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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.*

Aug 4, 2020

Taxation Of Non-Resident Companies With Significant Economic Presence In Nigeria


 

Introduction |

The Finance Act 2019 (“the Finance Act” or “the Act”) was signed into law on 3 February 2020. The major aim of the Act is to make the provisions of existing tax legislations more responsive to tax reform. The Act amended the Companies Income Tax Act, Cap C21, Value Added Tax Act, Cap. V1, Customs and Excise Tariff, Etc. (Consolidation) Act, Cap. C49, Personal Income Act, Cap. P8, Capital Gains Tax Act, Cap. C1, Stamp Duties Act, Cap. S8 and Petroleum Profit Tax Act, Cap. P13, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

Aug 3, 2020

Tolu Aderemi Set To Present Book Titled: Arbitration Law & Practice in Nigeria: The Practitioner’s Perspective



Tolu Aderemi LLM, CIArb, a partner in the firm of Perchstone & Graeys is set to launch his new book titled – “Arbitration Law & Practice in Nigeria: The Practitioner’s Perspective”. The Book is a compendium of scholarly papers that focus on contemporary topics which will deepen the practice of arbitration; whether at a junior or mid-Senior level.

The book focuses on topics that are unlikely to be contained in one single text. It is therefore a Practitioner’s guide from very eminently qualified and senior Arbitration practitioners such as Kamal Shah (UK), Funke Adekoya SAN, Tunde Ajibade SAN, Doyin Rhodes-Vivour SAN, Hon. Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, Tunde Fagbohunlu SAN, Osaro Eghobamien SAN, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde SAN, Bode Olanipekun SAN, Tunde Busari SAN, Ikponwosa Omigie (Company Secretary, NAPIMS),Prof Alero Akeredolu, Funmi Roberts and Prof Olawuyi.  My Lord, Justice of the Supreme Court, Hon Justice Olu Ariwoola JSC OFR and the global President, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb), Francis Xavier both wrote the FOREWORD (from the Bar and the Bench) to the book.


The Book promises to be a valuable resource tool for Arbitration Practitioners and is a welcome contribution to the body of knowledge on the topic in Nigeria. The Public Presentation is set to hold on the 20th of August, 2020, and everyone is urged to be on the look-out for the book.


Legal Tips for Businesses In The Beauty Industry | AOC Legal

                            

Over the last 2 – 5 years, the beauty industry in Nigeria has witnessed a lot of new entrants, consisting of both small businesses and well established brands. According to Temitope Mayegun of Avila Natural Products, reports state that the global cosmetic product market was around $532 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach approximately $836 billion in 2024 with an inclusion of the Nigerian beauty market in 2018 estimated at N500 Billion annually.

5 Points To Note On Constructive Dismissal Arising From Involuntary Registration | Kayode Omosehin


1.  What is the meaning of Constructive Dismissal?

In order to discourage hostile work environment, common law sides with an employee who has been subjected to a forced or compulsory resignation, especially where it is clear that the employer has pressured the employee into involuntary resignation without any reasonable ground.

Whenever a resignation is not voluntary, the #law views it as a kind of unlawful #termination known as constructive dismissal or constructive discharge. In C.B.N. v. Aribo (2018) 4 NWLR (Pt. 1608) 130, the Supreme Court held as follows:

“A forced or compulsory resignation by an employee amounts to constructive dismissal ……. In this case, the respondent did not voluntarily resign. His employer (the bank) advised him to resign after the 1st appellant revoked the bank's licence to conduct foreign exchange and fined it for illegal foreign exchange transaction. In the circumstance, the respondent's resignation amounted to a constructive dismissal.” (P. 172, paras. C-E)

 Constructive dismissal is a type of disengagement which arises from the involuntariness of the employee’s decision to leave an employment, which entitles the employee to sue the employer after exiting the employment. According Hon. Justice Kanyip in Balonwu v. Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) International“constructive dismissal/discharge once proved evinces a poor and unfair labour practice on the part of the employer”.

 

2.   When Can Constructive Dismissal Arise?

 From notable judicial decisions, constructive dismissal may arise in two circumstances resulting in involuntary resignation:

 1.    When an employee resigns on the advice or request of the employer; or

2.    When an employee is forced by the employer to resign.

 Management’s advice to an employee to resign must be proved by credible evidence and this can be established through the email or memo or report of a panel. For instance, in Mrs. Vivien Folayemi Asana v. First Bank of Nigeria Ltd, the judgment of which was delivered on 9th October 2018, the National Industrial Court held thus:

 “By Exhibit C5/D3 (i.e. Claimant’s letter of resignation and Exit Form), the claimant stated thus: “Further to the request that I should resign, by Management of First Bank of Nigeria Ltd. I hereby tender my letter of resignation”. (words in parenthesis supplied for clarification).

 A worker may be forced into #resignation where the employer’s action or action is #discriminatory, oppressive, humiliating or intolerable and the #employee has no choice but to resign. In Mr. David A. Fadipe v. Cedarcrest Hospitals Limited, the Court held that constructive dismissal means the attempt by an employer to have the employee resign, rather than outright firing the employee.

 For instance, while relying on the case of Miss Ebere Ukoji v. Standard Alliance Life Assurance Co. Ltd [2014] 47 NLLR (Pt. 154) 531 NIC, my lord Justice Kanyip, President of the National Industrial Court, in the Balonwu v. Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) International, held as follows:

 “From Miss Ebere Ukoji v. Standard Alliance Life Assurance Co. Ltd, the employer need not have asked the employee to resign. The behaviour of the employer is sufficient once it is intolerable or heinous that the employee has no choice but to resign. The employer must have created such working conditions or so changed the terms of employment that the employee has little or no choice but to resign. It must be noted though that the claimant’s case in the instant case is not that the employer changed the terms of employment. Where the employer makes life extremely difficult for the employee, to attempt to have the employee resign, that will amount to constructive dismissal.

 Below is a list of unbearable behaviours or circumstances which the courts have held to justify an employee to resign and make a claim for constructive dismissal on the ground of involuntary resignation:

 -      Actual or repudiatory breach of employment contract such as employer’s unilateral reduction of salary, demotion, non-payment of salaries;

 -      Victimization, witch-haunt, vendetta, retaliation, targeting the victim for whistleblowing or filing a complaint or grievance procedure against a colleague or superior;

 -      Discrimination on ground of sex, age, religion, ethnicity or nationality, disability, etc;

 -      Gender harassment, for example telling female colleague that “this is a boys club” or a male colleague that “why do you like ladies’ job?”

 -      Racial harassment in form of racial slurs, insults, jokes, disgust, degrading comments and intolerance of difference or other form of racial harassment;

 -      Personal harassment such as inappropriate comments, offensive jokes, personal humiliation, critical remarks, ostracizing behavious, intimidation tactics, or any other behavior that creates intimidating and offensive work environment for the victim.

 -      Physical or verbal harassment or workplace violence (such as physical attack or destroying something to intimidate the victim) or threat of violence (such as shaking fists at the victim’s face);

 -      Power or psychological harassment in form of excessive or impossible targets above employee’s ability or resources, demeaning demands far below the employee’s designation, intrusion of personal life such as unreasonable tracking or monitoring of personal device, belittling acts, discrediting or challenging everything the victim says or does, cyberbullying the victim,

 -      Third party harassment, which involves someone from outside of the organization, usually vendor, supplier, customer or client of the company who is friends with a colleague or boss (i.e. the perpetrator).

 Anyone one of the above (happening alone) or a collection of some of the above circumstances are enough to justify immediate resignation and a claim for constructive dismissal by the victim.

 Whatever an employee finds unbearable or intolerable, the employee is required to show that the behaviour of the employer is so intolerable or heinous that the employee has no choice but to resign. The employer must have created such working conditions or so changed the terms of employment that the employee has little or no choice but to resign.

 While relying on the case of Miss Ebere Ukoji v. Standard Alliance Life Assurance Co. Ltd [2014] 47 NLLR (Pt. 154) 531 NIC, my lord Justice Kanyip, President of the National Industrial Court, in the Balonwu v. Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) International, held as follows:

 “From Miss Ebere Ukoji v. Standard Alliance Life Assurance Co. Ltd, the employer need not have asked the employee to resign. The behaviour of the employer is sufficient once it is intolerable or heinous that the employee has no choice but to resign. The employer must have created such working conditions or so changed the terms of employment that the employee has little or no choice but to resign. It must be noted though that the claimant’s case in the instant case is not that the employer changed the terms of employment. Where the employer makes life extremely difficult for the employee, to attempt to have the employee resign, that will amount to constructive dismissal. The employee may resign over a single serious incident or over a pattern of incidents. But generally, the employee must have resigned soon after the incident?”

 

3.   How Does an Employee Prove Force, Coercion or Involuntariness of a Resignation?

 It is sometimes difficult to prove that an employee has been forced to resign. Circumstantial evidence may help but it is better to have direct evidence. For instance, where there is an email or memo or a report of investigation from the management requesting, advising or directing an employee to resign, the job of proving involuntariness will become easy. It is important for all employees to keep proper record of email communication, especially on disciplinary process.

 Sometimes, also, employees may assist the court in setting out in their respective resignation letters, the background facts that are relevant to their decision to resign. For instance, in Mr. Charles Ughele v. Access Bank Plc, the judgment of the National Industrial Court, which was delivered on 10th February 2017, the National Industrial Court held thus:

 “The claimant did not leave anyone in doubt that he resigned involuntarily. Exhibit C4 (same as Exhibit D4) is the Exit Form. Against the reasons for exit, the claimant ticked “redundancy” under “involuntary”; and under question 1 at page 2, to the question, “What are your primary reason(s) for leaving?”, the claimant answered, “Management decision to create room for new people to work with new GM”.

 It is important for the employee to have clear and credible evidence to show the employer’s request, advice or directive to the employee to resign or some other unpleasant actions of the management which, indeed, forced the employee to resign.

 

 4.   When Must the Employee Resign? What happens if resignation is delayed?

 In order to successfully make a claim for constructive dismissal, the victim must have resigned immediately or within a reasonable time after experiencing the unpleasant incident. Delay in putting a resignation letter may amount to acquiescence and, consequently, destroy the chance of claiming for constructive dismissal.

 The case of Western Excavations v. Sharp [1978] 1 All ER 713 points to the fact that there must be a repudiatory breach (actual or anticipatory) on the part of the employer, which must be sufficiently serious to justify the employee resigning; the employee must resign in response to the breach; and the employee must not delay too long in acting on the breach.

 Also, in Joseph Okafor v. Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plcthe judgment of which was delivered on 25th April 2018, National Industrial Court held thus:

 “…to be able to succeed in a claim for constructive dismissal, the claimant must show that he resigned soon after the incident(s) he is complaining about.”

 According to Justice Kanyip, President of the National Industrial Court, in the Balonwu v. Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) International:

 The employee may resign over a single serious incident or over a pattern of incidents. But generally, the employee must have resigned soon after the incident?”

 It is difficult to set a definite timeline for all cases, as every case will be determined on its merits. If an employee resigns within a reasonable time after becoming a victim of unbearable and unpleasant circumstance, the court will grant his or her claim for constructive dismissal.

 For instance, in the Balonwu's case, the employee (a #Country Director of the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) International) resigned 3 days after the unbearable event she complained about and the #Court held that the 3-day period wasn't too long to defeat her claim for constructive dismissal. Specifically, the Court held as follows:

 “The point in these cases is that for a claim for consecutive dismissal/discharge (for that is what the claimant’s case actually is in the instant suit) to succeed, the claimant must have resigned so soon after the employer’s act. The defendant argues that the 3 days in between the date of Exhibit C5/D3 and when it was received is too long a period for the claimant’s claim for forceful resignation (constructive dismissal/discharge) to be hinged on. Is this the case? I do not think so. Three days is not too long a period in this regard especially as the defendant made no attempt before now to dispute the fact that the claimant alleged that she was requested by the defendant to resign her employment. The defendant was until now silent on that fact. I accordingly believe the claimant that she was requested by the defendant to resign her employment…I accordingly hold that the claimant has made out a case for constructive dismissal/discharge. Relief (1) accordingly succeeds and so is hereby granted….…”

 A good example of delayed resignation can be found in Suit No. NICN/LA/291/2016 Joseph Okafor v. Nigerian Aviation Handling Co. Ltd. (delivered by Justice B.B. Kanyip in Lagos on 25th April 2018) as follows:

 “……..the claimant’s resignation took effect from 31st December 2015. I agree with the defendant that the acts for which the claimant complains and hence makes a case for constructive dismissal were acts that occurred between 2009 and 2014. This means that it took a year for the claimant to resign because of the said acts. This is tantamount to waiver or condonation by the claimant. It cannot even be that the claimant showed that he resigned soon after the incident(s) he is complaining about as Miss Ebere Ukoji v. Standard Alliance Life Assurance Co. Ltd (supra) enjoins. As it is, therefore, the claimant has failed to prove his case. The case fails and is hereby dismissed.”


5.    What is the Remedy for Constructive Dismissal?

Once constructive dismissal is proved, general #damages become awardable. The amount to be awarded will be based on the facts of each case. Even in the case of B.E.D.C. Plc. V. Eseluka (2015) 2 NWLR (Pt. 1444) 411 where the plaintiff did claim wrongful dismissal but lack of notice of dismissal, the Court of Appeal found that the plaintiff was constructively dismissed and held at page 439 as follows:

 “As I have imputed legal notice of the respondent’s dismissal by end of April 2000, then the respondent was only entitled to his salary from the date he was interdicted on half pay till end of April 2000 when he received constructive notice of his dismissal. That is the discretionary resolution that accords with the law, equity and common sense. I hereby order that the respondent be paid his full salaries and allowances due to him from 22nd October 1996 when he was put on half pay till April 2000.”

 In Mrs. Vivien Folayemi Asana v. First Bank of Nigeria Ltd, delivered on 9th October 2018, Honourable Justice B. B. Kanyip, PhD of the National Industrial Court awarded N2,000,000 (Two Million Naira) as damages for constructive dismissal, which was deducted from the claimant’s outstanding staff loan.

 In three cases, Mr. Charles Ughele v. Access Bank Plc delivered on 10th February 2017, Mr. David A. Fadipe v. Cedarcrest Hospitals Limited delivered on 8th July 2020 and Ms. Lucia Balonwu v. Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) International delivered on 22nd July 2020, Hon. Justice B.B. Kanyip awarded the sum of N1 Million only as general damages for the constructive dismissal of the claimant in each of those cases.

 It should be noted that the old judicial authorities which decided that the measure for damages for unlawful dismissal is the amount representing the length of notice the employee would have be entitled to are all inapplicable since the advent of the Third Alteration of the 1999 Constitution.



Exciting Things You Should Know About The NBAAGC2020


The upcoming NBA Annual General Conference is just weeks away and there are a few exciting things you should know about the Conference. The first is that this is the 60th Anniversary of the Annual General Conference and it’s the NBA’s 1st Virtual Conference.

Also registration for the conference is absolutely free and the registration process is quite easy. You simply log on to www.conference.nigerianbar.org.ng and hit the registration button.

Upcoming sessions include Executive Order and Democratic Governance and Security and Extra – Ordinary Killings in Nigeria.

Two other things you should know is you can look forward to stimulating sessions and dynamic engagement. We are looking forward to an exciting Annual Conference and are glad you are going to be part of it.

 

@Legalnaija