NBA-NEC PERFECTS CREATION OF ETI-OSA BRANCH

The National Executive Council (NEC) of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has formally pronounced the creation of NBA Eti-Osa Branch.

The decision was taken at a recent meeting of NBA-NEC held in Jos, Plateau State and sequel to an application signed by the Founding Chairman of Eti-Osa Lawyers Forum (ELF), Mr. Adewale Sanni among others requesting for the creation of the branch. 

NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN said the pronouncement had become imperative given that all conditions precedent to the creation of the branch had been fulfilled. 

CITY LAWYER recalls that Lagos State Chief Judge, Justice Kazeem Alogba had recently pronounced the creation of Eti-Osa Judicial Division. 

It is mandatory that an NBA Branch must be domiciled within a judicial division of a high court.

Commending NBA for the resolution to formally establish the branch, Sanni said that “It had been a long and tortuous journey but we thank all who ensured that it was fruitful at the end.”

He singled out Maikyau and Justice Alogba for praise, saying that “It goes without saying that without their unalloyed commitment, the branch would not have been a reality. 

“I thank the NBA President, the Executive Committee and the Executive Council for refusing to play politics with the creation, and for acting swiftly upon our fulfilment of the requirements. We also thank the General Secretary whose rendition of the content and prayer in our application to NECouncil during their deliberation was most articulate, concise and persuasive.

“I must thank all ELF members in various capacities, including Learned SANs, seniors and young lawyers who have sustained this project, and who endorsed the application under their own hands to give it the authenticity it deserves.” 

The fiery Bar Leader also thanked especially “all those who have always been and supported us through their time, money and moral support, and who believed in the project from conception of the idea to locate courts in Eti-Osa, to following up, to completion, as well as the agitation for a Judicial Division and now the NBA Branch.”

Expectedly, Sanni singled out his deceased confidante, Mr. Abioye Akerele for special mention, saying that “I am sure the ELF co-founder and pioneer Secretary is now smiling in heaven.”

The NBA has set measures in motion to conduct elections for the two newly created branches of Eti-Osa and Yaba/Surulere.

BREAKING: EX NBA PRESIDENT IDEHEN DIES AT 83

A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Charles Idehen, is dead, CITY LAWYER can authoritatively report. 

He was elected president of the NBA in 1989 and later became the president of AfBA, a position he relinquished. He contested for the governorship of then Bendel State.

In an announcement by the President of the African Bar Association (AfBA), Mr. Hannibal Uwaifo, he stated that Idehen “will be remembered for his bridge building efforts across the Continent, his tireless fight for the enthronement and sustainance of the rule of Law and his famous interventions in conflicts across Africa.”

Below is the full text of the announcement. 

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT
——————————–
DEAR COLLEAGUES,

It is with regret but deep Gratitude to God, the Almighty that announce the passing to eternity of MR CHARLES I. IDEHEN former President of the African Bar Association and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association. He was aged 83 years.

Mr IDEHEN will be remembered for his bridge building efforts across the Continent, his tireless fight for the enthronement and sustainance of the rule of Law and his famous interventions in conflicts across Africa.

In his days our former President stood behind an independent Judiciary and a prosperous Legal Profession. His EXCO set a new height for the African Bar Association.

He was a leader, mentor, father and a shinning example of humility to many of us. He was very kind and never showed his Aristocratic background. He was the only Child of his Mother. He will be greatly missed. Our prayers are with his Children and Family.

I urge you all to light up your candles 🕯️🕯️🕯️🕯️ and Pray for the repose of his Giant Soul.
May his Soul rest in eternal peace, Amen.
SGD
Hannibal Uwaifo Esq
President of the African Bar Association 😥😥😥💔💔😓 

SPIDEL SACK: ODINKALU, ADEGBORUWA, INIBEHE, OTHERS BLAST MAIKYAU, NBA-NEC

Leading human rights activists have lampooned the Nigerian Bar Association President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN and the National Executive Council (NBA-NEC) for its decision to dissolve the Executive Committee of the Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL).

Meanwhile, CITY LAWYER gathered that there was a near-unanimous endorsement of the Mr. John Aikpokpo-Martins-led Executive Committee by SPIDEL members. It was gathered that the outpouring of solidarity was demonstrated especially on SPIDEL’s WhatsApp platform where the members vowed to resist the NEC resolution and newly appointed Caretaker Committee.

Signposting the defiance of nearly all but one SPIDEL member who spoke on the issue, fiery human rights activist Inibehe Effiong said: “Let the caretaker (committee) come and lead let’s see! Who are they going to lead?”

In a tweet which he made available to CITY LAWYER, former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof. Chidi Odinkalu wrote: “While the interdiction of @nba_spidel remains pending at the High Courts of Lagos & Delta States respectively, @NigBarAssoc president, @YCMaikyauSAN, who is a party to both suits, chooses to endrun the courts? So much for #PromotingTheRuleOfLaw….!”

Leading human rights advocate, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa SAN decried the sack of the SPIDEL Executive Committee, saying the dispute “should have been resolved by elders of the Bar,”

Speaking with CITY LAWYER, Adegboruwa said: “The discord between NBA and one of its Committees SPIDEL, is very unfortunate.

“The NBA exists for the protection and promotion of the rule of law and this is best expressed through its constant interventions in matters that directly affect the masses of the people.

“The dispute between NBA Exco and SPIDEL should have been resolved by elders of the Bar, especially the Board of Trustees, rather than the punitive decision of NEC that has further divided the Bar rather unite it.

“Given the state of the Nigerian nation presently, especially the challenges faced by lawyers all over, there is need to unite the various bodies within the Bar.

“Personality disputes between leaders of the Bar have no positive impact on lawyers generally and these disputes should be downplayed.

“The Bar should focus on issues affecting the Bar and the clients that they represent.”

A former Chairman of NBA Obollo-Afor Branch, Dr, Gerald Abonyi said the handwriting was all over the wall prior to the dismissal of the SPIDEL leadership. His words: “Some of us saw it coming; that type of show of power should not be found in the NBA whose motto is ‘promoting the rule of law’. The NBA is an association of lawyers; it is not a political party. We bond professionally and should depict that ethics at all times. Is the NEC resolution removing the leadership of SPIDEL and directing the withdrawal of all their matters in court not vindictive and taken to assuage the ego of Mr. President of the Bar? How then are we promoting the Rule of Law when the matter is subjudice.”

CITY LAWYER recalls that Justice Joe Egwu of Delta State High Court had ordered the claimant, former NBA-SPIDEL Publicity Secretary Godfrey Echeho to serve the court processes on the defendants by substituted means. While Maikyau was sued alongside NBA General Secretary, Mr. Adesina Adegbite “For themselves and as representing the members of the National Executive Council of the Nigerian Bar Association”), the Incorporated Trustees of the Nigerian Bar Association was also joined as a defendant.

Justice Egwu while granting the prayer for substituted service held that “With regards to prayers No. 1 and 2 contained in the motion paper, the Defendants are hereby given seven days from the date of service of the enrolled order of this Honourable court to show cause why reliefs Nos. 1 and 2 contained in the motion exparte ought not to be granted.

“The return date for the Defendants to show cause is fixed for Monday the 4th day of March 2024 and the same date is also fixed for the hearing of the motion on notice.”

CITY LAWYER gathered that NBA was duly served with the court processes and enrolled order, a situation reportedly acknowledged at the NBA-NEC meeting by Adegbite.

Saying that a similar fate befell him in the hands of NBA-NEC, former NBA Ikorodu Branch Chairman, Mr. Bayo Akinlade wrote: “@⁨GCB John Aikpokpo-Martins,⁩ the NBA belongs to no man. I felt the heavy weight of NEC once …. I was disgraced out, not given the opportunity to speak or defend myself against those who raised motions against me. I was escorted out unceremoniously with my name tag removed from my neck to show that I no longer was a member of NEC and worst still, I was removed as chairman of my branch and NEC gave the chairmanship of my branch to another who was at the NEC meeting but wasn’t even a member.

“To say the truth, I had never been so humiliated, I had overcome the intrigues of some people in my branch, stood for elections 3 times in 2 weeks because members continued to still vote for me. I gave up even then and told my colleagues that I wouldn’t contest but they said that I must and I did only to be removed by NEC, by my colleagues in other states who didn’t know anything but just accepted what the president handed down as a verdict.

“I cried that day but I was relieved also. Ikorodu barely had up to 70 active members and I was coming from the global community …. I told myself that Ikorodu and NBA as a whole didn’t need what I had to offer.”

Reacting to the dismissal of the SPIDEL Executive, a senior lawyer and SPIDEL member Lillian Eronini, said: “It’s absolute crap. We voted the executives into that position. It is very irresponsible of the NBA president to caution SPIDEL on the activities that concerns public interest. What YC has done with his gang is totally unacceptable and disgusting to say the least. I am so ashamed of the actions of the stereotype NEC. Sad!”

However, Mr. Abraham Imoisili, another SPIDEL member, said: “It was easily foreseeable. There was no way the SPIDEL Executives were going to survive politically at the NEC Meeting. A wiser course of action on the part of the SPIDEL Chairman would have been to have a genuine parley with the NBA President with a view to getting his support for future SPIDEL activities.”

CITY LAWYER recalls that the NBA-NEC had passed a resolution to dissolve the SPIDEL Executive Committee even as it appointed a five-member Caretaker Committee to oversee its affairs. The committee members are Mr. Steve Adehi SAN (Chairman), Mr. Ben Oji, Mr. Yakubu Philemon SAN, Ronke Adeyemi and Eva Amadi.

The NBA-NEC directed the committee to take steps to terminate all the public interest cases instituted by the sacked SPIDEL leadership while mandating the committee to investigate the erstwhile leadership to determine those funding the cases.

The council also approved the recommendation of the Electoral Committee of the NBA (ECNBA) that the National Officers Elections should be held on July 20, 2024.

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GADZAMA BEMOANS KILLING OF ABUJA LAWYER BY KIDNAPPERS

Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN bemoans the unfortunate Death of Chris Agidi Chukwudi, Esq, a former Social Secretary of the NBA, Abuja Branch

Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN has expressed sadness and rude shock over the loathsome murder of Chris Agidi Chukwudi, Esq. and extended his heartfelt condolences to his entire family, colleagues, and the Abuja Bar for this unredeemable loss.

The learned Silk described the late Chris Agidi as a fine gentleman, a sterling lawyer, and someone to always want around you. Chief Gadzama, SAN reminisced about these endearing qualities of Chris Agidi when he served as Social Secretary of the NBA Abuja Branch, while Gadzama was Chairman of the Branch in 2003 – 2004.

The Learned Silk expressed anguish at the current growing rate of insecurity which has yet again caught the life of another lawyer. He called on the authorities to do more and arrest this menace of insecurity once and for all.

Chief Gadzama urged the family to take solace in God’s word which has assured us that the Lord Almighty, Himself will comfort us in such times and prayed for strength for the family in these trying times.

News of Barrister Chris Agidi Chukwudi’s murder made rounds on Tuesday, February 27, 2024 after he had been kidnapped and held hostage for many months.

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JANADA ARBITRATION CENTRE HOLDS WEBINAR MARCH 8

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

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LEDAP MAY SUE FG OVER UK LAWYERS’ TRADE DEAL

The Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) has warned that it may sue the Federal Government on the controversial legal services agreement between the United Kingdom and Nigeria.

In a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice as well as the Minister of Trade, Industry and Investments, LEDAP requested for information within seven days on the details and preceding negotiations with relevant stakeholders such as the Nigerian Bar Association and the General Council of the Bar.

In a document made available to CITY LAWYER, LEDAP warned that it would “on receipt of the details of the agreement review it, and determine if the contents and purport are not contrary to the Legal Practitioners’ Act which regulates law practice in Nigeria. It will also see if it offends the World Trade Organization rule pertaining to domestic work places.”

Continuing, LEDAP stated that it “joins the NBA in seeking to protect Nigerian laws and interest of the local legal practitioners. Undoubtedly, opening the legal practice to foreign lawyers will hurt the legal employment market, as Nigerian lawyers would not be equipped to compete with their invading UK counterparts.”

LEDAP warned that “if after 7 days of the request the information sought are not obtained, it will proceed to court to compel compliance with the request,” adding that “Under the FOI Act, the requested information is not exempted from disclosure.”

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AFAM OSIGWE WELCOMES NBA-NEC MEMBERS TO JOS

Dear colleagues,

I wish you a safe trip as you journey down to the City of Jos, Plateau State for the National Executive Council Meeting of the Nigerian Bar Association. May our deliberations be fruitful.

Welcome to Jos!

Afam Osigwe, SAN
Life Bencher/Past General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association

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SPIDEL VS MAIKYAU: WILL NBA-NEC, TRUSTEES DEFY COURT?

INSIGHT

It is trite that these are not the best of times as it concerns relations between the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and its Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL).

SPIDEL is one of the three sections known to the NBA Constitution (as amended). The section is a baby of foremost human rights activist, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba SAN who designed the entity – alongside fiery good governance advocate and former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof. Chidi Odinkalu – as a bulwark against impunity and executive lawlessness. It is noteworthy that Agbakoba is the Chairman of the NBA Trustees.

Over the years, and bouncing back from years of inertia, SPIDEL has undertaken key interventions that endeavour to safeguard the civic space while promoting the rule of law.

DIFFERENT STROKES

It is a measure of the critical role of SPIDEL in NBA affairs that the immediate past NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata adjudged SPIDEL as the “heartbeat” of NBA. SPIDEL had an excellent relationship with the Olumide Akpata regime that it conferred on the former NBA President an “Excellent Leadership Award.” Immediate past SPIDEL Chairman, Dr. Monday Ubani stated that “Akpata’s leadership style compelled SPIDEL to give him the award. It is an award that he wholeheartedly deserves.”

MAIKYAU’S ANGST

In recent times however, SPIDEL’s fortunes seem to have fallen on hard times. This is especially the case under the current NBA leadership. It is safe to say that there is no love lost between the leadership of SPIDEL and NBA under the leadership of Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN.

The discord peaked recently with Maikyau’s letter to SPIDEL’s Chairman, Mr. John Aikpokpo-Martins, alleging that SPIDEL was “undermining” his leadership. This came on the heels of some public-interest interventions by SPIDEL which climaxed with its lawsuit against Minister of Art, Culture and Creative Economy Hannatu Musawa and media personality Kenny Ogungbe for allegedly violating the National Youth Service Corps Act. This led Maikyau to direct SPIDEL to pause all its ongoing activities.

SPIDEL MEMBERS FIGHT BACK

In response to what they deemed as an affront on the NBA Constitution, SPIDEL members unanimously passed a vote of confidence on the section’s Executive Committee at an Extra-Ordinary General Meeting, urging it to continue with all its activities. Some SPIDEL members have also initiated lawsuits in various courts praying the courts to stem alleged unconstitutional interference by the NBA leadership in the affairs of SPIDEL.

THE COURT ORDER

Instructively, a Delta State High Court sitting at Orerokpe has directed Maikyau and NBA trustees to appear before the court to show cause why injunctions should not be granted against them as sought in a lawsuit by immediate past SPIDEL Publicity Secretary Godfrey Echeho. There are strong indications that the lawsuits and especially the order may have activated the principle of lis pendens. The principle implicates that parties must not do anything to foist a fait accompli on courts when a matter is properly before a court of law.

THE PRECEDENT: JOYCE ODUAH CASE

CITY LAWYER recalls that Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Abuja had harshly berated NBA during its face-off with then out-of-favour General Secretary Joyce Oduah. While 9 of the 11 National Officers sitting as the Executive Committee had suspended Oduah for alleged infractions, the decision was ratified by NBA-NEC notwithstanding the pendency of a lawsuit brought by the embattled former General Secretary.

Ruling on a motion brought by Oduah, the court lampooned NBA-NEC for engaging in self-help, holding that it foisted a state of helplessness on the court while impugning its majesty and integrity. Justice Mohammed held that having joined issues with the plaintiff, and with or without express order of court, no party ought to have taken any further steps on the subject matter of the litigation.

ACTIVISTS AND EXPECTATIONS

Both human rights activist, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa SAN and Bar Leader, Mr. Jibrin Okutepa SAN also had harsh words for NBA-NEC, saying it failed the rule of law and due process tests by proceeding to take decision on the matter notwithstanding the pendency of Oduah’s lawsuit.
Said Adegboruwa: “Without mincing words, the NBA President no doubt failed the test of due process of law in the steps that he has taken pursuant to the suspension of the General Secretary. The moment the President got to know of the pending court case by the General Secretary and that an order of injunction was being sought against the suspension, he owed the court the sacred duty to keep matters on hold and stay further action on the said suspension, as a mark of respect and deference to the authority and integrity of the Court. The Motto of the NBA is RULE OF LAW and it behoves the President to err on the said of the law, even if it involves sacrifices on his part.”

In a post he made available to CITY LAWYER, Okutepa wrote: “If the news I read of the just concluded National Executive Council, of NBA that the suspension of Mrs Joyce Oduah as General Secretary of NBA has been rectified, is true, then the National Executive Council of NBA has exhibited the worst example of disrespect for the rule of law and showed total disrespect to the pending processes filed by Mrs Joyce Oduah, Challenging her suspension.”

Setting out the circumstances of the case which is on all fours with the SPIDEL-Maikyau Debacle, Okutepa wrote: “There is no dispute that Mrs. Joyce Oduah, had gone to the Federal High Court to challenge her suspension by the NEC of NBA. Those who took part in the said suspension have been sued. There was a motion for injunction pending and which NBA and incorporated Trustees of NBA are aware of. The case is suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/1426/2022. It was adjourned to 23rd August 2022.

“That decision to ratify her suspension is a bad example coming from an association that should be the vanguard of, protection of and promotion of the rule of law. Our courts have consistently frown at resorts to self-help to undermine pending processes.

“The principle is settled that the Court cannot be hamstrung by a party who changes the status quo during litigation. Thus, if a party cannot prove its case, the Court is not obliged to indulge the party because it had changed its position during litigation and it may suffer the consequences if the case is resolved against such a party. In consequence, a party who resorts to self-help cannot enjoy any favour from the Court.

“That is the essence of the dictum of Nnaemeka-Agu JSC as he then was, in Registered Trustees Apostolic Church v. Olowoleni (1990) 4 NWLR (Pt.1580) 514 at 537 where he said: “Once parties have turned their dispute over to the Courts for determinations, the right to resort to self-help ends. So it is not permissible for one of the parties to take any step during the pendency of the suit which may have the effect of fostering upon a Court a situation of complete helplessness or which may give the impression that the Court is being used as a mere subterfuge to tie the hands of one party while the party helps himself extra judicially. Both parties are to wait the result of the litigation and the appropriate order of Court before acting further.

“My lord Hon Justice Nweze JCA as he then was spoke eloquently to the point I am making when he said: “Above all, it has long been settled on the authorities that a court would not hesitate to invoke its disciplinary powers to prevent its processes from being used as a mere subterfuge. Thus, once parties have turned their dispute over to the courts for determination, the resort to self-help must end. Thenceforth, it would not be permissible for one of the parties to take any step during the pendency of the suit which may have the effect of foisting upon the court a situation of complete helplessness. Indeed, a court would always look with askance at any disingenuous approach which may give the impression that it is being used as a mere subterfuge to tie the hands of one party while the other party helps himself extra-judicially. Both parties are expected to await the result of the litigation and the appropriate order of court before acting further. As such, it is a reprehensible conduct for any party to an action or appeal, pending in court, to proceed to take the law into his hands without any specific order of the court and to do any act which would pre-empt the result of the action. The courts frown against such a conduct and would always invoke their disciplinary powers to restore the status quo, Registered Trustees, Apostolic Church v Olowoleni (1990) 6 NWLR (pt 158) 514; Combined Trade Ltd v A.S.T.B. Ltd. (1995) 6 NWLR (pt. 404) 709; Ezegbu v. F.A.T.B. Ltd. (1992) 1 NWLR (pt.220) 699. This ancient rule is even more cogent in a constitutional democracy such as ours where the Judiciary operates as “the guardian of the Constitution”. In the discharge of its guardianship role, it has a duty to ensure that every arm of Government operates only within the substantive and procedural frameworks which the Constitution ordains, AG Bendel v AG Federation [1983] ANLR 208.” Per NWEZE, JCA as he then was now JSC at PP. 40-41, paras. E-F in HON JUSTICE T. A. OYEYEMI (RTD) & ORS V. HON TIMOTHY OWOEYE & ANOR (2012) LPELR-19695(CA).”

Continuing, Okutepa said: “Why will NBA not wait and respect the pending processes which it was aware of and had engaged some senior lawyers to defend. The dispute in this matter having been handed over to the Court for determination, NBA and National Executive Council cannot be allowed to take the law into their own hands. The rule of law and the rule of force are mutually exclusive. Law rules by reason and morality. Force rules by violence and immorality. See The Military Governor of Lagos State & Anor. vs. Chief Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu & Anor. (1986) 1 NWLR (Pt. 18) 621. A similar action was deprecated by the Supreme Court in The Military Governor of Lagos State v. Chief Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu (supra), wherein Obaseki, J.S.C. As h/e then was stated as follows: “In the area where the rule of law operates, the rule of self-help by force is abandoned. Nigeria being one of the countries in the world which proclaim loudly to follow the rule of law, there is no room for the rule of self-help by force to operate. Once a dispute has arisen between a person and the government or authority and the dispute has been brought before Court, thereby invoking the judicial powers of the State, it is the duty of the government to allow the law to take its course or allow the legal and judicial process to run its full course. The action the Lagos State Government took can have no other interpretation than the show of the intention to pre-empt the decision of the Court. The Courts expect the utmost respect of the law from the government itself which rules by the law.”

“As my lord Amina Angie JCA as he the was said in DUMBILI NWADIAJUEBOWE VS COL. C. D. NWAWO (RTD.) & ORS (2003) LPELR-7234(CA): As the Supreme Court observed in Ojukwu’s case, the judiciary cannot shirk its sacred responsibility to the nation to maintain the rule of law, and the law should be evenhanded between the government and citizens. What was the hurry? I do not see what the Delta State Government had to lose if it had waited for the substantive case to be decided before it published the Legal Notice. The law is trite that once the Court is seised of a matter, no party has a right to take the matter into his own hands. See The Military Governor of Lagos State v. Chief Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu (supra), Regd. Trustees Apostolic Church v. Olowoleni (supra), & Bedding Holdings Ltd. v. N.E.C. (supra). It must be repeated, no one (including Government) is entitled to take the law into his own hands. The learned trial Judge was therefore right to have made the injunctive orders granted.”

“I think NBA in this case was in a fatal error rooted in self-help to have rectified the suspension being challenged in court. Court processes may be slow, but as professional association we have a duty to show example.”

CONCLUSION

As the NBA National Executive Council (NBA-NEC) meets tomorrow in Jos, all eyes are on the NBA leadership and especially NEC Members to see how the SPIDEL debacle will be tackled. For an association whose motto is “Promoting the rule of law,” stakeholders are watching to see if NBA leadership and NEC will turn a blind eye to the lawsuits and court order or do otherwise. Also, where are the NBA Trustees in all this? Will they provide overall guidance and leadership? Only time will tell.

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SPIDEL BAN: COURT ORDERS MAIKYAU, NBA-NEC, TRUSTEES TO APPEAR MARCH 4

These are not the best of times for embattled Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN as a former member of the Governing Council of NBA Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL) has sued him over his directive to SPIDEL to pause all its activities.

While Maikyau is sued alongside NBA General Secretary, Mr. Adesina Adegbite “For themselves and as representing the members of the National Executive Council of the Nigerian Bar Association”), the Incorporated Trustees of the Nigerian Bar Association is also joined as a defendant.

Meanwhile, Justice Joe Egwu of Delta State High Court has ordered the claimant, former NBA-SPIDEL Publicity Secretary Godfrey Echeho to serve the defendants by substituted means.

Ruling on an ex-parte application brought by the claimant, Justice Egwu held that “I have carefully perused and painstakingly given due consideration to the reliefs sought, the affidavit in support, exhibits attached and the affidavit of urgency.

“I am of the firm view that this is a situation where the Defendants be given opportunity to show cause why reliefs Nos 1 and 2 contained in the motion paper ought not to be granted.”

The judge while granting the prayer for substituted service held that “With regards to prayers No. 1 and 2 contained in the motion paper, the Defendants are hereby given seven days from the date of service of the enrolled order of this Honourable court to show cause why reliefs Nos. 1 and 2 contained in the motion exparte ought not to be granted.

“The return date for the Defendants to show cause is fixed for Monday the 4th day of March 2024 and the same date is also fixed for the hearing of the motion on notice.”

Echeho had in the exparte application prayed for “An ODRER of interim injunction restraining the defendants from discussing and/or taking any decision or action with respect to the issues put in dispute in this suit at the National Executive Council meeting of the 3rd defendant holding in Jos, Plateau State on the 29th of February, 2024 or any other meeting pending the hearing of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.”

He also prayed for an “ORDER of interim injunction restraining the defendants from interfering in the activities of the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law pending the hearing of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.”

In originating summons obtained by CITY LAWYER, Echeho is praying the court for “An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 1st and 2nd defendants (either acting as President/General Secretary or on behalf of the National Executive Council of the Nigerian Bar Association) either by themselves and/or through their agents, officers etc from further interfering with the activities of the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA SPIDEL) except to receive reports as constitutionally provided for.”

CITY LAWYER recalls that this is the second lawsuit being slammed on Maikyau barely 24 hours after a similar suit by two ranking NBA-SPIDEL members, Messrs George Nwabunike of NBA Lagos Branch and Isaac Ogbah (former NBA Ota Branch Chairman), became public knowledge.

While the duo instituted their case in the High Court of Lagos State, Maikyau and the two other defendants will slug it out with the former NBA-SPIDEL Council member at the Delta State High Court.

According to the originating summons obtained by CITY LAWYER, the Bar Leader is suing on behalf of himself and members of NBA-SPIDEL.

It is recalled that the NBA President had directed SPIDEL to “suspend all actions presently being undertaken by SPIDEL, particularly the matters stated above, until the scheduled meeting and further directives as may be approved by the National Executive Council. Also, henceforth, you shall not undertake any engagement with any third party without prior consultation and permission from me as President with the approval of the National Executive Council of the NBA.”

He had alleged that the SPIDEL leadership was “undermining” his authority, following a flurry of lawsuits instituted by the section reportedly aimed to checkmate impunity and executive lawlessness.

Echeho is also seeking “An order setting aside the purported suspension of the activities of Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL) by the 1st Defendant (acting in his capacity as the President of the Nigerian Bar Association) made on the 31st day of January, 2024 same being unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.”

He again urged the court for “An ORDER setting aside the purported directive of the 1st Defendant (acting in his capacity as the President of the Nigerian Bar Association) that the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL) must seek their prior approval before discharging its constitutional duties, same being unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.”

In a 23-paragraph affidavit, the claimant argued that “the 1st and 2nd defendants by provision of the (NBA) constitution lack the power to interfere or suspend the NBA-SPIDEL and/or its activities.”

He stated that “the only obligation that NBA-SPIDEL owes the NBA-NEC is to make reports to it periodically at its meetings,” adding that “NBA-SPIDEL has not failed to do that.”

He stated that “the attempt to suspend NBA-SPIDEL by the 1st defendant will negatively impact on its intervention in the interest of the public and Legal Practitioners alike.”

Although CITY LAWYER confirmed that all the defendants have been served with the court processes, no date has been fixed for the hearing of the case.

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SCANDAL, AS LAGOS COURTS, LAWYERS GASP UNDER POWER OUTAGE

Power outage has hit some courts in the Lagos State Judiciary, prompting lawyers to decry the situation and call for urgent intervention on the matter.

CITY LAWYER investigation shows that the situation peaked yesterday when one of the courts pointedly issued a notice that it would not sit due to power outage.

The notice reads: “Good morning everyone. This is to inform everyone that Hon. Justice Oshin’s Court will not be sitting today due to the power failure at Osborne courthouse being Tuesday the 27th day of February, 2024, concerned counsel please be informed, sorry for any inconveniences caused by this information. Thank you for your usual corporation and understanding. Registrars.”

Decrying the situation, a former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice wrote: “Shame to the news that power failure is responsible for Court not sitting. Power failure not caused by earthquake or sunami (sic) or tornado etc. Shame!”

Continuing, he wrote: “If you know how many millions of Naira, like Security Vote of Governors, that each CJ takes, every 30 Days, as imprest, and yet….”

Joining the fray, a Law teacher wrote: “Absolute shame on us. Nigerian judiciary generates more than enough funds to cater for the needs of the judiciary. Unfortunately, judiciary leaders are doing absolutely nothing to make the judiciary effective. And no one holds judiciary leaders to account. We operate with absolute impunity.” He added that “The probate registry alone generates billions yearly. Yet, courts are dormant. No movement forward. No improvements.”

CITY LAWYER investigation shows that the outage is not restricted to Lagos High Court, as some magistrates courts in the state are also affected.

Below are comments by some lawyers on a dedicated litigation platform, even as the Lagos State Judiciary is yet to speak on the source of the problem.

Good morning gentlemen

I am appearing before Hon Justice Ipaye sitting at Osborne today.

This is almost 1030 am
And All the Courts in Osborne are in darkness
Counsel cannot sit inside the Court because of the heat. I also fathered (sic) from a counsel who appwared (sic) here yesterday (Monday) that this was the same scenario that played out yesterday

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

This is also the situation in Ikeja (High Court). The generator is now switched on around 10 am

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Good day everyone am in Apapa cash registry, and xxxxxxxxxx (name withheld) informed me that the admin knows what she is going through as there is neither light, data nor network to enable her assess each Process for payment. Am calling out to all NBA Rep to accelerate this concern and notify the judiciary of these in apapa jurisdiction to bring up facilities to enable seamless e-filing in apapa jurisdiction.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
I am just coming from Magistrate Court 6, Agbowa Ikorodu now.
The Court room situation is pathetic as the Courtroom was very hot and not conducive for sitting at all.- the Magistrate was using hand fan, whilst the Counsels and litigants were sweating very profusely. I was informed by the Court officials (and later saw) that the electric pole connecting the wires into the Court has fallen down, the xxxxxxxxx (name withheld) said they have complained in writing to the ACR admin but no response for over 3 weeks or so now.
The court needs 2-3 Standing fans to help air the Courtroom.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Good afternoon dear cooleagues (sic)

Justice Akinlade of Lagos State High Court Osborne sat without light yeaterday (sic) and also sat like that today (Wednesday).

A tough feat judging by the heat and lack of power

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Good morning gentlemen

As at 1030 am today

Samuel Ilori Courthouse
Chief Magistrate Court Ogba is in darkness

Magistrates are all sitting in very hot courtrooms
Process officers are running their works and filings on the walkway close to their offices

Magistrate in Court 9A had to take a heat break twice in one hour

The generator normally is switched on by 9 am and is switched off by 2pm but since today it has NOT been switched on

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AFAM OSIGWE URGES SUPREME COURT REFORMS, ADVISES YOUNG LAWYERS

Afam Osigwe SAN Advocate For Urgent Reforms To Address Supreme Court Caseload

Afam Osigwe, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, has emphasized the need for urgent reforms to address the heavy caseload burdening the Supreme Court.

Speaking on national television, Osigwe decried the large number of cases across all types of legal disputes that reach the apex court. He noted that this overworks the few justices available to adjudicate the matters.

The senior lawyer suggested amending the constitution to restrict certain cases from proceeding beyond the appeal courts of each state. He proposed that only cases involving substantial points of law or conflicts of appeal court decisions should reach the Supreme Court.

Osigwe also advocated appointing more justices to bring the Supreme Court to its full complement of 21 members. This would allow the court to sit in various panels and quicken dispensation of pending cases.

The time it currently takes for certain types of cases to reach the Supreme Court averages around 12 years, a situation that affects litigants and legal practitioners. Osigwe cited instances where cases are repeatedly adjourned, causing significant delays. These delays are not due to any fault of the parties involved but result from the sheer number of cases and a decline in the number of available justices.

Osigwe also suggested broadening the pool of candidates considered for appointment to the Supreme Court bench. He argued for diversifying the sources of appointments, extending the selection process to include academics, individuals from private practice, and judicial officers with over seven years of experience.

This expansion of the selection criteria would ensure that the pool of potential Supreme Court justices grows, ultimately addressing the recurrent issue of a declining number of justices at the Supreme Court.

The Senior Advocate stressed that reforms are urgently required to reduce the average 12-year timeline for cases at the apex court. He stated that justice delayed is justice denied and backlogs due to limited judges disadvantage litigants.

“Equipping Young Lawyers for the Digital Age: Afam Osigwe’s Advocacy at the Young Lawyers Forum Agbor Branch Summit’’

At the Young Lawyers Forum Agbor Branch summit, Afam Osigwe, SAN, passionately advocated for the necessity of equipping young lawyers with IT and digital skills in light of the rapid development of technology in legal practice.

In his keynote address on the topic “Young Lawyers as the Future of the Bar and Bench; ICT and New Horizons of Legal Practice,” the learned silk emphasized the pivotal role of young lawyers as not merely participants, but architects of the evolving legal profession. He stressed that our ability to adapt, innovate, and harness the potential of ICT will define the trajectory of the bar and bench for years to come. While acknowledging the weight of this responsibility, Osigwe also highlighted the incredible opportunity it presents for young lawyers to lead positive change and drive progress in our noble profession.

Challenges on the Horizon:
Osigwe also acknowledged the challenges inherent in integrating ICT into legal practice, with the digital divide being one of the primary obstacles. He underscored how this divide exacerbates existing disparities in access to technology and legal resources, particularly in rural or underserved areas where limited internet connectivity and technological infrastructure hinder the adoption of ICT tools, thereby creating barriers to justice for marginalized communities.

Tackling the Digital Divide:

To confront these challenges head-on, Osigwe advocated for a multifaceted approach encompassing advocacy, education, and collaboration. He emphasized the importance of advocating for policies and initiatives that promote universal access to technology and broadband internet, especially in rural areas. By engaging with policymakers and technology stakeholders, Osigwe urged young lawyers to champion efforts aimed at bridging the digital divide and ensuring that every individual has equitable access to technology in the digital age.

Promoting Digital Literacy:

Recognizing that proficiency in using technology for personal purposes does not necessarily translate to the specialized skills required for ICT-driven legal practice, Osigwe stressed the critical importance of promoting digital literacy and skills development among legal professionals and the broader community. He advocated for investment in training programs, workshops, and continuing education opportunities to equip young lawyers with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate the digital landscape effectively and leverage ICT tools to enhance legal practice.

Upholding Ethical Standards:

Osigwe also underscored the ethical complexities inherent in ICT-driven legal practice, from safeguarding client confidentiality in an era of data breaches to ensuring the integrity and reliability of AI-driven legal analysis. He emphasized the paramount importance of upholding the highest ethical standards as stewards of justice. By adhering to established ethical guidelines, staying informed about emerging issues, and seeking guidance from mentors, young lawyers can navigate the ethical challenges of ICT with integrity and professionalism.

Collaborative Solutions:

Finally, Osigwe emphasized the necessity of adopting a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to address the challenges of ICT in legal practice. He urged young lawyers to forge partnerships with technology experts, policymakers, and community organizations to leverage collective expertise and resources in developing innovative solutions that promote access to justice, enhance efficiency, and uphold ethical standards. Through collaboration, young lawyers can harness the full potential of ICT to create a more inclusive, equitable, and effective legal system for all.

Afam Osigwe, SAN’s keynote address served as a rallying cry for young lawyers to embrace the opportunities presented by ICT while simultaneously addressing the challenges it poses. By equipping ourselves with IT skills, advocating for universal access to technology, promoting digital literacy, upholding ethical standards, and fostering collaboration, young lawyers can indeed serve as catalysts for positive change in the legal profession, ensuring that justice remains accessible to all in the digital age.

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LAWYERS DRAG MAIKYAU, NBA TRUSTEES TO COURT OVER SPIDEL BAN

Two senior lawyers have dragged the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN to the Lagos High Court following a ban on the activities of NBA Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL) by Maikyau.

The claimants are Mr. George Nwabunike of NBA Lagos Branch and former NBA Ota Branch Chairman, Mr. Isaac Ogbah while the defendants are Maikyau and the Registered Trustees of the NBA.

According to processes obtained by CITY LAWYER, the claimants are seeking “A declaration that the President of the Nigerian Bar Association does not have the power or right to direct the affairs of SECTION ON PUBLIC INTEREST AND DEVELOPMENT LAW (SPIDEL) or Order the Section ‘not to undertake any engagement with any third without prior consultation and permission from me as the president’ as contained in a letter dated 31 January, 2024 addressed to the Chairman of Section on Public Interest and Development.

“A Declaration that it is only the NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COUNCIL of the Nigerian Bar Association that can regulate the affairs of the Sections of the Nigerian Bar Association after reviewing their reports at Annual General Meetings of the Nigerian Bar Association.”

Also, the lawyers are seeking “An Interlocutory Injunction restraining the Defendants from taking any step or action to render nugatory this suit or any part thereof pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.”

They are also praying the court for “A Perpetual Injunction restraining the president of the Nigerian Bar Association from interfering with the activities of SECTION ON PUBLIC INTEREST AND DEVELOPMENT LAW (SPIDEL) OR ANY OTHER SECTION of the Nigerian Bar Association.”

CITY LAWYER gathered that the defendants have been duly served with the processes. However, the Lagos State High Court is yet to fix a date for the hearing of the case.

According to the claimants, the issue for determination by the court is “Whether by the relevant Sections of the Nigerian Bar Association Constitution 2015(as amended in 2021) and the Uniform Bye-Laws of the association as well as to wit; Sections 9, 17(1) of the NBA Constitution, Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Articles XI(c), XI(h), XXI, XXII, X(b) and X(c), among others of the Uniform Bye-Laws of the NBA, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association can interfere with the activities the activities of the Section on Public Interest and Development Law of the Nigerian Bar Association.”

In an accompanying 22-paragraph affidavit, Nwabunike stated that efforts to challenge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in court over its classification of lawyers under the SCUML scheme proved abortive as the NBA President did not approve litigation.

His words: “That the next thing we were informed was that the Nigerian Bar Association President informed them that he will resolve the matter without going to court. Till now, we have not seen any resolution.”

He also stated that the same fate befell the plan to sue Evercare Hospital Lekki and Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) over the death of Lagos lawyer, Mrs. Ijeoma Oparanozie, saying Maikyau also refused to approve the planned litigation.

CITY LAWYER recalls that Maikyau had barred the NBA-SPIDEL from proceeding with its activities, including public interest cases instituted by the section to challenge some actions of governmental agencies.

The section had also urged the court to force the NYSC to revoke the certificates that were granted to Culture Minister Hannatu Musawa and music promoter Kenny Ogungbe for allegedly running foul of the National Youth Service Corps Act.

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‘FOR CHUKWUKA IKWUAZOM, A RESULTS-DRIVEN APPROACH,’ BY REGINALD UDOM

By Reginald Udom

In this era of hybrid working, Thursdays are the new Fridays! It’s Thursday late afternoon, the perfect time for another inspiring story.

Four Thursdays ago, amid our rebranding celebrations, I took a trip down memory lane and shared some incredible moments from the early days of ALN Nigeria | Aluko & Oyebode. The response was mind-blowing! Many were amazed to learn how our firm has not only held onto its founding members but also grown and nurtured a dynamic team from its youth academy.

Today, let’s turn the spotlight on a stellar product of that youth academy – my partner and friend turned brother, Chukwuka Ikwuazom, SAN.

Chukwuka, a bona fide “AO hero”, started and dedicated his career from NYSC at our firm, with only a brief pause for an exceptional LLM at Columbia University, where he emerged as the Harlan Fiske scholar in his set.

His AO journey? Nothing short of meteoric – from NYSC Associate in 2002 to partnership in 2011. Currently, he steers the ship of our Tax Practice, advising a prestigious clientele that includes IOCs, banks and multinationals.

But Chukwuka doesn’t just decode tax laws; he contributes to elevating our profession. Elected Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos Branch in 2017, his impactful tenure birthed enduring legacies like the continuing legal education initiative, now adopted nationwide. In 2020, he earned the prestigious rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a true testament to his legal prowess.

Now, as the Chair of the Security Agencies Relations Committee of the NBA, Chukwuka fosters collaboration between lawyers and security agencies in Nigeria. His results-driven approach recently earned him a distinguished award for outstanding services to the Bar at the last NBA Lagos Branch annual dinner.

With preparations buzzing for the next Nigerian Bar Association presidential election in June, all eyes are on the horizon, filled with admiration for what lies ahead for a remarkable leader like Chukwuka Ikwuazom SAN. #ManLikeChuka #LegalTrailblazer #RoleModel

  • Mr. Udom is the Managing Partner of Tier-1 law firm, ALN Nigeria, formerly Aluko & Oyebode

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SENIOR ADVOCATES, ALUMNI HAIL RICKEY TARFA AS HE TURNS 62

Leading Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Chief Emeka Ngige SAN and Mr. Jelili Owonikoko SAN have joined the alumni of Rickey Tarfa & Co. to celebrate Mr. Rickey Tarfa SAN as he turns 62 years today.

They variously described the foremost litigator as “a good man” and “boss of bosses,” praying for God’s healing on him.

Below are some of the birthday messages obtained by CITY LAWYER.

* Rickey Tarfa with Late Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu SAN, Femi Falana SAN, Ngige and other Bar Leaders on the eve of NBA General Election 2010 at JOGOR Centre, Ibadan 

I join other friends and well wishers in rejoicing with Rickey Tarfa on the occasion of his 62nd birthday. This is wishing him many happier returns, recovery from his ill-health, prosperity and peace of mind! I use the occasion to salute his dear wife, Rebecca for her love, care and devotion to her husband in this period of tribulation. May God Almighty restore joy, happiness and prosperity to the family! Happy birthday to a good man, Rickey.
Chief Emeka Ngige OFR, SAN

Happy birthday to my big brother and learned brother silk, Rickey Tarfa SAN. May God renew you in blessings and amplify your grace as you celebrate another added age today, 23rd February, 2024. Many happy returns.
A. J. Owonikoko SAN, FCarb.

Mr. Rickey Tarfa SAN is not a man who can be captured in one word. He is a man of many words. These words are the impressions he has consistently demonstrated to colleagues who have passed through his law firm when he was just the only one in chambers, till now that there are three major offices in Lagos, Abuja and PH.
These are some of the words that have been used to describe this great lover of mankind, this icon, this great teacher and moulder of destiny, this Angel in the apparel of a human being:

“Happy birthday to the legendary Mr. Rickey Tarfa SAN. Thank you for giving us opportunity to take baby steps as lawyers under your close watch. Wishing you the best in the new year, Sir. The longer you live, the brighter you shine.”
– Yemi Pitan

“Happy birthday to a true and detribalized Nigerian and Legal ICON. May the heavens present you with its Choicest Blessings”
– Chief Lawrence K. Nweke, Principal Counsel, Fount Solicitors 

“Talking about GSM numbers, I remember my excitement when Oga Rickey sent Kikani to buy GSM phones & I was given one, which I still use now. So I must have had this phone number for over 20 years!!”
– Akin Olorunfemi

RICKEY TARFA SAN is a man with the heart of God. He loves with passion. He teaches and encourages. WE ALL PRAY that God shall sustain you and perfect all that concerns you.

With love from all the ALUMNI.

Signed:
PP: Rickey Tarfa & Co. Alumni
Peters Agboola

Happy birthday my Boss, “Oloye Rickey Tarfa SAN” I pray for you on this special day that your faith in God continues to increase as you grow in strength and health, and that you find comfort in God’s love as you attain greater heights. Wishing you many blessings on a day like this. Happy birthday once again, Sir; more blessings.
Love from: O. L. Dairo (Mrs.)

Happy fabulous birthday to an ICON, an amazing Personality, a living Litigation Legend and an Incredible Boss. May you live long in good health. Happy to be identified with you on this special day of yours.
Tayo Oyedokun

On this special occasion, I want to seize the opportunity to tell you how much I appreciate you and all you did while working with you. Happy birthday to numero uno Learned silk, Boss of Bosses. You made us feel at home in a conducive working environment. God bless you for all you did, Sir. You are an unforgettable part of my success story. I love and appreciate you, Sir
Duduyemi Atta

Happy birthday to you, Sir. May you celebrate several more of this day in good health and in happiness. Congratulations, Sir.
Shuaib Alaran (Esq.)
Principal Partner
Shuaib Alaran & Associates
Lagos.

Happy birthday, Sir. I was looking forward to this day, and here we are! Today, as you mark your birthday, may the good Lord continuously abide with you, keep you in all your ways. May you continually celebrate all the days of your life. From glory to glory, victory to victory, success to success, and only upward and forward, there shall be no end. Have a blissful, joyful and glorious celebration 🍾
Keep shining.
Patience Orobator, Esq.

Happy birthday, Sir. My prayer is that Almighty God will give you good health to enjoy many more years in the future in the name of Jesus, Amen.
Tony Mgbeokwere, Esq.

 

EDO GUBER: INEC RECEIVES AKPATA’S PETITION ON LABOUR PARTY PRIMARIES (COPY)

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has taken custody of a petition by the immediate past Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President and leading Labour Party (LP) aspirant for the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State, Mr. Olumide Akpata, CITY LAWYER can  authoritatively report.

Titled “URGENT CONCERNS OVER THE LACK OF PREPAREDNESS OF THE LABOUR PARTY FOR THE EDO STATE GUBERNATORIAL PRIMARIES,” the fiery governorship aspirant wrote: “The purpose of this letter is to bring to your attention the lack of preparedness and transparency surrounding the Labour Party’s planned primaries to produce a gubernatorial candidate for the forthcoming gubernatorial elections in Edo State.”

Akpata, who is viewed as the candidate to beat in the LP Primaries, noted that “As of today, Sunday, 18 February 2024, less than 48 hours to the LP Ward Congresses and about 96 hours to the LP Gubernatorial Primaries, I am constrained to inform you that the Labour Party has exhibited little or no preparedness for the said Ward Congresses scheduled for 20 February, 2024, to elect delegates who will vote in the primaries slated for February 23, 2024, which, by the way, is the last possible day for political parties to conduct primaries before the INEC mandated date of February 24, 2024, for all political parties to upload names of gubernatorial candidates who emerged from party primaries.”

Akpata stated that “The complete opacity around the Party’s primaries preparations points to a lack of readiness to conduct any credible process that can stand legal scrutiny. Moreso, the reluctance to carry aspirants along fuels fears that the eventual primaries outcome may have been predetermined regardless of any phantom Congress and the primaries conducted, to rubber stamp a fabricated result.”

He warned that “if things go awry, it could result in pre-election disputes to which INEC will inevitably be joined as a necessary party, thereby tying down its already meager resources and leaving the Commission to grapple with yet another unnecessary and avoidable dispute that could have been averted had the right thing been done and the warning signs heeded.”

Akpata, who is reputed as having replicated the era of the fiery and courageous Alao Aka-Bashorun as NBA President, concluded in his Save-Our-Soul to INEC Chairman: “I count on your leadership to ensure the Labour Party complies fully with the spirit of the Electoral Act 2022, as the timelines stipulated are already upon us.”

CITY LAWYER recalls that the Labour Party leadership has been embroiled in a heap of controversies, with its embattled Chairman Julius Abure being accused of large-scale corruption.

He has so far fought off a growing clamour among his lieutenants to throw in the towel.

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VALEDICTORY: CJN, AGF, NGIGE, MAIKYAU, OTHERS MOURN AKEREDOLU

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola; Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbami SAN; Chairman of the Council of Legal Education, Chief Emeka Ngige SAN; President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN, and Ondo State Governor, Mr. Lucky Ayedatiwa were among those who paid glowing tributes to late Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN yesterday at the special court session held yesterday at the High Court Complex, Ibadan, Oyo State.

The jurists and Bar leaders extolled the virtues of Akeredolu, variously describing him as a forthright and courageous leader.

Opening the floodgate of encomiums, Fagbemi described Akeredolu as a “legal juggernaut” as well as “a true and detribalized Nigerian, a patriot per excellence, a quintessential leader (both in law and politics) with a large heart.”

His words: “Today, we mourn a fighter and fearless defender of truth and the masses. Hi s death is a blow to the entire legal profession and the Nigerian Bar Association as we are all indeed diminished by his death.”

Ngige described Akeredolu as a “kind man,” adding that “Upon his assumption of office (as NBA President) Aketi entrusted me with few responsibilities as he believed that I would represent the Bar well. He nominated me as a member of the National Executive Committee of NBA, a member of Body of Benchers and a member of the Appeal Committee of the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee.”

Ngige noted that “Aketi’s era as NBA President was somehow a replica of Alao Aka-Bashorun’s era. The best organised NBA Annual General Conference in recent memory was the 2009 AGC held in Lagos. The chairperson of that historic conference was our iconic Funke Adekoya, SAN. It was a conference in which every delegate went home satisfied with its intellectual contents and takeaways. Aketi ensured that the Government of the day was held accountable for its actions and inactions leading to some people accusing him of being pro-ACN (Action Congress of Nigeria)!”

Maikyau stated that Akeredolu “firmly believed in the ability of the legal profession to make a difference in our society. It was this belief that led him into mainstream politics resulting in his being elected twice as Governor of Ondo State.”

He noted that “Aketi will be positively remembered for his forthrightness, his down-to-earth perspectives especially on matters of national importance, and for his several contributions to the growth and development of Ondo State and the entire region. Permit me to say with no fear of contradiction that, in the words of Sir Christopher Alexander Sapara Williams, Arakunrin Akeredolu lived for the direction of his people and for the advancement of the cause of his country.”

On his part, the immediate past Chairman of the NBA Security Agencies Relations Committee (NBA-SARC), Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN said: “During his lifetime, the Late Aketi was a remarkable man who lived a life of great purpose and passion. He was an outstanding leader who served as a mentor to many.”

He noted that “Nigeria has indeed lost an Icon and a great asset who has made great impacts and whose soul will without doubt be immortalized by his indelible legacies which posterity will forever remember. His legacy of love for justice, wisdom and patriotism will continue to inspire those who knew him.”

According to the fledgling Nigerian Law Society (NLS), “NLS enjoins our colleagues to emulate the life and character of a true Bar man who stood up for his colleagues and for the common man.

“NLS will continue to remember Arakurin Olarotimi Akeredolu SAN and promote his legacy within the legal profession in Nigeria.”

CITY LAWYER recalls that Akeredolu served as an Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice and Governor of Ondo State. As a Bar man, he served the NBA at different times as Secretary and Chairman of the Ibadan Branch and also as the 24th NBA President.

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NDLEA ARRESTS FEMALE LAWYER ‘DRUG LORD,’ OTHERS

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested one Adaobi Nweke, identified as a drug lord and a lawyer, along with four hard drug peddlers in Umuahia during the operation.

Adaobi is said to be the daughter of a deceased alleged drug kingpin in Umuahia, Joe Kin Jagwa.

Addressing reporters about the operation, the Deputy Governor, Ikechukwu Emetu, commended the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Homeland Security and the NDLEA for the successful operation executed by NDLEA in collaboration with Abia State government. Hard drugs weighing 1.217 kg were seized during the joint operation in Umuahia.

Emetu said the Abia State government is committed to flushing out all forms of criminality, and described drugs as the bedrock of all criminal activities. According to him, Abia is not a haven for criminals. He warned all drug kingpins and other criminals to leave the state or face arrest.

His words: “Abia is not a safe haven for any criminal. To all drug kingpins, the directives from the Governor of Abia State is very clear, stay away from Abia State, we don’t need you.

“You are not part of the development of the state. Drugs can’t develop Abia State. We want our youths to be safe and very useful to the Government of Abia State. Drugs happen to be the bedrock of all criminal activities that can be done by any group of people.”

He said that right from the inception of Governor Alex Otti’s administration, the government promised Abia people its determination to flush out all kinds of criminality in the state, adding that it started with Lokpanta Cattle Market where kidnapping activities were taking place.

Earlier in his remark, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Homeland Security, Mr. Chukwunenye Alajemba narrated how the joint operation led to the arrests.

He said: “Yesterday, the 14th day of February 2024, just before midnight, the office of the Governor on Homeland Security in collaboration with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Abia Command conducted a successful joint operation on the premises of one Miss Adaobi Nweke at number 23 Arochukwu Street by Calabar Road where the joint team seized a very large amount of prohibited drugs, like cocaine, cannabis, methamphetamine which is called mkpurumiri and cash sum of more than N500,000.”

He alleged that Adaobi, a lawyer by profession and daughter of a late drug kingpin in Umuahia, Joe Kin Jagwa has damaged many youths through her illicit activities. Alajemba stated that the operatives also raided a popular hotel around Downbelow in Umuahia.

He said the state government had declared war on drugs and all forms of criminality in the state.

He appreciated NDLEA for its support and disclosed that the war against drugs in the state was still ongoing and advised those peddling drugs to desist forthwith.

SAHARA REPORTERS recalls that the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Mr. Ferdinand Ekeoma and the State Commander of NDLEA, Adelanwa Amos Adetunsi were present at the press briefing.

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POLICE ACADEMY, 4 VARSITIES GET NOD TO OFFER LAW DEGREE

The Council of Legal Education (CLE) has given approval to the Police Academy and four universities to offer Law Degree programmes, CITY LAWYER can report.

In a statement obtained by CITY LAWYER, the council, which is the regulatory body for the training of lawyers in Nigeria, stated that the approval for the institutions to commence Law degree programmes was sequel to the universities meeting accreditation requirements to offer Bachelor of Law (LLB) degree programme.

The approved institutions are Adamawa State University, Mubi, Adamawa State; Mewar International University, Masaka, Nasarawa State; Federal University, Wukari, Taraba State; Taraba State University, Jalingo, Taraba State, and Nigerian Police Academy, Wudil, Kano State.

This was part of the resolutions taken at the quarterly meeting of the council under the chairmanship of Chief Emeka Ngige (SAN). Acting Secretary to the Council and Director of Administration, Ms. Aderonke Osho, said in a statement that the accreditation was based on the reports presented by the Board of Studies chaired by the Director-General of the Nigerian Law School, Prof. Isa Hayatu Chiroma (SAN).

The Nigerian Law School offers mandatory training for persons aspiring to practice Law in Nigeria.

The council also approved various sanctions in respect of referred admission cases as well as students involved in various forms of examination malpractice and other misconduct.

It also approved the report and recommendations of the Appointments, Promotions and Disciplinary Committee (AP&DC) headed by Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau (SAN), for the promotion and discipline of some senior academic and non-academic staff of the Nigerian Law School.

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‘UK-NIGERIA LAWYERS’ TRADE DEAL ILLEGAL, OPPRESSIVE,’ SAYS UDEMEZUE

In this article, Law teacher, MR. SYLVESTER UDEMEZUE argues that an agreement authorizing British lawyers to practise Law generally in Nigeria without an equivalent right to Nigerian lawyers is illegal and unilateral, not bilateral trade agreement

Status of a lawyer, nature and extent of his engagement in law practice are a major consideration in regulation of lawyers and the legal profession, in Nigeria. Under the Legal Practitioners Act[i] three categories of person are entitled to practice law in Nigeria.

The first class are lawyers who are “entitled to practice generally”.[ii] This class covers any lawyer who has been called to the Nigerian Bar and whose name is on the Roll of Legal Practitioners kept at the registry of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. The second class is made up of those entitled to practice by virtue of their office.[iii] Lawyer in this class include the Attorney-General of the Federation, the Attorneys-General of the various States of the Federation, and others as allowed by law. Members of this class are referred to as member of the Official Bar.

The official bar comprises all Lawyers in public practice, comprising law officers in Government Ministries, Departments, Institutions and Agencies. The head of the Official Bar in Nigeria is the Attorney-General of the Federation, while the various Attorneys-General of the States in Nigeria are heads of the Official Bar in their various States. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides that “There shall be an Attorney-General of the Federation who shall be the Chief Law Officer of the Federation and a Minister of the Government of the Federation”.[iv]

Members of the official bar are referred to as persons entitled to practice law in Nigeria for the purpose of their office. Hence, the Legal Practitioners Act provides that a serving exercising the functions of any of the office of the Attorney-General, Solicitor-General or Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federation of Nigeria or of a State in Nigeria or such other offices in the civil service of the Federation or of a State as the Attorney-General of the Federation or of the State, as the case may be, may by order specify, shall be entitled to practise as a barrister and solicitor for the purposes of their respective office.[v]

The Attorney-General is empowered by the Act to, by an Order[vi] expand the scope of members of the official bar, that is, lawyers entitled to practice law in Nigeria for the purpose of their offices. Pursuant to this power, occupants of the following offices in the civil service of the Federation and of the various States in Nigeria, have been designated as persons entitled to practice for the purpose of their respective offices: Directors, Deputy Directors, Assistant Directors, Chief Legal Officers, Assistant Chief of Legal Officers, Principal Legal Officers, Senior Legal Officers, Legal Officers, and Pupil Legal Officers.[vii]

However, it should be noted that a law officer or legal officer functions both in the private and public sector. Legal Officers are responsible for monitoring all legal affairs within their organization, handling both internal and external legal concerns and are tasked with doing everything in their power to keep their organization out of legal trouble.[viii] It is submitted that legal officers in private, non-government departments institutions are not among the members of the official bar, and thus are not entitled to practice law for the purpose of their offices.

The third class, usually referred to as “Lawyers Entitled to Practice Law By Warrant”, comprises lawyers who are entitled to practice law by warrant, in particular proceedings in Nigeria. The Legal Practitioners Act which is the principal enactment regulating law practice in Nigeria, provides that[ix] “If an application under this subsection is made to the Chief Justice by or on behalf of any person appearing to him to be entitled to practice as a advocate in any country where the legal system is similar to that of Nigeria and (he) is of the opinion that it is expedient to permit that person to practice as a barrister for the purpose of proceedings described in the application, he may by warrant under his hand authorize that person on payment to the Registrar of such fee not exceeding fifty naira .. to practice as a barrister for the purposes of those proceedings.”[x]

Thus, it could be seen that the Chief Justice of Nigeria is empowered to grant leave to a foreign lawyer to come and represent his client in an individual case in Nigeria, and leave. They’re at the bottom of the Table of Precedent, in the Legal Profession in Nigeria.[xi] However, such lawyers are not entitled to practice generally by say, setting up a firm in Nigerian to begin to take briefs generally as if they were lawyers duly called to the Nigerian Bar. Not even under the powers awarded the CJN under Section 2, LPA may any lawyer whose name is not on the Roll of Legal Practitioners in Nigeria, get authorized  to practice law generally in Nigeria.

Consequently, a “bilateral” agreement between the UK and Nigeria is illegal, made ultra vires and if the agreement purports to authorize or grant a blanket warrant/license to foreign lawyers (not called to the Nigerian Bar) to ply law practice business in Nigeria.

Even in respect of such individual cases/briefs (as I talked about above), in which a foreign lawyer may be give a warrant to undertake a particular law job in Nigeria, after which he leaves back to his country, neither the Minister of Trade and Investment  nor even the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria nor anyone else, save the Chief Justice of Nigeria, possesses the power or authority to grant leave to such foreign lawyer to practice law in Nigeria. Permit me to add to the above, that assuming, but not conceding, that such an agreement was lawful, Nigeria should not sign such an agreement which has the capacity to take law jobs from lawyers in Nigeria (lawyers called to the Bar in Nigeria) and give the same to lawyers in the UK, thereby further shrinking the law practice space in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, an agreement between the United Kingdom and Nigeria which allows British Lawyers to freely practice law in Nigeria without a reciprocal right granted to Nigerian lawyers to freely practice law in the UK, cannot be validly called a bilateral agreement but a one-sided agreement. When related to investments, a bilateral agreement between two countries is one between in which each signatory country agrees to fulfill its own side of the bargain.

Typically, according to Investopedia,[xii] bilateral agreements involve an equal obligation or consideration from the offeror and the offeree — they involve concessions or obligations owed by both sides of the contract. Thus, a “bilateral agreement” between Nigeria and the UK, allowing British lawyers to practice law in Nigeria without allowing Nigerian lawyers equal right to practice law in the UK, violates a crucial character of a bilateral agreement, because it fails to create equal obligation or consideration from the offeror and the offeree.[xiii] In law, a bilateral agreement is an agreement formed by an exchange of promise for promise, between two parties, in which the promise of one party is consideration supporting the promise of the other party.[xiv]

From the above, it may be suggested, and it is so submitted, that where the promises or considerations thus exchanged are not the same in character, the agreement is unilateral, not Bilateral. Example, Obi signs an agreement with Musa in which Obi promises to drive Musa to school in exchange for Musa helping Obi to pay for a particular course’s registration upon their arrival in school. This is a UNILATERAL AGREEMENT. On the other hand, is Obi signs an agreement with Musa in which Obi promises to drive Musa to school on Mondays and Tuesdays in exchange for Musa driving Obi to school on Wednesdays and Thursdays, is a BILATERAL AGREEMENT.

Therefore, in my opinion, the agreement tagged The Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership (ETIP)[xv] reportedly signed between Nigeria and the UK on 12 February 2024, among other provisions, permitting lawyers in the UK to freely practice law in Nigeria without an equivalent right granted to Nigerian lawyers, is all of illegal, oppressive, and one-sided.

Even if it had permitted lawyers in Nigeria to freely practice in the UK, the agreement would still be ultra vires for the reasons given above; only an amendment of extant laws may make such practice possible in each of Nigeria and the UK. If the Nigerian Government desires to have lawyers in the UK to have the right to practice law generally in Nigeria, they should seek an amendment of the Legal Practitioners Act.

Unfortunately, it is doubtful whether the Nigerian Bar Association which is the umbrella organization of all lawyers in Nigeria and other regulators and stakeholders in the legal profession in Nigeria, would not resist such a move with every weapon in their arsenals, as a move targeted to take food away from the mouhts of Nigerian lawyers.

I shall find time to write a detailed analysis on the issue. 

* Udemezue, a Law teacher, can be reached at udemsyl@gmail.com.

 ◾Further Readings◾:

See:

🅰️. *STEADILY SHRINKING LAW PRACTICE SPACE IN NIGERIA: SEE WHAT THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION AND ITS MEMBERS MUST DO URGENTLY, TO SAVE THE PROFESSION*

(By Sylvester Udemezue & Olajumoke Shaeeb), &

🅱️.Sylvester C Udemezue and Olajumoke M. Shaeeb, *‘Delimiting Lawyers’ Involvement In Sale of Land In Light of The Steady Diminution of The Law Practice Space In Nigeria’,* (2022) 3(2) Law and Social Justice Review (LASJURE), 183.  <https://www.nigerianjournalsonline.com/index.php/LASJURE/article/view/2976> or <https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3818892> or <https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Delimitating-the-Scope-of-Lawyers%60-Involvement-in-A-Udemezue/bcc4edbf3e22fb81a900a41e13644608c4ab5150> or <https://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/lwadsljerw3&div=51&id=&page=> or <https://www.researchgate.net/publication/350953065_DELIMITING_LAWYERS’_INVOLVEMENT_IN_SALE_OF_LAND_IN_LIGHT_OF_THE_STEADY_DIMINUTION_OF_THE_LAW_PRACTICE_SPACE_IN_NIGERIA#fullTextFileContent>

[i] Cap L11, LFN, 2004

[ii] Legal Practitioners Act, section 2(1)

[iii] Op Cit,  2(3)

[iv] Secton 150(1). Section 150(2) provides that A person shall not be qualified to hold or perform the functions of the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation unless he is qualified to practise as a legal practitioner in Nigeria and has been so qualified for not less than ten years.

[v] Section 2(3)(a)

[vi] Legal Practitioners Act, Section 2(3)(b)

[vii] See: Entitlement to Practise as Barristers and Solicitors (Federal Officers) Order 1963; Entitlement to practice as Barristers and Solicitors. (National Assembly Office) (Legal Practitioners) Order 1995; Entitlement  to practice as Barristers and Solicitors (Federal Housing Authority) (legal Practitioners) Order 1995; and Entitlement to practice as Barristers and Solicitors (Federal Road Safety Commission) (Legal Officers) Order 1997.

[viii] Hon. Justice Esohe Frances Ikponmwen FCJEI: FICMC Chief Judge, Edo State,’ Legal Officers Independence: Addressing The Challenges In Public Sectors’ (edojudiciary.gov.ng November 2018) < https://edojudiciary.gov.ng/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Legal-Officers-Independence-Addressing-the-Challenges-in-Public-Sector.pdf>. Accessed 13 February 2024.

[ix] LPA, section 2(2) 

[x] See also: Awolowo v. Usman Sarki, Minister of Internal Affairs and the Attorney-General of the Federation 1962 LLR 177; (1966) N.S.C.C. 209.

[xi] See: see section 6(3) LPA and the First Schedule to the LPA. See also

[xii] <https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/bilateral-contract.asp#:~:text=A%20bilateral%20contract%20is%20an%20agreement%20between%20two,although%20this%20need%20not%20always%20be%20the%20case.> Accessed 13 February 2024

[xiii] Ibid

[xiv] See the Legal Dictionary by Farlex

[xv] <https://www.vanguardngr.com/2024/02/uk-signs-deal-to-allow-british-lawyers-practise-in-nigeria/#:~:text=The%20United%20Kingdom%20and%20Nigeria%20are%20set%20to,investment%20and%20open%20new%20prospects%20for%20both%20countries.>. Accessed 13 February 2024.

[i] Cap L11, LFN, 2004

[ii] Legal Practitioners Act, section 2(1)

[iii] Op Cit,  2(3)

[iv Section 150(1). Section 150(2) provides that A person shall not be qualified to hold or perform the functions of the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation unless he is qualified to practise as a legal practitioner in Nigeria and has been so qualified for not less than ten years.

[v] Section 2(3)(a)

[vi] Legal Practitioners Act, Section 2(3)(b)

[vii] See: Entitlement to Practise as Barristers and Solicitors (Federal Officers) Order 1963; Entitlement to practice as Barristers and Solicitors. (National Assembly Office) (Legal Practitioners) Order 1995; Entitlement  to practice as Barristers and Solicitors (Federal Housing Authority) (legal Practitioners) Order 1995; and Entitlement to practice as Barristers and Solicitors (Federal Road Safety Commission) (Legal Officers) Order 1997.

[viii] Hon. Justice Esohe Frances Ikponmwen FCJEI: FICMC Chief Judge, Edo State,’ Legal Officers Independence: Addressing The Challenges In Public Sectors’ (edojudiciary.gov.ng November 2018) <https://edojudiciary.gov.ng/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Legal-Officers-Independence-Addressing-the-Challenges-in-Public-Sector.pdf>. Accessed 13 February 2024.

[ix] LPA, section 2(2) 

[x] See also: Awolowo v. Usman Sarki, Minister of Internal Affairs and the Attorney-General of the Federation 1962 LLR 177; (1966) N.S.C.C. 209.

[xi] See: see section 6(3) LPA and the First Schedule to the LPA. See also

[xii] <https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/bilateral-contract.asp#:~:text=A%20bilateral%20contract%20is%20an%20agreement%20between%20two,although%20this%20need%20not%20always%20be%20the%20case.> Accesed 13 February 2024

[xiii] Ibid

[xiv] See the Legal Dictionary by Farlex

[xv] <https://www.vanguardngr.com/2024/02/uk-signs-deal-to-allow-british-lawyers-practise-in-nigeria/#:~:text=The%20United%20Kingdom%20and%20Nigeria%20are%20set%20to,investment%20and%20open%20new%20prospects%20for%20both%20countries.>. Accessed 13 February 2024.

ATIKU’S VARSITY GETS 60 MORE LAW SCHOOL SLOTS

The Council of Legal Education (CLE) has approved 60 additional Nigerian Law School admission slots for the American University of Nigeria, Yola, CITY LAWYER  can authoritatively report. The leading private university is owned by Nigeria’s former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

The decision was taken at the first quarterly meeting of the Council for year 2024. The meeting took place last Tuesday at the Council’s headquarters, Bwari, Abuja.

Sources at the meeting which was steered by the Council’s Chairman, Chief Emeka Ngige, SAN, told CITY LAWYER that the regulatory body expressed satisfaction with improvement in the quality of academic staff and facilities at the university.

It was also observed that unlike some universities that had come under the council’s hammer for violating their assigned admission quotas, the American University of Nigeria had continued to adhere to its allotted quota since inception.

The council therefore approved the recommendation of the Board of Studies chaired by the Director-General, Prof. Isa Hayatu Chiroma, SAN, to increase its admission quota by additional 60 slots to a total of 110 slots.

CITY LAWYER recalls that the Council had barred Baze University, a leading Abuja based private university owned by Labour Party vice presidential candidate, Dr. Datti Baba-Ahmed, from admitting students into its Law Programme for the next five years. The ban may be renewed by the Council if the infractions noted by its Visitation Panel are not remedied within the period.According to a statement made available to CITY LAWYER and signed by Ms. Aderonke Osho, Ag. Secretary & Director of Administration, the Council will take steps within the five-year moratorium period to deal with the backlog of over 347 Baze University Law graduates waiting to be admitted into the Nigerian Law School.

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FIDA MEMBERS SERENADE AFAM OSIGWE ON VAL DAY

  • OSIGWE SPEAKS ON AI AT NBA MINNA LAW WEEK

The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Abuja Branch recently convened a meeting on February 14th, 2024, hosted by Afam Osigwe, SAN. At this gathering, esteemed colleagues gathered to deliberate on pressing matters within the legal fraternity. The occasion also served as an opportunity for members to pay tribute to Afam Osigwe, whose exemplary leadership has left an indelible mark on the legal landscape.

Afam Osigwe’s illustrious career and leadership acumen have been widely acknowledged and celebrated. His distinguished tenure as the General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association and Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abuja branch, underscores his unwavering commitment to the legal profession. During his tenure, Mazi Afam Osigwe demonstrated a remarkable ability to foster inclusivity and champion gender equality, earning him admiration and respect from colleagues across the spectrum.

Colleagues present at the FIDA Abuja meeting expressed heartfelt appreciation for Mazi Afam Osigwe’s visionary leadership style, characterized by a spirit of inclusiveness and a steadfast dedication to upholding the interests of all members. They lauded his efforts in spearheading innovative initiatives and safeguarding the welfare of legal practitioners during his tenure as chairman of the Abuja branch. Under his stewardship, the legal community witnessed unprecedented advancements and a renewed commitment to excellence.

In his gracious remarks, Mazi Afam Osigwe expressed gratitude for the opportunity to host the meeting and urged his colleagues to collaborate closely with the remuneration committee, which he chairs, to ensure the effective implementation of the remuneration order 2023. He emphasized the importance of self-regulation within the legal profession, noting that by adhering to prescribed fee structures, lawyers can uphold professional standards and engender trust among clients.

Mazi Afam Osigwe’s unwavering dedication to the legal profession and his tireless advocacy for fairness and equality serve as an inspiration to all. His leadership exemplifies the highest ideals of integrity, inclusivity, and excellence, setting a shining example for future generations of legal practitioners to emulate.

“Advancing Legal Practice and Advocacy: Afam Osigwe’s Contributions to the Nigerian Bar Association Minna Branch Law Week”

Afam Osigwe, SAN, participated in the Law Week organized by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Minna Branch, where he contributed as a panelist during the second day’s session focused on “Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Nigerian Legal Practice.” During his discourse, Osigwe emphasized the transformative impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on the legal profession and urged his colleagues to adapt to this new paradigm. Specifically, he highlighted concerns regarding the protection of clients’ data, stressing the importance for lawyers to address issues related to data privacy within the context of AI integration.

Additionally, Osigwe actively engaged in a panel discussion on the first day centered on “Independence of the Judiciary.” During this session, he passionately advocated for the autonomy of the judiciary and underscored the pivotal role played by the NBA in safeguarding judicial independence, thereby ensuring the rule of law.

Moreover, in a hangout organized in his honor by Mr. Mohammed Ndayako, SAN, Osigwe seized the opportunity to foster camaraderie among legal practitioners. During the gathering, he urged his fellow lawyers to collaborate with the NBA Remuneration Committee, of which he serves as chairman, to facilitate the implementation of the Legal Practitioners’ Remuneration Order 2023. Osigwe emphasized that by actively engaging with this committee and assuming a proactive stance akin to that of law enforcement officers, lawyers could effectively advocate for and secure a more favorable remuneration regime.

Overall, Afam Osigwe’s participation in these events exemplifies his commitment to advancing the legal profession in Nigeria, advocating for judicial independence, embracing technological advancements, and championing the welfare of legal practitioners.

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‘TOBENNA EROJIKWE HAS TURNED CLE, MENTORING AROUND,’ – OGUNLANA

In this piece, fiery children and women’s rights advocate, MOJIRAYO OGUNLANA argues that Chairman of the Governing Board of Nigerian Bar Association Institute for Continuing Legal Education (NBA-ICLE), Mr. Tobenna Erojikwe has turned around the fortunes of lawyers though free training and mentoring.

This is exactly the reason why I support Tobenna. He has shown very clearly that he intends to confront issues. I have noticed that the gentleman does not felicitate or send goodwill messages in public. I also read what he wrote about initiating a move to end money politics in the NBA and how the other aspirants reneged on it.

His position on the Minimum Wage issue at the AGC and the YLF Summit was a class act. He took on the issues and made the points despite the President of the NBA being present in the room. I started following his activities after his presentation at the SPIDEL Conference. He took on the issues fearlessly. It then started occurring to me why he and Akpata appear to be ideological soul mates.

I have also since found that he has championed Continuing Professional Development since he came back from the UK. He was organising FREE trainings for lawyers even before becoming involved with the NBA. He was Chairman of the CLE Committee in Lagos for 4 years and turned that all important element around through his Training and Mentoring initiatives, providing a response to skills gaps questions. He is doing it at the ICLE and has done it for 3 years now. Even today, he is facilitating trainings on Blockchain despite the elections being so close by.

I see a lot of character in the man and just think that he is not celebrated enough because he is not loud and noisy.

Anyone who wants to lead us MUST show his track record. What do each of these people stand for? At least, with Tobenna I know that he was Chief Adviser to Akpata. I know that he believes in capacity building. I now know that he was the architect of the Access to Finance Scheme and a big promoter of the Remuneration conversation from inception.

Most importantly, I know that he has absolutely no connection with the NBA establishment and the ones on the outside. These things matter to me, and should matter to all of us.

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EXCLUSIVE: NIGERIAN LAW SCHOOL RESULTS OUT, 251 BAG FIRST CLASS, 604 FAIL

The Council of Legal Education (CLE) has approved and released the results for the November 2023 Nigerian Law School Bar Final Examinations, CITY LAWYER can authoritatively report.

Multiple sources who are familiar with the matter told CITY LAWYER that the results were approved last night by the Chief Emeka Ngige SAN-led Council.

Of the 5,308 Bar aspirants that sat for the examination, 251 aspirants representing 5 per cent of the candidates bagged a First Class Honours grade while 1,024 or 19 per cent made the Second Class Upper Honours grade.

On the other hand, 2,179 Bar aspirants or 41 per cent bagged the Second Class Lower grade while 967 aspirants or 18 per cent made the Pass grade. 

Aside from 283 aspirants or 5 per cent who made the Conditional Pass grade, 604 candidates or 11 per cent failed the examination and would have to resit it at a future date.

Already, some Bar aspirants have besieged the Nigerian Law School portal to view their results.

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NBA MUM, NLS KICKS AS LAWYERS DEBATE NIGERIA-UK PACT

Nigeria will today sign a trade deal that will see the country remove barriers preventing United Kingdom lawyers from practising international and foreign law in Nigeria.

Announcing the impending trade deal on its website monitored by CITY LAWYER, the UK Government wrote: “It will see Nigeria commit to working towards removing barriers preventing UK lawyers from practising international and foreign law in Nigeria, a step that could significantly increase UK legal services exports.”

The trade deal was announced in a joint statement by Ms. Kemi Badenoch, UK’s business and trade secretary, and Doris Uzoka-Anitie, Nigeria’s minister for trade and investment.

According to the UK Government, “The Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership (ETIP) is the first the UK has signed with an African country and is designed to grow the UK and Nigeria’s already thriving trading relationship, which totalled £7 billion in the year to September 2023.” 

Many lawyers are however sharply divided on the lifting of the barriers in the legal industry, with some expressing worry that this would further erode the revenue of Nigerian lawyers.

While some lawyers wondered whether UK will accord Nigerian lawyers the same access into its legal market, others said that there is nothing new about the trade deal, adding that Nigerian lawyers already enjoy limited practice in the UK legal market.

Though the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) is yet to react to the development, its rival body, the embattled Nigerian Law Society (NLS) has expressed worry over the move, urging the government to tread carefully.

In a statement made available to CITY LAWYER, the NLS said it is “concerned about the news,” adding that “It is not clear how this ‘Agreement’ will benefit Nigerians and the Legal Profession but a major area that must be considered before formalisation of any inter-trade on legal services must be the qualification requirements to practice law in Nigeria.”

Said Mr. Kelvin Iorzenda, a ranking NBA Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL) member: “The NBA President will not come out and react to this piece of information now. Once SPIDEL does, it becomes his headache. Let our Dear President come out now and take his shine. No one wants to take it off him.”

Another senior lawyer wrote on an online platform: “”I doubt folks know what this portends. financial and legal services ? This can only result in one outcome, an erosion of gains made by Nigerians. With mobile money to be controlled significantly by Airtel and MTN, Nigeria and Nigerians are about to lose a huge chunk of their economy. The environment that produced the FRA, Onyiukes, Chukwurah, GOK, Jim Ovia, Dangote, Aderinokun, Wigwe and more about to be frittered out on a platter. Satellite companies and law firms will rule roost. At the risk of intemperance, this is Colonialism 2.0.”

But a UK-based senior lawyer argued that there is nothing new about the trade deal, saying: “I would like to think it will be on equivalent basis with the English ‘Registered Foreign Lawyers’ scheme whereby you can register with the SRA and carry out some limited unreserved legal work and nothing more. If you are an RFL, you can practise the law of your home state, advise on English and Welsh law and provide unreserved legal services.”

He however said that African lawyers may be experiencing some disadvantage in the UK accreditation process. His words: “Having said that, my observation is that the SRA gives higher recognition to lawyers from non African Commonwealths like Australia and New Zealand over those from Nigeria and Ghana for example. The NBA should seek same level of reciprocity as the UK accords Australians from the SRA.”

NIGERIAN LAW SOCIETY (NLS) REACTS TO AN ALLEGED REPORT OF THE FORMALIZATION OF AGREEMENTS BETWEEN UK AND NIGERIA REGARDING LEGAL SERVICES.

The NLS is concerned about the news going round the Legal Community regarding an agreement between our government and the UK government that may give room for British Lawyers to Engage in Legal Practice in Nigeria.

We acknowledge that this is not a new concept or notion and there are already areas where British Lawyers (who may also be Nigerian Citizens) practice law in Nigeria as the requirements for this are set in our laws already.

However, in light of the shrinking professional space for Nigerian Lawyers to earn a living, we at NLS call on our Government to thoroughly consider this Agreement with the UK government by first calling all the stakeholders to the table to discuss the pros and cons.

It is not clear how this ‘Agreement’ will benefit Nigerians and the Legal Profession but a major area that must be considered before formalisation of any inter-trade on legal services must be the qualification requirements to practice law in Nigeria.

Furthermore there must be clear regulations as to whether legal services can be employed directly without first reference to Nigerian lawyers. If these are not considered, Nigerian lawyers may just be holding the short end of the stick.

We therefore use this medium to encourage government to broaden the scope of the legal profession in this country by making laws for compulsory use of lawyers in every area of governance and commerce.

We encourage lawyers to visit our website at www.nls.org.ng for more information about NLS or WhatsApp 08065172866 for any complaints, suggestions or inquiries.

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FIRES GUTS KWARA HIGH COURT COMPLEX

About Forty offices and three open courtrooms were threatened by an inferno that today engulfed the Kwara State’s new High Court complex in the Government Reservation Area, Ilorin, the state capital.

The fire, which was noticed at around 7.25 am, engulfed the main building, the Registry Department, the Litigation Office and offices in the complex.

Confirming the incident, the Head of Media and Publicity of the Kwara State Fire Service, Mr. Hassan Adekunle, said the firefighters were alerted, and that they swiftly moved to combat the raging flames.

He said an investigation revealed that the inferno was triggered by a surge in the electricity supply to the area and urged the general public to prioritise safety awareness and precautions in their daily lives.

He said, “In the morning of February 13, 2024, at 07:33 hours, the Kwara State Fire Service received a distress call regarding a fire outbreak at the State High Court in Ilorin.

“Responding swiftly, the fire crew rushed to the scene to find the imposing State High Court building ablaze. This building, housing 40 offices and three open courtrooms, was in peril, with the registry department and litigation office particularly affected by the inferno.

“With commendable courage and determination, the firefighters immediately commenced their efforts to combat the raging flames. Working tirelessly, they skillfully navigated through the burning structure, deploying their expertise and resources to contain and extinguish the fire.

“Despite the daunting challenges they faced, the firefighters succeeded in saving the State High Court from complete devastation, preventing what could have been a catastrophic loss.

“Subsequent investigation into the cause of the fire revealed that it was triggered by a power surge, highlighting the importance of electrical safety measures.

“This call to action underscores the critical role that vigilance and preparedness play in preventing such tragedies from occurring in the future.”

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AFAM OSIGWE CANVASSES FAIR REMUNERATION FOR LAWYERS

NEWS RELEASE

“Afam Osigwe, SAN Champions Equitable Compensation: A Landmark Address at the Nigerian Bar Association, Benin Branch Meeting”

On Sunday, the 11th of February 2024, at the Nigerian Bar Association Benin Branch meeting, hosted by Afam Osigwe, SAN, members were treated to an insightful address regarding the imperative of collaboration with the Remuneration Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association, which he chairs, for the effective implementation of the Remuneration Order 2023. This order aims to standardize the compensation of lawyers for their legal services. In his eloquent speech, Afam underscored the pivotal role lawyers will play in ensuring the robust execution of the order, declaring emphatically that the era of meager stipends for legal services is now firmly in the past.

Afam expressed his committee’s unwavering commitment to advocating for just compensation for lawyers, likening it to a “long walk to freedom” in the realm of remuneration. He called upon his fellow legal professionals to become ambassadors for this new paradigm in remuneration, stressing the importance of educating clients to appreciate the true value of legal services. Afam highlighted a glaring disparity in compensation, citing examples such as property agents receiving higher fees than lawyers for similar transactions, and declared that such inequities are no longer acceptable in the evolving legal landscape.

The meeting drew an unprecedented turnout of branch members, indicative of the significant interest and support for Afam’s groundbreaking initiatives. It served as a platform for robust discussion and engagement, with attendees eager to contribute to the advancement of equitable compensation practices within the legal profession.

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GUNMEN KILL ANAMBRA SENIOR LAWYER, OGUEJIOFOR

Gunmen have assassinated one Chief Jude Oguejiofor, an Nnewi, Anambra State based senior lawyer.

CITY LAWYER gathered that Oguejiofor was abducted by gunmen alongside his younger brother who is a medical doctor.

While his brother was later released by the gunmen, Oguejiofor was killed, according to NEWSBAND.

Oguejiofor was the Principal Partner at Jude Oguejiofor & Co, an Nnewi based law firm. He attended Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University
between 2004 and 2008. He later proceeded to the Abuja Campus of the Nigerian Law School for his vocational training.

He has the traditional title of “Ositadinma Orsumoghu,” an area which has a high incidence of kidnapping.

* This is a developing story.

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‘HOW WIGWE, WIFE, SENIOR LAWYER DIED IN AIR CRASH FIRE,’ BY US OFFICIAL

A United States aviation official, Mr. Michael Graham has said that Dr. Herbert Wigwe, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings, died alongside his wife and four others when their chartered Airbus EC130 helicopter caught fire upon impact.

The crash also claimed leading corporate lawyer, Mr. Abimbola Ogunbanjo, the scion of recently deceased Chief Chris Ogunbanjo, the Doyen of Commercial Law practice in Nigeria, CITY LAWYER can report.

The ill-fated Eurocopter EC 130 helicopter crashed near Nipton, California, USA around 10 p.m. local time on Friday. Aside from Wigwe’s Anambra-born wife, Chizoba, their son and two crew members also died in the crash.

The aircraft was flying from Palm Springs, California, to Boulder City, Nevada, just outside of Las Vegas, according Graham, a National Transportation Safety Board member.

It was operated by California-based charter company Orbic Air, took off around 8:45 p.m. and crashed just after 10 p.m. near Interstate 15 in Halloran Springs, California, Graham said.

Citing witness reports, Graham said that the helicopter caught fire upon impact, adding that witnesses also reported rain and a wintry mix when the crash happened.

Confirming the death of its helmsman, Access Bank Plc wrote on its X handle: “Today, we bid farewell to a visionary leader, @HerbertOWigwe, whose passion and unwavering commitment to excellence transformed Access into a global powerhouse.

“His legacy of excellence and compassion will continue to inspire us all.

“Rest in peace, Herbert Wigwe. Your impact will forever be felt.”

CITY LAWYER investigation shows that Ogunbanjo was the Managing Partner at the upscale Lagos law firm, Chris Ogunbanjo LP where he was described as “the Vice Chairman of the Commercial Law and Taxation Committee of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and the President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.”

According to the law firm, “He specializes in Capital Markets and has garnered considerable corporate finance experience.”

Ogunbanjo was the Chairman of the Nigerian Exchange Group Plc (“NGX Group” or “The Group”), a leading integrated market infrastructure group in Africa. He is reputed to have led the transformation of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) from a non-profit, member-based organisation into a public limited company, with its shares publicly quoted for all investors to participate in the ownership of the country’s oldest securities exchange.

The conversion of the then NSE, otherwise known as demutualisation, birthed the NGX Group as a non-operating holding group and the separation of the trading and regulatory arms of the Exchange.

A versatile corporate lawyer, Ogunbanjo led the emergent NGX Group in its formative years between 2021 and 2022. He had served as the President of the National Council of the NSE from 2017 to 2021. The late Ogunbanjo was credited with several landmark initiatives at the Exchange, including the launch of West Africa’s first Exchange Traded Derivatives market.

Ogunbanjo was a director on the boards of many companies including Beta Glass Plc, GTL Registrars Limited, AIICO Insurance Plc, ConocoPhillips Limited, Chris Ogunbanjo Foundation and the Advisory Board of the University of Buckingham Centre for Extractive Studies among others.

A registered Nigerian capital market consultant, Ogunbanjo is a member of the International Bar Association, Nigerian Bar Association and Institute of Petroleum.

He is reputed as a philanthropist and dedicated social worker, and was a Global Ambassador for the Cervical Cancer-Free Nigeria (CCFN) campaign, an initiative of the US-based and Standford University supported non-profit organization, Global Oncology (GO).

THE NATION reports that he was conferred with the traditional title of Bamofin of Erunwon Ijebu Kingdom and the national honour of Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR).

The NTSB is investigating the cause of the crash and was on the scene in Halloran Springs, California, Saturday night collecting evidence, Graham said at a news conference.

Meanwhile, Faleye Olushola, Wigwe’s Special Assistant reportedly escaped death by the whiskers. Media reports indicated that Olushola flew with Wigwe, his wife, son and Ogunbanjo from London, United Kingdom to Palm Spring, a city in California, US.

However, on getting to Palm Spring, Olushola declined to board the ill-fated flight going to Boulder City in Nevada, insisting that he would not travel by helicopter at night due to weather conditions. He was said to have opted to travel to Boulder City by road and escaped the air disaster, that claimed the lives of four others.

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SPIDEL VICE CHAIR HAILS OBEGOLU AS ABUJA CHAMBER PRESIDENT

Dr. Princess Frank-Chukwuani, Vice Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL), has congratulated Chief Emeka Obegolu SAN on his inauguration as the 12th President of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The text made available to CITY LAWYER reads:

I am elated by your auspicious Inauguration and assumption of office, which stands as a testament to your years of excellent service and sterling leadership qualities in various areas of endeavors.

Your journey to this elevated position demonstrates dedication, leadership, and unwavering commitment to serving others. Your vision and passion will undoubtedly bring positive change and growth to Abuja Chambers of Commerce and Industry as you did in the Nigerian Bar Association, Pan African Lawyers forum(PALU), ICMC and other various organizations you have led in the past.

May your tenure be filled with great accomplishments, meaningful connections, and endless opportunities to make a difference, and take the Chamber to greater heights.

Congratulations my dear brother/friend Akajiugo 1 of Obeledu.

Keep soaring higher.

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SOLAR4ALL: OSARENREN OBAYUWANA ESQ. IS OUR ‘STAR CLIENT OF THE WEEK’

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Solar For All: OSARENREN MATHIAS OBAYUWANA ESQ., AICMC [NBA Benin Branch]] is our “Star Client of the week”

Mr. Obayuwana, an Award-wining and astute Lawyer, has served the Bar in many capacities. He has since been deservedly recommended by the NJC for appointment as a Judge of Edo State High Court, awaiting the Governor’s swearing in.

To get an efficient Solar system anywhere in Nigeria with 25 years warranty and “Pay Small Small”, call/chat Solar For All Ltd: 08060266163.

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The Solar For All South-East/South-South Nigeria team are grateful to have been hosted at the Benin home of this distinguished Bar Man.

O. M. Obayuwana Esq., AICMC, called to the Nigerian Bar in October 2004, holds a Master’s degree (LLM) since 2011 from the prestigious University of Benin where he also bagged his LLB in 2003. He attended the Kano Campus of the Nigeria Law School where he bagged the award of Alhaji A. Abdu-Razaq’s Prize in Criminal Trial for the 2003/2004 session.

Osarenren Mathias Obayuwana Esq., AICMC has been in very active legal practice for about 20 years since his Call to Bar in 2004 up till June 2023 when he was recommended by the National Judicial Council (NJC) for appointment as a Judicial Officer (High Court Judge) for Edo State alongside seven others who are yet to be sworn-in by the Edo State Governor.

Prior to his recommendation for appointment, he was the Principal Counsel in the law firm of O. M. Obayuwana & Co. (Nosawema Chambers), which he established in 2010 after his pupilage with the law firm of Osagie Obayuwana & Co. (Unity Chambers) where he practiced law from 2004 to 2010 and rose to the rank of Deputy Head of Chambers (Litigations).

He was an astute Bar man with the Benin Bar (also known as the Lion Bar) where he was Chairman of the NBA Benin Public Defenders’ Committee. He is a pro-democracy and human rights advocate who has rendered bro bono services to the less privileged and oppressed in the society, bringing succor their way. He was a regular guest on Independent Television on the program ‘LAW AND YOU’ where he graciously shared his wealth of knowledge of the law with the general public on topical legal issues.

The recommendation of Osarenren Mathias Obayuwana Esq., AICMC by the National Judicial Council for appointment as a High Court Judge of Edo State is well-deserved, and it is the earnest expectation that the Governor of Edo State does the needful without further delay.

It was a Solar System which carries all the basics in the home, ensures steady Power Supply and a reduction of the power cost to less than half.

Other beneficiaries from whom the efficiency of delivery can be verified include: Chief James Ogu Onoja SAN (Ofante Kogi State); Oba Ghandi Afolabi Olaoye [the Soun of Ogbomoso]; Mrs. Ezinwa Nwanyieze Okoroafor Esq.; Dr. Chike Okogwu; Mr. Stephen Arubuike Esq. of G. Elias SAN &Co; Chief Solomon Umoh SAN; Alhj. Ohio Abdullahi; Amb. Gen. Tukur Burutai (COAS Rtd); Chief S. I. Ameh SAN; Dr. Monday Onyekachi Ubani Esq; Mazi Afam Osigwe SAN; Sir Ebun Olu Adegboruwa SAN; Dr. Anthony Ani (Federal Medical Center Cooperatives); Mr. Lawrence Nwaketi; Mrs. Amina Agbaje Esq (FIDA Nigeria CVP); Prof. Dr. Olusola Oke (UNILAG COLLEGE OF MEDICINE); Dr. Muiz Banire SAN; Chief Jude Onwuharonye Esq.; High Chief Emeka J-P Obegolu SAN; Chief Bolaji Ayorinde SAN; Chief J-K Gadzama SAN; Hon. Justice George Oguntade (Justice of the Supreme Court Rtd); Sir James Ononiwu (NBA Ikeja); Chief Ejiofor Onwuaso (Otu Oka-Iwu Abuja); Hon. Sir. Ebuka Igwe (Anambra State House of Assembly); Prince Adetosoye Adebiyi Esq.; Mr. Paul Daudu Esq (J.B Daudu SAN & Co); Mr. Benedict Daudu Esq; Chief Peter Ilegogie Esq; Aare Muyiwa Akinboro SAN; Aare Isiaka Olagunju SAN; Dr. Babatunde Ajibade SAN (SPA Ajibade SAN & Co); FIDA Nigeria (FIDA House Abuja); Prince Adetokunbo Kayode SAN; Dr. Mrs. Ayorinde (Ayorinde SAN & Co); Mrs. Mariam Agbaboka; Barr. Mrs. Rachel Ebun Akerele; Mr. Anthony Malik SAN; Chief Tawo E. Tawo SAN; Chief Kemi Pinheiro SAN; Mr. I. M. Dikko SAN (Liman, Liman SAN & Co); Hon. Justice Emeka Nriezedi (Anambra State Judiciary); Dr. Hassan Liman SAN; Chief J. U. K. Igwe SAN; Mr. Chike Ekeocha, Esq. (Alex Izinyon SAN & Co/SUEX Nig. Ltd); Mummy Sylvia Okoregbe Esq; John Ochogwu, Esq; Hon. Rodrich Ugwu Esq; Prof. Godson Ogbonna (Abia State University, Uturu); Sir Austin Mwana Esq; Mr. Thony Lyiod Onyemaizu Esq; Dr. Agada Elachi Esq; Mr. Zach Akubo (S. I. Ameh SAN & Co); Mr. Ime Edem-nse Esq; Mr. Edafe Mrakpor Esq. (Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development); Ebedebiri Cottage Hospital, Sagbama LGA, Bayelsa State; Federal College of Education, Warri; Nigerian Agricultural Seeds Council; Institute Of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators of Nigeria (ICMC); Chief R. N. Okeke and Sons Ltd, Wukari, Taraba State; Alhaji Abdulrahman Adamu (Trademoore Estate), among many others.

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SENIOR LAWYER, PROF. YUSUF DANKOFA IS DEAD

A senior lawyer and law teacher, Prof. Yusuf Dankofa is dead. 

Dankofa was one of the lawyers who defended the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, after the 2019 Elections.

Dankofa, a lecturer at the Faculty of Law, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State, died on Tuesday. It was gathered that 61-year-old Dankofa, who died of an undisclosed ailment, has been buried according to Islamic rites.

The deceased, who hailed from Kano State, was born in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, in 1963. He started his early education at Omolewa Nursery and Primary School in Oritamefa, Ibadan, and went on to attend his secondary education at Ahmadiyya Grammar School, now Anwar Islam Grammar School, Eleyele, Ibadan.

Dankofa further went to the University of Sokoto, now Usman Danfodiyo University, where he obtained an LL.B Hons in Law in 1987, and went to the Nigerian Law School, Lagos for his Bachelor of Law in 1988.

In 1989, he joined the Faculty of Law at ABU and later rose to the position of Professor of Law in 2015.

THE PUNCH reports that throughout his career, he displayed a commitment to social justice, focusing on International Human Rights Law and Development Law, particularly advocating for the rights of indigenous peoples and socio-economic inclusion.

Meanwhile, Abubakar, took to his X handle to commiserate with the deceased’s family.

He wrote, “I received with sadness the shocking news of the demise of a legal luminary and my counsel, Prof. Yusuf Dankofa, who died at the age of 61.

“The late legal icon who has made invaluable contributions in the field of law, especially in social justice, international human rights, and the rights of the indigenous people will be greatly missed by all.

“On behalf of my family, I join the good people of Kano State, the members of the academic community, in particular the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), and his immediate family to mourn the deceased. May Allah comfort his family, forgive his sins and grant him AlJannah Firdaus.”

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SPIDEL’S FATE TO BE DECIDED FEB 29 AS NBA-NEC MEETS IN JOS

The fate of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL) will be decided on February 29, 2024 when the National Executive Council of the association meets in Jos, Plateau State.

This follows the issuance of a formal notice on the forthcoming meeting by the NBA leadership.

CITY LAWYER recalls that there has been a face-off between the SPIDEL leadership and NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN, leading to a ban on SPIDEL activities by Maikyau.

While the NBA President accused SPIDEL of “undermining” his leadership, the Section fired back, alleging that Maikyau has stalled several planned initiatives aimed to promote the rule of law and public interest.

Below is the full text of the notice.

NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION: NOTICE OF NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COUNCIL (NEC) MEETING

Distinguished NEC Members,

I am pleased to inform you that there will be a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of our great association on the date, time, and venue specified hereunder:

DATE: Thursday, 29th February 2024 (Arrival is Wednesday, 28th February 2024, and Departure is Friday, 1st March, 2024)

TIME:10.00am Prompt

VENUE: Jos, Plateau State. (The actual venue shall be communicated subsequently.)

AGENDA:

Please note that attendance at this NEC meeting is open to NEC members only. The meeting shall be held Hybrid, and the link for the meeting shall be sent to NEC members in due course.

For further inquiries, please contact the General Secretary or Grace Igyo at the NBA Secretariat, Bar Services Department via 08065901348. For booking and reservation of hotel accommodation, please contact the National Welfare Secretary, Ms Chinyere Obasi, via 08035649662.

My esteemed regards.
Adesina Adegbite, FICMC, MCIArb.
General Secretary.

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‘MAIKYAU LACKS POWER TO SUSPEND SPIDEL ACTIVITIES,’ SAYS GADZAMA

The pioneer Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL), Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN has aligned with the position by the SPIDEL leadership that NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN lacks power to bar the activities of SPIDEL or any NBA section.

In a statement made available to CITY LAWYER, the senior lawyer and former Chairman of NBA Security Agencies Relations Committee (NBA-SARC) said that “It goes without saying that no power resides in the National Officers or the President of the NBA to stop SPIDEL or any of the other two sections ie SLP & SBL from performing their constitutional and statutory responsibilities other than in the National Executive Committee (NEC). After all, NEC has already sanctioned and pre-approved these actions by SPIDEL.”

Below is the full text of the statement.

PIONEER CHAIR, NBA-SPIDEL AND LIFE BENCHER, J-K GADZAMA SAN URGES NBA AND SPIDEL TO SHEATH THEIR SWORDS

One of the most decorated Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama, OFR, MFR, SAN has reacted to the reported spat between the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the Officers of NBA Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL).

Speaking to journalists who approached him as the pioneer Chairman of NBA-SPIDEL, the Life Bencher remarked that the said disagreement was unnecessary as the NBA-SPIDEL is a special and strategic Section of the Bar whose role affects both lawyers and non-lawyers.

Chief Gadzama, a former Chairman of NBA Abuja Branch noted that NBA-SPIDEL, which can be referred to as the “conscience of the Bar”, has been playing a complimentary role especially in upholding the motto of the NBA – “promoting the rule of law”. He also highlighted the fact that NBA-SPIDEL, just like the other NBA Sections, has gone the extra mile to raise its leaders internally without the intervention of the President or other National officers of the NBA.

He explained that in relation to the workings of the Section, ” I have observed that recent SPIDEL interventions are focused on delivering one of the core mandates of the NBA for which the Section was established – promoting public interest matters and litigation when needed. The current SPIDEL Executive seems to be proactive, and the truth is that it is good for good governance and accountability. However, it must be emphasized that NBA is SPIDEL, and SPIDEL is NBA, so what is required is synergy and harmonious implementation of the NBA objectives which SPIDEL can be described as pursuing presently through some of its interventions. Whatever disagreement that has occurred, in my opinion, cannot be based on whether the actions of SPIDEL are right but may be attributed to possible lapse in administrative communication as regards implementation. The gaps can be ironed out without so much fuss. Nonetheless there could be appropriate advisory intervention by the President and the National officers wherever any Section derails from its mandate. In extreme situations of organizational misconduct, the National Executive Council (NEC) will need to intervene. It goes without saying that no power resides in the National Officers or the President of the NBA to stop SPIDEL or any of the other two sections ie SLP & SBL from performing their constitutional and statutory responsibilities other than in the National Executive Committee (NEC). After all, NEC has already sanctioned and pre-approved these actions by SPIDEL.

Therefore, it is worthy to note that the required synergy will simply mean that when SPIDEL or any other Section speaks, it means the NBA is speaking. This is crucial in achieving adequate organizational communication on critical national interventions in pursuit of public interest.”

The learned silk further stated that the application of checks and balances is a cardinal principle in NBA affairs. Certain organs of NBA are constitutionally provided to ensure that the concept is applied, and that role amplifies when the NBA needs to wriggle itself out of perceived political exposure. In such situations, the relevant NBA Sections or organs must step in and do the needful, as has been done by NBA-SPIDEL in the circumstances under reference.

Chief Gadzama spoke to pressmen from his wealth of experience having served in the 3 NBA Sections in various capacities as a Council Member of NBA Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL), a Vice Chairman of NBA Section on Legal Practice (NBA-SLP) and the pioneer Chairman of NBA-SPIDEL. In conclusion, he opined thus; “SPIDEL has not violated any extant law or tradition of the Bar as the activities it embarked upon are purely within the four walls of its constitutional mandate.

“Nonetheless, in the interest of the Legal Profession, the Nigerian people and public interest, I strongly advise that reconciliatory steps be conscientiously taken by the NBA President and the National Officers on the one hand and the SPIDEL Executive and its Council Members on the other. In fact, an NBA wide engagement with its fora and Sections is needed even though the current administration is at its twilight stage. SPIDEL is the ligament between the profession of law and the general public, particularly the oppressed and the lowly. Recall that I have said time and time again that if there is another acronym for the NBA, that must be SPIDEL. This underpins the critical significance of SPIDEL to the extent that it must be allowed to function without any bureaucratic bottlenecks or inhibitions.”

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MAIKYAU VS. SPIDEL: EXCO WINS MASSIVE CONFIDENCE VOTE

The embattled Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL) has won a unanimous confidence vote from its members over the ban on its activities by NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN.

SPIDEL members passed a unanimous vote of confidence on the Executive Committee at a virtual Extra-ordinary General Meeting (EGM) last weekend following a motion by fiery human rights activist, Mr. Inibehe Effiong.

CITY LAWYER recalls that Maikyau had in a searing letter to SPIDEL Chairman and former NBA 1st Vice President, Mr. John Aikpokpo-Martins, stated that the SPIDEL leadership was “undermining” his authority through its activities.

The NBA President directed SPIDEL to pause all its ongoing activities, saying: “I further direct that you suspend all actions presently being undertaken by SPIDEL, particularly the matters stated above, until the scheduled meeting and further directives as may be approved by the National Executive Council. Also, henceforth, you shall not undertake any engagement with any third party without prior consultation and permission from me as President with the approval of the National Executive Council of the NBA.”

But SPIDEL members thumped down the directive, arguing that Maikyau lacked the power to stall SPIDEL activities.

Moving the motion, Effiong argued that Maikyau was attempting to usurp the powers of the NBA National Executive Committee (NBA-NEC). He stated that the NBA President “is not defending public interest,” adding that instead of condemning invasion of the Federal High Court by Directorate of State Services (DSS) operatives during the arraignment of former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele, “he strangely labeled it as two fighting.

“The Bar under his leadership has lost its voice. Now he also wants SPIDEL to lose its voice. How many cases has he filed to defend public interest? We must not allow the NBA President to scandalize the public interest efforts of SPIDEL.”

Seconding the motion, former NBA Obollo-Afor Chairman, Dr. Gerald Abonyi said that “I would have told YC Maikyau to his face that SPIDEL’s gains are his gains,” adding that SPIDEL is only accountable to NBA-NEC.

On his part, Mr. George Nwabunike urged the SPIDEL leadership to “be specific in telling Maikyau that he does not have the power to suspend SPIDEL’s activities. He is protecting his friends in government. We must not allow that.”

While some members feared that Maikyau may teleguide NBA-NEC meeting to cement his clampdown on SPIDEL, urging the leadership to sue the NBA President, others argued that the section cannot fight its parent body. They stated that while Maikyau must not be allowed to micro-manage SPIDEL, there is need to close ranks, as the crisis may be due to lack of proper understanding of the provisions of the NBA Constitution.

In the absence of any counter-motion, the members unanimously passed a confidence vote on the Executive Committee, as none of the nearly 70 members who attended the Extra-Ordinary General Meeting dissented. They also urged the Executive Committee to present a “robust” response to the letter by the NBA President to the section.

While SPIDEL has initiated a flurry of activities, one of the most recent was the lawsuit against broadcaster Kenny Ogungbe and Culture Minister Hannatu Musawa over NYSC Certificate, Maikyau had berated the leadership, saying that “your actions are clearly beyond the mandate of SPIDEL, and that you have proceeded.”

Arguing that he must approve all SPIDEL’s activities before they are undertaken, Maikyau wrote: “This morning, 31 January 2024, I was greeted with yet another social media post titled “NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION CHALLENGES FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S VEHICLE OWNERSHIP LEVY”. Like the previous posts, I did not know about this and there was no approval for it, and those other actions being taken by SPIDEL.”

He hinted that SPIDEL’s activities “may not be bad in themselves,” but warned that “SPIDEL, as a section of the NBA, cannot continue along this trajectory, ignoring our Rules and Procedure of dealing with matters of this nature.”

Following a meeting between Maikyau and the SPIDEL leadership, it was resolved that the SPIDEL leadership should provide a comprehensive response to Maikyau concerns as contained in his letter, even as the legal community waits with bated breath for the NBA-NEC Meeting holding on February 28 in Jos where the fate of SPIDEL’s leadership may be decided.

NBA watchers have argued that given that NBA presidents have the capacity to railroad NEC meetings towards their desired outcomes, Maikyau should recuse himself when the SPIDEL matter is discussed.

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’59 BIRTHDAY FLOWERS FOR YAKUBU MAIKYAU,’ BY MAURICE EBAM

CELEBRATING YC MAIKAYAU OON, SAN THE NBA PRESIDENT THAT EFFORTLESSLY WON HEARTS OF THE NBA.

The 31st President of the NBA the National President of the largest Bar in Africa Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau OON,SAN had always won and stolen hearts of lawyers and non lawyers effortlessly.

No wonder that during his elections even before elections were over he had a landslide victory.

Even after winning the elections last week I had the privilege of doing a survey and realised that as NBA President he has been very generous and has taken to the welfare of the Staff of the NBA Secretaraite even down to the cleaners who has personally benefited from his out of his pocket expenses.

It’s not easy to win hearts of the people and yet
Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau OON,SAN does it easily he should be studied.

If you know a little about YC Maikyau OON,SAN you will know his charisma and aura cannot be ignored from both lawyers and non lawyers alike.

Nobody is a Saint who cares about perfection as long as the leader delivers.

YC Maikyau OON,SAN one of the most loved, admired and respected NBA Presidents in recent times.

He has effortlessly won hearts of NBA members years even before he became NBA President.

Lawyers practicing within and outside Abuja always look forward to his trade mark and legendary parties and get togethers.

His mandate while vying for the office of National President of NBA was building a dynamic Nigeria Bar Association which has been his intention .

He has also promoted inclusivity in the Nigeria Bar Association by promoting the various interests and sectors of the NBA.

His intentions which he has been able to a reasonable extent implement is promoting the implementation of a standard minimum remuneration for lawyers especially young lawyers.

As he marks his 59th birthday today 6th of February, 2024 I have decided to give him his flowers when he is still alive.

As past Social Secretary NBA YLF Unity Bar he serves as a mentor and role model for almost all young lawyers and this is very critical for our development.

As the 31st President of our beloved NBA I wish him good health, long life,wealthy and continuous love as I have indirectly and directly benefited from his benevolence.

I celebrate his grace.

  • Ebam is former Social Secretary of NBA Young Lawyers Forum (YLF), Unity Bar, Abuja

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‘BECOME ADVOCATES FOR REMUNERATION ORDER,’ AFAM OSIGWE URGES LAWYERS

“Afam Osigwe, SAN Advocates for Equitable Remuneration: A Call to Action at the Nigerian Bar Association Abuja Branch Meeting”

On the 2nd of February 2024, at the Nigerian Bar Association Abuja Branch meeting, Afam Osigwe, SAN, addressed fellow lawyers on the imperative of collaborating with the Remuneration Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association, of which he serves as chairman, for the effective implementation of the Remuneration Order 2023.

This order aims to standardize the compensation of lawyers for their legal services. In his impassioned speech, Afam underscored the pivotal role lawyers will play in ensuring the robust execution of the order, declaring unequivocally that the era of meager stipends for legal services is now a thing of the past.

For Afam, his committee stands prepared to embark on a protracted journey toward ensuring fair compensation for lawyers. He emphasized the need for lawyers to become advocates for this new legal regime on remuneration, thereby compelling clients to adequately compensate lawyers for their services. Afam highlighted a critical shift in perspective, where professions like property agents historically commanded higher fees than lawyers for similar transactions. He proclaimed that such disparities in compensation are now obsolete in the evolving legal landscape.

This comprehensive address reflects Afam’s dedication to revolutionizing remuneration practices within the legal profession and his unwavering commitment to securing just compensation for lawyers.

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‘I URGE LAWYERS TO SUPPORT CANCER-FREE INITIATIVES’ – AFAM OSIGWE

REFLECTING ON WORLD CANCER DAY: A MESSAGE OF CONDOLENCE, HOPE, AND ADVOCACY

By AFAM OSIGWE, SAN

Dear Colleagues,

On this solemn occasion of World Cancer Day, I extend my heartfelt condolences to the families, friends, and fellow members of the Nigerian Bar Association who have lost loved ones to the relentless grip of cancer. In the face of such profound loss, we stand together in solidarity, sharing the pain and offering our collective strength for support. To our esteemed colleagues who are currently battling cancer or have a loved one engaged in this fight, we share a passionate statement of hope, encouragement, and prayer.

Cancer is an exhausting journey that drains the life out of individuals, and lawyers, often consumed by the demands of their profession, may inadvertently overlook their health. It is a stark reminder that we must prioritize our well-being and be vigilant to improve the chances of early detection.

Without a doubt, there is a need for the Nigerian Bar Association, its different sections, forum and local branches to further take proactive measures to raise awareness about cancer within our immediate legal community. Let us foster a culture of health consciousness by organizing more free cancer screenings at events, making it more accessible for our members. Early detection can be a game-changer, providing a better chance at successful treatment.

Moreover, it is essential to revisit and reassess the existing medical and health initiatives tailored for our members. We must ensure that these programs effectively address the diverse needs of our vast legal community. While advocating for improvements, I call upon fellow lawyers to actively engage with and support these initiatives, fostering a healthier and more resilient legal community.

In unity and strength, we can confront the challenges posed by cancer. Together, let us stand against this formidable adversary, supporting one another and promoting a culture of well-being within the Nigerian Bar Association.

Wishing you strength, hope, and good health on this World Cancer Day.

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NBA-SPIDEL CLAMPDOWN: ODINKALU, INIBEHE, OTHERS RAP MAIKYAU

Leading human rights activists and other lawyers have come down hard on Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN over his clampdown on the activities of the NBA Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL).

Meanwhile, a ranking member of the NBA Executive Committee told CITY LAWYER at the weekend that the clampdown was never discussed by the National Officers, even as at least one officer was said to have challenged the NBA President on the action during a recent meeting of the committee.

According to the Executive Committee member, “SPIDEL should disregard the directive and continue with its activities unimpeded. The directive has no constitutional backing. Having deliberated informally, I can assure you that over 90 percent of the National Officers are in support of SPIDEL and its activities.”

Maikyau had last Wednesday berated the leadership of NBA-SPIDEL for allegedly “undermining” his office, even as he summoned the entire Executive Committee to a meeting in Abuja. In an unprecedented move which has become the subject of heated debate among lawyers, the NBA President sensationally directed SPIDEL to pause all its activities including strategic lawsuits.

His words: “I further direct that you suspend all actions presently being undertaken by SPIDEL, particularly the matters stated above, until the scheduled meeting and further directives as may be approved by the National Executive Council. Also, henceforth, you shall not undertake any engagement with any third party without prior consultation and permission from me as President with the approval of the National Executive Council of the NBA.”

A major objective of SPIDEL is “to promote development and practice of public interest law and litigation and to ensure access to effective remedies for victims of violations of the law and abuse of power.” The section recently levied a flurry of lawsuits challenging some government policies while it warned security agencies to desist from maltreating lawyers in line of duty.

Reacting to the move by NBA President, foremost human rights activist and former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof. Anselm Odinkalu gave a thumbs down to the action.

In two tweets sighted by CITY LAWYER on his verified “X” handle, Odinkalu wrote: “Outgoing president of @NigBarAssoc, @YCMaikyauSAN, wants to hollow out @nba_spidel & mangle its mission. He’s “directing” the section to #StopWork. Where does he think he is – a military barracks? And who does he think he is – General Officer Commanding?!”

Hinting on the lawsuit by SPIDEL which urged the Federal High Court, Abuja to sack the Minister of Art, Culture and Creative Economy, Hannatu Musawa for allegedly violating the National Youth Service Corps Act, he tweeted: “The President of @NigBarAssoc shd be congratulating & encouraging @nba_spidel for taking steps to reinforce the @officialnyscng Act. Instead, he hides under nonsense to execute instructions of lawless enemies of the #NYSCAct. He’ll fail.”

Weighing in on the controversial move, fiery human rights activist, Mr. Inibehe Effiong told CITY LAWYER that “The public interest litigations and other actions undertaken so far by SPIDEL are entirely consistent with its mandate. My position is that SPIDEL should continue with its functions in the public interest. One would have thought that the NBA President will be leading the Association to challenge reckless government actions, but here we are debating whether SPIDEL is undermining a President of the Bar who has refused to fight reckless governmental actions. I support the need for an emergency meeting of SPIDEL.

“Unlike other Sections of the NBA, SPIDEL is unique. Before we query the public interest lawsuits filed by SPIDEL, let’s ask the President of the Bar to brief the association on the number of actions he has taken in the public interest or to defend the rule of law since he assumed office.

“Lawyers have been victims of brutality in recent times. We’re still waiting for the President of the Bar to take decisive actions.”

A ranking SPIDEL member and former Chairman of NBA Ota Branch, Mr. Isaac Ogbah queried Maikyau’s stance that SPIDEL must report its activities to him, saying: “I have been a member of NEC for many years. Sections of NBA report to National Executive Committee of NBA at its quarterly NEC meetings where the Sections present their Reports and not directly to the NBA President.”

According to him, “There is no constitutional provision in the NBA Constitution or Uniform Bylaws where the heads of the various Sections are mandated to report to the NBA President without which they cannot perform their sectional functions. Are the sections not promoting the interest of NBA, and to which the NBA President and his executive take the glory for their achievements?”

Ogbah told CITY LAWYER that “By the President’s actions it goes to show that he is playing the script of those actors who are aggrieved and are directly affected with the issues that NBA SPIDEL is seeking to correct and have thus used the NBA President to prevent them from being accountable.”

In an interview with CITY LAWYER, a leading digital and gender rights advocate, Mojirayo Ogunlana said: “The President has acted out of order. SPIDEL is a section of the NBA that is empowered to address issues of Rule of Law just as the NBA ‘s motto requires. However, the NBA itself has failed in fulfilling its mandate to the people as well as to lawyers. For the past 2 years, lawyers have been harassed by law enforcement agencies and additionally this kidnapping trend. Yet, the President did not deem it fit to engage the police on this, rather he comes back to SPIDEL for achieving excellent results for the good of the Nigerian lawyer and the public

“I was particularly taken aback when the President stated that the Police are refusing to address the issues of kidnapping because SPIDEL wrote the IGP on the issue of lawyers’ phones. What! That was a very significant opportunity for the President to reiterate that lawyers are not suspects and should never be made to leave their phones at the gate like some common thief! We go into police stations as professionals and we also work while on the move. To even think that Mr. President believed that SPIDEL is undermining his office is too laughable.

“First, he attempted to suspend SPIDEL unilaterally, without even consulting with the NEC or even his EXCO. Secondly, can the President suspend the activities of a Section? What does the Constitution say about that?

“The NBA motto states- protecting the rule of law . What rule of law has the NBA been protecting these days? Please what matter of national interest has the NBA undertaken as a body? I am terribly disappointed that the ordinary Nigerian politician and law enforcement agencies see the NBA as a toothless dog hence the manifest disregard and disrespect for justice in this country. We wouldn’t want to say that Mr. President is a politician if rather than applaud the SPIDEL for the amazing strides achieved in just one year, he goes into public space to bash the section and acts ultra vires to purport to suspend it.

“That is unacceptable and obviously dictatorial and unconstitutional! Every lawyer should oppose this move. It’s truly nauseating that the President of the NBA would succumb to pressures by the Police despite knowing how disrespectful that agency is to lawyers in Nigeria. They take laws into their hands! Not only do they torture suspects, they harass and torture lawyers too!

“SPIDEL functions as a public interest group for lawyers like myself who have chosen to take up public interest litigation as our practice. If the NBA chooses to be quiet on national issues, SPIDEL should not and will not! We will be courageous and stand for the rule of law and due process in this country wherever we are located. We are not cowards and we are not going to take cowardly steps.”

According to Mr. Mohammed Danjuma, Leader of NBA-SPIDEL in Nasarawa State, “The directive by NBA President Yakubu Maikyau SAN pausing activities of NBA-SPIDEL is hasty, inconsistent with fair hearing, unpopular, divisive and capable of undermining the unity of entire NBA. We hereby pass a vote of absolute confidence on our amiable NBA-SPIDEL Chairman.

“Halting or suspending activities of NBA-SPIDEL is tantamount to compromising the rights of entire lawyers in Nigeria as well as rights of well-meaning Nigerians who are at the receiving end of executive excesses in Nigeria.”

Speaking on the controversy, another NBA member, Mr. Damilola Mumuni said: “I feel that the President is being too hard on Spidel. Spidel is doing well. If there is a need to correct or rein in anything, it should be done with love and support for the good efforts.”

According to him, “As long as the actions taken fall in line with the expectations and duties of such a section or committee, then there is no issue. The President cannot say because he has been inundated with phone calls, he has to now suspend any action by Spidel. Whatever good Spidel does is a plus for his administration. So, I think Spidel has done well so far and should be allowed to do its best.”

On his part, a senior lawyer, Mr. Abraham Imoisili said: “I think that most of the activities of SPIDEL and the lawsuits are in the best interest of the public. This includes the letters (to the security agencies) and the one requesting the Inspector General of Police to discontinue the CMR for vehicles as well as the call on the Edo State Governor to swear in already appointed judges. I don’t think anybody is in doubt that they are in the best interest of the public.

“But I suspect that the NBA President will likely not have been carried along; because if you look at the activities of the SPIDEL Chairman, they are very major and far-reaching. So the NBA President would definitely be contacted by either these persons or their aides.”

“I personally feel that if the NBA President was carried along, it would be ludicrous for the NBA President to say that those activities should not be done or should be stopped. Whether he should approve those actions, we should leave that to debate.” He however warned that the NBA President “should not be in a hurry to suspend the activities of SPIDEL.”

Firmly throwing his weight behind Maikyau, a senior lawyer, Mr. Olajide Abiodun told CITY LAWYER that “it is my view that the letter written to the Spidel Chairman by the NBA President outlines specific instances where SPIDEL acted without prior authorization or consultation with the NBA President or the National Executive Council (NEC).

“The instances cited include investigations into alleged bribery, demands for the swearing-in of judges, and legal actions against government agencies. The President expressed dissatisfaction, stating that these actions undermined the office of the President and disregarded established procedures within the association.

“The President requested a meeting with the SPIDEL Executive Committee to discuss the matter and directed Mr. Aikpokpo-Martins to suspend all actions undertaken by SPIDEL until the scheduled meeting and further directives from the NEC. This underscores the President’s authority to implement policies and programs within the NBA.”

He noted the “hierarchical structure of authority within the NBA, where the President drives the association’s agenda, and all officers are expected to align with and support the President’s vision,” adding that “This also underscores the importance of maintaining cohesion within the association and respecting the President’s authority to implement policies and programs.

“In summary, the directive from the NBA President reflects his authority to ensure adherence to established procedures within the association, and the subsequent actions align with the hierarchical structure of authority within the NBA.”

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EX SENATOR ASKS TINUBU, NJC TO DUMP SUPREME COURT NOMINEE-JUDGE

Mr. Elisha Abbo, a former senator who represented Adamawa North, has urged President Bola Tinubu and the National Judicial Commission (NJC) not to elevate Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme to the Supreme Court. He argued that the promotion would not be in the interest of the country.

Justice Nwosu-Iheme led two other judges of the Appeal Court to void Mr. Abbo’s senatorial election. The judge and 11 other judges of the Court of Appeal were recently screened for elevation to the Supreme Court.

“The kernel of my submission at this press conference is that the appointment of Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme to the Supreme Court is not good for our judicial system and dispensation of justice.

“For required punishment and deterrence, I have filed petitions against Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme, Justice Olabode Adegbehingbe and Justice Muhammad Ibrahim Sirajo to the National Judicial Council and Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) over their judgement in the electoral case between Reverend Amos Kumai of the PDP and me,” Mr. Abo said.

Meanwhile, the former senator has also accused the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, of collecting bribes. He said the Court of Appeal has become a “cash and carry point” while calling some judges “judicial bandits.”

Mr. Abbo, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was declared the winner of the February 2023 senatorial election for the zone but a Court of Appeal ruling declared his main opponent, Amos Yohanna, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the validly elected senator.

The court cited non-compliance with the Electoral Act in the election, deducted what it declared were invalid votes and found that Mr Yohanna had more valid votes.

Immediately after the ruling, Abbo accused the Senate President, Godswil Akpabio, of being behind his sack. Mr. Abbo had supported Abdulaziz Yari against Mr. Akpabio for the Senate top seat. He later withdrew the accusation and offered an apology to Mr. Akpabio.

He said the court cancelled the election in 253 polling units without ordering for a return election “because they know I won those places, just because they know if the election is conducted today, tomorrow or next tomorrow, I’ll still win.”

He said Justice Dongban-Mensen has turned the Court of Appeal into a business entity where the highest bidders get what they want.

Mr. Abbo said he was among those who screened Ms. Dongaban – Mensen in the Senate without asking for a dime from her. He wondered why she has now allowed her court to be a place where money is allegedly allowed to influence rulings.

“Let it be on record that it’s during your time that the Court of Appeal has descended into the abyss of caricature. There has never been a time in the history of the Court of Appeal that the court has become a cash and carry point, a POS point like now.

“I screened you as a senator in 2020. Your CV was forwarded to us. We screened you despite all the hullabaloo against your nomination, we looked at you based on the merits before us and we confirmed you. Did I take money from you, did I ask you for money before I screened you? I could have objected,” he said.

He accused children of judges of being part of the corruption circle where money is collected from those who have cases at the court.

“The moment a matter goes into the Court of Appeal today, it becomes something else. Children of judges flood either petitioners or respondents. Agents of judges flood politicians, asking you to go and settle the judges. This is not the renewed hope of Mr President. Mr President, you came under the renewed hope mantra…”

According to Premium Times, Abbo asked President Bola Tinubu to “act” decisively as he did in the case of Betta Edu, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.

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EFCC NABS LAWYER OVER N91 MILLION LAND DEAL

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned a legal practitioner, Mr. Mike Ikegbunam before Justice Mohammed Garba Umar of the Federal High Court sitting in Independence Layout, Enugu State over N91 million land fraud in Enugu.

The anti-corruption agency revealed this in a statement on its X page on Friday, stating that the lawyer was charged to court on Wednesday on a seven-count charge bordering on money laundering and obtaining by false pretence to the tune of N91,000,000.00 (Ninety-One Million Naira).

One of the counts reads: “That you, Mike Ikegbunam on 16th August, 2022 in Umuagu Ozu Village, Anambra State within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court of Nigeria with intent to defraud, induced the Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions of Nigeria to deliver to you, the sum of N25,000,000.00 (Twenty-Five Million naira) under the pretence that you are capable of acquiring some portions of land for their members at Umuagu Ndiukwuanu Town in Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State which pretence you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (1) (a) of Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act”.

The statement added that the suspect pleaded “not guilty” when the charges were read to him.

According to the statement, “In view of his plea, Counsel to the EFCC, Nuradeen Shehu Ingawa prayed the court for a trial date and for the defendant to be remanded at the Correctional Centre. The defence counsel, A. G. Anyigo prayed the court to admit his client to bail adding that “the defendant is a very responsible personality in the society,” 

“Responding, Ingawa vehemently opposed the bail application based on the gravity of the offence and urged the court to dismiss the bail application.

“In his ruling, Justice Umar granted the defendant bail on self-recognizance being a legal practitioner on the following conditions; the defendant must deposit his Call to Bar Certificate with the court and make available one surety, who must be his cousin.”

According to EFCC, the court ordered that the defendant should be remanded in its custody pending the fulfilment of the bail conditions. The judge adjourned the matter to March 21, 2024 for trial.

The statement, according to Sahara Reporters, continued: “Ikegbunam was arrested on July 12, 2023 owing to the claims of the Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI), Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital Nnewi Branch, alleging that its members paid N91 million to him for the purchase of 130 (One Hundred and Thirty plots of land at Umuagu, Ozu Ndiukwuanu Town, in Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State.

“Investigations showed that the defendant, who has refunded N10,000,000.00 (Ten Million Naira) to the Association, used N16,500,000 (Sixteen Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira), suspected to be part of the money to acquire three plots of land for himself at Dubai Estate, Phase 2 in Awka, Anambra State.”

NBA 2024 ELECTIONS: ‘ASPIRANTS ARE BREACHING RULES,’ SAYS OKUTEPA

2024 NBA Elections: The Type of Leadership Lawyers Need

– By Jibrin Okutepa SAN

Not too long ago, CAC was ordered by a Federal High sitting in Abuja to register another lawyers’ association outside of NBA. Many have said it is a welcome development. Others have said there is no need for another lawyers association outside of NBA. I belong to the later group. But I am not going into that discussion here. The only association of lawyers now is NBA. NBA was not formed to play partisan politics. The principal aim of the NBA is to promote and fight for the welfare of members and then promote the rule of law. It was not formed to promote the self-serving interest of those who were to lead the association.

Very soon, the elections to the offices of NBA will hold. As usual, many lawyers are aspiring to lead the association in various offices.

It is no longer news that the NBA constitution and rules forbid lawyers from going around inducing lawyers for votes.

That is what is written in black and white. But are lawyers aspiring to lead the bar association respecting these rules. I do not think so. I have been consistent in speaking against this practice of violating our own rules. We have allowed the rules guiding our elections to be violated with impunity.
The way we have allowed NBA politics to be played will soon destroy whatever is left of the nobility of this profession.

The same way we see evil and coloured it with arid legal technicalities to the prejudices of democracy in Nigeria is the same way we have chosen to allow NBA politicians go around polluting and weakened our noble association in the name of NBA politics. Many of those who need mentoring are being given false hopes in the name of promises. The leadership of our association must do something.

We need leadership of NBA that can restore the lost glory of the legal profession, not leadership that wants votes by divide and rule. We need leadership of NBA that can restore the lost glory of recruitment processes to the bench and mobilise lawyers to fight against politicisation of appointments to the bench across board in Nigeria.

We need NBA leadership that can ensure that there is no political and self-serving interest in judgments being delivered by our courts both in political cases and other cases. We need NBA leadership that ensures that judgments of courts are obeyed and enforced without lawyers circumventing it. We need NBA leadership that is above board and can frontally fight the dwindling fortunes in the legal profession.

We don’t need NBA leadership that only issues statements and always sings patronizing songs of the goodness of the systems even when the blind can see that the system is bad. We don’t need leadership that wants power for the sake of it. We need NBA leadership that can and know how to use leadership for the greatest good of all.

We need NBA leadership that can put an end to the hereditary of recruitment of judicial officers. Let Nigerian bench at all levels be populated by those who have the strength of character. We need leadership of the bar that can fight and put an end to recruitment to the bench being done on the basis of the interest of those who are in the position of authority . We need leadership of NBA that will ensure that recruitment to the bench at all levels be on the basis of merit and integrity. We must go back to the purity and nobility of the reasons for the formation of NBA. The way we are going, unless we retrace our steps, NBA may lose its values to Nigerians and its members.

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ALUKO & OYEBODE REBRANDS, RESTATES STRATEGIC VISION

LAW FIRM NEWS

We would like to thank you for your unwavering trust in our services over the last 30 years.

We are pleased to share with you an exciting development. Aluko & Oyebode has rebranded as ALN Nigeria | Aluko & Oyebode.

Aluko & Oyebode joined the ALN alliance over a year ago. This rebrand as ALN Nigeria | Aluko & Oyebode reflects an alignment of purpose, reinforces our commitment to deliver the best-in-class legal services and pursue pan-African growth. As a member firm of ALN, we affirm our commitment and preparedness to serve the ever-evolving African business landscape.

As a valued client, you can expect the same level of excellence from our refreshed firm. We remain dedicated to driving your success across Africa and beyond, through our expertise and regional capabilities.

This rebrand complements our strategic expansion initiative, ultimately aimed at empowering you to achieve your goals across the continent with our seamless support.

We value your continued patronage and look forward to strengthening our partnership as we embark on this new chapter.

To learn more, please go to our website at www.aluko-oyebode.com.

Kind regards,
Aluko & Oyebode

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AFAM OSIGWE VOWS TO ENFORCE LAWYERS’ REMUNERATION ORDER

NEWS RELEASE

Afam Osigwe, SAN’s Pledge: Ensuring Equitable Compensation for Legal Practitioners through Robust Implementation of Remuneration Order 2023

During the Nigerian Bar Association Asaba Branch meeting, Afam Osigwe, SAN, delivered an extensive and meticulously crafted address to lawyers regarding the Remuneration Order 2023, a pivotal regulation aimed at structuring the compensation of legal professionals in the delivery of their services.

With an air of assurance and conviction, Afam conveyed to his esteemed colleagues that, in his role as chairman of the Remuneration Committee, he and his esteemed committee members are resolutely committed to proactively engaging with lawyers throughout the nation. Their paramount objective is not only to ensure a deep and comprehensive understanding of the order but also to orchestrate its vigorous and steadfast implementation.

This steadfast dedication serves as a testament to their unwavering resolve to foster transparency and equity within remuneration practices inherent to the legal field. Afam’s resolute pledge mirrors both his and the committee’s steadfast dedication to upholding the highest professional standards and safeguarding the equitable compensation of legal practitioners across the diverse landscape of the nation.

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NBA-SPIDEL TO SUE POLICE OVER MOTOR CERTIFICATE IF …

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL) has warned that unless the Nigeria Police cease demand for Central Motor Information System (CMRIS) Certificate from vehicle owners within seven days, it would sue the force.

In a letter addressed to Inspector-General of Police Kayode Egbetokun, SPIDEL noted that “men of the Nigeria Police Force have since taken advantage of the ignorance of unsuspecting Nigerians by extorting large sums of money from them for failure to present the CMRIS certificate on demand during road search,” adding that “This illegality has to stop immediately.”

Below is the full text of the statement.

The Inspector General of Police,
Nigeria Police Force,
Force Headquarters,
Louis Edet House,
Garki Area 11,
Abuja.

Dear Sir,

IN RE: ISSUANCE OF CENTRAL MOTOR REGISTRY INFORMATION SYSTEM (CMRIS) CERTIFICATE BY THE NIGERIA POLICE FORCE: A DEMAND FOR THE IMMEDIATE STOPPAGE OF SAME

The attention of the Nigeria Bar Association Section on Public Interest (NBA-SPIDEL) has been recently drawn to reports all around the country that vehicle owners are mandated to register and obtain a Central Motor Information System (CMRIS) Certificate from the Nigeria Police Force for a cost of not less than #6,000.00 (Six thousand naira).

NBA-SPIDEL also has it on good authority that the men of the Nigeria Police have since started enforcing compliance wherein purported defaulters have been made to part with their hard-earned monies in thousands of Naira.
In the light of these developments, the NBA-SPIDEL questions the legal propriety which enables the Nigeria Police Force to issue Central Motor Information System (CMRIS) Certificates to vehicle owners, particularly when it is not clearly stated in any laws (at least to our knowledge) that the Nigeria Police has any authority to issue car licenses or certificates of any nature to to vehicle owners after due registration of vehicles in the appropriate office.

NBA-SPIDEL states further that any such certificate being issued by the Nigeria Police Force without any legal backing is outright illegal, null, and void and therefore of no consequence. NBA-SPIDEL therefore uses this opportunity to reiterate the fact that the duty of the Nigeria Police in protecting the citizens and enforcing the law does not extend to collecting monies and/or issuing certificates to vehicle owners. Regrettably, the men of the Nigeria Police Force have since taken advantage of the ignorance of unsuspecting Nigerians by extorting large sums of money from them for failure to present the CMRIS certificate on demand during road search. This illegality has to stop immediately.

Consequently, the NBA-SPIDEL states that these acts of illegality must not continue unabated and therefore unequivocally demand that the Nigeria Police immediately stop the issuance and/or demand for the Central Motor Information System (CMRIS) Certificate.

NBA-SPIDEL, therefore, humbly but strongly demands that you issue a directive immediately stopping the issuance of/demand for the CMRIS certificates nationwide.

NBA-SPIDEL further demands that the registration website and every other physical registration centres be shut down, and every money already collected from Nigerians be refunded to them within 3 days of the receipt of this notice. Please note that failure, neglect or refusal to comply with this lawful demand within 7 days of the receipt of this letter will compel NBA-SPIDEL to seek appropriate sanctions in court against your esteemed office and the Nigeria Police Force.

Please be assured of our utmost respect at all times.

John Aikpokpo-Martins
(Chairman)

Funmi Adeogun
(Secretary)

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NIGERIAN LAW SOCIETY VERDICT: AGBAKOBA, GADZAMA, USORO DISAGREE

A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) has welcomed the decision of the court to establish an alternative association for Nigerian lawyers.

Justice Gladys Olotu of the Federal High Court in Abuja had in a December 15, 2023 judgment ordered the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to register the Nigerian Law Society (NLS) as an alternative association for lawyers in the country.

Agbakoba said that he was not opposed to having more than one association of lawyers because the Constitution said anyone was free to associate.

His words: “I don’t see why we can’t have more than one NBA. There’s no reason. The accountants have two. So, personally speaking, I’m not opposed to having more than one association of lawyers because the Constitution says that anyone is free to associate.

“It’s a decision that has been supported by the constitution. But whether the new association can become popular is a different question. But whether it’s entitled to be registered is also a different question, because you may get registered like ICAN and ANAN; but nobody hears of ANAN; It’s only ICAN (that is known).

“This same argument was raging about 30 years ago when ICAN was the only accounting body. And a new one came and said they also wanted to be registered. So, at the end of the day, it’s not about whether it’s only one NBA; it’s about what the NBA does for its members. So I have nothing against having more than one body of lawyers.” 

Former Chairman of NBA Security Agencies\ Relations Committee (NBA-SARC), Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN also welcomed the judgment, saying it is a victory for the Nigerian Constitution and lawyers in Nigeria.

He commended the judiciary for the judgment, adding that the Nigerian legal practice sector will now witness competitive development owing to the possible multiplicity of lawyers’ associations.

He congratulated the leadership and members of the Nigerian Law Society (NLS) on the victory recorded against the Corporate Affairs Commission in the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/482/2023 between Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN & 5 Ors (as Promoters of Nigerian Law Society) v. Corporate Affairs Commission.

But another former NBA President, Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN), made a case for all Nigerian lawyers to remain under the NBA.

Usoro said: “This is not a question of what the Constitution says or what the Constitution doesn’t say. I’m talking more about what is the best thing for the country and for the body of lawyers. What is best? What would be more meaningful?” 

Justice Olotu held that the right to peaceful assembly and association, guaranteed under Section 40 of the Constitution, Article 10 of the ACHPR, and Article 20 of the UDHR, covered the formation of an alternative association for Nigerian lawyers.

The judge ordered the CAC “to approve for registration and thereafter register any of the proposed names submitted to it on behalf of the plaintiffs, being: the Nigerian Law Society, Nigerian Bar Society, Nigerian Lawyers’ Society, and the Association of Legal Practitioners of Nigeria and issue a certificate of registration to that effect.”

The NBA, established in 1933, has consistently striven to be the sole association for Nigerian lawyers. In recent years, there have been rising agitations for the formation of alternative associations, which the NBA has been resisting.

Efforts by THE PUNCH to get the reaction of the NBA President, Yakubu Maikyau (SAN), and the association’s spokesperson, Akorede Lawal, to the judgment proved abortive as multiple calls to their lines were not answered. They also did not respond to text messages sent to their mobile lines.

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TEMPLARS GHANA BEGINS OPERATIONS FEBRUARY 1

NEWS RELEASE

TEMPLARS Merges with Ghanaian Law Firm FEROCITER to Bolster its Market Position and Offering in West Africa

Leading African law firm, TEMPLARS, and fast-growing Ghanaian law firm, FEROCITER are pleased to announce the merger of their Ghanaian operations to create a formidable legal powerhouse in West Africa’s 2nd largest economy.

The merger comes one year after TEMPLARS launched in Ghana in collaboration with legacy AMPEM Chambers. The merger is expected to further bolster TEMPLARS’ capabilities both in disputes resolution and non-contentious transactional work in the Ghana market.

The combined firms, operating under the TEMPLARS brand, will boast of a team of over 150 lawyers (including 21 partners) across four cities in Nigeria and Ghana, leveraging over 49 years of combined experience in both countries and harnessing some of the most skilled legal talents in Sub-Saharan Africa.

This unique combination brings together TEMPLARS’ extensive experience in delivering on some of the continent’s largest, most complex, and most significant projects, transactions and disputes and FEROCITER’s bold, emergent crop of talented, forward-thinking lawyers with impeccable global credentials and deep-rooted experience of advising domestic, regional and multinational businesses and public authorities in Ghana.

Oghogho Akpata, Managing Partner at TEMPLARS, said: “This combination could not have come at a better time. As we mark our first anniversary in Ghana, it continues our strategy of deliberate and consistent growth, marrying our robust operations in Nigeria and Ghana with FEROCITER’s strong expertise and deeper familiarity with Ghana. FEROCITER’s rapid ascent as a disputes and corporate powerhouse made it a natural choice for TEMPLARS. And I am particularly excited and confident that our shared values of excellence and commitment to putting the clients first in providing solutions to complex legal issues would make this union a resounding success.”

Commenting on the merger, Augustine Kidisil, Managing Partner at FEROCITER, said: “Merging with TEMPLARS expands our international reach and enhances our ability to deliver comprehensive legal solutions across a much wider range of practice areas. It’s a transformative moment for our firm, combining TEMPLARS’ reputation as a leading African law firm with our capabilities to offer seamless, innovative legal solutions.”

The merger will take effect on 1st February 2024 with Augustine Kidisil, Managing Partner at FEROCITER, serving as the Managing Partner of TEMPLARS Ghana

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EX STAFF ASKS APPEAL COURT TO ORDER MTN TO DEPOSIT JUDGMENT SUM

A former expatriate staff of the MTN Group, Mr. Paul Odunewu, has prayed the Court of Appeal for an order to compel the telecommunications giant to deposit with the court the judgement debt and accrued interest as ordered by the National Industrial Court Nigeria (NICN), Akure Division.

In a judgement delivered by Honourable Justice Oyejoju Oyewunmi on September 17, 2017, the trial Court had found that termination of the employment of the former Network Group Operations Manager on February 28, 2006, was wrongful, and had ordered the company to pay Mr. Odunewu’s entitlements including share options valued at $13,144,512.00.

MTN had faulted the judgement of NICN and appealed the judgment on September 29, 2017 vide a Notice of Appeal containing two grounds. It contended that the trial court breached the telecom giant’s fundamental right to fair hearing. MTN also filed a Motion for stay of execution of the judgement.

But Odunewu’s Counsel, Prof. A. B. Kasunmu’s Chambers, opposed the motion for stay of execution on the ground that the initiating notice of appeal is not competent.

MTN Group Limited, South Africa (MTNG); MTN Nigeria (MTNN) and MTN International, Mauritius (MTNI) are the first, second and third appellants respectively in this six-year-old appeal. The suit has lasted more than 10 years from the Lagos State High Court to the NICN before judgement was delivered in September 2017.

In his application filed on January 8, 2020, with appeal number CA/1346/2017, Odunewu’s ground for the application is that the Notice of Appeal filed by MTN on September 29, 2017, is highly incompetent and does not raise any substantial or recondite issues of law. Also, MTN has been facing huge fines from various authorities in Nigeria for alleged regulatory and tax infringements. The judgment creditor argued that the cumulative impact of these fines raises existential issues for MTN Nigeria and their ability to pay the judgement sum as due at the determination of the case. He further contended that the Appellants (MTN) have not been prosecuting the appeal diligently and expeditiously.

Odunewu supported the motion with financial statements and press releases by MTN (among others). He stated that MTN completed in 2019 payment of ₦330 billion Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) fine, and MTN Group had paid $100 million to lawyers within six months to negotiate the NCC fine.

According to the respondent, MTN Nigeria reported preferential shares redemption as of December 30, 2019, at a total amount of ₦148.19 billion (or US$399.59 million) in favour of MTN Group. This consequently reduced the share capital of MTN Nigeria to ₦17.623 billion in 2019 compared to ₦65.145 billion in 2018. On 24th December, 2018, MTN announced payment of $52.6 Million as a “notional reversal” of $1.0 billion private placement in 2008 based on certificate that did not have final approval and thereby resolved the $8.1 billion dividend repatriation issue with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). A Nigeria Senate Committee had investigated MTN for capital flight and had reported that a total capital inflow of $1.24 Billion was injected for MTN operations in Nigeria for the period 2001 – 2016 whereas MTN Nigeria repatriated $13.92 billion from 2006 to 2016 allegedly in the guise of dividends/profit, repayment of loans and licenses/management fee. This meant that MTN, as of 2016, was repatriating US$11.00 for every US$1.00 that they injected into their business in Nigeria.

In a Reply-Affidavit dated February 4, 2022, one Temitayo Adeniyi, a Lawyer at Prof A. B. Kasunmu’s Chambers, deposed that MTN “substituted payment of the fines and associated costs with huge debt and are, therefore, running their operations in Nigeria with riskier financial structure than 2014 (before the 2015 NCC fine)”. “In the current Nigerian climate of stronger regulatory oversight, MTN Group redeemed its preference shares and thereby reduced their exposure in Nigeria but created significant financial and economic risk to boost shareholder returns with much higher leverage in 2019 than 2018”. Furthermore, MTN “have not prosecuted this appeal expeditiously but instead they have been prevaricating to regularize the initiating Notice of Appeal dated 29th September 2017 thereby causing enormous delay to the determination of this Appeal”. “The Appellants have failed or are unable to take advantage of this honourable Court’s ruling on the 17th of October 2018, that the Motion for Stay of Execution shall abide the determination of the appeal, which is adjourned to 27th February 2019.” He further deposed: “the entire appeal is a masterful delay tactic, cleverly designed by the Appellants to deny the Respondent from enjoying the fruit of the Judgement.”

In a Further-Counter-Affidavit by MTN dated 18th February 2022, one Athanasius Akor, a Lawyer at G. Elias & Co, deposed that “the fact that there is an appeal against the judgement and a pending application for stay of execution are an exercise of the constitutional rights of the appellants”. He deposed that MTN “is not dissipating and is not repatriating its assets out of Nigeria”; and that MTN “conducted an offer for sale of its share on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NGX) which is a testament of its long term believe and its intention to remain as an active participant in the Nigerian economy.” He further deposed that the 2015 fine has been fully paid since May 2019 and that MTN Nigeria has been making profit and declaring dividends. Mr. Akor deposed that share price of MTN Nigeria jumped to ₦199.8 per share on 17th February 2022. He further deposed that Mr. Odunewu based his analyses on the MTN Nigeria 2018 Audited Account and not the latest 2021 Audited Financial Statement in which MTN Nigeria declared a revenue of circa ₦1.7 Trillion and a profit of circa ₦286 billion. Also MTN“ has no financial issues that will prevent them from meeting their financial obligations or paying the judgement debt and accrued interest in the event that the appeal is determined in favour of the Applicant and against the Respondents”.

In a Further-Reply-Affidavit sworn to on 28th December 2023, one Ejike Mitchel Maduagwu, a Lawyer at Prof A. B. Kasunmu’s Chambers, deposed that MTN Nigeria “is still being investigated for other tax and revenue leakage matters. Meanwhile the Respondents have repatriated out of Nigeria their huge profit and replaced it with huge debt. The huge revenue, profit, and share price in 2021, as reported in the 2021 Audited Account, are unreliable indicators to determine the Respondents’ ability or willingness to pay the judgement debt or withstand future shock to their business, be it regulatory, economic, or political”. MTN Nigeria reported in their 2021 Audited Account that the demand notice for ₦242 Billion and US$1.3 Billion alleged revenue indebtedness is still undergoing review and reconciliation with both Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS). House of Representatives’ (HOR) tax compliance check and alleged US$30 Billion revenue leakage against MTN Nigeria is still undergoing review.

Mr. Maduagwu further deposed: “from 2001 till 2021, MTN reported a cumulative total revenue of about ₦13.66 Trillion from Nigeria at an EBITDA (operating profit) margin of, at least, 50% or EBITDA of ₦6.84 Trillion minimum. In 2021, MTN Nigeria (sic) reported that they are running their business with a Liability of circa ₦2 Trillion”. “The Judgement Debtors are still running their operations in Nigeria with riskier financial structure (characterized by higher Leverage, worse Liquidity, and worse Solvency) in 2021 than in 2014 (before the 2015 NCC Fine).” “MTN Nigeria liquidity deteriorated by ₦356.99 billion from ₦47.66 billion surplus at the end of 2014 (before the 2015 NCC fine) down to ₦309.333 billion deficit at the end of 2021”.

He deposed that the reported share price of circa ₦200 in February 2022, for each 2 kobo share, “results to ₦10,000.00 for every ₦1 that MTN invested in 2001. The annual yield / interest rate (r) of the Respondents’ investment in Nigeria from 2001 till 2021 is 58%; MTN Group received US$399.59 Million in December 2019 as redemption of its preference shares investment of US$2,012,951.31 in November 2007. For every US$1.00 investment MTN Group redeemed US$198.51 as well as annual dividends during the period of twelve years. This gives an annual yield / interest rate (r) of 55%. In addition to substantial annual dividends, the Respondents are enjoying investment yield of at least 55% annually which is a much higher rate than the judgement debt default interest rate of 21% annually”.

Odunewu concluded that it is in the interest of justice to grant his application and “direct the Respondents to deposit with this honourable Court the judgement debt and interest accrued till a day of fund transfer; or in the alternative, we pray the Court to direct the Respondents to provide a Bank Guarantee to secure the judgment debt pending the determination of this appeal.”

The Industrial Court had found that MTN Group is the Parent Company and the life wire of both MTNN and MTNI that controls them and thus integral part of the both companies. Also, MTN Nigeria has no power of its own to act under its contractual agreement with Mr. Odunewu except as approved by its Parent Company, MTN Group. In 2017 NICN had ordered that the judgement sums of $13.47 million, ₦2.54 million, and £10 thousand be paid by the second and third defendants (MTNN & MTNI), “except the issue of costs which is to be paid by all the defendants (MTN sic)”. The trial judge had ordered MTN to make the payments within 30 days, failing which the sums would appreciate at 21 percent interest per annum.

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UWECHUE: MAIKYAU, DELTA CJ, JURISTS STORM ASABA FOR SPECIAL COURT SESSION

The Delta State Judiciary will today, January 25, 2024 hold a Special Court Session in honour of the former Chairman of the Body of Benchers, Chief George Uwechue (SAN, FNIALS).

Among those who will grace the solemn and eagerly awaited ceremony is Nigerian Bar Association President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN. The Chief Judge of Delta State, Justice Theresa Diai is the Chief Host.

The high-level judicial ceremony, which is reserved for jurists who have achieved the highest level of distinction in the legal profession, will hold at 10 am at the High Court of Justice, Asaba, Delta State.

A similar court session was held for the eminent jurist on Wednesday, 17th January, 2024 by the Lagos State Judiciary in honour of the highly respected Life Bencher.

Meanwhile, a Requiem Mass/Night of Tributes was held on 19th January, 2024 at the Sir Adetokunbo Ademola Hall of the Nigerian Law School, Victoria Island, Lagos.

While the Wake Keep for the former Speaker Pro Tempore of Nigeria’s House of Representatives will hold at 5 pm on January 25, 2024 at the Owelle of Ogwashi-Uku Villa, 100 Azagba Road, Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State, the Funeral Mass will hold at 10 am on 26th January, 2024 at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State. Interment follows immediately after the funeral mass.

In a statement issued by the presidential spokesman, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu had stated that “Chief Uwechue was an outstanding lawyer,” adding that “He was also a leader through and through. He will be sorely missed for his deep insights and legal acumen, in addition to the incredible contributions he made to his community, state, Nigeria, and beyond. May God Almighty grant him rest and his family the strength to bear this painful loss.”

On his part, foremost constitutional lawyer, Prof. Ben Nwabueze (SAN, NNOM) had noted that “Something that marked George out – I hope I can say this without causing offence to his classmates – he was simply the best! It is not surprising to me that he distinguished himself in the legal profession.”

Chief Uwechue died on 29th October, 2023. He was aged 85 years. He attended the Middle Temple, Inns of Court School of Law, London between 1961 and 1965 and was admitted to the Nigerian Bar in 1966 after attending the Nigerian Law School.

Uwechue had been a lawyer for nearly 60 years. Elevated to the coveted rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 1993, he was a member of the Inner Bar for 30 unbroken years. He was appointed a Member of the Body of Benchers in 1990, and had been a Life Bencher since 1998.

The senior lawyer was elected Chairman of the Body of Benchers in 2010 and elected a member of the Elders Committee of the Body of Benchers in 2011. It is believed that the “Elders Committee” was his brainchild, being a vehicle for resolving thorny issues affecting leading members of the legal profession.
Aside from leading the legal profession as Chairman of the Body of Benchers, Uwechue also had the uncommon distinction of leading Nigeria’s House of Representatives, having been elected as Speaker (Pro Tempore) on February 23, 1983.

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NBA WOMEN FORUM HAILS MAIKYAU ON ALL-FEMALE AGCPC

THE NBA WOMEN FORUM COMMENDS THE NBA PRESIDENT ON HIS CONSTITUTION OF AN ALL FEMALE COMMITTEE, TO HEAD THE PLANNING OF THE 64TH NBA ANNUAL GENERAL CONFERENCE

The NBA Women Forum extends its heartfelt appreciation to NBA President Mr. Yakubu Maikyau Chonoko, OON, SAN, for the groundbreaking step in constituting an all-female committee to lead the planning of the 64th NBA Annual General Conference.

This historic initiative reflects the NBA’s commitment to gender inclusivity and fosters an environment promoting diversity and equal opportunities.

As advocates for the well-being of Nigerian female lawyers, we commend the President for this bold move, believing it will positively impact not only the NBA but also influence broader societal attitudes toward diversity and inclusivity.

Congratulations to the accomplished women on this committee, and we trust in their ability to deliver a world-class Annual General Conference in 2024.

Signed,
Mrs. Chinyere Okorocha
Chairperson, NBA Women Forum

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OWELLE THE LAW: BOSAN, BENCHERS, LAGOS CJ EULOGISE UWECHUE

The Lagos State Chief Judge, Justice Kazeem Alogba has described former Chairman of the Body of Benchers, Late Chief George Uwechue SAN, FNIALS as an erudite senior lawyer who would be dearly missed by the legal profession.

Uwechue died on October 29, 2024. He was aged 85 years.

Justice Alogba spoke during a Special Court Session in honour of the late jurist who also rose to become Speaker pro Tempore of Nigeria’s House of Representatives.

In a tribute by the Body of Benchers signed by its Chairman, Hon. Justice Mary Odili and delivered on its behalf by Deacon Dele Adesina SAN, it noted that “Chief George Uwechue, SAN was a quintessential practitioner, a rare gem, a great leader, an epitome of humility, a mentor and a respected Elder Statesman,” adding that “He distinguished and made a name for himself within and outside the legal profession. He was one Nigerian that served the legal profession and the nation diligently and meritoriously in various capacities.”

On its part, the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN) noted that “So much has been said about his brilliance as a lawyer and his astuteness as a politician,” adding that Uwechue “appeared as counsel in a large number of important cases and played an active role in the affairs of the Nigerian Bar Association.”

Delivered by foremost maritime lawyer, Mr. Louis Mbanefo SAN, BOSAN stated that Uwechue, also known as the Owelle of Ogwashi Uku, “became a Life Bencher and Chairman of the Body of Benchers.”

Mbanefo noted that “During my visits to his house shortly before his death, he expressed his delight at the honour bestowed on him by the Body of Benchers by naming a building at their headquarters in Abuja after him.” BOSAN noted that “The death of Owelle has left a void in our hearts. He shall sorely be missed.”

In a tribute by NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN, he stated that “The learned silk was an active and committed Bar man. He was a representative of the Nigerian Bar Association in the Body of Benchers for 17 years, before his appointment as a Life Bencher. He also served our nation to the best of his abilities and in varying capacities, having served as Chairman of the Body of Benchers; Member, Rules Advisory Committee that drafted the Supreme Court Rules, 1985 (as Amended) and Member, Federal House of Representatives representing Aniocha Federal Constituency, in the old Bendel State. Truly, he was a statesman to the core.”

Tributes were also delivered by the Attorney-General of Lagos State, Mr. Lawal Pedro SAN and a representative of NBA branches in Lagos State.

Among senior lawyers who attended the event are former NBA President, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, SAN; Chief Emeka Ngige, SAN; Deacon Dele Adesina, SAN; Mr. Toyin Pinheiro, SAN; Chief Val Uche Obi, SAN; Mrs. Titilola Akinlawon, SAN; Dr. Chuka Agbu, SAN; Mr. Luke Chidi Ilogu, SAN; Mr. Chijioke Okoli, SAN and Mr. Lotanna Okoli, SAN.

Others are Mr. Chukwuka Ikwuazom, SAN; Mr. Clement Onwuenwunor, SAN; Dr. Leslie Nylander, SAN; Mr. Uzoma Azikiwe, SAN; Chief Henry Omu, SAN; Mr. Chibuike Victor Ihekweazu, SAN; Chief Uche Ihediwa, SAN; Prof. MacCarthy Mbadugha, SAN; Prof. Oludayo Amokaye, SAN; Mr. Ikenna Okoli, SAN and Senator Mike Ajegbo, CON.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Hon. Sally Uwechue-Mbanefo thanked the Lagos State Judiciary for the honour done to the patriarch of the family.

Meanwhile, requiem mass and Night of Tributes were held last Friday at the Nigerian Law School, Lagos Campus in honour of the legal luminary.

Among those who attended the event were Labour Party presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi; wife of Nigeria’s former Vice President, Dr. Beatrice Ekwueme; Leader of Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Chief Gani Adams; Senator Daisy Danjuma, and a representative of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi CFR (Ọjájá II) among senior members of the bench and Bar.

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COURT DISMISSES UBANI’S SUIT ON SOUTHEAST ROAD BLOCKS

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has dismissed a suit filed by former Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association, Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL), Dr. Monday Ubani seeking to stop the army, police and other security agencies from proliferating the Lagos-
Southeast routes with roadblocks.

Ubani had dragged the Attorney-General of the Federation, Inspector-General of Police, Comptroller General of Customs, Chief of Defence Staff, Corp Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corp before the court seeking a declaration that the proliferation of intra-state and highways with road blocks mounted by their officers particularly enroute Lagos to South-eastern part of Nigeria which result in obstruction of free movement in the highway and loss of travel time is a violation of his right to free and undisrupted movement as guaranteed by section 41 of the 1999 Constitution and other enabling laws.

Also joined in the suit as co-respondents are the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Customs Service Board, Nigerian Army and Federal Road Safety Commission.

Other prayers by Ubani include a declaration that the proliferation of intra-state and highway roadblocks particularly enroute Lagos to South Eastern part of Nigeria, obstructs free flow of traffic, constitute nuisance, causes untold hardship and unwarranted suffering to him and other road users and therefore unlawful and without legal justification.

He also prayed for an order directing the respondents forthwith to dismantle all roadblocks on all intra-state roads and highways throughout the country and particularly along the South-East roads.

Ubani also sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents, their privies, agents and representatives from mounting intra-state and highway road blocks on Lagos en route South Eastern roads.

On his ground for seeking the injunctions, Ubani narrated an incident in 2021 when he travelled from Lagos to his home town in Abia state with his family by road and spent about 15 hours along the road due to over 120 roadblocks mounted by officers of the respondents who also subjected other roads users to untold hardship, extortion, intimidation and harassments.

In their separate responses to the suit, the Police, Army, Customs and Federal Road Safety Corps admitted mounting roadblocks along the Lagos to South-Eastern route but insisted that they were empowered by enabling laws to do so as part of their responsibilities to secure the country and check crime.

They also insisted that the right of freedom of movement as enshrined in the 1999 constitution is not absolute and maintained that the proliferation of roadblocks along the South-Eastern roads did not in any way infringe on the right of the applicant.

Delivering judgment in the suit, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke held that from evidence before him, it was obvious that indeed there were proliferation of roadblocks along the Lagos-South Eastern road which made the applicant and other users to spend hours on the road.

The court further held that the right to free movement of the applicant was indeed derogated upon due to the powers of the constitution given to the President and the security agencies to map out security measures to secure the country.

The court however failed to pronounce on the issue why the security measures said to be securing the country are only meant for roads leading to the Eastern region and minimal on other routes in the country.

The judgment reads in part. ” All the 2nd to 9th Respondents when they are on the Nigerian Roads, whether intrastate roads, interstate roads or Highways are there to prevent crime. They provide internal security which is the main function of the 3rd Respondent. They therefore perform police duties. In fact, the 4th and 5th Respondents were statutorily given the powers of the Police when carrying out their functions. These Police powers especially to stop, search, arrest and prosecute any person committing an offence was also given to the Respondent.

“There is no way the 9th Respondent can perform its duties without stopping and sometimes searching vehicles. I therefore hold that the road blocks mounted by the 2nd to 9th Respondents which clearly restrict the right to freedom of movement of the Applicant and other road users does not by that reason alone violate the Applicant’s fundamental rights.

“This does not mean that any illegal act committed by the 2nd to 9th Respondents while on the intra-state roads and highways, whether they mounted road blocks or not, cannot be investigated and prosecuted in the law courts according to the laws of Nigeria.

“It is for the reasons given above that I hereby dismiss the application for the enforcement of fundamental rights brought by the Applicant.”

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BREAKING: SENIOR LAWYER, OBA AJIBOLA OLUYEDE IS DEAD

Oba Ajibola Oluyede, senior lawyer and spouse to former Nigerian Bar Assocaition (NBA) Treasurer, Her Royal Highness, Mrs. Funmi Oluyede, is dead.

He was the Founding Principal at TRLPLAW and represented former Senate President Olusola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

In an announcement of his passing obtained by CITY LAWYER, Oluyede stated that her husband “passed on to glory in the early hours of Friday, December 29th , 2023 at Anne Arundel Medical Center, Annapolis, Maryland in the United States of America, after a valiant protracted three-year struggle with aortic/cardiac disfunction occasioned by multiple myeloma.

He was an extraordinarily talented, cerebral, and outstandingly courageous senior legal practitioner from whom several generations of lawyers in the professions (judges, SANs, Benchers et al) learned and became proficient in law, practice and procedure.”

Our Dear Distinguished Friend/Colleague,

NOTIFICATION OF THE DEMISE OF HRM. OBA (KING) AJIBOLA O. OLUYEDE

Compliments!

I write with a heavy heart -yet in total submission to the will of our Lord GOD Almighty, to specially notify you of the untimely demise of my renowned, dearly beloved husband, Alayeluwa Oba Ajibola Olaleye Oluyede, Ise Oluwa II, the Alayede Of Ayede Ogbese, who was my lifelong friend, spouse (of 42 years), partner and soulmate.

Kabiyesi passed on to glory in the early hours of Friday, December 29th , 2023 at Anne Arundel Medical Center, Annapolis, Maryland in the United States of America, after a valiant protracted three-year struggle with aortic/cardiac disfunction occasioned by multiple myeloma.

He was an extraordinarily talented, cerebral, and outstandingly courageous senior legal practitioner from whom several generations of lawyers in the professions (judges, SANs, Benchers et al) learned and became proficient in law, practice and procedure.

His decision to offer himself as monarch of the Ayede Ogbese town just two years ago remains an eloquent testimony of his humanity and selflessness. In his brief reign, it is trite knowledge that Kabiyesi’s revolutionary impact on the citizenry and the Kingdom of Ayede Ogbese was unparalleled! As they mourn at this time, our people’s testimony is one of the painful, irreparable loss of a consummate, doting monarch whose colossal plans and monumental achievements in just a few years, will remain indelible for very many decades to come.

Excruciating as this separation is, we find solace in the fact that his was a life of dedication to God, the legal profession and humanity. He lived a truly illustrious life -for which we will be eternally grateful.

Kindly be informed accordingly.

With many thanks and the best of regards,

HRH Olori Olufunmilayo Ajibola-Oluyede

His profile on his LinkedIn page reads:

Described by a National Newspaper as the quintessential Lawyer, Prince Ajibola Oluyede has effectively traversed the entire gamut of legal Practice in Nigeria as a litigator.

Admitted to the Nigerian Bar in 1981, he began legal practice in Benin City and quickly came to public attention in the lawsuit filed to contest the quota system of admission of students into public funded Federal Universities in 1982. During the years of military dictatorship in Nigeria, he successfully argued landmark cases in Habeas Corpus and Fundamental Human Rights Enforcement.

Gravitating eventually to a specialization in commercial litigation, he has firmly established his reputation as a tough litigator and commercial lawyer with special interest in cross border financial transactions and compliance with money laundering as well as other regulations.

Although recognized by Who’s who legal as one of Nigeria’s top litigators, Prince Ajibola Oluyede has refused to apply for the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria for many years despite pressure due to a principled stand against the unconstitutionality of the ranking and its obstruction of access to justice for all.

Prince Oluyede, previously Managing Partner at TRLP SOLICITORS LONDON, has been consulted and acted in respect of high profile matters in the United Kingdom involving Nigerian political figures. He is also much sought after for high stakes political cases within Nigeria.

Highly respected in banking, finance and investment circles, he represented the interests of the Nigerian Creditors of the London Trust Bank in its administration by Price Waterhouse Coopers London and led the Creditors Committee in the eventual CVA of that entity. His advise and influence was pivotal in the record recovery of Nigerian funds tied up in the institution when the United Kingdom Financial Services Authority withdrew its license.

Prince Ajibola Oluyede has been actively engaged in the development of the power and Agricultural sectors of the Nigerian economy and is constantly invited to speak on regulatory issues in these sectors.

He has authored several important articles and works on the Nigerian constitutional and legal system including “THE RESTRUCTURING OF NIGERIA FOR TOTAL LIBERATION OF ITS PEOPLES”.

Prince Ajibola Oluyede is on the Board of Directors of major companies in Nigeria in Oil and Gas, electricity power generation, Agriculture and hospitality.

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ABURE, LP CHAIR, SURRENDERS TO POLICE OVER FORGERY CLAIM

The National Chairman of Labour Party (LP), Julius Abure, has surrendered himself to police over alleged fraud linked to the party’s governorship primary in Plateau State.

Though there were trending reports that Abure was arrested last Monday by operatives from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command, CITY LAWYER gathered that Abure escaped arrest when police operatives stormed his hotel in Abuja but surrendered himself after the failed attempt to arrest him.

CITY LAWYER gathered that the embattled Labour Party Chairman made a statement to the police on the criminal complaint brought against him by Yohanna Margif who accused Abure of forgery. He was granted administrative bail, a source familiar with the case told CITY LAWYER.

Margif, a governorship aspirant of the LP in the 2023 governorship election in Plateau State, alleged in the complaint that Abure forged his signature on a letter which alleged that he (Yohanna Margif) withdrew from the governorship primaries.

Earlier, Margif had noted that “I wish to state clearly that I have not in any way contemplated withdrawing from the 2023 governorship election in Plateau State and I will not withdraw from the race. I am in the contest to win the election and give Plateau people good governance that will enthrone development.”

He added that the governorship ticket of the Labour Party under his custody is not for sale and that he was in the race to win. His words: “I am not in the contest to withdraw, and the ticket of Labour Party in Plateau State is not for sale. Therefore, those who are clamouring for the ticket and misleading gullible Plateau people and Nigerians that I have withdrawn from the race should desist forthwith.”

Abure however claimed that Margif was expelled from the party following petitions against him shortly after he won the initial party primary.

“This party, as a responsible political platform, has called him severally but he declined to show up; the National Working Committee of the party has, therefore, expelled him,” said Abure.

It is recalled that Murphy Imasuen, an LP House of Representatives aspirant for Orhionmwon/Uhunmwonde Federal Constituency in the 2023 General Election in Edo State, had in a similar complaint accused Abure of forging his signature.

In yet another forgery petition against party chieftain, a former LP chairman in Ebonyi State, Splendour Oko-Eze, alleged that Abure forged his signature in a document where he (Eze) purportedly resigned as the governorship candidate of Labour Party for the 2023 elections in Ebonyi State in favour of another aspirant, Edward Nkwegu.

Following a petition to the office of the Deputy Inspector General of Police, the case was detailed to the Force Federal Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) for investigation.

CITY LAWYER gathered that the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) which investigated the complaint by Oko-Eze has recommended that Abure  should be prosecuted.

It was gathered that Abure’s fate is now lying in the hands of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN to determine whether a criminal charge should be filed against the embattled LP Chairman.

Abure is yet to comment on the latest complaint.

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UWECHUE: SIGHTS AND SIGHTS OF LAGOS SPECIAL COURT SESSION

The Lagos State Judiciary today held a Special Court Session in honour of the former Chairman of the Body of Benchers, Chief George Uwechue (SAN, FNIALS).

The high-level judicial ceremony, which is reserved for jurists who have achieved the highest level of distinction in the legal profession, held at the Lagos State High Court, Oba Akinjobi Way, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos.

A similar Special Court Session will be held for the eminent jurist by the Delta State Judiciary on 25th January, 2024. The court session will hold at 10 am at the High Court of Justice, Asaba, Delta State.

Below are faces at the solemn ceremony.

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AFAM OSIGWE WELCOMES NBA-YLF SUMMIT DELEGATES

NEWS RELEASE

AFAM OSIGWE SALUTES THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION YOUNG LAWYERS FORUM ON THE 2024 SUMMIT; WISHES DELEGATES INSIGHTFUL DELIBERATION

I extend my congratulations to the Nigerian Bar Association Young Lawyers Forum on the occasion of her 2024 National Summit themed “BREAKING THE OLD ORDER OF GOVERNANCE AND ADVOCACY.” This gathering signifies a pivotal moment in reshaping the landscape of governance and advocacy in our esteemed profession.

As you convene to explore innovative approaches and challenge entrenched norms, I am confident that your discussions will be a catalyst for transformative change. This summit not only reflects the dynamism of the legal community but also underscores your collective commitment to fostering a progressive and just society.

In breaking the old order, may you find inspiration, forge new alliances, and lay the groundwork for a legal landscape that is responsive to the evolving needs of our society. Your dedication to advancing the principles of justice, fairness, and equity is commendable, and I do not doubt that your deliberations will contribute significantly to the advancement of the legal profession in Nigeria.

I wish you a summit filled with rich insights, fruitful discussions, and collaborative initiatives that will leave an enduring impact on the legal community and the nation at large. May this event be a stepping stone towards a future where the rule of law is not only upheld but continuously refined for the betterment of our society.

Sincerely,
Afam Osigwe, SAN
Life Bencher and Past General Secretary, Nigerian Bar Association

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LAGOS JUDICIARY HOLDS SPECIAL COURT SESSION FOR UWECHUE TODAY

The Lagos State Judiciary will on Wednesday, January 17, 2024 hold a Special Court Session in honour of the former Chairman of the Body of Benchers, Chief George Uwechue (SAN, FNIALS).

The high-level judicial ceremony, which is reserved for jurists who have achieved the highest level of distinction in the legal profession, will hold at 2 pm at the Lagos State High Court, Oba Akinjobi Way, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos.

A similar Special Court Session will be held for the eminent jurist by the Delta State Judiciary on 25th January, 2024. The court session will hold at 10 am at the High Court of Justice, Asaba, Delta State.

Meanwhile, a Requiem Mass/Night of Tributes will hold on 19th January, 2024 at 4:30 pm at the Sir Adetokunbo Ademola Hall of the Nigerian Law School, Victoria Island, Lagos.

While the Wake Keep for the former Speaker Pro Tempore of Nigeria’s House of Representatives will hold at 5 pm on January 25, 2024 at the Owelle of Ogwashi-Uku Villa, 100 Azagba Road, Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State, the Funeral Mass will hold at 10 am on 26th January, 2024 at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State. Interment follows immediately after the funeral mass.

In a statement issued by the presidential spokesman, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu had stated that “Chief Uwechue was an outstanding lawyer,” adding that “He was also a leader through and through. He will be sorely missed for his deep insights and legal acumen, in addition to the incredible contributions he made to his community, state, Nigeria, and beyond. May God Almighty grant him rest and his family the strength to bear this painful loss.”

On his part, foremost constitutional lawyer, Prof. Ben Nwabueze (SAN, NNOM) had noted that “Something that marked George out – I hope I can say this without causing offence to his classmates – he was simply the best! It is not surprising to me that he distinguished himself in the legal profession.”

Chief Uwechue died on 29th October, 2023. He was aged 85 years. He attended the Middle Temple, Inns of Court School of Law, London between 1961 and 1965 and was admitted to the Nigerian Bar in 1966 after attending the Nigerian Law School.

Uwechue had been a lawyer for nearly 60 years. Elevated to the coveted rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 1993, he was a member of the Inner Bar for 30 unbroken years. He was appointed a Member of the Body of Benchers in 1990, and had been a Life Bencher since 1998.

The senior lawyer was elected Chairman of the Body of Benchers in 2010 and elected a member of the Elders Committee of the Body of Benchers in 2011. It is believed that the “Elders Committee” was his brainchild, being a vehicle for resolving thorny issues affecting leading members of the legal profession.
Aside from leading the legal profession as Chairman of the Body of Benchers, Uwechue also had the uncommon distinction of leading Nigeria’s House of Representatives, having been elected as Speaker (Pro Tempore) on February 23, 1983.

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AFAM OSIGWE HONOURS GANI FAWEHINMI, SALMAN, FALLEN HEROES

It was a flurry of activities recently for former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) General Secretary, Mazi Afam Osigwe SAN as he participated in the 20th Gani Fawehinmi Annual Lecture hosted by NBA, Ikeja Branch; visited the family of foremost senior lawyer, Alhaji Aliyu Alarape Salman SAN to condole them on his passing, and hailed members of the Armed Forces who have paid the supreme sacrifice for Nigeria’s peace and stability.

“Afam Osigwe, SAN Graces 20th Gani Fawehinmi Annual Lecture, Extends Warm Wishes to NBA Ikeja Branch”

In a notable display of legal engagement and intellectual discourse, Mazi Afam Osigwe, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), participated in the 20th Gani Fawehinmi Annual Lecture hosted by the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja Branch. The event, held in Lagos today, unfolded under the distinguished chairmanship of the eminent Prof Wole Soyinka, with a thought-provoking Guest Lecture delivered by the esteemed Comrade Femi Aborishade.

The theme, “Right to Self-Determination and Agitation for Secession in Nigeria,” underscores the relevance and timeliness of the issues discussed, reflecting the evolving dynamics of the Nigerian socio-political landscape. Afam Osigwe’s attendance at this event not only signifies his intellectual curiosity but also his commitment to engaging with crucial legal and societal matters.

The presence of Prof Wole Soyinka, a Nobel laureate and literary giant, as the Chairman of the Annual Lecture, adds an extra layer of prestige to the occasion. The insightful discourse delivered by Comrade Femi Aborishade further enriched the event, providing attendees with valuable perspectives on a topic of national significance.

In extending his goodwill to the members of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja Branch, Afam Osigwe, SAN, reinforces the spirit of camaraderie and shared commitment to legal excellence. His acknowledgment of this significant event acknowledges the importance of platforms like the Gani Fawehinmi Annual Lecture in fostering intellectual growth and stimulating dialogue within the legal community.

As we celebrate Afam Osigwe’s active participation, we also recognize the broader impact of such gatherings in shaping legal discourse and contributing to the collective understanding of legal and societal issues. The 20th Gani Fawehinmi Annual Lecture serves as a testament to the vibrancy and intellectual depth of the legal community, with Afam Osigwe, SAN, standing at the forefront of this enriching dialogue.

LAWYER, ACCOUNTANT, LIBRARIAN WANTED IN LAGOS LAW FIRM

A full-service reputable law firm based in Lagos requires the services of:

  • Legal Practitioner of below 5 years post-call experience
  • Librarian
  • Accountant (B.SC IN ACCOUNTING)

The salary is competitive and in accordance with industry standards.

Interested candidates should send their CV to legaljobs77@gmail.com.

VERY IMPORTANT: Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

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IKEJA BRANCH, NBA PARTNER TO MARK 20 YEARS OF FAWEHIMIISM

NEWS RELEASE

National Bar collaborates with the Ikeja Branch to mark 20 years of FAWEHIMIISM as Prof. Wole Soyinka Chairs Lecture.

The Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja Branch is set to host the 20th Anniversary of the Gani Fawehinmi Annual Lecture on the 15th of January, 2024 at Oranmiyan Hall, Airport Hotel, Ikeja – Lagos.

This event, which commences at 10:00 am promises a profound exploration of the theme, “Right to Self-Determination and Agitation for Secession in Nigeria.”

This 20th edition of the symposium will feature luminaries such as Prof. Wole Soyinka, who will be presiding as the Chairman, and Comr. Femi Aborishade as the Guest Lecturer while Sen. Shehu Sanni and Comrade Ezenwa Nwagu will add depth to this momentous discourse as Discussants. This is a must-attend for legal practitioners and the general public, as well as human and civil rights enthusiasts.

The Nigerian Bar Association Ikeja Branch extends an open invitation to lawyers and the general public, emphasizing the high value placed on their presence at this significant event. Pls mark your calendars for 15th January, 2024, as Oranmiyan Hall, Airport Hotel, Ikeja Lagos, becomes the epicenter of a compelling engagements and dialogues on the critical issues surrounding the “Right to Self-Determination and Agitation for Secession in Nigeria.”

In a notable development, NBA President Y.C. Maikyau OON, SAN has indeed followed through on his commitment to collaborate with the Branch in organizing this Annual Lecture. This collaboration marks a significant advancement in cultivating a united and insightful discourse on pivotal matters.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to witness this historical milestone in legal and socio-political discourse that affects us all as Nigerians.

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LAWYER, SOLAR4ALL DIRECTOR BAGS ‘IKENGA’ TITLE

FEATURED

“The Ikenga of Eha-alumona:” Solar For All Ltd Congratulates one of its Directors, announces full resumption for 2024

Congratulations Chief Emeka Silas Agbara Esquire on your conferment with a Chieftaincy Title by your people of Eha-alumona, Nsukka LGA, Enugu State and the dedication of your Home [The Hope-House], being testaments of God’s goodness.

To get an efficient Solar system anywhere in Nigeria; with 25years warranty and “Pay Small Small”, call/chat Solar For All Ltd: 08060266163.
Visit: SolarForAll.ng
(Abuja) Suite A8, Kenuj O2 Mall ,Behind Games Village.
*(Lagos) No 113A, Mainland Way, Dolphin Estate Ikoyi Lagos

Chief Emeka Silas Agbara Esq was born on August 21st, 1985 to the family of Late Chief Silas U. Agbara and Mrs. Mary Okike Agbara of Umualegu Village, Eha-lumona, Nsukka L.G.A Enugu State.

He graduated from the University of Abuja with a Bachelor’s Degree in Law, attended the Nigerian Law School Lagos, was called to the Bar and is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Energy Law at the University of Abuja.

He practices Law as a Senior Associate in the Law Firm of M. I. Dikko SAN & Associates and as the Principal Partner of Bricks and Castles Legal.

He is a Director at Solar For All Ltd, delivering top-notch Solar Energy solutions nationwide.

Emeka is a man of many parts. He is a Certified Trainer of Trainers on Solar PV and Mini-grid Design by the European Union and GIZ [under the Nigerian Energy Support Programme]. He is the immediate past Provost of Nigerian Bar Association, Abuja Branch; current Publicity Secretary of Otu Oka-iwu (Igbo Lawyers Association), Abuja; President, Lawyers in Business International; Founder, Hope-House Youths Mission; Secretary of Unity Lawyers Cooperative Society Ltd; Member of the Institute of Chattered Mediators and Conciliators of Nigeria; member of Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria; Secretary of African Environmental Lawyers Association; President of Legendary Friends Club, Eha-alumona; Enugu State House of Assembly Candidate of APGA for Nsukka East Constituency in the 2023 General Election etc.

He is married to Bar. Mrs. Esther Enobong Agbara and the marriage is blessed with children.

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