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Oct 31, 2020

DRLI sues NBC over punitive fines against ARISE TV, Channels TV and AIT


The lawyers' group known Digital Rights Lawyers Initiative (DRLI) has filed a suit against the National Broadcasting Commission for the fines the agency recently imposed on three television stations namely ARISE TV, Channels TV and AIT. In the suit filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday 30th October, 2020 and marked FHC/ABJ/1441/2020 the NGO, whose main objective is to protect and promote digital rights of citizens including freedom of expression, essentially alleges that the sanction and fine imposed on the television stations creates a chilling effect on freedom of expression and constitutes an unjustifiable interference of its members' right to freedom of expression particularly, their right to receive ideas and information from the sanctioned television stations.
The suit, which was filed by the organization's lawyers, Solomon Okedara and Olumide Babalola, seeks the following reliefs from the court:
i. A DECLARATION that the Respondent's arbitrary act of sanctioning and imposing fine of Three Million Naira (N3,000,000) on each of ARISE TV, CHANNELS TV and AIT purportedly in line with Sections 5.6.3 and 5.6.9 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code creates a chilling or stifling effect on freedom of expression and is likely to interfere with the right of the Applicant's members to freedom of expression, particularly, their right to receive ideas and information without interference as guaranteed by section 39 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (Cap A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.


ii. A DECLARATION that the fine of Three Million Naira (N3,000,000) imposed on each of ARISE TV, CHANNELS TV and AIT indeed constitutes an interference to the Applicant's members' right to freedom of expression, particularly, their right to receive ideas and information without interference guaranteed by section 39 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (Cap A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

iii. A DECLARATION that the respondent not being a judicial body lacks the power to impose fines on any broadcaster, including fines imposed on ARISE TV, CHANNELS TV and AIT and the imposition of such fines is null and void. 

iv. A CONSEQUENTIAL ORDER of setting aside the fine of Three Million Naira (N3,000,000) imposed on each of ARISE TV, CHANNELS TV and AIT as same was unlawfully imposed.

v. A PERPETUAL INJUNCTION restraining the Respondent, its officers, agents and/or representatives from imposing sanctions or fines or excessive, disproportionate, unlawful and indeed unconstitutional restrictions on television stations including ARISE TV, CHANNELS TV, AIT and other television or radio stations which will interfere with the Applicant's members' right to freedom of expression, particularly, their right to receive ideas and information without interference.

vi. AN ORDER of award of sum of One Million Naira only (N1,000,000) to the Applicant as the cost of this action.

vii. AND SUCH OTHER ORDER (S) as this honourable Court may deem fit to grant in the circumstance.

Speaking, after the suit was filed, Solomon Okedara noted that the protection of the Applicant's members' right to receive ideas and information is not just required for proper for their proper development in all facets of life but it is indeed a matter of their fundamental right to freedom of expression which cannot just be toyed with by any person or entity. Okedara further noted that ensuring a free and independent media is not just a matter of discretion of the government or regulatory agency but a mandatory requirement for a democratic society.

  


Oct 28, 2020

What You Need To Know About The World Trade Organization


The World Trade Organization is an intergovernmental organization that is concerned with the regulation of international trade between nations. It was founded on the 1st of January, 1995 and has 165 members.

The WTO was born out of negotiations, and everything the WTO does is the result of negotiations. The bulk of the WTO's current work comes from the 1986–94 negotiations called the Uruguay Round and earlier negotiations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). The WTO is currently the host to new negotiations, under the 'Doha Development Agenda' launched in 2001.

Some of its duties include;
-  It is an organization for trade opening.

- It is a forum for governments to negotiate trade agreements.

- It is a place for them to settle trade disputes.

- It operates a system of trade rules. Essentially, the WTO is a place where member governments try to sort out the trade problems they face with each other.


Nigeria has been a WTO member since 1 January 1995 and  a member of GATT since 18 November 1960. Nigeria, on 9 June 2020, nominated Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the post of WTO Director-General to succeed the current Director-General, Mr Roberto Azev√™do, who has announced he stepped down on 31 August 2020.

The nomination period for the 2020 DG selection process ended on 8 July, with eight candidates nominated by their respective governments. On 31 July, the General Council agreed that there would be three stages of consultations with WTO members commencing on 7 September to assess their preferences and to determine which candidate is best placed to attract consensus support.

The General Council Chair announced on 18 September the results of the first round of consultations and the five candidates advancing to the next stage. On 8 October, he announced the results of the second round of consultations and the two candidates advancing to the third round.

Nigeria's Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is slated to be the first woman & African to lead the institution. However, the US has has refused to support her candidacy. Final outcome will now be decided Nov 9!

Oct 26, 2020

Security, Welfare And Legitimacy – Nonso Anyasi



The Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is guided by the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy as contained in Chapter II of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended). The most fundamental objective and primary purpose of any government that is founded on the Constitution shall be the security and welfare of the people. Accordingly, the Government (including the federal and state governments) must prioritize the security and welfare of its Citizens at all times. This is by virtue of the provisions of Section 14(2)(b) of the Constitution.

Oct 22, 2020

With Only About 20 Months Left, Sign This Petition For INEC To Resume Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) | Adedunmade Onibokun




The Nigerian Electoral system is a work in progress, and one of its challenges is voter registration and collection of Permanent Voters Card (PVC). During the last election cycle, Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) across the country commenced on 27th April, 2017 and ended on the 31st of August, 2018. Though the exercise lasted for about 16 (Sixteen) months, many stakeholders and citizens called for an extension of the exercise.

According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as at the 11th of February, 2019, out of the 84,000,484 registered voters, over 11 million registered voters were yet to collect their PVCs, a figure that represents 13.7% of the total PVCs produced. Out of this figure, 7,817,905 PVCs were carried over from the 2014 to 2016 registration exercises, while 3,410,677 are from the last Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise held between April 2017 and August 2018.

 


Beginning the process of voter registration early allows INEC enough time to clean up the provisional register and print the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) in good time for the general elections. Most importantly, it allows citizens enough time to be duly registered and obtain their Permanent Voters Card in order to be eligible to vote. The INEC Chairman has stated that we are now 848 days from the 2023 Presidential Elections, which allows INEC 27 months to plan for the election but only about 20 months to carry out its Continuous Voter Registration, assuming it resumes the exercise immediately.  

If 16 months was not enough time to carry out a voter registration exercise in 2018, I believe we should be taking advantage of the remaining 20 months. Moreso, because of the millions of voters who reached voting age, after the 2019 Elections, and the number of voters who were left unregistered in 2018, it is safe to assume that INEC has its work cut out for it as we prepare for the 2023 Elections.

So why hasn’t INEC resumed the Continuous Voters Registration exercise, despite the promises made in 2018, that the process will resume immediately after the 2019 elections? Are we already planning to fail at the 2023 elections?

Please sign this petition for INEC to resume Voter Registration ahead of the 2023 General Elections http://chng.it/tkzkp2JY via Change.org

Adedunmade Onibokun 

Partner, AOC Legal 

dunmadeo@yahoo.com 

The #EndSARS Protest: What Next - Adedunmde Onibokun

 



 My fellow Nigerians,

The last few days have been pivotal in our desire for a Nigeria, where justice, equity and fairness are the order of the day, where our fundamental human rights to life, personal dignity and humane treatment shall be respected. Our leaders, neighbours and the international community have heard our call to action.

Oct 21, 2020

Why Impeachment Proceedings Should Begin Against President Buhari Immediately


If you are a friend, visitor or lover of Nigeria, you are definitely aware of what is going on in the country at the moment. Young Nigerians who signified their discontent with police brutality through the #EndSARS hashtag had been staging peaceful protests all over the country until recently, when the process led to loss of lives and what is now being described as a full scale massacre of innocent demonstrators, perpetrated by state agents and security forces.

Oct 16, 2020

Federal High Court Sets Aside N24 Billion Naira Order Against CBN


On Tuesday, 13th October 2020, the Federal High Court, delivered a ruling, setting aside the Garnishee Order Nisi made against the Central Bank of Nigeria in Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/563/2020 between Bendu Peter Services Nigeria Limited & Anor V. Guaranty Trust Bank Plc & Anor.

Oct 14, 2020

The Menace Of The Nigeria Police Force Special Anti - Robbery Squad (The Group of Death): Beyond Its Existence | Debo Oladinni Esq.

                                                         

In recent days, the clamour by Nigerians across the country that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) be proscribed due to the apparent excesses of members of the death squad (which has reached an alarming crescendo), is fast gathering momentum. Prior to this time, SARS, as a unit was an elephant in the room that no one was willing to frontally confront or demand for the curbing of the excesses of a good number of its dare devil personnel masquerading as law enforcement officers.

Arbitral Awards As Sovereign Debt Risks: Impact Of P&Id And Eurafic Cases | OAL

 


Background

Deriving from the sovereignty principle, sovereign debt literary refers to how much a country's government owes. Often times the primary source is through outside borrowing hence it can be defined as national or government debt because the word "sovereign" connotes national government. However, due to its nationalistic nature and the fact that internal national borrowing is rarely existent especially in developing economies like Nigeria, it generally refers to how much a country owes to external creditors. While borrowing remains the principal source of sovereign debts, debts also accrue from other sources and one of such is Judgement Debt(s) from Court Cases or Arbitral Awards arising from Arbitral proceedings in disputes involving federal government. Simply explained, it implies what a National government owe to foreign Judgement Creditors. It is imperative that developing nations focus on mitigation, reduction or management of judgement debts or arbitral awards that are of such critical importance or volume that they portend risk for a country in form of sovereign debt risk. The reason is that huge exposure to national debts of whatever nature and form has adverse economic and investment implications.

Oct 12, 2020

The Special Anti-Roberry Squad: The Necessity For A Total Structural Overhaul | Motunrayo Olaleye ACArb


INTRODUCTION

The Nigerian Police (NP) is the principal law enforcement agency in Nigeria and its functions, duties and powers are contained and regulated by the Police Act (CAP P19 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004). Additionally, Police Officers are subject to the code of conduct for Police Officers.

Oct 9, 2020

Robot Rights In An Evolving Employment Market | O. M. Atoyebi, SAN

 


 INTRODUCTION

Technology is ever evolving and the parameters of determining what is the latest technology is constantly shifting. The issues for discussion during these technological shifts are as well constantly changing. Today, the technology we have has given rise to discussions about data protection, Cyber Security, and the rights of Robots vis a vis employee rights. The increasing use of trending technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Robotics technology in education, manufacturing, justice delivery, etc. means we must begin to reconsider the concept of “employees” and “employee rights”.

Legal Regulation of Surrogacy Contracts in Nigeria: Is the Consumer Delving into Delving Into Murky Waters | Emaediong Ofonime Akpan (Esq. LL.M)

 


     

Introduction

The pioneer record of surrogacy had Hagar as the surrogate mother with Abraham and Sarah as the commissioning parents. This form of surrogacy commonly referred to as a partial surrogacy where the child born is only genetically related to one of the commissioning parents was prevalent in pre-colonial Nigerian societies. The practice of surrogacy was common in Nigeria long before its legal recognition around the world. The practice of surrogacy in pre-colonial Nigeria was regulated by unwritten customs and practices. The surrogate mother was married in to the family by the commissioning couple usually the wife. Children birthed by the surrogate were deemed children of the marriage and the commissioning parents had sole rights. These partial surrogacy arrangements were borne out of the need to continue a family legacy. However, this is not the case today as surrogacy arrangements are taking a new shape with gestational surrogacy taking the lead. Furthermore, couples turning to surrogacy do so because of fertility issues, health complications, and terminal illness etetera.to further complicate issues there is a lack of specific legislation to cater to the unique legal issues of surrogacy.

Oct 6, 2020

Securing The Socio-Economic Welfare Of Nigerian Lawyers: Beyond The “9-5”|Fifehan Ogunde


The Nigerian legal profession is in a very delicate condition, particularly as it relates to the socio-economic welfare of lawyers. There are reports detailing concerns about the wellbeing and remuneration of lawyers with some lawyers said to earn between 15,000 and 20,000 Naira monthly (US$39-US$52) which is less than the average hourly pay of lawyers in Western economies such as the United States or Canada. In a Twitter poll,  65% of respondents indicated that they either earned or knew a lawyer who earned below 50,000 Naira monthly. In view of the ever rising costs of living in the cosmopolitan cities where the majority of Nigerian lawyers are based, it is not unreasonable to conclude as follows: a significant number of Nigerian lawyers whose only source of income is derived from legal practice are living in poverty.

Gas Flaring In Nigeria: Risks And Recommendations | B. Adeniran


When oil was discovered in the 1950s, the country was full of gaiety thinking the ‘god of wealth’ had finally visited Nigeria. The discovery of oil is however also one of the worst things to have happened as the Niger Delta region is afflicted by environmental degradation induced by oil spillage and gas flaring. Flares from Niger Delta account for a major percentage of global flares. It is reported that over 386 million cubic feet of natural gas is flared every day in Nigeria. How the environment is managed has a direct bearing on the quality of life of every living being. Thus, the poor management and pollution of our environment is bound to cause irremediable damage to human existence and could make the earth inhabitable for man, if urgent care is not taken.

 

Oct 2, 2020

Emerging Trends in Legal Practice; From Analogue Lawyers to Legal Engineers | Stephanie Etiaka

The growing interplay between the legal industry and emerging technologies has pushed the once conventional and traditional sector to a tipping point. These emerging cross-connections are challenging the legal industry in novel ways, giving rise to new fields such as Legal Engineering, Legal Architecture, and Legal Entrepreneurship. The Legal business sector is more complex and competitive today than ever before and is only set to become more so with the continued evolution of business models, pricing structures and rapidly evolving client expectations.

Emerging Trends in Legal Practice: Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms are transforming the legal profession in many respects. These systems have been developed to improve what lawyers do by automating routine, mundane tasks enabling them to focus on complex higher-value duties, such as understanding client needs and negotiating deals.

Leveraging AI will enable law firms and in-house legal departments to offer better legal services and representation for their clients. Here are ways the legal profession will be shaken up by AI and analytics:

  • Contract/ Document Review: A major chunk of the work law firms do on behalf of their clients is to review contracts in order to secure their business interests and avoid the negative consequences of misleading clauses. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can review contracts and documents to look for risks, and suggest modifications that help clients make better business decisions in a fraction of the time it would take a human to perform the same task and since these algorithms rely on machine learning frameworks, they get better, smarter and faster with continuous use.
  • Document Generation: Another task that AI can assist with is drafting the first copy of a legal brief. Lawyers put so much time into producing well-written and persuasive legal briefs, but by allowing these algorithms to compose the first drafts of these briefs, the lawyer/ legal teams will save time as all they'd have to do is revise and tweak the document to create a final copy.
  • Eradicating Research Errors: Research is an essential part of the legal process and even though over time, lawyers become seasoned researchers, they are still prone to error. Machine learning algorithms can find relevant documents, cases, and data that are relevant to a specific case, they can also highlight existing laws and how certain laws have changed over the years within various jurisdictions. This ensures that the lawyer utilizes up to date information collected containing little or no errors.

Emerging Trends in Legal Practice: Enter the Legal Entrepreneur

Technological advancement, the speed of innovation, and changing clients' needs have created an opportunity for the emergence of legal entrepreneurs. Legal entrepreneurs are individuals or firms that are innovating the delivery of legal services. These entities have developed efficient, cost-effective, predictive, digitized, and scalable legal products and services for corporate legal buyers.


Until recently, lawyers controlled all the competitive facets of their market — education, licensure, practice and ethical standards, organizational structure, economics, and delivery but that is fast changing as legal entrepreneurs have come to tip the scale.

Increasing competition from non-traditional legal service "alternative legal service providers" is one of the biggest challenges facing law firms today. Although the Nigerian legal market has not witnessed so much of this, it is only a matter of time before the tide catches up with us.

Emerging Trends in Legal Practice — New Roles for Legal Professionals

Legal Engineering

A Legal Engineer is a person that sits at the interface of technology, law, and data, who Is trained and skilled in the construction of designed legal solutions. The idea was first raised by Richard Susskind in his book The End of Lawyers? In the book, he predicts the need for a new role in law firms, combining legal knowledge with technological expertise, which he names the legal knowledge engineer. This role is the fusion of legal expertise and technology expertise. It harmonizes both sides of the equation.

What Does the Legal Engineer Do?

The legal engineer understands the challenges the firm faces and his/her sole responsibility is to come up with creative ways to resolve them. Most times, they are business professionals or project managers who will import the principles of business and project management into the firm to improve its efficiency. Rather than building systems from scratch, legal engineers and their innovation teams leverage a Firm's available technology toolkits to weave platforms together to do new and interesting things to address the needs of the Firm and its clients.

Legal Architecture

In a way, legal architecture has always existed. It was called taxonomy and has remained the same for centuries. It generally is an old way to categorize legal information for teaching or for research. The new wave in Legal Architecture in the on-going Industry 4.0 wave is the deployment of digital tools for simplifying the law and court rules, and making them usable, understandable, and accessible to users whenever they may need it.

In a general sense, we can say that Legal Architecture is the practice of categorizing, harmonizing, and designing relevant aspects of the law on various subject matters/ areas of interest into unified digital databases that can be accessible to individuals when the need arises. It is aimed at simplifying the usability and understanding of the law and the improvement of the user's legal experience.

Routes to Becoming a New Breed of Legal Experts — Legal Engineer/Legal Architect/legal Entrepreneur

  • Sometimes legal engineers or architects are technology experts who have become familiar with legal processes. This could be as a result of working in technology roles in law firms over a long period of time. During this period, they gain that knowledge of legal processes and services over time and can then form a core part of legal process innovation teams, to solve legal problems with technology and process solutions.
  • Other times, legal engineers or architects are lawyers who are technologically adept and see the opportunity to improve legal processes with the intelligent use of technology, so they move from a fee earning role to an innovation role.

Ultimately it doesn't matter how this new crop of professionals is formed, the important thing is that they have a deep understanding of both technology and legal practice and an appetite to drive innovation, efficiency, process improvement, and client engagement.

Skills Needed for a Successful Career in the Emerging Legal Business Environment

  • Project Management
  • Knowledge of Law/ Legal Processes
  • Big Data Analysis
  • Business & Strategy
  • Marketing and Consumer
  • Product Management
  • Advanced computer programming skills

The Big Questions to Ask

  • Is the role of the Legal Practitioner Changing?
  • Do I feel threatened by this change?
  • How is my organisation preparing our workforce for the future of work?
  • Am I ready for this Change?

How can Lawyers and Legal Teams prepare themselves for Law 4.0?

Lawyers, law firms, and in-house legal teams can prepare themselves for the emerging legal business landscape by doing the following:

  • Learning Relevant IT Skills — It is no longer news the future of work report places a premium on modern-day technological skills such as coding, data analytics, SEO, Design Thinking, Digital Marketing, and the likes. They go a long way to put you ahead of the pack in the industry.
  • Being open to change and embracing it: As the saying goes "change with the times or become extinct". Wishing the change away will not make it disappear. The sooner legal practitioners embrace the changes staring the industry in the face and respond to them, the higher their chances of survival.
  • Adopting an Agile work approach across law firms: While we understand that 'agile' is not a word synonymous with the legal industry, however, there are elements of agility, especially within a project management context, that could benefit the legal industry, particularly in terms of adopting technology adoption to meet clients' needs. 'Agile' focuses on shared ownership of projects and, by encouraging quick feedback and collaboration, team members are more likely to become responsible for the success of law firm projects and deliverables. People support what they help to create.

It is evident that the cheese is moving for law firms. While this presents a challenge, it can also be harnessed as an opportunity for forward-thinking firms (old players and new entrants) who strategically position themselves as the tides turn.

Written By: Stephanie Etiaka. — Communications/Innovation Officer, Olisa Agbakoba Legal