly states that it is not he who was struck by a reckless driver that makes mental note of the registration number of the vehicle. Those ignorantly chanting the litotes of Police with the suggestion of reformation of SARS must understand that the culture of impunity of SARS has been ingrained in the system thus becoming a metastasized cancer which will require a total shutdown before it destroys the entire police system which can still be salvaged if we act fast enough.

In this situation where our policing system has been hijacked by ethnic brigade as balkanized, with bold unconscionable pronouncements by the police on the daily, just to maintain the status quo of the ecology of their delicate organized crime syndicate, it clearly demonstrates the ominous tragedy that lies in wait.

We must not culture cancer but ensure it is severed (EndSARS), while we intensively and surgically focus on a holistic reform of the police system (ReformPoliceNG).

A government that cannot protect the lives and properties of her citizens lacks legitimacy. As likened to a man who procures a fast horse at the expense of feeding his children…thus stripped of his income by a sane and conscious society.

In the face of overwhelming statistical evidence, There is no point disagreeing with the smallest expenditure of intelligence as the scenario playing before our very eyes have demonstrably proven to be ominous.

We must understand that the clamor, if unattended, will soon become a movement that'll clear everything in her path!

#EndSARS #ReformPoliceNG thus has become a platform that bridges these institutional gaps through Pouring the angst of millions into a symbolic cause using engagements via art, science & technology.

The people have built a formidable united front on this regardless of their diversity across Craze, Creed, Clan or Class because based on the trajectory of events, any one could be NEXT.

We need a complete overhaul of the institution so that recommendations of reforms can be implemented. Beginning from the repeal and replacement of the Police Act 1943, (of which the Movement of the people have pushed with the compliance of the legislatives through the second reading. http://punchng.com/police-reform-bill-goes-through-second-reading-in-the-senate/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

Major areas to focus is on recruitment, vetting and reverting, discipline, training, equipment, logistics, welfare, regimentation, career development, leadership, etc. The institution needs to focus on public service (demilitarization of the police and democratizing same). There must minimum acceptable standard that must be maintained professionally. Reforms take time, and there is no other option.

It is time we put premium on the lives of all Nigerians. The world's most valuable economic resource remains Humanity. We are all a bullet away from being a Hashtag. These are humble recommendations based on the audits in the here and now rebus sic stantibus (as it stands) and anything short of this will warrant a push for a bill to arm Nigerians based on some criteria and qualifications.

These are the issues and recommendations void of the we against them game being touted by unpatriotic and dangerously arrogant, emotionally stunted, inaniloquent hirelings and felons within the police structure transfixed and flummoxed in a perpetual oxymoronic state of mind within a chaotic Game of contradiction, where faith unfaithful kept them falsely true.

Ignorance is the farm in which all forms of corruption and tyranny develop. Within it, all forms of extremism and violence are propagated.- Imam Tawhidi

First published in Nigerian Tribune online 21072018

Jul 21, 2018

Senate Passes NOSDRA Amendment Bill to Curb Oil Spillages and Tackle Environmental Degradation

The Nigerian Senate passed the Report of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) Act 2006 (amendment) Bill, 2018 (SB. 557).

The Report, which was presented by the Senate Committee on Environment, chaired by Senator Oluremi Tinubu, was read for the third time in the upper legislative chamber.

Speaking on the passage of the Bill, the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, who also served as the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology in the 7th Senate (2011 to 2015) said: "Thank you for passing this very important Bill that will go a long way in addressing oil spillages. The focus of this Bill is to ensure that we prevent, as opposed to chasing culprits after the incident has happened.

"In doing this, we will inculcate the habit of adequate prevention and control of oil spillages. This is a very good development for the environment," the President of the Senate said.

The NOSDRA Amendment will also address any kind of restriction and ambiguity in the Agency's mandate. This will help to ensure that there is no ambivalence in the agencies mandate.

Additionally, the NOSDRA Amendment Bill will give the agency the requisite capacity to regulate the activities of the operators as it affects the environment.

Jul 20, 2018

DAY 7 PUTTING YOU FIRST PAUL USORO, SAN’S REFORM MANIFESTO FOR PRESIDENCY OF THE NBA



Welfare Programme for Lawyers
One of the topical issues in our profession today, is the poor welfare package for young lawyers and this is for understandable reasons. The demographics of lawyers shows a distantly outnumbered senior lawyers as against the growing multitude of young lawyers.  Indeed, the Nigerian Law School on a yearly basis, turns out a great number of young lawyers such that, it is beginning to seem that there are more young lawyers scrambling and rushing after increasingly fewer job opportunities and spaces. With this development comes consistent complaint around poor remuneration packages translating to lower living conditions for lawyers. It is therefore imperative, urgent and critical, beyond election pitches and rhetorics, that amelioration of living conditions for young lawyers be taken seriously, by the NBA at the national level.


Another category of lawyers whose welfare I will work towards ameliorating, from a professional standpoint, is that of the aged and disabled lawyers. If I am elected as the NBA President, I will work towards achieving better welfare programmes for these categories of lawyers and generally for all lawyers through the underlisted channels, amongst others:


I. Mentorship Scheme and Capacity Building for Young Lawyers. Mentorship requires the mentee to identify a role model in the profession, preferably, a successful practitioner who will guide the mentee on the path to successful legal practice and also the ethics and traditions of the Bar and practice generally. NBA under my watch will encourage and actively facilitate such mentorship programs. A modified version of such program, as earlier mentioned, would involve periodic visits by young lawyers who are practicing in the provincial branches to structured Law Firms in the cosmopolitan cities and branches to see and learn, first-hand, law office management and the practice of law in those Law Firms.  This programme will be implemented in partnership with local and international law firms, Bar Associations and Law Societies of other countries, and training consultants.


II. Employment or Job creation for lawyers. Many lawyers are finding it difficult to eke out a living and this is a worrisome trend. If I get elected President of the NBA, I would spearhead NBA's engagement with relevant stakeholders, to identify within Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and from extant laws, those roles for which lawyers are best suited, given our training, and ensure that the legal market is protected for lawyers. I would also explore new vistas of opportunity for legal work that would result in enhanced income for lawyers and thereby improve the ability of senior lawyers and law firms to properly remunerate the young lawyers working with them.


III. As a corollary to the preceding proposition, my administration as the NBA President will check the incursion of non-lawyers, foreign lawyers and foreign law firms into the Nigerian legal practice. I do not believe that there is any aspect of legal services, including transaction and arbitral matters that we cannot find capable Nigerian lawyers to handle.  There could be a limited access principle whereby foreign lawyers may be led in transactions and arbitral proceedings by Nigerian lawyers, the Nigerian lawyers being the ones to nominate, agree with and assign portions of the assignment to the foreign lawyers and firms.  This could be made part of negotiations in the process of regulating access into the Nigerian legal market by foreign lawyers and firms.


IV. Aged Persons and Persons Living with Disability.  Persons living with disability and the aged have special needs which unfortunately are not generally catered for in our Nigerian environment.  These needs include access facilities into buildings, toilet facilities, specialized reading and legal practice materials and aids, customized technology aids and facilities.  My administration as the NBA President will work at installing these facilities at the NBA Secretariat where the model law office would be located.  The model law office at the National Secretariat would also be made friendly to and usable by agreed persons and persons living with disability. These facilities would gradually be expanded and provided at the NBA Zonal Offices in the 3 Zones of the NBA.  We would also open dialogue with the Chief Justice of the Federation and the heads of various courts in the Federation and the States on the required modifications for making the courts and the court facilities accessible to and usable by the aged and persons living with disability.

  More importantly, we shall dialogue constantly with these categories of lawyers to continually understand their needs and how best we can assist in meeting them.
V. As a corollary to the preceding proposition, we would advocate and push for diversity in the workplace, notably in  law firms, in a manner that would advantage persons living with disability as well as the aged who may still be intellectually fit and can contribute to the society and the profession. 

 My administration, with me as the NBA President, shall actively advocate against discrimination at the workplace on grounds, amongst others, of gender, age and/or physical disability.

 
VI. With NBA under my watch, we shall actively develop, maintain and constantly update at the National Secretariat, a verifiable database of Nigerian lawyers who have specialized knowledge and skills in various areas of law, either through practice or by education. Such a database would come in handy not only to blunt the constant put-down by Nigerian governments and their officials against Nigerian lawyers but also to positively assist such Government Agencies and private-sector companies and individuals in identifying skilled lawyers that could assist them in handling so-called complex and "novel" transactions and matters.


VII. Business Education and Investment Planning for Lawyers. As earlier mentioned, we shall include basic business management and strategic planning, financial accounting, investment planning and opportunities modules in NBA's Continuing Legal Education programs, all structured as part of Law Office Management courses. This will enlighten and educate lawyers on the imperative of strategic planning for sustainable law office management.

VIII. Creation of NBA Welfare Foundation or Charity Funds. Bar Associations worldwide maintain Charity or Welfare Funds that help to cushion their members and/or their families and dependents against hardship. Examples of such hardships include death in the course of NBA work, accidents and/or medical conditions that occasion disability, natural disasters, and displacements occasioned by insurgency. We shall create and maintain such NBA Welfare Foundation or Charity Funds during our administration and the funds therefor shall be sourced from extant NBA income streams, donations and through special launching events.

PAUL USORO, SAN, FCIArb

Jul 19, 2018

Examining The Unconstitutionality Of The Executive Order No.6 | Etiosa Ojomo ESq


1.     On the 6th of July 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Presidential Executive Order No.6 for the Preservation of Suspicious Assets connected with Corruption and other relevant offences. By the Order the Executive Branch is empowering its agencies to determine a suspicious assets, seize and preserve same, pending a conviction by the court.

Jul 18, 2018

NEED FOR INCLUSION OF MINORITIES IN NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION’S LEADERSHIP culled from The Guardian of Tuesday, July 17, 2018

NBA - EASTERN BAR FORUM ADOPTION OF PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE

The NBA National Elections are scheduled to take place this month, on 27/28 July 2018, and it has fallen on the Eastern Zone (as defined by the NBA) comprising Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Ebonyi, Abia, Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Cross River States to produce the President of the Association pursuant to the NBA Constitution.  For the purposes of producing its President, the NBA divides Nigeria into 3 (three) Geographical Zones – Eastern, Western and Northern Zones – and rotates the office between these 3 (three) zones.  The tenure of the NBA National Officers is fixed by the Constitution at 2 years and the President sits at the apex of the National Executive Council.

There are three contestants for the office who have been cleared by the Electoral Committee of the NBA ("ECNBA") and these, in the order of seniority both at the Bar and the Inner Bar, are Paul Usoro, SAN from Akwa Ibom State, Ernest Ojukwu, SAN from Abia State and Arthur Obi Okafor, SAN from Anambra State.  The entry of Paul Usoro has caused considerable consternation in the ranks of some members of the Eastern Bar Forum ("EBF"), a voluntary grouping of lawyers, with membership drawn from the pool of lawyers who hail from and are indigenes of the NBA's Eastern Zone.

Their contention is that there is an unwritten convention between the members of the EBF for the office of the NBA President to rotate between the South-South States in the Zone (Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River and Akwa Ibom States) and the Igbo States (Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Ebonyi and Abia States) each time that the office circles round to the Zone.  They also point out that Okey Wali, SAN from Rivers State was the last occupant of the office in 2012 when the NBA President's office rotated to the East. For the 2018 Elections, the EBF has adopted one of the 2 candidates from the Igbo States and have waged a vicious campaign against the other two and in particular, Mr. Usoro.

What the proponents of EBF rotation and adoption principles and critics of Mr. Usoro's entry into the NBA Presidential race know but mischievously fail to point out is that:

(a) EBF and NBA Constitution. The NBA Constitution neither recognizes EBF nor its afore-stated unwritten convention; as far as the Constitution is concerned, any lawyer from the Eastern Zone is qualified to contest for the NBA President's office when it is the turn of the Zone to produce the President.  That explains the clearance of Paul Usoro by the ECNBA, alongside the other two aspirants, for the contest.  Furthermore, unlike NBA, membership of EBF is not automatic or mandatory; EBF is a voluntary association of lawyers from the Eastern Zone.  There is indeed a significant number of lawyers from the Zone who are not members of the EBF but are mandatorily members of the NBA. Paul Usoro is one of such NBA members who is not a member of the EBF and therefore not bound by the EBF Constitution and its unwritten conventions and practices. The secretariat of EBF confirmed membership is fewer than 400 persons, meaning more than 90% of lawyers from the former Eastern zone are not members of the EBF. This emphasizes the absurdity of such insignificant number to impose Leadership on over 160k lawyers in Nigeria.

(b) Previous NBA Presidents from Eastern Zone. Historically, the 2 (two) States of Akwa Ibom and Cross River ("Akwa-Cross") have never produced a President of the NBA.  This fact is best appreciated and understood from the historical set-up of the defunct Eastern Region of Nigeria which was made up of the former East Central State (now the Igbo States of Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Ebonyi and Abia States), the former Rivers State (now Rivers and Bayelsa States) and the defunct South-Eastern State (made up of the present Akwa Ibom and Cross River States).  In that tripod which constitutes the NBA Eastern Zone, only the former South-Eastern State (qua Akwa Ibom and Cross River States) has not produced an NBA President.  The former East Central State has produced 5 (five) NBA Presidents while the defunct Rivers State has produced 2 (two).  The following are the NBA Presidents that have been produced by the former East Central State (now comprising the 5 (five) Igbo States):

i. Dr. Nwakama Okoro, SAN (Imo State) - 1976-1978
ii. Mr. Andrew Anyamene, SAN (Anambra State) - 1982-1984
iii. Chief (Hon) Ebele Nwokoye (Anambra State) - 1985-1987
iv. Sir Clement O Akpamgbo, SAN (Anambra State) - 1991-1992
v. Olisa Akpagoba, SAN (Anambra State) - 2006-2008

The 2 (two) occupants of the NBA President's Office from the defunct Rivers State (now constituted into Rivers and Bayelsa States) have been:

i. O C J Okpocha, SAN (Rivers State) - 2000-2012
ii. Okey Wali, SAN (Rivers State) - 2012-2014


(c) "All-Inclusive Bar". At a time that the Igbo States are calling for inclusive national policies and politics, the discriminatory attack on Paul Usoro is a very sad commentary on the EBF and its membership.  It simply depicts the proponents of the EBF position as persons who do not believe in an all-inclusive Bar particularly where such inclusiveness favors the minority States of Akwa Ibom and Cross River States.  Instead of accommodating the yearnings of Akwa-Cross for inclusion, the EBF apparatchik have resorted to blackmailing, browbeating and name-calling Mr. Usoro and his supporters, all in an effort to intimidate him out of the race. Even with Mr. Usoro as the President of the NBA in 2018, the Igbo States would still produce, in the aggregate and historically, the highest number of NBA Presidents of Eastern Zone origin viz-a-viz the minority States of the Zone.

(d) NBA Constitution. On the issue of rotation, the NBA Constitution admonishes that "where a position is zoned to any particular geographical zone, the position shall be rotated and held in turn by the different groups and/or sections in the geographical zone".  This provision clearly favors Akwa-Cross States that have never produced an NBA President in the history of the Association particularly considering the historical tripod that makes up the NBA's Eastern Zone.  It would perhaps have been a different situation if no candidate emerged from Akwa-Cross or if the minority States of the East had, in the aggregate produced as much number of NBA Presidents as the Igbo States.

(e) Doubtful EBF Unwritten Convention.  The so-called EBF unwritten convention of rotation and adoption of candidates is of doubtful existence.  In 2006, Chris Uche, SAN from Abia State contested against Olisa Agbakoba, SAN  from Anambra State and Funke Adekoya, SAN from the Western zone for the NBA President's office.  When Okey Wali, SAN contested for the Presidency of the NBA in 2012, Emeka Ngige, SAN from Anambra State contested against him and almost won that election.  Even in this 2018 Elections, until the recent disqualification of Afam Osigwue from Anambra State by the ECNBA, there were two other aspirants for the NBA President's office, apart from Mr. Usoro.  Currently, there are two Senior Advocates of Nigeria from the Igbo States who are contesting for the office with Mr. Usoro notwithstanding the so-called EBF adoption of one of them.

(f) "Shoo-in" President.  EBF rotation and adoption principles eliminate contest and deprive NBA members of choices and in the process makes a complete mockery of the election concept.  As earlier mentioned, the EBF has adopted one of the 3 (three) contestants for the office of the NBAS President and has written to all the other NBA Zones and regional groupings to follow suit and adopt its anointed candidate.  On this account, the EBF and its members have waged a vicious and relentless campaign mostly against Mr Usoro for daring to contest the office.  The EBF in the process arrogates to itself the right to make a choice of the NBA President for the entire NBA electorate made up of 3 NBA Zones holding all together over 30,000 lawyers/members.  With the greatest respect, that is very arrogant and presumptuous of the NBA apart from being anti-democratic, wholly unfair and contrary to all known principles of equity and good conscience.  Little wonder that the EBF adoption has been rejected by other regional fora and groups.

(g) Professionalism and Competence.  One would have thought that the EBF which purports to be a regional grouping of lawyers, would extol competition amongst qualified lawyers from the Eastern Zone for election as President of the NBA and lay emphasis on professionalism and competence as the most critical qualifications therefor.  In that regard, it bears pointing out that no one has suggested, even remotely, that Mr. Usoro is not vested with the skills, competence, sagacity and God-endowed wisdom to pilot the affairs of the NBA as its President.  Indeed, everyone including the EBF proponents are agreed that he is amply endowed in that regard and would, as President of the NBA, make the Association very proud, not least, the EBF and its members. 

(h) Seniority at the Bar. The legal profession lays emphasis on seniority and Mr. Usoro is older in all respects – biological age, age at the Bar and age in the Inner Bar – than the other 2 (two) aspirants for the NBA President's office.  Clearly, by the culture of the Bar, he should take precedent over the other two in all respects. 

These facts fully rebut the ongoing vicious campaign against Mr. Usoro's candidacy for the NBA President based solely on the purported EBF unwritten policy of rotational adoption of Presidential candidates.  Happily, the ECNBA has not pandered to the EBF in that regard.  By clearing Mr. Usoro for the elections, the ECNBA is setting a standard in the conduct of competitive elections that lays emphasis on the quality of the candidates and the presentation of credible choices to its electorate.

Chinyere Chukwu