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Sep 30, 2020

The Constitution Of The Federal Republic Of Nigeria 1999: From Hypothesis To Reality (Case For A Brand New Constitution) | Dele Adesina SAN


The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has set up a 56 Member Constitution Reviewing Committee under the leadership of the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, with a view to embarking on yet another round of Amendment of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended). The areas of focus according to publication on this subject-matter include but are not limited to devolution of powers, state creation, the Nigerian Police and Nigerian Security Architecture, judicial reform, electoral reform, local government structure, public revenue, federal structure and fiscal federalism, revenue allocation, the socio-economic and cultural rights, immunity, indigene-ship and the National Assembly. The Committee has therefore called for memoranda and/or proposals for further alteration of the Constitution from the civil society organizations, professional bodies, executive and judicial bodies, and the general public.

According to the Deputy Senate President, the process shall not only be all inclusive but the Committee will guarantee full participation of Nigerians. The Report of the Constitution Reviewing Committee according to the publication is expected to be presented to the Senate at a plenary session in the first quarter of 2021. The Committee was inaugurated in February 12, 2020 by the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan. As at the time of writing this essay, it has been reported that the Committee has not only received 68 memos on the proposed amendment, but also, that due to sustained pressure to extend the closing date of submission of memorandum, the Committee had extended the closing date for submission of memoranda to September 18, 2020.

Let me highlight two issues arising from the publications immediately. First, the clamour for extension of the closing date for submission of memorandum in spite of the huge number that have already been submitted is indicative of the enormous interest that the exercise will generate among Nigerians. Secondly, the expansive areas in focus as enumerated by the Committee suggest that the amendment is going to be far-reaching and will touch several sections of the Constitution. The purpose of this write up is to commend the Initiative of the Senate for finding it worthy to carry out what promises to be a sweeping re-examination, re-assessment and re-consideration of the 1999 Constitution. However, this is a restrained commendation in view of the observations, suggestions and recommendations I intend to make in this paper for the consideration of the Constitution Reviewing Committee, the Senate and indeed the general public.

First, it is to be recalled that we have successfully carried out 4 Amendments through 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Alteration exercises. Several Sections of the Constitution were altered in the course of the four (4) exercises, all these within approximately a period of 21 years of the existence and operation of the Constitution. The question is *if we find it desirable to embark on another exercise as profound and expansive as the one being contemplated here, whether it is not far better and more desirable to think about a holistic replacement of the 1999 Constitution?*

Second, I noted with satisfaction that some of the issues scheduled to be considered in the review exercise constitute fundamental and existential issues for Nigeria as a safe and secured Nation, as a Federation and lastly as a successful Constitutional Democracy. I am referring here to such items as devolution of powers, Federal Structure and true Federalism, the Nigeria Police and Nigerian Security Architecture, comprehensive Judicial Reform, Local Government autonomy and the National Assembly itself. Once these foundational issues are going to form the cornerstone of this review which has been promised to be all-inclusive and fully participatory, the question is *whether it is not better and preferable to garner the thoughts, feelings, visions and aspirations of the people with the goal of embarking on the process of making a new Constitution for Nigeria?*

Third, in the words of the Supreme Court: *"the Constitution is the heart and soul of the people. That explains why the Constitution commences (with the word) 'We the people…' all provisions in the Constitution were put in by the accredited representatives of the people."* (See Ugba v. Suswam (2014) All FWLR [Pt. 748] page 825 at 863).

Disagreeing with the second part of the above quotation, my Learned Brother Silk and Constitutional Law expert, S.T. Hon, SAN, had this to say in his book titled *'Constitutional Law and Migration Law': "there is no doubt that the 1999 Constitution was enacted by the military. That the apex Court merely imputed this exercise to the Nigerian people."*

Many Nigerians including erudite Constitutional Law Lawyers have expressed serious reservation about the process leading to the making of the 1999 Constitution and the resultant lack of popular acceptability occasioned by the process of its making. For instance, Chief Rotimi Williams, SAN, a foremost Constitutional Law Lawyer described the 1999 Constitution as a *"document that tells lie against itself."* Professor Itse Sagay, SAN, categorically described the Constitution as a *"fraud."* The erudite Constitutional Law Lawyer and a foremost Professor of Law, Professor Ben Nwabueze, SAN, described the Constitution as an *"illogicality".* That the 1999 Constitution is a *"Unitary Constitution for a Federal System of Government."*

The Constitution was described as a fraud and a document that lies against itself at a Seminar on the new Constitution organised by the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja Branch, on the 18th of June, 1999 because the Constitution purportedly stated in its opening recital that *"We the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria having firmly and solemnly resolved… do hereby make, enact and give to ourselves the following Constitution."* Since the enactment of the 1999 Constitution, the question has been asked repeatedly, *where and when did that resolution take place? How did the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria arrive at that firm and solid resolution purportedly expressed in the recital to the 1999 Constitution?* It must be recalled that the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was midwifed by the then Military Government of General Abdusallam Abubakar, GCFR, pursuant to the promulgation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria *Decree No. 24 of 1999.* The question is *whether Decree No. 24 of 1999 can take the place of a referendum by the people in the making of a people's Constitution recognising that the ultimate sovereignty lies with the people?*

Fourth, in the case of *Attorney-General of Abia State v. Attorney-General of the Federation,* the Supreme Court stated the meaning and scope of Federalism in the following words: *"Federalism as a legal concept generally connotes an association of states formed for certain common purposes, but the state retains a large measure of their original independence or autonomy. It is the co-ordinate relationship of power between the individual states and the National Government which is at the centre. Federalism as a viable concept of organising a pluralistic society such as Nigeria for governance does not encourage so much concentration of power in the centre which is the Federal Government. In federalism, the component states do not play the role of errand boys."* The point was also made by the Supreme Court in *Attorney-General of Lagos State v. Attorney-General of the Federation,* that each Government in a Federation *"exists not as an appendage of another Government but as an autonomous entity in the sense of being able to exercise its own will in the conduct of its affairs, free from direction from another Government."* None of these essential characteristics of a true Federalism can be said to exist in Nigerian in real and practical terms.

I am fully persuaded by the opinion of Professor Ben Nwabueze, SAN, that *"one single Constitution for all the governments involved both Federal and State in a Federation is a manifest contradiction."* For instance, in 1960, we had the Independence Constitution. There were separate Constitutions for both the Federation and the Regions as separate Schedules to the Independence Order-in-Council. Similarly, the 1963 Republican Constitution made provisions for the establishment of regional Constitutions for the three regions that composed the Federation. Section 5 (1) thereof stated as follows: *"Subject to the provision of this Constitution (Federal Constitution) the Constitution of each region shall have the force of law throughout the region."*

There was also a specific provision in that Constitution which stated that the Executive Authority of a Region (which extended to the execution and maintenance of the Regional Constitution) shall be exercised so as not *"to impede or prejudice the exercise of the Executive Authority of the Federation or endanger the continuance of the Federation."* It therefore follows that in an ideal Federal system, apart from sharing of powers, both the Federal and the Federating units must have their own Constitutions. The question is *whether we truly want a Federal or a Unitary System of Government in Nigeria and whether an elaborate discussion on the desirability or otherwise of this initiative can be undertaken under an amendment process such as the one being contemplated?*

Everyone in this Nation today accepts the fact that the Nation is faced with a lot of structural and systemic challenges, a good number of which are the products of the inadequacies of the 1999 Constitution. It is no longer news that there has been over concentration of powers at the centre at the detriment of the federating units. Indeed, over the years the centre has been grabbing and grabbing powers at the expense of the federating units. The long years of military adventure in governance has not helped the situation. For the sake of comparison, the *1954 Constitution donated 43 items to the centre* in the Exclusive Legislative List, *45 items in the 1960 and 1963 Independence and Republican Constitutions, 66 items in the 1979 Constitution* and *68 items to the centre in the 1999 Constitution* as amended. The reality of our Constitutional structure and power sharing today is that simple items such as census, labour, trade unions and industrial relations, mines, minerals, natural gas, drugs, evidence, trade and commerce are in the Exclusive Legislative List. Not to talk of the Policing system. This is in addition to *30 items under the Concurrent Legislative List* for which both the Federating States and the Federal Government have powers to make laws subject of course to the supremacy of the Federal Law over the State Law on any such matter where one is inconsistent with the other.

The issue of Nigeria Police and the security architecture in particular is very germane. It is not an over statement to say that the greatest challenge confronting our Nation today and particularly the security and sustenance of our Constitutional democracy is that of insecurity. I believe that nobody is left in any doubt that the centralized and monolithic Police structure established by Sections 214 and 215 of the Constitution can no longer guarantee the security of this Nation and its component parts and this explains why the other security agencies like the Military, the Airforce and the Navy are now directly involved in the maintenance of law and order in different parts of the country.

The process of making the 1999 Constitution as stated earlier falls short of guaranteeing its popular legitimacy and acceptability. No amendments no matter how many times can in a retroactive manner cure this foundational defect in the making of the 1999 Constitution. It remains a military-donated Constitution. A deliberate effort to embark on the making of a new Constitution will offer an opportunity to Nigerians for popular participation in the Constitution making process of their Country. Scholars of Constitutional Law have argued and I wholeheartedly agree with their reasoning that the scope of making a Constitution should not be determined by the rulers or those who govern them. Professor Julius Ihombere, talking about the value of participatory/ people driven Constitution making approach had this to say: *"political elites and leaders have not come to fully appreciate the importance of a participatory or people driven Constitution making approach to their own survival in office and to the reduction of conflicts and pressures on the State, its institutions and custodians. Asides from using the process to resolve burning national issues, a participatory approach is probably one of the best panaceas to instability, public cynicisms and alienation from government. It is equally the best way to cultivate a culture and tradition of reliance on dialogue and consensus rather than the result to violence in the political process."*

The contemporary challenges being faced in the Nation today such as the wide spread insecurity, various sectional loyalty and allegiances instead of loyalty and commitment to the cause of the Nation on the basis of nationalism and patriotism, lack of properly focused political system cloaked in ideology and the uncountable number of political parties jostling for power, the agitation for true federalism, both fiscal and structural, make the call for a new Constitution not only worthy of consideration but I submit makes it compelling. The Constitution of 1999 falls short in many aspects of what a Federal Constitution should be. It is my humble view that the time to take the bull by the horn and drive a wholesale replacement of the 1999 Constitution through the instrumentality of an autonomous and independent body is now. Such body must emanate from the people. Like I stated earlier the ultimate sovereignty lies with the people. It is my contention that we have gotten to a point in Nigeria when we should subject the Nation to the sovereign will of the people by making a people driven Constitution.

The materials for this exercise abound in Nigeria. These include men and women of good standing in their immediate society who can be elected from their constituencies to constitute a Constitution Drafting Committee to identify and collate the aggregate will and expressions of the people. The Report of the National Political Reform Conference of 2005 set-up by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR, (which I was privileged to be a member), the Report of the Constitutional Conference of 2014 set-up by Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR, the 1979 and 1985 which heralded the 1999 Constitution midwifed by General Abdulsallam Abubakar, GCFR. The workings of the Constitutional Drafting Committee shall be submitted to a Constituent Assembly and the final product emanating from the Constituent Assembly shall be submitted for people's referendum. Through this process, the people take ownership of the Constitution.

I am not unaware of the argument that we cannot have two sovereigns in a nation in the sense of having a Sovereign National Conference as well as a Sovereign Government and Sovereign National Assembly. Going by the example we have seen in South Africa, I think both can coexist without one impeding or obstructing the workings of the other. Let it be recalled that the agitation and resistance against the Apartheid System of Government in South Africa was what led to the setting up of the Convention for Democratic South Africa (CODESA). At the time of formulating a new Constitution by the Convention for Democratic South Africa (CODESA), the Republican Constitution of South Africa 1961 was in place and a democratically elected government led by the National Party was also in place. History recorded that it was the Convention for Democratic South Africa that fashioned a new Constitution that ultimately removed discrimination and all forms of apartheid rule in South Africa. It is time for us to recognise that no problem is ever solved by technically avoiding the problem.

Besides, there has been no mentioning of a Sovereign National Conference at all in my consideration, advisedly, so as to address the fears of those opposed to a Sovereign National Conference coexisting with a Sovereign Government. It will be a great day for Nigeria if we can take this giant step to fashion out a new Constitution that will satisfy the yearnings, aspirations and inspirations of all Nigerians rather than embarking on limitless amendments. A Constitution that will enjoy a buy-in of all Nigerians. A Constitution that Nigerians can take ownership of by their participation in the process of its making. Somebody says that no matter how long you persist on a wrong route, you can never arrive at your desired destination. The time for us to take our destiny in our own hands is now. With all its noticeable inadequacies, the 1999 Constitution has tried to give us a Constitutional democracy albeit in a limited sense, we can have a full blown democracy and democratisation process run and administered by full democrats with a well-rounded Federal Constitution by its name and provisions.

Professor Julius Ihombere in his paper titled *'Towards Participatory Mechanisms and Principles of Constitutional Making in Africa'* published in 2000 said: *"rather than just seeing the Constitution as a power map focusing exclusively on the question of power (which is what we may achieve by the various Amendments) we must see the Constitution as an instrument for addressing pressing socio-economic, cultural and economic questions as well as an embodiment of consensus around constitutionalism."* The Constitution must be seen and regarded as *"an expression of the general will of the Nation, a reflection of its history, fears, concerns, aspirations, vision and indeed, the soul of the Nation. Furthermore, the Constitution is not just an elite affair rather it must be seen as a single document under which diverse and ideologically opposed people unite and rally in defence of democracy."*

A new Constitution will translate:  *"We the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria having firmly and solemnly resolved… do hereby make, enact and give to ourselves the following Constitution"* from hypothesis into reality. May I conclude that if we must decisively address the inadequacies, distortions, confusions, fundamental omissions and the inherent contradictions in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, if we must establish a true and functional Federation that will guarantee National cohesion through the Rule of Law – our focus must be to give to ourselves a new Constitution. This is the truth, no matter how inconvenient.

Dele Adesina SAN 

Sep 29, 2020

Cementing Data Protection In Nigeria | Assumpta N. Nwaogwugwu*

 


INTRODUCTION

The novel coronavirus struck in December 2019, and by March 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared it a pandemic[1]. This declaration inspired nations to impose a lockdown, thus disrupting patterns and methods of living. Although for the good of all, this act was a great inconvenience to people. Ranging from education, to movement, to economic activities, everything stood still. But life is progressive, and as COVID became the world’s new normal, technology and digitalisation were utilised for the advancement of society. Schools for instance embraced online learning, dispute resolution employed the virtual space, social interactions, commercial transactions, webinars, colloquium etc., all recruited internet applications.  Remarkably, the effective operation of all of these is hinged on the processing and security of an essential element called Data. It is the manner of protection afforded to a vital substance like this in Nigeria that is the crux of this work.

Informed Consent In Nigeria: Liability Of Medical Practitioners | Mustapha Moyosore

 



INTRODUCTION

The right to life is sacrosanct to the bearer and nobody has the authority to deprive them of this natural gift which the creator has gifted them. Just as this right is intrinsic and fundamental, so is the right to decide what happens to one’s state of health which ultimately has a far-reaching effect on the person’s life.

Sep 21, 2020

Training: Dispute Management In Africa Infrastructure Projects

 


This training will span over the course of three weeks and will cover Power; Public Infrastructure (PPPs & Concession Arrangements); and the Oil & Gas Sectors. The faculty and speakers are seasoned professionals who will draw on their expertise in dispute resolution, project management and claims management across these three sectors. 

 

Sep 19, 2020

A Tool To Help You Learn Your Legal Rights And Obligations

                                                

Hi,

One huge issue in the world today is that people are not familiar with their rights and because of this they get taken advantage of by security agencies, business partners or even fellow citizens who appear to be more powerful and better connections.

It is extremely important to know your legal and Constitutional rights. These rights are the foundation of our legal system and are in place for the protection of every citizen of this country. Failure to know and utilize these rights leads to their erosion and possibly to you getting yourself deeper into trouble.

Kindly allow me introduce you to a tool to help you learn your legal rights and stay updated. The LEGAL RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS UNDER NIGERIAN LAW Ebook contains layman explanations for over 80 topics of law including different areas such as Family Law, Divorce, Business Law, Tenancy and Property Law to mention a few. 

You can order your copy for here for N3,000 only. Remember ignorance of the law is not an excuse. Purchase your Ebook Now.

 


Sifting Through: Has Contract Of Employment Now Escaped From The Clutch Of Statute Of Limitation



ABSTRACT 

Couple of days ago, I was requested to furnish legal opinion on a judgement SUIT NO. NICN/LA/160/2017 delivered in June, 2020 by National Industrial Court of Nigeria. In the said judgement, the honourable trial court, in its respectful wisdom, held that statute of limitation is not applicable to contract of employment. The nucleus of the judgement was the court’s heavy reliance on N.R.M.A. & FC vs Johnson (2019) 2 NWLR (P 1656) SC 247. This piece of writing considers the applicable authorities and maintains that statute of limitation is applicable to contract of employment.

Sep 17, 2020

What To Do When Others Publish Libelous Statements About You



When a person publishes false statements which seek to defame another's character, it is referred to as libel. For an action for libel to be successful, one of the grounds is that such writing must have been published.

A true statement on the contrary, can never be defamatory as the written publication must be false and without lawful justification for it to be defamatory.

In such situations anyone who is a victim of libel can sue for damages at the appropriate court. Its however important to note that an action for libel cannot be brought after 6 years from the date of which the action occurred.

Do you have any questions on defamatory statements, post a comment or send us a DM

#nigerianlawyers #aoclegal #defamation #libel #barrister #slander


Sep 16, 2020

A Bill Seeking To Enact The Nigerian Local Content Development and Enforcement Commission: A Miscontrued Perception Of Executive Order 03 | O. M. Atoyebi, SAN



INTRODUCTION

The Nigerian Local Content Development and Enforcement Commission Bill, 2020, (the “Bill”) is seeking to repeal the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Act, 2010 (hereinafter referred to as the “Act”). This shortsighted initiative emerged out of the misconstrued perception of the true purpose behind the issuance of the Executive Order 03 signed by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria seemingly in support of Local Content, which mandates all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to grant preference to local manufacturers of goods and service providers in their procurement of goods and services.

Examination Of The Principles And Procedures For Nationality Swapping Under The Olympic Charter | F. E. OROK (Esq)



INTRODUCTION

          International sports law has seen several developments and changes in the last decade, one of such is the radical change in the Athlete nationality regime and the remodelling of the international and municipal concepts of citizenship.

          As the world is fast becoming a global village due to the strong influence of globalization, the stringiest requirement for citizenship and nationality has been relaxed by various nations in the alarming race to secure top class athletes or seek dominance in certain sports.  

Sep 12, 2020

NBA Officers: Duties of the Assistant Publicity Secretary



The role played by the Nigerian Bar Association and lawyers in the development of Nigeria’s economic and societal goals cannot be overstated. Due to this, the expectations of everyone who participated in or followed the recent NBA Elections are quite high, a fact that is not lost on the new officers. The NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata, noted this at his inauguration, when he stated that “As I informed the new national officers during our strategy retreat last weekend, hitting the ground running immediately will not be enough, we also need to hit it flying. Nothing short of that would match the expectations of our members and Nigerians.”

Sep 11, 2020

A Review: The Bill To Amend The Nigerian Oil And Gas Industry Content Development Act, 2010 | Damilola Vordah Imong


INTRODUCTION

The Oil and Gas sector of the Nigerian economy has hitherto, remained the mainstay of the country’s capital value chain and the most remarkable component of our National Gross Domestic Product. Given this incontrovertible fact, it has therefore become highly imperative that the Act be revamped and its provisions brought into compliance with international industry best practices while still preserving its core objective, which is provision for the development of Nigerian Content in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry by encouraging participation of Nigerians.

Sep 8, 2020

#Employmentlaw: The Effect of Giving Inadequate Notice of Voluntary Resignation or Retirement -- Kayode Omosehin, Esq.


There is some confusion amongst human resources professionals and in-house counsel about the validity and effect of an employee's notice of resignation that is short of the period agreed in the employment contract. Corollary to the foregoing is the issue regarding whether an employer can reject an employee’s resignation letter for any reason, including ongoing investigations or disciplinary proceedings against the employee or inadequacy of the length of notice or other reasons of the employee’s non-compliance with the employment contracts. In practice, many employers include the power to reject an employee’s resignation letter in their #HR policies or Employee Handbook without seeking legal advice on the propriety of such power.

Sep 2, 2020

The Legal Practicalities Of The Use Of Blockchain As A Form Of Online Dispute Resolution (Part 2) | T. Koroye



THE LEGAL PRATICALITIES OF THE USE OF BLOCKCHAIN FOR ONLINE ARBITRATION.

Asides the technical inhibitions in the complete adoption of blockchain (such as technical know-how, space for retention of data, protection of confidential information, etc.),[1] blockchain is not currently used in all earnest for offline commercial international transactions due to the legal ambiguities; some of which have been previously hinted on and addressed earlier on in this work. The legal uncertainties span from the questionability of the legality of a smart arbitration contract (and if it falls under the ambit of forced consent of parties who decide to use blockchain as an online platform) to the enforceability of the arbitral awards. Thus, the legal uncertainties arise from the initiation of the arbitration agreement through blockchain, to the recognition of the award by the State. This work will however, limit itself to the ambiguities to the applicable law of arbitral proceedings (lex situs) and the practicability of the enforcement of the award.

The Legal Practicalities Of The Use Of Blockchain As A Form Of Online Dispute Resolution (Part 1) | T. Koroye

 


INTRODUCTION

Conflict is an integral part of society and in all facets of human interactions and relations, prompting the development of means and avenues for the resolution of those conflicts, either through exaggerated violence, or other peaceful means.[1] These avenues of dispute resolution have evolved over the centuries, from settlement by the elderly, to royal or religious institutions, to the institutions set up and recognised by the State.[2] Most developed and developing societies have adopted the State’s means of dispute resolution, which is the recognition of the Court system to resolve issues ranging from personal grievances to complex contractual matters.[3]

African Feminism And Women’s Rights In Nigeria | Adeniyi Aderinboye



1.0.           INTRODUCTION

Women have been at a disadvantage since the beginning of the history of human race because of several prejudices and patriarchal order. Suffering of women created the concept of feminism as a gender based political and social movement[i]. This movement advocates for Social, Political and economic equality for but gender in any given Society.

Aug 27, 2020

Order Your Copy Of #SocialMediaForLawyers

One of the greatest inventions of modern time is the internet whose impact on society has been hugely phenomenal. With the internet, came social networks such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram which continue to challenge the status quo in several ways. The Global State of Digital 2019 report discovered that there are 98.39 million internet users in Nigeria, compared to January 2018, there was a 4 million increase in the number of internet users.

Understanding the ‘Transfer Window’ for Portability of Retirement Savings Accounts in Nigeria | Michael Dugeri


Introduction

Prior to the commencement of the Contributory Pension Scheme in 2004, Nigeria operated the Defined Benefit scheme which was challenged on many levels with issues such as terrible service delivery by administrators of the scheme in the form of delayed or non-payment of pension entitlements to retirees. As a result, the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) was introduced, to among other things, decentralise pension administration and establish an institutional framework for the safety, management and custody of pension assets in favour of all categories of workers in Nigeria. Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) licensed under the Pension Reform Act (PRA) have the responsibility to provide customer service support to employees, invest pension assets under their management, offer returns on the investments, and ensure prompt payment of retirement benefits to retirees, in accordance with the provisions of the Act.

Aug 25, 2020

COVID-19: African Free Trade Zone And The Ecowas Trade And Commerce | O. M. Atoyebi, SAN


The world has never been more ignited in recent times for survival than at the end of2019 and the launch of 2020 through to the mid-year and still counting. For many, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic projected a rather unannounced arrival of end-time. While the world is still adjusting to the disease and fighting to curbit, unfortunately,COVID-19 has triumphed in disrupting the entire chain of human affairs across the globe with its rippling effect.

Aug 24, 2020

Pre - Order Your Copy Of Social Media For Lawyers


The book "Social Media For Lawyers" by Adedunmade Onibokun is now available for pre - order.

The book which shows lawyers how to harness social media resources to create visibility and grow their business is a must have for all legal practitioners.

Pre - order your copy here;
http://Paystack.com/buy/socialmediaforlawyers



Aug 22, 2020

Post-Judgment Interests In Nigeria |Nonso Anyasi

 

Introduction

It is common knowledge that the Nigerian Courts will not award a relief that was not expressly claimed by a party at trial because the Courts are prevented from doling out unsolicited gifts like Father Christmas.[1] However, it appears that many companies are unaware of an exception to this rule, which exists in the rules of almost every High Court in Nigeria wherein the Courts are permitted to award post judgment interest on every judgment sum, even where same was not claimed by a successful litigant in his pleadings.[2]

#NBA2020AGC: 6 Quotes From The NBA2019AGC


As we prepare for another exciting Annual General Conference, we can’t help but think back to the amazing time we had at the 2019 NBAAGC which held in Lagos. We have therefore put together 6 interesting quotes from speakers at the Conference. Find them below - 

3 Things You Can Do Ahead Of The #NBA2020AGC


The NBA Annual General Conference kicks off in 3 days and we are so excited about it. According to Mr. Kunle Edun, the NBA Publicity Secretary, over 15,000 lawyers have registered for the conference, a number significantly higher than the 2019 conference.

Aug 19, 2020

#WOCJusticeSummit:Developing an Institutional Concept of Justice in Nigeria | Bode Olanipekun, SAN


Within and outside the Nigerian legal space, there are few words that get more constant reference than the word 'Justice.' The consistency of its recurrence in our lexicon is indicative of the fact that, almost, if not, everyone with a capacity to reason has a perspective of what 'Justice' entails. There is also a natural disposition and assumption that whatever misaligns with an individual's idea of justice would amount to injustice.


In view of the fact that, most citizens have an expectation of, and stake in justice, it is axiomatic that the concept itself and the vehicles for its delivery are communal and national issues that require a consensus (from, at least the majority) as to what the acceptable standards should be. It is for these reasons that Wole Olanipekun & Co. (WOC) has assembled a team of leading industry players and stakeholders in the justice sector to constructively engage in a solution driven discussion towards developing an institutional concept for justice.


WOC has been an active participant in the justice sector in the last four decades. Over the that period, we have built relationships that are now being leveraged upon to put up this summit as part of our contributions towards building, not only a lasting justice institution for Nigeria, but also one that satisfactorily adapts to the ever changing needs and expectations of citizens anchored on consistent and acceptable principles.

Register for the event immediately via this link  https://bit.ly/3aazQnS  and stream live on Youtube via this link http://bit.ly/Youtubewocjusticesummit

Bode Olanipekun, SAN
Managing Partner

Aug 17, 2020

Four Things You Can Look Forward To At The #NBAAGC2020


With the NBA Annual General Conference just 8 days away, we are super excited about this year’s conference for various reasons and we want you to know 4 things you can look forward to at the upcoming conference.

 

1.      AWESOME DISCUSSIONS

One of the hallmarks of the NBA Annual General Conference are the panel session discussions and speeches from world renowned leaders. For instance one of the Keynote Speakers at this year’s AGC is Hon. Dame Linda Dobbs, the Director of Training at the Judicial Institute for Africa; Pro Chancellor of the University of Surrey; read more about her here.

 Other speakers, participants can look forward to engaging with at the conference include; Prof. Yemi Osibajo SAN, GCON, Rt. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, Governor Nyesom Wike, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Brian Speers, President of the Common Wealth of Lawyers Association. You can see the full list of Speakers here.

 

2.      BONDING AND NETWORKING

Over past conferences, lawyers are used to meeting up in person to network and bond. Despite the pandemic, lawyers will still have the opportunity to network and bond at the upcoming conference.

 

3.      ENGAGING NEW IDEAS

With the new normal like we all like to call it, businesses have been forced to think outside the box to provide engaging new ideas which ensure their businesses thrive. At the 60th NBA Conference, we are going to be engaging with new ideas as well.

 

4.      A LOOK AT THE FUTURE

Like earlier mentioned, due to the pandemic we are forced to think outside the box and the Nigerian legal profession must also discover new ways of preparing for what the future brings. Most especially, how do we as lawyers prepare ourselves for this future?

These and more are going to be discussed at the NBAAGC 2020 and we recommend you do not miss it for the world. To register, simply log on www.conference.nigerianbar.org.ng  and click on the Registration button. The website also has information on some of the special features of the conference.


Dear Lawyers, What Are You Doing On the 26th – 29th of August, 2020? #NBAAGC2020


If your answer to the above question is “you don’t know” or “you are not sure”, then you are truly on a long thing and like we lawyers usually say “you are sleeping on your rights”. On the 26th – 29th of August, 2020, the largest gathering of lawyers in Africa, will be getting together for the NBA Annual General Conference.

There is really no excuse not to be part of the NBAAGC 60th Anniversary. Can you believe the NBAAGC is 60 years. WOW, that comes with so much history to it and guess what?, the conference is free. One more special thing is that the Conference is absolutely free.

To register, simply log on www.conference.nigerianbar.org.ng  and click on the Registration button. The website also has information on some of the special features of the conference.

So now that you know what you will be doing on the 26th – 29th of August, 2020. What are you waiting for? REGISTER NOW, the conference is just 8 days to go.

 

 

  

#WOCJusticeSummit And The Key Factors Affecting Justice Delivery In Nigeria | Register Now



According to the publication, Nigerian Justice System: The Ideal, Hope And Reality by M. Shehu, Dr. M. Faud Bin Othman and Dr. N Binti Osman published in 2017, the "Justice system and its administration in every state is the reflection of that state's extent of civilisation, the dispensation of justice and development. The administrators and operators of the Nigerian justice system are collectively and separately responsible for most of the problems facing the Nigerian justice system.


What we need includes a complete overhaul of the prisons to reflect changing realities, curbing corruption in the entire justice system, strengthening the constitutional provisions and procedural enforcement of fundamental rights, extensive and adequate civic education, strengthening the works of civil societies organisations, timely and efficient dispensation of justice in the courts, ensuring full independence of the judiciary and creation of conducive atmosphere for legal aid providers among others."

This topic and more will be discussed at the WOC Justice Summit holding on Saturday, 22nd August, 2020, with the theme; "Developing An Institutional Concept of Justice in Nigeria". Special Guests at the event include His Excellency, the Vice – President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osibajo GCON, SAN; Prof. Fidelis Oditah QC, SAN; Yemi Candice – Johnson SAN; Boma Alabi; Prof. Pat Utomi and Brie Stevens-Hoare (Professional Commissioner Judicial Appointments Commission UK).

The event will be moderated by Bode Olanipekun SAN, Managing Partner, Wole Olanipekun and Co.

Register for the event immediately via this link  https://bit.ly/3aazQnS  and stream live on Youtube via this link http://bit.ly/Youtubewocjusticesummit

Join the conversation and let's be part of the solution together.

Aug 14, 2020

WOCJusticeSummit: A Call For Judicial Reforms

 
At the recent Justice Research Institute (JRI) Virtual Roundtable themed "Selection and Appointment of Judges: Lessons for Nigeria", His Excellency, Vice – President Yemi Osibajo GCON, SAN, mentioned that there is need for an urgent, honest and frank conversation about judicial reforms.
 
The Vice President's statement cannot be over-emphasized as the Nigerian Judiciary is in dire need of reforms. Currently, citizens and users of the justice system are most unhappy about the state of affairs and have begun to result to other available means to remedy the breach of their rights. It is not so uncommon to see citizens approach the police to resolve commercial disputes or for debt recovery. One cannot in turn blame the citizen since the court system is overly slow and unable to meet the expectation of the citizenry.
 
This topic and how to fashion a working justice delivery system will be discussed at the WOC Justice Summit holding on Saturday, 22nd August, 2020. Special Guests at the event include His Excellency, the Vice – President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osibajo GCON, SAN; Prof. Fidelis Oditah QC, SAN; Yemi Candice – Johnson SAN; Boma Alabi; Prof. Pat Utomi and Brie Stevens – Hoare, QC. The event will be moderated by Bode Olanipekun SAN, Managing Partner, Wole Olanipekun and Co.


Register for the event immediately via this link https://bit.ly/3aazQnS and stream live on Youtube via this link http://bit.ly/Youtubewocjusticesummit
 
Let's build a judicial system that works for all.

 
 

Aug 13, 2020

We Are Here To Work, Ashafa To FHA Management And Staff

 

The newly inaugurated Managing Director of the Federal Housing Authority, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, today set the tone for his tenure in an introductory meeting with the Management and Staff of the Corporation at their head office in Asokoro, Abuja.

 

Addressing the staff after a familiarization tour of the offices and facilities at the Head Quarters of the agency, Senator Ashafa expressed his readiness to take on this new responsibility with vigor stating that "let me assure you all that myself as your Managing Director together with The Executive Director Business Development, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin and the Executive Director, Housing Finance Mr. Maurice Ekpeyong are here to work. All we ask of you is to get ready for us to work as a team in order to make the Federal Housing Authority work for all Nigerians."

 

Soon after, Ashafa was briefed by the immediate past Acting Managing Director on the activities of the Agency after which he officially handed over to the new management team.

 

Speaking further, Ashafa urged the members of staff to rededicate themselves towards achieving the mandates of the Federal Housing Authority. The new MD stated that "I urge you all to rededicate yourselves to the monumental task ahead knowing fully well that President Muhamadu Buhari will be counting on us to deliver and so will millions of Nigerians across the Country. Need I say that expectations are high and so must our morale be across board."

 

The Executive Director's Business Development, as well as Housing Finance, also reiterated the message of the Managing Director to the Management and urged the staff to put in their best for the benefit of Nigerians.

 

The Management and staff of the Agency in return assured the incoming management of their readiness to work as a team and to help the new management succeed.

Aug 12, 2020

Register for The #WOCJusticeSummit On Developing An Institutional Concept Of Justice In Nigeria


In the words of James Baldwin, “If one really wishes to know how justice is administered in a country, one does not question the policemen, the lawyers, the judges, or the protected members of the middle class. One goes to the unprotected--those, precisely, who need the law's protection most!--and listens to their testimony.”     

In Nigeria particularly, with multiple setbacks and inadequacies plaguing the Nigerian Justice System, there has become a growing need for a panacea. This is made more pressing by the clogs experienced by varying degrees of COVID – 19 lockdown and post – pandemic uncertainties that are sure to come. 

 

On Saturday, 22nd August, 2020, key stakeholders in the Justice Sector will be meeting to discuss “Developing An Institutional Concept of Justice in Nigeria”. Attending this event is crucial to stakeholders in the justice sector who want a turn – around in the Nigerian Justice system. 

 

Special Guests at the event include His Excellency, the Vice – President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osibajo GCON, SAN; Prof. Fidelis Oditah QC, SAN; Yemi Candice – Johnson SAN; Boma Alabi; Prof. Pat Utomi and Brie Stevens – Hoare, QC. The event will be moderated by Bode Olanipekun SAN, Managing Partner, Wole Olanipekun and Co.

 

Register for the event immediately via this Zoom link  https://bit.ly/3aazQnS   and stream live on Youtube via this link http://bit.ly/Youtubewocjusticesummit.

Looking forward to engaging with you at the event.



 

Aug 8, 2020

Intellectual Property And Green Innovation | Adeniran Oluwabukunmi


The discovery of oil in the 1950s in Nigeria is regarded as one of the best things to happen to this country. Inversely, it is also one of the worst things to happen as the Niger Delta region is plagued by environmental degradation caused by oil spillage and gas flaring. Environmental degradation is one of the many impediments to achieving a green economy. Others include deforestation, poor waste management, mediocre urban planning, noise pollution, emission of greenhouse gases and concentration of ozone-depleting chemicals. Not only are they harmful to the planet, they spawn a variety of illnesses and outbreaks of chronic diseases, raising worldwide concerns that the protraction of these destructive behaviours may render humans extinct if not homeless in the future.

The Need For A Right Of Privacy Over Commissioned Works Under The Nigerian Copyright Law | Emmanuella M. Odidika

 

INTRODUCTION

Copyright is a branch of intellectual property that vests exclusive rights for creative works of authorship in respect of works provided for under Section 1(1) of the Copyright Act Chapter C28 Laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004 (the “Copyright Act”).

Aug 7, 2020

Hon. Dame Linda Dobbs D.B.E., BSc, LLM, PhD. To Speak On The Equality Gap At The NBAAGC2020


It is such exciting news to learn that Hon. Dame Linda Dobbs will be a Special Guest and Speaker at the upcoming 60th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association. Hon. Dame is the Director of Training at the Judicial Institute for Africa; Pro Chancellor of the University of Surrey; Senior Fellow at SOAS; Advisory Board of the International Inequalities Institute at the London School of Economics; Independent Assessor for Miscarriages of Justice Compensation; Judicial Commissioner to the Investigatory Powers Commission; and acting judge of the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands.

My focus as Chief executive will be to ensure a vigorous implementation of the Federal Government's housing policy | Senator Gbenga Ashafa


It is with the highest sense of responsibility and consciousness of the task ahead that I accept my appointment by His Excellency President Muhammadu Buahri to serve as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Housing Authority of Nigeria.

My focus as Chief executive will be to ensure a vigorous implementation of the Federal Government's housing policy which entails the provision of mass affordable housing for millions of Nigerians and the rejuvenation of the economy through the creation of meaningful jobs for millions of young Nigerians.

Needless to say, this task cannot be achieved without the cooperation of both the Government and the organized private sector. We are, however, fully determined to leverage on this important cooperation in order to create housing opportunities for many Nigerians while creating millions of jobs in order to stimulate the economy.

Worth acknowledging, also, is the quantum of work already done by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing under the able leadership of His Excellency Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN, the Federal Housing Authority and other complementary agencies in this regard.

I hereby look forward to working closely with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, the management and staff of the Federal Housing Authority, other relevant agencies and our partners from the private sector.

I remain grateful to His Excellency, President Muhamadu Buhari for the enormous confidence he has reposed in us by this appointment, while looking forward to a period of diligent service.

Thank you and God bless you.

 

Senator Gbenga B. Ashafa

Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer

Federal Housing Authority of Nigeria

Aug 6, 2020

Power of Court to Override a Parents decision not to allow Blood Transfusion on their Child


Blood transfusion is the process of transferring blood or blood products into one's circulation intravenously. Transfusions are used for various medical conditions to replace lost components of the bloodIn an emergency, a blood transfusion can be what saves a patient’s life.

RE: Alegeh Urges Adesina, Ajibade To Support Akpata | Femi Falana SAN


It is on record that Mr. Alegeh, SAN, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association had congratulated Mr. Olumide Akpata on the 30th of July 2020 even before the conclusion of the 2020 NBA election. Mr. Alegeh has since urged Mr. Dele Adesina, SAN and Dr. Babatunde Ajibade, SAN to support Mr. Olumide Akpata for emerging victorious in the controversial election. I expect Mr. Alegeh to have realised that the support of both gentlemen for Mr. Akpata will not wish away the electoral fraud that has since been institutionalised by the NBA. No doubt, Mr. Alegeh SAN is entitled to congratulate Mr. Olu Akpata and mobilize support for him. But it is incumbent on Mr. Alegeh and other leaders of the NBA to ensure that the allegations of electoral malfeasance that characterize NBA elections are addressed. More so, that these allegations have serious implications for the collective honour and integrity of members of the NBA and the entire legal profession in Nigeria.

It is common knowledge that the 2016 and 2018 elections of the National Officers of the NBA were marred by e-fraud. The refusal of the ECNBA to produce a credible voters register and disclose the name of the Service Provider to the contestants heightened suspicion that the 2020 NBA election might be electronically manipulated. Incidentally, both Mr. Dele Adesina, SAN and Mr. Olu Akpata made these anomalies known to the ECNBA in their separate letters of 9th of July and 20th of July, 2020 to ECNBA. But the ECNBA did not reply the letters of both candidates. Even when the integrity of the 2020 NBA election was questioned last week the ECNBA did not speak up. It was the outgoing President of the NBA, Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN who unsuccessfully tried to defend the conduct of the election by the ECNBA. Mr. Alegeh may wish to persuade the members of the ECNBA to come out of their cocoon of silence and defend the grave allegation of a premeditated electronic fraud.

Notwithstanding Mr. Alegeh's decision to mobilise support for Mr. Akpata he ought to encourage the ECNBA to defend the allegations of electoral malfeasance. In particular, the ECNBA should explain the basis for releasing the Verified Voters Register a few hours before the election contrary to the mandatory period of 28 days and why the verified register itself contained a list of voters far less than the number of verified voters for some branches of the NBA! For instance, 2800 members of the NBA Ikeja Branch were duly verified to vote. But in the voters' list released a few hours to the election the number had been reduced to 1770. NBA Ibadan branch had 1072 verified voters reduced to 833; NBA Jos had 699 reduced to 452; NBA Markurdi had 478 reduced to 288; NBA Ilorin had 721 reduced to 344; NBA Akure had 447 reduced to 320; NBA Gombe had 232 reduced to 132. On the contrary, NBA Obollo-Afor had 39 names of verified voters increased to 662!

The ECNBA may also want to explain how the system ensured that the percentage of votes recorded for the 3 presidential candidates was consistent for 24 hours. In other words, are we to believe that all the voters throughout the country voted at a regulated percentage ratio at the same time for 24 hours! Some concerned members are desirous to know when the Diaspora Branch of the NBA was created since its members participated in the election. The ECNBA should equally explain why over 4,000 members without recognised branches appeared on on the List of Voters that was released a few hours to the commencement of the election. Therefore, Mr. Alegeh ought to persuade the members of the ECNBA to defend the grave allegation of a premeditated electronic fraud.

It will be recalled that the Independent National Electoral Commission had declared Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar'Adua the winner of the 2007 presidential election. The Supreme Court affirmed the electoral victory in a split decision of 4-3 Justices. But President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua publicly admitted that the election that brought him to power was flawed and proceeded to institute a panel headed by the Honourable Justice Mohammed Uwais, former Chief Justice of Nigeria to investigate the electoral malpractice that marred the elections and recommend substantial reforms of the electoral process. The panel carried out the assignment with diligence and made far reaching recommendations. But the refusal of the ruling political parties to implement the recommendations has continued to expose the nation to shame in the comity of democratic countries.

Finally, I recognize that Mr. Alegeh SAN is entitled to congratulate Mr. Olu Akpata and mobilize support for him. But it is incumbent on Mr. Alegeh and other leaders of the NBA to ensure that the allegations of electoral malfeasance that characterize NBA election are addressed and not swept under the carpet on a biannual basis. More so, that these allegations of impropriety and impunity have serious implications for the collective honour and integrity of members of the NBA and the entire legal Profession in Nigeria. Since lawyers prosecute and defend election petitions conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission the NBA cannot afford to choose its National Officers through electronically manipulated electoral process. Therefore, Mr. Alegeh may wish to persuade the leaders of the NBA to defend the grave allegations of premeditated electronic fraud that has questioned the integrity of the 2020 election.

*Femi Falana, SAN, FCI Arb.*