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Nov 13, 2019

Paul Usoro SAN pays fine for convicted Defendant in court




Earlier today, while the NBA President, Paul Usoro SAN was appearing in court, his attention was drawn by the court to a criminal matter, after proceedings the NBA President paid the fine for the convict. See details below as tweeted by @munamike 

Nov 5, 2019

Implementing The Child Rights Act In Nigeria: Alternative Strategies | Fifehan Ogunde


On 30th November 2019, it will be 30 years since the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. Nigeria became a party to the CRC in 1991, just two years after. In order to incorporate the provisions of the CRC into Nigerian law, a Child Rights Bill was proposed in 1993 but was opposed by conservative religious groups and traditional rulers on grounds of incompatibility with religion and culture.

Nov 3, 2019

Protecting Electricity Consumers In Nigeria | Jafar Atiku Muhammad


If Nigerians can access safe, reliable and affordable power supply, livelihood would be meaningful, households would be lively, firms would operate competitively and businesses would flourish. This means more jobs for Nigerians and less forex outflows for the importation of foreign products. With a growing economy, a promising population and a GDP of 510 billion USD, Nigeria is acclaimed the largest economy in Africa and its highest FDI attractor.

Nov 2, 2019

Reviewing Nigeria's Constitutional Arrangement: A Few Considerations (2) | Fifehan Ogunde




LEGISLATIVE HOUSE MEMBERSHIP

Further to the constitution, the Senate house consists of 3 representatives from each state. The House of Representatives is comprised of 360 legislators. The basis for this number is not easily ascertained and one would suggest that there is no need for more than one representative from each state.

Kidnap of Honourable Justice Chioma Iheme - Nwosu, Ph.D, Justice of the Court of Appeal and Murder of His Lordship's Orderly



1. The utterly reprehensible kidnap of Honorable Justice Chioma Iheme-Nwosu, PhD, Justice of the Court of Appeal, and the gruesome murder of His Lordship’s orderly should not only unnerve and agitate all of us but must also jolt our collective conscience. Iheme-Nwosu JCA’s car was intercepted and disabled, Rambo-style, by dare-devil criminals who executed her orderly with the proficiency of marksmen right in the heart of Benin City and then abducted His Lordship, all in broad daylight at about 11.30am. As we write, His Lordship’s whereabout and safety remain unknown and of grave concern to all well-meaning persons.

NBA WOMEN'S FORUM HOLDS INAUGURAL MEETING IN ABUJA.


The NBA Women's Forum held its inaugural General Council meeting today, Wednesday the 30th October 2019, at the NBA National Secretariat Abuja. It will be recalled that the Executive Council of the Women Forum was recently inaugurated by the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Paul Usoro SAN on the 17th day of September 2019.

About Outsourcing and Offshoring your Legal Services ! Kelechi Achinonu


A bit of curiosity got me thinking and trying to understand the difference between Legal Process Outsourcing and Legal Service Offshoring. I did a bit of research and then thought to share my now better grasp of both concepts.

Nov 1, 2019

NIGERIA—THE LARGEST ECONOMY IN AFRICA: WHERE DO THE LAWYERS FIT IN? | OLUMIDE AKPATA



Introduction
I must thank you for inviting me to this very important community within the NBA, to share my thoughts on a very important and timely issue. In an organization as big as the NBA, it is often easy for members to feel disconnected from the organization. The core value to be derived from meetings like this was captured by the celebrated Chinua Achebe when he said:

Oct 31, 2019

Top finance law firm to host 4th AICIF in Lagos


The Met Skills Limited in collaboration with the Metropolitan law firm is set to host the 4th African International Conference on Islamic Finance (AICIF), in Lagos from Monday November 4th 2019 to Tuesday the 5th.

Oct 30, 2019

Does the Supreme Court still have the Power to Hear Appeal on Grounds of Mixed Law and Facts? By O.G. Ogbom, esq.


The Supreme Court, just like every other courts in the land, is a creation of the constitution. It is vested with both original and appellate jurisdictions. It is the only court clothed with authority and jurisdiction to entertain appeals from the Court of Appeal. This is provided for in section 233(1) of the Constitution which confers exclusive jurisdiction on the Supreme Court to hear and determine appeals from the Court of Appeal.

Oct 26, 2019

Public Documents Attached to an Affidavit or Counter Affidavit need no Certification | O.G. Ogbom, Esq.


Sections 88, 89 and 90 of the Evidence Act, 2011, communally regulate admission and proof of documents. Under Section 88 of the Evidence Act, documents shall be proved by primary evidence except in the cases mentioned in the Act.

The Age of Clinical Photography And The Patient's Right To Confidentiality (Privacy) in Nigeria | Emaediong Akpan



1.0 Introduction
The issues surrounding clinical photography are pertinent especially for the plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic specialty.  With technology advances and increased connectivity the exchange of digital images and its creations has increased remarkably. 

Oct 25, 2019

Register to attend a postgraduate information session with UWE, Bristol



Want to accelerate your career, start something new or enhance your subject knowledge in Law

Now is the time to make your move and match your ambition!

 A post graduate qualification in a Master of Law at UWE Bristol, UK will enhance your career prospects, and help you develop the skills needed for legal practice and  a successful law career with access to state-of-the-art facilities including mock courtrooms and law library.

Oct 22, 2019

Variation of Stringent Bail Conditions not Enough, Why Sowore Deserves no Bail - Richarmond O. Natha-Alade


Following recent outcries and sentiments whipped by Omoyele Sowore, his supporters and the key players in his defence, occasioned by his arrest and detention ordeal, everyone suddenly turned to blame the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a tyrant upon whose authority Omoyele Sowore had been detained and undergoing trial for treasonable felony and terrorism, among other charges. Unfortunately, most Nigerians and persons in this shoe do not know as of fact that President Buhari may not be aware that anybody called Omoyele Sowore is being held, detained and undergoing trial for such offence. Isn’t that interesting? It would be justified in due course.

Oct 21, 2019

How Mental Health Issues Are Important To Lawyers | Amenze Precious



Mental health issues in the legal profession are often ignored, stigmatized, and untreated. This not only leads to poorer quality of life for lawyers and their families, it is a contributing cause of many malpractice claims.

Oct 14, 2019

New Amendments To The Regulations On The Status & Transfer of Players By FIFA (Pt.1)




Introduction

One of the most important regulations made by FIFA which ensures contractual stability in football and a healthy relationship amongst players, clubs and member associations is the ‘Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players’ (RSTP).

This Regulation is often amended yearly in order to cover new developments or issues that occurred in the previous year. This is done through the publication of a new version of the RSTP, and through Circulars that are usually published on the official website of FIFA.

Oct 9, 2019

THE REVOCATION OF DISTRIBUTION LICENSES: MATTER ARISING (ISSUE 1)


Nigeria’s Electricity Regulator, the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (‘the Regulator’) has indicated an intention to revoke the licenses of the following Distribution Companies (Discos);

Oct 7, 2019

Photos from the Art of Legal Advocacy and Business of Law Training for Lawyers



The 3rd Career Training for Lawyers organised by Lawlexis held on the 26th and 27th of September, 2019, with the theme "The Art of Legal Advocacy and Business of Law". Participants were treated to a rigorous 2 day training sessions with some of the legal industries experts. Modules at the training included Litigation, Mediation, Arbitration, Forensic Document Examination and the Business of Law. 

See photos from the event below - 

Sep 30, 2019

MY REMINISCESES FROM 2019 IBA SEOUL CONFERENCE – RULE OF LAW et al | Paul Usoro SAN



1. I had to attend the Supreme Court Legal Year Opening on Monday, 23 September 2019 and only arrived Seoul for the IBA Conference (self-sponsored) in the evening of Wednesday, 25 September 2019. I therefore attended only the Thursday and Friday, 26/27 September 2019, sessions and events. On Thursday, I attended an early morning session on Consumer Protection which featured our own Yemi Akangbe, Lagos Branch Chairman, as one of the Speakers. He made us very proud with his elucidation on the Nigerian Consumer Protection legislation and byelaws.

Sep 29, 2019

RULE OF LAW – NBA’S WORDS ON MARBLE


“If You Take Care of The Rule of Law, The Rule of Law Will Take Care of You” - IBA

31 August 2018
“We are strong only when united and together. Divided, we’re vulnerable and subject to external and devastating attacks – and these are the dangers we face daily.”

OMOYELE SOWORE: NBA CONDEMNS THE DISOBEDIENCE OF COURT ORDER AND IMPUNITY BY DSS


The Nigerian Bar Association has become 
aware of the unfortunate and flagrant disobedience of the order of Hon. Mr. Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court sitting at Abuja directing the release on bail of Citizen Omoyele Sowore by the Department of State Security Service of Nigeria on the 24th of September, 2019, of which the bail terms have long been perfected by the detainee's counsel.

Attednd the BNLF Annual Gala Dinner


Tickets and Award Nominations
Join us for the British Nigeria Law Forum (BNLF) Annual Gala Dinner & Awards

Time: 6.00pm – 12.30am Date: Friday, 22 November 2019

Sep 26, 2019

Photo News- NBA President, Paul Usoro SAN at the IBA Conference in Seoul


Photos from the ongoing International Bar Association (IBA) Conference in Seoul. In attendance is the NBA President @paulusoro

Sep 24, 2019

2 Days To Go To Art of Legal Advocacy And Business of Law Training For Lawyers


Excellent advocacy skills and a sound knowledge of the business of law are necessary skills mandatory for every lawyer desirous of attaining career success. 

Former Young Lawyer Chairman, named Lawyer of the Year


It was a night of bliss, a night of VVIPs as The Who and who gathered to a night of glamour as Charles Ajiboye, FICMC. , a result oriented lawyer of the future and Executive Partner at The Penthouse Law (an avant garde 21st century upwardly mobile multi service law firm) and Publicity Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja won the Prestigious TREK AFRICA LAWYER AWARD OF THE YEAR 2019. 

NBA Ikeja Celebrates Its Members On Their Conferment as SAN


It is with utmost joy that the Chairman, NBA Ikeja Branch, Prince Dele Oloke on behalf of the Executives and members celebrates her inspiring and worthy Excellent Members; Samuel Agweh,SAN, Emeka Ozoani,SAN and Olukayode Enitan,SAN on their conferment with the noble  rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).

It is indeed a hattrick for the branch worthy of celebration.

Congratulations!

Signed: Charles Ajiboye, FICMC
(Publicity Secretary)

Sep 23, 2019

How Small And Medium Enterprises (Sme) Can Protect Their Businesses – Part 1 | Linda Nnamani




SME’s is believed to be catalysts for economic growth and national development both in developing and developed countries. 


Nigeria as a developing country has a host of opportunities to be tapped into and utilized by its citizens. Majority of these has seized such opportunities to startup businesses as a means of livelihood in order to ameliorate hardship in these volatile economic times and also as an alternative to joblessness which is common in the country; however, more often than not, people undermine the need and importance of giving a legal protection to their businesses. A lot call themselves business owners and entrepreneurs without giving their businesses the standard legal protection that it needs, this trend is wrong and at times catastrophic.

Nigeria And The Right To Food | Eberechi May Okoh



Following the President’s announcement last month that Nigeria had attained food security, questions arose from several quarters on food security in Nigeria. The underlying issue in any food security discourse is that the right to food is and must be recognized as a human right protected by law. Consequently, food security is a human rights obligation, not simply a preference or policy choice, or an aspirational goal.[1] The first instrument setting out the right to food was the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (“UDHR”).

Sep 9, 2019

NBA Ikeja Young Lawyers' Forum Presents Legal Workshop


Theme: "Drafting & Review of Commercial Agreements."*

Facilitator: Chisom Obi-Okoye (Perchstone & Graeys)

Date: 12th September, 2019

NBA Ikeja And Office of The Attorney- General of Lagos State Pledge Cordial Partnership




The Chairman and Executives of the NBA Ikeja in company of two elders of the Branch; Mr. Jimoh Lasisi, SAN and Mr. Femi Falana,SAN paid a courtesy visit to the new Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Lagos State, Mr. Moyo Onigbanjo,SAN.

Sep 6, 2019

Facing The Future Through Leadership and National Duty


Lawyers under the umbrella of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) have renewed their confidence in the leadership of Paul Usoro (SAN) as president. This was demonstrated during the just concluded 59th Annual General Conference (AGC) of the NBA with no fewer than 12,000 of them in attendance.

 - Adelanwa Bamgboye  - Daily Trust

Sep 5, 2019

10 Reasons Why Lawyers Should Participate In The Art of Legal Advocacy Career Training




1.   The first reason is that the Modules of the training are designed to empower every lawyer with the required skills to excel. Three of the Modules focus on Dispute Resolution Mechanisms such as Litigation, Arbitration and Mediation. Another module focuses on Legal Writing which all lawyers must master while the 5th module is Forensic Document Examination. Last but not the least, the Law Firm Profitability module will teach lawyers how to become rainmakers and position their firms for high profitability.

Same sex marriage and the effect on our upcoming generation


Same-sex marriage (also known as gay marriage) is the marriage of two people of the same sex or gender, entered into in a civil or religious ceremony. There are records of same-sex marriage dating back to the first century though there is no legal provision in Roman Law, and it was banned in the Roman Empire in the fourth.

Enforcing Prenuptial Agreements In Nigeria | Adeniran Bukunmi


1.0    INTRODUCTION.
Around the world there has been a growing trend for intending couples to enter into prenuptial agreements in order to secure their financial interests in the event of divorce. It is believed in many quarters that a woman can avoid great heartache  in her oncoming marriage, if she agrees to sign a carefully considered prenuptial agreement, that guards her right before entering into wed lock.

Safeguarding The Human Rights Of Sexual Minorities In Africa | Adewara Adebola



"To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity” Nelson Mandela

The human rights of sexual minorities in Africa have occupied both the national and international media in recent years, with more calls for their elimination than their recognition.

Climate Change And Environmental Law | Okpara Cherish


"We are running the most dangerous

experiment in history right now,

which is to find out how much carbon dioxide

 the atmosphere can handle before

there is an environmental catastrophe."(ELON MUSK)

Rape In Nigeria: Should The Burden Of Proof Shift?


Abstract

Nigeria is a large and populous country with a lot of beliefs and superstitions. These beliefs are largely fuelled and sustained through religion, societal views and a sense of morality. These factors play a role in the attitude Nigerians have towards certain issues, criminal issues especially.

Why Nigeria Isn't Ready For A Jury System | Njoku Augusta Chinweubam


A nation that is still being held captive by the unrelenting grip of corruption, and is constantly plagued by political and economic instability, has no business pursuing a Jury system. Nigeria is one such nation. A jury is a historic legal institution in which a group of laypersons participate in deciding cases brought to trial.

Sep 3, 2019

Register For Art of Legal Advocacy And Law Firm Profitability Training For Lawyers



Excellent advocacy skills and a sound knowledge of the business of law are necessary skills mandatory for every lawyer desirous of attaining career success. This training will instruct you on the skills required to advance your legal career and position your law firm for high profitability in today's business eco system. 

This training will instruct you on all you need to advance your legal career


This training will instruct you on all you need to advance your legal career and position your firm for high profitability in today's business eco system. 

The modules include - -

Litigation 

-Arbitration 

-Mediation

- Forensic Documents Examination 

- Legal Writing 

- Law Firm Profitability

You also get to learn from our Members of Faculty who are experts in these areas of legal practice, they include - 

·  Mr. Olabode Olanipekun SAN, Partner, Wole Olanipekun  Co.

·  Dr. Abiodun Osiyemi; President, Forensic Science Academy.

·  Mr. FolaAlade ASCMA (UK); Principal Partner, Fotefa Partners.

·  Dr. Chinua Asuzu, Dean, The Write House; Senior Partner, Assizes Law Firm.

·  Miss Busola Ajala , CEO, Strictly Law Business.

·  Mr. Tolu Aderemi LLM (Netherlands), Partner, Pearchstone & Graeys


Other details are -

Theme: “The Art of Legal Advocacy”

Date: 26th and 27th September, 2019



Time: 9am – 5pm daily

Duration of Class: 2hrs each

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


Registration Details
Fee per delegate - N60,000
Early Bird (Ends September, 5, 2019) - N40,000

We look forward to welcoming you as the sessions promise to be impactful and help put you well on the way to achieving your career goals. 

For registration details, please call Lawlexis on +2348055424566; +2349095635314 or email lawlexisinternational@gmail.com or follow this link - https://paystack.com/pay/Lawlexis

#NBAAGC2019 #nbaconference #facingthefuture #NBA2019AGC #NBA2019AGC #nigerianlawyers #AOCLegal #AOCLegal #careertraining #lawyertraining

Sep 2, 2019

NBA Introduces Travel Policy





NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION
NBA TRAVEL RETIREMENT POLICY –   APPLICABLE TO THE MACARTHUR FOUNDATION  PROJECT AND OTHER NBA-RELATED TRAVELS
 1. Travel and Subsistence
NBA recognizes the need for travels in the course of executing and meeting the objectives of the MacArthur Foundation Project and its other functions. Travel and subsistence needs may arise for members of staff from conferences, domestic trainings and meetings. Consequently, NBA acknowledges the need to allocate and release travel funds for all reasonable expenses.  

Nigerian Bar Association Introduces Petty Cash Policy And Procedure





In his to promote governance reforms of the Nigerian Bar Association, the Paul Usoro led administration shall be present to the NBA NEC for approval a Petty Cash Policy for the NBA.

Find details delow -

ADR In Criminal Litigation: An Abomination Or Necessary Evil | Nonso Nonso Anyasi


The picture of a purported settlement agreement executed between an alleged offender and the parents of a fourteen year old girl who was defiled has been making the rounds on Social Media, with many lawyers and PUBLIC commentators condemning the said settlement agreement which was presided over by Office of the Commissioner of Police of Rivers State.

Satire: The Arrest and Detention of Sowore | Ibukunoluwa Idris



IN THE FEDERAL HIGH COURT OF A DEMOCRATIC STATE

IN THE IMAGINARY JUDICIAL DIVISION

HOLDEN AT THE NEW NIGERIA




                                           SUIT NO: DFHC/999/2019



BETWEEN



PATRIOTIC CITIZENS

OMOYELE SOWORE                                                                          APPLICANTS



AND



1.    THE HOPEFUL DEMOCRATIC STATE

2.    ALL CITIZENS’ SECURITY AGENCIES

3.    ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR CITIZENS                                        RESPONDENTS



                                                FINAL WRITTEN ADDRESS

Payment Service Banks in Nigeria (PSBS): A Review of the Proposed Guidelines for Licensing and Regulation by the CBN


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) by its letter dated 5th October 2018, written to all banks, telecommunication companies, mobile money operators, banking agents and the Nigerian Communication Commission, circulated draft guidelines and regulations of Payment Service Banks in Nigeria (PSB) for comments and observations.

Oil Rig as Vessel under the Cabotage Act 2003 and the Cabotage Amendment Bill 2016


Over the years, the Nigerian maritime industry has witnessed the uncontrolled and illegal participation of foreign shipowners which has been detrimental to the industry. This position necessitated the enactment of the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act in 2003.

Banks as Collecting Agents For FIRS – A Conundrum | Ifeatu Medidem


The Federal Inland Revenue Service has intensified its drive to recover outstanding tax liabilities from taxpayers in default of tax obligations. To this end, FIRS has been writing to taxpayers’ bankers, appointing the banks’ agent of the banks’ customer, to collect outstanding tax liabilities from the taxpayers’ bank account balance. This is referred to as tax substitution.
Banks and FIRSFIRS bases its appointment of the banks as collecting agents on the provisions of Section 49 of the Companies Income Tax Act 2004, and Section 31 of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act 2007.
Section 31 of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act 2007 provides:

  • The Service may by notice in writing appoint any person to be the agent of a taxable person if the circumstances provided in sub-section (2) of this section makes it expedient to do so.

  • The agent appointed under sub-section (1) of this section may be required to pay any tax payable by the taxable person from any money which may be held by the agent of the taxable person

  • Where the agent referred to in subsection (2) of this section defaults, the tax shall be recoverable from him.
  • For the purposes of this section, the Service may require any person to give information as to any money, fund or other assets which may be held by him for, or of any money due from him to, any person.
  • The provisions of this Act with respect to objections and appeals shall apply to any notice given under this section as if such notice were an assessment.”
Section 49 of the Companies and Income Tax Act, 2007 also empowers the FIRS to collect tax due from companies and appoint agents to collect tax due from companies, thus:
“The Board may by notice in writing appoint any person to be the agent of any company and the person so declared the agent shall be the agent of such company for the purposes of this Act, and may be required to pay any tax which is or will be payable by the company from any monies which may be held by him for or due by or to become due by him to the company whose agent he has been declared to be, and in default of such payment, the tax shall be recovered from him”.
Banks and FIRSTypically, FIRS instructs the bank to set aside an amount equivalent to the tax payer’s outstanding tax liability and remit same to FIRS. FIRS also directs that the bank place a restriction on the tax payer’s accounts and inform FIRS of any transaction on the tax payer’s account prior to execution on the accounts. The bank is also expected to release the tax payer’s bank statements and other financial records to FIRS.
The banks, probably concerned about compliance and cooperation with government agencies are quite swift to comply with the directives. Some valued customers are lucky to receive some notification, prior to the bank’s execution of FIRS’ directives; others, not so much.
Understandably, given how difficult it often is to recover outstanding debts from recalcitrant debtors, it may not be so surprising that FIRS devised this strategy. But the appointment of banks as collecting agents has stoked several fundamental issues in relation to the propriety or otherwise of the action. Chief of which, is the constitutionality of FIRS’ appointment of banks as collecting agents to collect and remit outstanding tax liabilities of taxpayers, without court orders. This is beside the conversation around the hardship that may be occasioned the taxpayer who has had its bank account restricted, particularly where it turns out that the restriction is unjustifiable.
However, a salient issue that seems to have eluded discussion is the query, “Is a bank legally enabled to act as collecting agent to collect outstanding tax liabilities from its customers’ bank account(s) on behalf of the FIRS?”
FIRS’ Appointment of A Bank As A Collecting Agent Imposes a Mandatory Responsibility
On a cursory reading of the provisions of Section 31(3) FIRS Establishment Act and Section 49 of the Companies Income Tax Act, it may appear that the provisions create an ordinary principal/agent relationship between FIRS and the appointed collecting agent. By principles of law, an agency relationship presumes a payment obligation between the principal and the agent. This is not the case with tax substitution, because the appointed/declared agent is the agent of the taxpayer and not FIRS.
The provisions of Section 31(3) of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act 2007 and Section 49 of the Companies and Income Tax Act, 2007 impose a mandatory responsibility on the Bank appointed as collecting agent, rather than a commission earning activity. By these provisions, where the FIRS appointed Bank fails to remit the outstanding tax liability from the taxpayers’ funds in its custody, such bank would be personally liable to FIRS for the tax payer’s outstanding liability. This certainly places the banks between the devil and the deep blue sea.
Banks Owe A Duty Of Confidentiality/Secrecy To Their Customers With Some Exceptions
A pressing issue for concern, as to the propriety of the banks’ appointment as collecting agents for FIRS, is the unavoidable breach of a bank’s fiduciary duty to its customer. This issue has raised a lot of hue and cry, over FIRS’ appointment of banks as collecting agents over their customers’ outstanding tax liabilities.
Banks and FIRSA bank and its staff are obliged to keep secret, information regarding the business and account(s) of its customers. In Tournier v National Provincial and Union Bank of England, (1924) 1KB 461, Bankes LJ of the Court of Appeal of England held that confidentiality was an implied term in the customer’s contract and that any breach could give rise to liability in damages if loss results. As with every general rule, there are exceptions to the duty of the bank to keep secret, every information regarding the customer’s account(s). These exceptions are:
  1. Where the bank has a duty to the public to do so.
  2. Where the bank’s own interest requires disclosure: – This occurs for example, where legal proceedings are required to enforce the repayment of an overdraft or where a surety has to be told the extent to which his guarantee is being relied upon.
  3. Where the bank has the express or implied consent of its customer to do so: – where he supplies a reference to its customer or where it replies to a status inquiry from another bank.
  4. Where disclosure is required by law.
FIRS’ appointment of banks as collecting agents in respect of the bank’s customer’s outstanding tax liability, ostensibly falls under the exception (d) above; given the provisions of Section 31(3) FIRS Establishment Act and Section 49 of the Companies Income Tax Act.
Yet, the manner in which the banks typically respond, with swift compliance, undeniably raises issues of conflict of interest and breach of the bank’s fiduciary duty to its customer. The banks’ compliance with the directives imposed by the FIRS, against ‘tax defaulters’ (customers of the banks) involves a glaring breach of the duty.
A bank cannot perform the obligations of tax substitution, without impairing the confidential obligation it owes its customers. This confidentiality obligation is the pillar of banking.
Clearly, the banks, as collecting agents for FIRS, are conflicted, in that they are torn between complying with directives of FIRS, a government agency; and fulfilling their obligations to their customers.
There is however no positive law to safeguard the relationship between a bank and its customers. It is advisable that banks tread with caution, and take steps to secure their position.
Banks As Collecting Agents For FIRS – Possible Safeguards
In light of the foregoing, where a bank is faced with tax substitution directives from FIRS, the bank may rely on Section 31(5) FIRS Establishment Act to protect itself. The bank ought to take into consideration that as with all tax assessments and notices, a taxpayer has the right to object or appeal.
Banks rather than rushing to comply with FIRS’ directives, should ensure that adequate inquiries are made, to confirm that the notice in respect of a taxpayer relates to a tax liability that is final, due and outstanding.
Banks and FIRSA tax payer’s liability is payable when a taxpayer defaults in paying its tax liability on a tax assessment that is undisputed, either on the basis of a self-assessment or upon the tax payer’s specific agreement to FIRS’ assessment. Where an assessment is disputed, the tax liability is payable when the assessment has become final and conclusive. This may either be upon expiration of the statutory time for objection or payment, and the taxpayer fails to object to the assessment, or upon the determination by the Tax Appeal Tribunal or the Courts, in the absence of an appeal of the decision of the Tribunal or Court.
Final Word
Pending the interpretation of the Courts on the constitutionality of FIRS’ powers to appoint a tax payer’s banker as its agent to collect outstanding tax liabilities from the tax payer’s bank account, taxpayers are best advised to take steps to comply with statutory requirements to compute and remit their outstanding tax obligations. Where however the taxpayer has already had its bank accounts restricted under FIRS’ directives, it would be prudent to seek professional counsel to explore resolution mechanisms best suited to the peculiar circumstances.
FIRS’ appointment of banks as collecting agents in respect of the banks’ customers’ outstanding tax liability, places the banks in the precarious position of potentially impairing the confidentiality obligation owed to customers. Banks are also exposed to legal action, particularly where the tax liability is disputed. It is the writer’s view that a bank should consider all possible options to secure its position, in addressing the mandatory obligation imposed by FIRS’ appointment to act as collecting agents from its customer’s bank accounts.
The banks are also at liberty to test their appointment by FIRS, as collecting agents, pursuant to the provisions of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act 2007 and Section 49 of the Companies and Income Tax Act, 2007. A determination by the Courts would certainly bring welcome development to our jurisprudence.
Besides, there is the danger of taking the now largely banked economy a few steps back. Individuals and business organizations may refuse to bank, for fear of having their funds subjected to seizure without recourse to them, or to avoid having their financial activities monitored, or to maintain their financial privacy.
Tax evasion is a criminal offence under the law. FIRS may choose to lay more emphasis on prosecuting offenders as a deterrent to intending tax evaders. It is quite commendable that FIRS is actively widening the tax net, particularly with the proposed imposition of 5% value-added tax on lottery and gambling activities.

Written by: Ifeatu Medidem
Senior Associate/Practice Manager
Olisa Agbakoba Legal