40U40 AWARDS: HELP TECH LAWYER, INEMESIT DIKE WIN FOR NIGERIA

40 under 40 AFRICA AWARDS‼️‼️

This is a Battle‼️
Nigeria vs Tanzania!

Click here to vote for Inemesit Dike, our Nigerian nominee.

Inemesit Dike Esq. MCIarb, A.C.I.S is an Attorney and Counsel at Law, Nigeria and New York USA, the Chief Executive Officer of The Legal Concierge, Convener of the Young Wigs Conference and the Founder of the Legal X App.

She’s is an award-winning tech lawyer named as Africa’s Top 50 Individuals in Legal Innovations in 2020 and 2021, Winner of Ultima’s (Ecobank) International Entrepreneurial Reality Series, Lion’s Den 2021, Nominee -Woman of the Year (Tech) 2021, Winner-Top 50 Female Leading Lawyers 2022 as well as Winner- Courtroom Mail 100 Africa’s Influential Women in Legal Profession.

She has a super-duper passion for community development through the education of over 12000 young lawyers via the Young Wigs Conference.

Please vote now.

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CHUKWUKA IKWUAZOM UNVEILED AS HEADLINE SPONSOR OF ‘ABUJA LAWYERS’ LEAGUE’

The Organisers of the Abuja Lawyers League have unveiled Chukwuka Ikwuazom, SAN as the headline sponsor of the lawyers’ football competition known as “Abuja Lawyers League 2023.”

This year’s edition is tagged CHUKWUKA IKWUAZOM (SAN) SUPER CUP 2023. The competition is a platform for lawyers to come together – outside of the courtroom and legal dealings – to enjoy the sport and improve their physical and mental well-being while still having fun and entertainment.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Chukwuka Ikwuazom SAN reiterated that lawyers often find themselves immersed in demanding schedules filled with long hours, tight deadlines and high-pressure situations. Engaging in sports can provide an effective means of alleviating stress and promoting overall well-being. Moreover, participating in sports can also help lawyers develop crucial skills that are essential for success in the legal field, and build stronger relationships with colleagues.

Speaking at the unveiling, the Head of the organizing committee, Olujimi Olujide-Poko stated that Ikwuazom’s sponsorship of the annual football fiesta is a generous and much-appreciated gesture, adding that “The Abuja legal community is delighted to be associated with such a fine gentleman who has carved a niche for himself in his legal practice in the area of oil & gas and most especially taxation.

“His consent to support the league also demonstrates his commitment to the legal profession and the community of lawyers in Nigeria. His support has given the league a bigger image because he is a big brand and the league is a growing brand too. This competition provides an opportunity for lawyers to showcase their skills and talents in football.”

Olujimi rounded off by expressing his gratitude to the senior lawyer who has taken the baton from Mr. Mahmud Magaji SAN who sponsored the 6th edition in 2022.

The competition serves as a platform for networking, building relationships, and promoting camaraderie among members of the legal community. It is also a reminder that lawyers are not just legal professionals, but individuals with diverse interests and talents.

Senior members of the Unity Bar expressed their appreciation to Ikwuazom for his invaluable sponsorship of the Abuja Lawyers’ League Football 2023, adding that his dedication to the legal profession serves as an inspiration to all.

The unveiling which took place at the Conference room of MAHMUD MAGAJI SAN & CO (RAHUSA CHAMBERS) had in attendance NBA 2nd Vice President, Mr. Clement Chukwuemeka (“The Great Democrat”); Chairman of NBA Abuja Branch (Unity Bar), Mazi Afama Okeke; Mr. Yakubu Philemon; Mr. Paul Daudu; Mr. Henry Barnabas; Mr. Caleb Oboagwina, and Dr. Victoria Nlemigbo among others.

This year’s competition will witness an upgrade as the prize money for the Male competition increased from ₦250,000, ₦200,000 and ₦150,000 to ₦400,000, ₦300,000 and 200,000 for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize respectively.

The female lawyers will, for the first time, have a separate league that will run concurrently with their Male counterparts. While registration fee has been waived for the female competition, winners will take home ₦200,000, ₦150,000 and ₦100,000 as 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes respectively.

The competition is scheduled to commence on 4th March, 2023 and run till 13th May, 2023. 24 teams in the Male category are participating in this year’s competition while 6 teams are participating in the Female category.

According to the organisers, “It promises to be exciting and funtertaining.”

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‘A BLUEPRINT FOR LAWYERS OF THE FUTURE,’ BY AFAM OSIGWE

Introduction

I was elated when I received the letter inviting me to give a keynote speech at this Summit. The proposal to speak on any topic of my choice was not as simple as it seemed. My usual preference is to speak on whichever topic I am invited to speak on. The choice of a topic was however made easy for me after much reflection on the theme of the Summit: “Legal Profession: Reckoning with the Past and building for better future”. I concluded that there cannot be a better topic to speak on than one which is an offshoot of the theme.

Reckoning with the past in order to build a better future, purely emphasises the importance of the past in planning for the future. Past, present and future are encompassed in the concept of time. In math, time can be defined as an on-going and continuous sequence of events that occur in succession, from past through the present, and to the future. Time is therefore “a measure of non-stop, consistent change in our surroundings, usually from a specific viewpoint”. Thus, our present used to be the future, while the past used to be the present. The future can only be actualised in the present.

According Prof Ian Thompson “In our everyday and common-sense understanding of time, the future is different from the past in a number of ways: (1) we have memory of the past but not of the future, (2) we think we can change the future, but not the past, (3) we feel that in the present we are performing new actions that add to the past but not to the future, and (4) the future contains possibilities in a way that the past does not”.

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

In a paper I presented at the tenth-year anniversary of the NBA Gwagwalada Branch I quoted Soren Kierkegaard who said that “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” With respect to each individual lawyer, the past, obviously, is the person’s background, experiences and history. It encapsulates one’s journey to the present: where one is coming from, one’s travails, setbacks, failures, disappointments, hopes, triumphs and celebrations. Some of the issues that may have shaped each person’s history may not always be pleasant or worthy of remembrance or celebration. Some may indeed have been traumatic, yet one dares to plan, dream and hope for a better and glorious future.

Indeed, as Israelmore Ayivor once said “Leaders build the future with clays of the past. Every good moment gives them ideas; every bad moment gives them lessons.” This shows the foresight and initiative of the organisers of this event who in recognition of the role young lawyers have to play in the future development of the legal profession have made an excellent decision with today’s topic: Legal profession: reckoning with the past for a better future. You no doubt have a mind to build a glorious future with the clays of the past. Thus, you have chosen not to be fixated with the past in building a better but to reckon with it (the past). In other words you are very mindful that in building a better future you include the past in your consideration or planning.

At every point you plan for the future, you must always remind yourself of the wise saying that “you cannot move forward if you are staring in the rear-view mirror”. While not suggesting that we must forget the past, it simply means that the past is gone. You cannot keep your gaze in the past. You must take account of the past in working to overcome the challenges, failures, obstacles etc one may have experienced. Thus, lessons learnt from our past, strengthen us to achieve more in the present.

The past should not be an excuse not to plan or move forward, nor should it be a restraint. The past has happened and cannot be undone. According to Dr. Luke Iorio, “Decisions and actions that have already occurred are gone. Finished. Never to be experienced again. We can revel in the glow of our achievements or wallow in our perceived misgivings, but they are now, for all intent and purposes, simply a memory. Essentially, nothing ever truly happens “in the future.” Our deeds and actions only occur in the present”.

To properly address this topic, it is important to understand it topic requires a journey down the memory lane of the legal profession, during which we evaluate how far we have come, recognise the tremendous growth of the bar and definitely appreciate every effort that has been geared towards the positive development of the bar. Beyond the positives, we also have to identify our flaws, failures and instances where we just need to do a little more or act better to get the desired result. As soon as we are able to identify the positives and negatives, in our quest for a better future, we get to build on it and learn from the positives, while the lessons from the negatives will serve as a guide. We can take an affirmative action towards securing a better future for the Bar.

In an attempt to travel down the memory lane of the legal profession, and evaluate how far we have come, the following metrics come to mind:
i. Training and development of Lawyers
ii. Administration of justice
iii. The role of the Bar in national development
iv. The adoption of ICT and modern technology
v. The Social economic welfare of the Bar etc

The Legal Practitioner

This discussion will be meaningless to us as lawyers, if we fail to understand how we can use of our legal training to build a better future. Lawyers like priests are ‘called”. Lawyers are called to the Bar. At a time of economic recession, the way out is entrepreneurial revolution. It may well be that a well-reasoned discourse of the topic will make the difference in whether many of us are able to ‘survive’ the present economic situation and also build our practice to an enviable position or build greater future wherever and in whatever lawful venture we find ourselves. Any lawyer who fails to realise the importance of his training will be left behind.

Bellas & Wachoswki observed that the rest of the world is preparing to move ahead with or without us. According to them “The market place has already recognized the legal practice as a business and is proceeding accordingly. In fact, the entire legal field is viewed by many Venture Capitalists as fertile grounds for investment opportunities, but not necessarily by investing in law firms. Instead, Venture Capitalists (who are not interested in whether or not they are part of a profession but are interested in making money) are throwing hundreds of millions of dollars at legal technology startups. The commoditization of the practice is already well underway. If you are curious about the inevitable outcome of this juggernaut, ask your doctor how his life has changed. In this rapidly evolving environment, I hope we can agree that simply doing a great job for your existing clients is not going to be enough. If you expect to compete with the legal services companies that are growing under your nose, it’s time to get in the game as a business manager. And there are plenty of resources available”.

Change is inevitable and may happen very fast

This century there will be more focus on technology, modernisation, new ways of doing things, emotional intelligence, client/customer focus and the ability to flex and adapt to the raft of technological changes that will come while government departments, firms, legal practitioners etc explore various platforms to meet the new demands of their employers, clients, etc. We will also see more departments, ministries, law-firms, employers, employees, etc endorse flexible working arrangements and work/life balance which is good news for future lawyers who will hopefully be able to balance their home life with work in a way that the legal industry has rarely seen.

Life and in particular legal practice have indeed changed from what they used to be. In the 80s, Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast….” What would he say now? Mark A. Cohen highlights how much legal services industry has changed when he said that, “Life is moving very fast, propelled by the speed and breadth of change. Legal industry change is generally viewed through the narrow lens of the profession. Lawyers have long controlled all facets of the industry—education, training, delivery of self-proclaimed “legal services,” the judicial process, and regulation. They have also scripted the industry narrative. That’s changing—business is recasting the culture, mindset, role, remit, and purpose of the legal function. Lawyers are a segment of an increasingly diverse, tech-enabled, data-backed, fit-for-customer/business purpose legal function”.

Change is therefore inevitable. In reckoning with the past we must therefore ensure we focus on how to meet new challenge and to be better equipped to offer our services to the fast-changing needs of clients and society. In whatever way we carry on the practice of law, we must look at things the right way. We should always endeavour to do justice and serve clients when they come to us. Sure, we deserve to be well paid for the services we render to them as well as the value we obtain for them when we help them resolve such dispute or minister to their needs. “But if we can serve them well, we are satisfying our own professional calling. And—simply being blunt—most of those that have problems now that require a lawyer will have problems later that require a lawyer. Serve the client well and he very well may be back when you can resolve the dispute quickly. Law firm managers must be smart businesspeople. But we always need to keep in mind that we are more than that. We’re lawyers, too, and need to act like lawyers every day ”. The above statement is equally true of lawyers who are various forms of salaried employment.

Some of the challenges of the 21st century are
a. Conflict and war.
b. Poverty
c. Corruption
d. Climate change and environmental challenges
e. Socio-economic challenges
f. Increasing inequality of wealth and income.
g. Emptiness of vision and foresight.
h. Identities and changing norms in society. …
i. Changing economic powers
j. Technological disruption
k. Civic disaffection.
l. Globalisation

These challenges will no doubt affect the ability of legal practitioners to effectively render services. The legal profession cannot pretend to be insulated from challenges. It is a good time not only to look at the challenges of practicing our profession in whatever way we have chosen, but also to ask ourselves whether our practice of law is done with a right business mind-set. Some particular tests faced by lawyers in the 21st century include: poor remuneration, high expectation of the society, lack of skills in information technology, insufficient job opportunities, nature of legal practice in Nigeria, lack of personal motivation, lack of adequate entrepreneurial skills, inflexible work environment, location, poor labour practices, etc

Like other human beings lawyers hate changing the way they do things. Very few people like change, some tolerate it and must fight to stop it. The lawyer will need to learn to adapt, envisage and even engineer some change in this dispensation if we must stay relevant. We have to study, take courses, travel and interact, be open-minded and learn, unlearn and reinvent ourselves to fit into the new world. The court processes need to be digitalized’, The Covid-19 lockdown showed us how greatly inadequate the current system of doing things is in event of another pandemic. Covid-19 will always be a reminder of how small and very connected the world really is.

Nothing ever truly happens in the future

Everything happens in the present. Whatever plans you make for the future can only be achieved in the present. We transit from the future to past through the present. Every plan, dream and hope we have about the future are only achieved in the present. The past may provide you with guide and experiences of how to achieve your plans in the present. To achieve your plans for the future in the present, you must admit any shortcomings and constantly strive to improve yourselves.

A wise lawyer who wants to be successful in the business or practice of law people must admit his/her shortcomings. He/she should not be afraid to say, “I don’t know. I need to know. I need help. I cannot do it alone etc” You should not be afraid or detest the need to learn. Always make out time to improve yourself. Continually develop yourself. Avoid being complacent or thinking there is no further to learn. You will be shocked at how much you do not know. You will be surprised at the changes and innovations that have been introduced in the law as well as areas of practice.

As Gerber wrote: “Contrary to popular belief, my experience has shown me that the people who are exceptionally good in business aren’t so because of what they know but because of their insatiable need to know more.”

To be good at this business of law, we must admit that we don’t know everything and to be not only okay with it, but embrace the unknowingness. What are the important elements for people who start a business based on the skills they do best, such as practicing law? I will extensively share Janice Brown’s view as contained in the article under reference.

  1. Vision/Goals: Having a vision for your business and managing your resources to meet that vision is paramount. It means writing your vision down. It means determining who your firm serves. It means deciding what kind of employee will fit that vision and deciding what makes an ideal client. It means asking questions such as, where do you see yourself in a year? In two? In five? How do you keep current? How much money do you want to earn? Do you have a budget to help your firm meet your vision? What services do you provide? Should you update your services? Should you eliminate services? How do you market your business? Does your website represent your firm?.
  2. Organization And Management; Sometimes those of us in the law profession can be our own worst enemy when it comes to handling our own legal affairs. Who is your accountant? Do you need to file a trademark? Who are your employees? How are they being paid? Are you paying them in compliance with the law? Do you have pertinent policies and procedures in place? Your administration reflects the tools and people you have in place to effectuate your management vision and plan. They require constant attention.
  3. Finances: Profitability is the ultimate goal of any successful business, and how to earn that profit takes some planning. How much do you want to make and why? How much do you want to invest? Where should you invest in your practice? How much do you want to save? How often do you pay your bills?. How do you ensure the sustainability. Are you current? Do people owe you money? Should you hire an accountant to make sure your bills are paid on time?.
  4. Marketing: Marketing or advertisement is entirely forbidden by the Rules of Professional Conduct. Rule 39 RPC forbids advertisement through circulars, handbills, advertisement, through touts or by personal communication or interview; furnishing, permitting or inspiring newspaper, radio or television comments in relation to his practice of the law; procuring his photograph to be published in connection with matter in which he has been or is engaged, or concerning the manner of their conduct, the magnitude of the interest involved or the importance of the lawyers position; permitting or inspiring sound recording in relation to his practice of law; or such similar self-aggrandisement. The Rule does not however preclude a lawyer from publishing in a reputable law list or Law Directory, a brief biographical or informative data of himself, including all or any of the following matters his name or names of his professional association; his address, telephone number, telex number, e-mail address, etc ; the school, colleges, or other institutions attended with dates of graduation, degree and other educational or academic qualifications or distinctions; date and place of birth and admission to practice law ; any public or quasi-public office, post of honour, legal authority, etc; (f) any legal teaching position ; (g) any national Honours ; membership and office in the Bar Association and duties thereon ; and any position held in legal scientific societies.
    You can write letters which include your firm profile to banks, corporations, companies etc for enlistment as external solicitors as such marketing creates the customer expectation for your business. Marketing can come in many forms, including volunteer work in the community or legal aid. You can promote your brand through your website, a newsletter, legal articles, paper presentations, workshops, seminar, etc. Embrace technology.
  5. Sales: Janice Brown, notes that sales and marketing are not the same thing. We should not confuse the two. She states that “Marketing is a subset of sales. Sales require the client to trust you, understand your service (or your brand) and have a need for your services. When need, brand and trust come together—you get paying customers. But you need to define what kind of customer you want by defining the right client. When I started my law practice, I said I wanted clients, but I did not specify the type of client. Now, I do. I want clients who appreciate my firm’s services and who pay in a timely manner. That small change in focus has done wonders for my bottom line. As a side note, as lawyers, we are required to have engagement letters when we are retained. This must be mandatory. No executed engagement letter, no services”.
  6. Production: If you do not produce, you do not get paid. And when you first launch your business, you need to produce if you want to build your reputation. How much you want to produce needs to be determined at the outset .
  7. Quality Control: We need to constantly ask clients how we are doing. How can we improve? How can we become better at our work? As human beings, we often learn from our mistakes. When those breakdowns occur, clarify why they happened and what you will do differently so it doesn’t happen again. The old adage “stuff happens” is not in the language of successful folks” .
    To successfully run a practice like a business, one must be an entrepreneur who acts ethically at all times and refuse to allow the urge to run a profitable practice to enmesh him or her in unethical conduct.
    Preparing for the Future
    “Most people talk; we do things. They plan; we achieve. They hesitate; we move ahead. We are living proof that when human beings have the courage and commitment to transform a dream into reality, there is nothing that can stop them .”
    Many of us are content to do the same thing over and over again whether or not we get the desired result. Yet some of us are afraid of moving out of our comfort zone. Many persons are contented to leave things where they are. If conceivably, they fail and become unsuccessful, they blame it on evil persons or malevolent forces. Of course, it is not their fault. It must have come from their village or their enemies. According to John C. Maxwell, unsuccessful persons are burdened by learning, and prefer to walk down familiar paths. He further stated that their distaste for learning stunts their growth and limits their influence. These persons do not plan, they live for the day, they do not improve themselves, they have a disdain for advice, are sometimes set in their ways, spend all they earn, hate exploring new opportunities or venturing into uncharted territories.
    To prepare for the future, you must dream creatively of what you want to achieve, what you want to do, what you want to be and where you want to be. According to Norman Vincent Peale, the use of the word ‘dream’ “is not the reference to those shadowy images that flicker through our minds when we are asleep. No, dreams I’m writing about are the indistinct hopes, the far-off visions, the first faint stirrings of the imagination that comes when we are in the earliest stages of planning something worthwhile”.
    Continuing, he stated that “there’s a wonderful thing about such dreams. In some uncanny ways that no one fully understands they seem to contain the seeds of their own fulfilment. If you dream something long enough and hard enough, a door seems to open and through that door come mighty forces that will guide and support you in your efforts to make the dream come through”.
    To prepare for the future, we must identify our goals (dreams) and make plans on how to achieve these dreams. We must not overlook opportunities. As William Shakespeare, said, “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures”.
    It is reported that the founder of Dubai, Sheikh Rashid, was once asked about the future of his country and he replied, “My grandfather rode a camel, my father rode a camel, I ride a Mercedes, my son rides a Land Rover, and my grandson is going to ride a Land Rover…but my great-grandson is going to have to ride a camel again.” Why is that, he was asked? And his reply was, “Hard times create strong men, strong men create easy times. Easy times create weak men, weak men create difficult times. Many will not understand it, but you have to raise warriors, not parasites.”
    A similar quote to “tough times create strong men, strong men create easy times” can be found in the 2016 post-apocalyptic novel “Those Who Remain”, by G. Michael Hopf. The quote reads: “Hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men and weak men create hard times.”
    It is a historical reality that all great empires, the Persians, the Trojans, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, and in later years, the British all rose and perished within 240 years. They were not conquered by external enemies; they rotted from within. A good example of how a system will rot within can be illustrated with water intrusion which can ruin a house. Sometimes, water seepage arising from poor plumbing or faulty construction can allow water to seep into a home. Mold will begin to develop, almost from day one. It will be impossible to see immediately, but it is there. Building experts, blame the problems on rushed work, poor workmanship, under-trained workers, low-quality materials, and little to no oversight by the construction company management.
    Therefore in trying to avoid, going back to riding a camel and ensuring that water intrusion does not damage our home, we have to plough everything we have and more into planning and development. I will therefore suggest these tips on to prepare for the future:
  8. Be confident
  9. Be open to feedbacks from your colleagues and superiors
  10. Upgrade your existing knowledge from time to time
  11. If there is a way to do it better, find it.
  12. Be open to challenges. Do not be afraid to take risks in life
  13. Master the skill of time management.
  14. Learn to work as a team player.
  15. Develop a positive attitude
  16. Keep searching until you find what you want.
  17. Trust is earned when actions meet words.
  18. Slow down so you can speed up (Festina lente – “make haste slowly”, sometimes rendered in English as “more haste, less speed).
    Conclusion

It would be important for legal practitioners who have not made the commitment to run and or manage it as one, to do so today. We may hate the idea of developing a business plan/concept, but we should realize that making strategic plan allows a lawyer or the firm to plan for the future. Let us therefore make sure that expectations are reasonable. No matter how well intended, if they are unreasonable, expectations will not be met
Thanks for listening

Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN
January 26, 2023

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NBA MAIDUGURI YOUNG LAWYERS HOLD SUMMIT, HONOUR FORMER AG

The Young Lawyers’ Forum of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Maiduguri Branch last Thursday held its Summit with the theme, “Legal Profession: Reckoning with the Past for a Better Future.”

Aside from the rich repertoire of sub-themes x-rayed by leading jurists, the two-day event climaxed with a dinner in honour of Mr. Kaka Shehu Lawan, Life Bencher and former Borno State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice.

The Special Guest of Honour and NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN was represented by former NBA General Secretary, Mazi Afam Osigwe SAN.

The 1st Session discussed the topic, ‘Transformation of Land Administration’ and was chaired by Justice Waziri Alhaji Bukar of the High Court of Justice, Borno State. The lead paper was presented by Mr. Mustapha Ali Ibrahim, Legal Adviser to the Borno Geographic Information Service (BOGIS).

Discussants included Professor Kamal Alhaji Daud, Faculty of Law, UNIMAID (‘Application of Customary and Statutory Land Administration’); Mr. Muhammad Umaru (‘Hitches in Land Administration’); Mr. Jabani Jasini Mamza of NRC (‘International based guidelines in HLP Administration’) and Mr. Babagana Malam Mustapha (‘Don’ts in Land Administration’).

The 2nd Session was sub-themed “E-filing of Cases: Simplification of Judicial Process.” The lead paper was delivered by Mr. Mahmud Adamu of the National Judicial Council (NJC), Abuja.

Among the discussants were Mr. Baba Kura Alhaji of the UNIMAID Faculty of Law (‘Global Trends towards E-filing of Cases’); Mr. Sadiq Muhammad Kachallah also of the UNIMAID Faculty of Law (‘Regulations on E-filing of Cases’), and Mr. Zakariya Muhammad Umar of Jibrin Gunda & Co. (‘Goodwill towards E-filing of Cases’).

The session was aimed to signpost the position of Borno State in spearheading digitalization of administration of justice by Nigeria’s Judiciary.

Day Two of the Summit witnessed an elaborate dinner in honour of Mr. Kaka Shehu Lawan. Aside from standing in for Maikyau to hand over the award to Kaka, Osigwe also delivered a Dinner Speech, to the admiration of the guests at the well-attended dinner.

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NBA HOLDS ‘STATE OF THE NATION DIALOGUE’ MONDAY

Distinguished Colleagues,

You are already aware that the NBA under the Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau,OON,SAN leadership is convening an NBA State of the Nation Dialogue.

Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General, United Nations is set to deliver the keynote address at the event on Monday 30th January, 2023 at the Auditorium of the NBA, National Secretariat, Abuja.

There couldn’t have been a better time than this for the NBA to set the tone and agenda for the Nigerian nation. The panelists include: Engr. Bala Zakka, Professor Dahiru Hassan Balami, Mr. Solomon Arase, MNI; Brig. General Abubakar Hanafi Sa’ad, Grp. Captain Sadiq Garba Shehu, Dr. Babatunde Ajibade, SAN; Mr. Wale Fapohunda, SAN; Mrs. Huwaila Mohammed.

The dialogue will focus on 3 key areas, viz; Economy, Security and Administration of Justice.

The event is an hybrid event and it is free to attend, although registration is required for participants both virtual and in-person. Click on the link below to register now. https://rb.gy/bkxzvl

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VACANCY: LITIGATION LAWYER WANTED IN LAGOS FIRM

A reputable law firm based in Yaba, Lagos requires a Legal Practitioner with 1-10 years post-call experience.

The ideal candidate must possess core litigation experience and should be able to work without supervision.

This position is based on Alliance and does NOT attract a salary.

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

VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that the SUBJECT reads “LITIGATION LAWYER WANTED IN LAGOS FIRM.”

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

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60 YEARS OF NIGERIAN LAW SCHOOL: REMINISCENCES BY JUSTICE AJUYAH

As the Nigerian Law School marks its 60th anniversary this year, Hon. Justice Sylvanus Ajuyah OFR, an octogenarian and former High Court Judge in the defunct Bendel State, shares his experience as a pioneer student and what he thinks about today’s legal practitioners

Can we meet you Sir?

I am Sylvanus Ayere Ajuyah

How old are you, Sir?

I am 89 years old.

As a pioneer student of the Nigerian Law School, can you please tell us how many of you were in that class and what are their names?

We were eight that started the Nigerian Law School on 2nd January, 1963: Myself, S. A. Ajuyah, J. S. Anyanwu, S. O. Chinke, I. A. Damiebi, O. C. Obi, N. N. Onuoha, I. O. Sonoiki and N. N. Wachukwu. We were all matured students at that time.

Do you know where they are now?

Well, I don’t know where they are. That is why I brought out that picture (pointing at a group photograph) to identify them. I am sure many of them are ‘asleep’ now.

Where was the school at that time and hall of residence?

I think 213, Igbosere Road and we were all provided with accommodation there also.

Do you still remember names of your lecturers?

(Though he could not vividly remember all their names, he was able to mention two names) Mr. Rudd, who was a white expatriate and another whose name I cannot now remember. Mr. Ibironke came from the Ministry of Justice as a State Counsel; he lectured us on Constitutional Law.

What were the Courses you offered?

Evidence, Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, a bit of Land Law and Drafting. It was one white expatriate that took us on Legal Drafting.

How did you relate in class then and how was your interaction with your lecturers?

We talked as colleagues and we discussed as colleagues. The lecturers were good and were devoted. They gave their best to us. There were other people who were invited to talk to us like Chief Rotimi Williams, Justices of Court of Appeal who presided over debates. There were also Moot Courts where Judges presided and gave judgements.

What inspired you to take to Legal Practice?

I needed a profession. In my days at Igbobi College, I was more of a mathematician while my friend, Professor Ade Ajayi was a historian, and so I wanted a break. My university training combined with my training at the Law School gave me a strong footing upon which my legal practice was established.

What is your advice for students at the Nigerian Law School?

I advise students to read hard and concentrate on their work; not like some legal practitioners of today, they are lousy, they are not serious.

What is your advice for lecturers at the Law School

They should be diligent in their work and give their best to the students.

Culled from “Fifty Years of Legal Education in Nigeria-Challenges and Next Steps by Council of Legal Education.”

Editor’s Note: Hon. Justice S. A. Ajuyah transited on the 26th of February, 2015 at the age of 90. This interview was conducted in 2013.

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FOR OLANIPEKUN, AN ABIDING WALK WITH CHARITY

By Wahab Abdulah

Former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and Chairman Body of Benchers, BoB, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN recently donated an ultra-modern high court building to the Ekiti State High Court, Ikere Judicial Division.

Speaking during the official commissioning of the complex in Ikere-Ekiti last week, Chief Olanipekun noted that the gesture was informed by his commitment to bequeath the judicial sector with modern facilities.

The commissioning of the courthouse in Ikere Ekiti has ‘exposed’ Chief Olanipekun’s ‘attitude’ not only to philanthropic gestures but ‘gave’ him away to spirituality in fulfilling the Lord’s command.

Little wonder when the Chairman of Body of Benchers quoted copiously from the Holy Bible and said, “there is nothing we have that has not been given.” Olanipekun added, “the totality of our lives should be lived and geared towards appreciating God for His benevolence, as the one who gives all, through His awesome grace.”

At the well-attended event, the legal luminary equally refused to hide his feelings, love and passion for the law profession which he chose and dedicated his life to even at the risk of envy. He stated the reasons for donating the commissioned courthouse to include but not limited to his love for charity and also his love for the law profession which he has been practicing for over four decades.

He said, “For those who are agitated or might be agitated by the gathering of today or the reason for the gathering, may I plead with them to hold their peace. Primarily the law profession constitutes my natural habitat; and through the profession, which I believe is my calling by the Almighty God, I have bountifully received grace, favour, mercy, blessings and benevolence from the creator, and as such, I am convinced that I am not committing any misdemeanor if my charity should begin at home.”

The creme la creme who honoured the judiciary, the legal profession and particularly Chief Olanipekun who donated the gigantic building to the state judiciary by attending the event were the Governor of the state, Mr. Biodun Oyebanji; President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem; Acting Chief Judge of Kwara State, Justice Abiodun Adebara; Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, senior lawyers and justices, among others.

Many people would have asked the question, ‘Why did he single-handedly donate a court room, furnish it and equip its Library with law books?’ For critics, their views may be that Chief Olanipekun embarked on the gesture in order to have the dominance and influence over whatever happens in the court system in his domain.

The answer was provided by Chief Olanipekun himself when he said: “May I state it loud and clear that this court complex neither belongs to the law firm of Wole Olanipekun and Co, nor my person. It remains forever the property of the Ekiti State Judiciary, vested in it in perpetuity.”

For doubting Thomases, Olanipekun went further to state that he has no single case being handled by his law firm in Ekiti.

The iconic court building comprises of two courtrooms, well equipped library, Judges chambers, Conference rooms, registry, pre-trial room, changing rooms for lawyers, exhibit room, general office, holding cell, toilets, cashier’s office, and a functional heavy-duty capacity generator. The two court rooms were named after Justice Emmanuel Ogundare and Justice Olajide Olatawura respectively, two Ekiti-born jurists that got to the pinnacle of the judiciary as Supreme Court Justices. The library is named after Aare Afe Babalola SAN, foremost lawyer from Ekiti and founder, Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti.

Olanipekun’s footprints are all over home town and beyond. This thirst for charity and unrivaled feat can be attributed to his family background. His father, Late Pa Isaac Olanipekun could not be described as rich in material things, but his service and dedication to God was remarkable. For 17 years, Pa Olanipekun – who passed on in 1999 – served at St. Peter’s Church, Ikere Ekiti, sweeping the floor, planting flowers and cutting grasses without collecting salaries. No wonder his son, Oluwole built the vicarage of the church in his memory in 2012, signifying the blessings of God over the sacrifices and service of the father. Besides, Olanipekun built a 1,600-capacity auditorium for his local church in Ikere in 2020.

Earlier in 2007, Chief Olanipekun built a Computer Laboratory hub fully equipped with laptop and desktop computers for his alma mater, Amoye Grammar School, Ikere-Ekiti. The hub was again refurbished in 2019.

Chief Olanipekun in 2014 built a 350-capacity Bar Centre for the NBA Ikere-Ekiti branch, and in August 2019 purchased a brand new 16-capacity bus for the Branch.

In 2015, he built the Iyaafin Abosede Ultra-modern Amenity Ward located within the premises of the State Specialist Hospital, Ikere-Ekiti, equipped it with state-of-the-art facilities, and donated it to the Ekiti State Government.

The lists of his humanitarian gestures and interventions to make his people happy are numerous. Recently, on November 12, 2022, he hosted the 26th edition of the Wole Olanipekun Scholarship Scheme and 3rd Edition of Wole Olanipekun Foundation Youth Empowerment & Aged/Widows Support Program, where cheques were given to hundreds of beneficiaries.

Speaking extensively on the motivation for building the courthouse, the erudite lawyer explained that his decision to build and donate the complex in his community was as a result of calls received from stakeholders from the law profession on the poor condition of the High Court Complex, making it difficult for judges and lawyers to carry out their duties.

He said, “I started receiving Macedonian calls from my primary constituency that the High Court Complex in my hometown was derelict to the extent that it had become very unconducive and almost uninhabitable for judges and lawyers to carry out their sacred duties in the temple of justice.

“We all know what administration of justice entails, its raison d’etre, its very essence to humanity as well as its primary importance to the existence of mankind. Justice is at the heart and hub of any meaningful and peaceful co-existence, either among governments, governments and citizens or citizens inter se.”

He called on government at all levels including private individuals to pay attention to what he described as the deteriorating state of court facilities in the country, noting that a well-equipped court room would build litigants’ confidence in our judicial system.

His words: “The walls and roofs of a good number of our courtrooms are collapsing and caving in. Basic facilities such as toilets are not available in a good number of courts all over the country; in most instances, functional libraries are not available.

“The ambience of a typical or average courtroom should reflect an atmosphere of learning which judges and lawyers subscribe to, and are known for rather than representing, both from within and without, a rough, untidy, unclean and unkept theatre.”

The Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji commended Olanipekun for his kind gesture, describing it as noble and unprecedented. He added that the new court room would in no small measure enhance the administration of justice.

The governor, who later commissioned the new court room, explained that his administration would remain committed to the development of the state’s judiciary with effective policies and provision of conducive environment, calling on individuals to contribute to the development of the society and not leave everything to the government.

Oyebanji said, “There is no doubt that Chief Olanipekun is a man who takes pleasure in giving back to the society and institutions that once nurtured him. This is yet another demonstration of his commitment to giving back to the law profession where he has made his mark as a distinguished member of the Bar and Bench.

“As a government, our administration understands the importance of law and order to the progress and development of our state. We are committed to effective administration of justice that serves the public by ensuring that condition of our courts and the welfare of the judicial officers are well attended to.”

On his part, the Chief Judge of Ekiti State, Justice Oyewole Adeyeye lamented the growing infrastructural decay in the judicial sector. He commended the former NBA President for the timely donation of the edifice, adding that it would enhance effective administration of justice in the state.

Adeyeye said, “Our prayer was for the renovation of the existing structure; the learned silk by way of consequential order, granted us a brand new fully furnished court complex. That the project was delivered within such a record time is not only a testimony to determination and commitment but also a manifestation of a promise kept.

“Let it be quickly stated however that today’s occasion is by no means an admission of failure or helplessness on the part of the government in its social contract with the people through the provision of enabling facilities for service delivery.

“Rather, it is testimony to the need for the private sector to intervene when necessary in order for the wheels of governance not to grind to a halt.”

* Abdulah is a journalist and public affairs analyst.

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BENCHERS BACK OLANIPEKUN, DECLINE TO PROBE NBA ELECTIONS, DUMP LSN’S LETTER

The elite Body of Benchers have thrown its weight behind its embattled Chairman, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN through a confidence vote.

CITY LAWYER gathered that aside from current Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, three former chief justices of Nigeria also attended Tuesday’s plenary session of the body held at its headquarters in Abuja.

Meanwhile, the body has turned down a request by foremost Bar Leader and former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) presidential candidate, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN to probe the last NBA Elections.

The benchers also gave a cold shoulder to a letter by the embattled Law Society of Nigeria (LSN) urging the body to recognize the new lawyers’ group. Its solicitor and former NBA General Secretary Nimi Walson-Jack was recently suspended by the NBA National Executive Council.

Among the former chief justices who attended the meeting are Justice Mahmud Mohammed, Justice Salisu Modibo Alfa Belgore, and Justice Walter Onnoghen.

CITY LAWYER gathered that in discussing NBA’s letter calling for Olanipekun’s resignation as benchers’ chairman, it was noted that a preliminary report of the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) had absolved partners at Wole Olanipekun & Co from any complicity in the solicitation letter written by Ms. Adekunbi Ogunde, a partner at the law firm.

The benchers argued that in the absence of any appeal on the decision, there was no basis to demand Olanipekun’s departure from the post.

Instead, Life Bencher, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo SAN commended Olanipekun as a highly successful lawyer on several fronts, urging the benchers to pass a vote of confidence on him. The call was seconded by another jurist.

Turning to Gadzama’s strident quest for a probe of the 2022 NBA Elections, CITY LAWYER gathered that NBA President Yakubu Maikyau SAN warned the benchers to steer clear of the matter.

Though Olanipekun had mooted the setting up of a committee to probe the elections, Maikyau stated that he won the election overwhelmingly, adding that the Legal Practitioners Act (LPA) did not give the benchers any oversight role on NBA Elections.

The benchers also dumped a request by the nascent Law Society of Nigeria (LSN) urging the body to recognize it as another association of lawyers. The benchers resolved that there was no basis to discuss LSN’s letter, arguing that the body is unknown to the LPA. It was agreed that the LPA must be amended for the new lawyers’ association to have a legal footing that would enable the benchers to accord it a hearing.

CITY LAWYER recalls that Maikyau had in a recent searing letter urged Olanipekun to resign as Chairman of the Body of Benchers, citing Ogunde’s email.

CITY LAWYER had in an exclusive report cited a complaint by former Minister of Energy and Petroleum ministries, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia SAN over an email from Ogunde, a Partner in Wole Olanipekun & Co, allegedly soliciting to take over a brief his law firm was handling for SAIPEM SPA. Following his demand for an apology, Wole Olanipekun & Co apologized for the debacle and disowned the Partner. NBA has since filed a petition against the embattled senior lawyer at the LPDC.

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ELECTORAL ACT 2022: POWERS OF INEC TO RETRACT ANNOUNCED RESULTS

By Akintayo Balogun

The several amendments/inclusions that came with the Electoral Act 2022, continue to draw attention and concerns from public affairs analysts, political office holders, politicians, legal minds, and the general public. The dilemma that followed the addition of section 84(12) to the Electoral Act 2022, was finally laid to rest when in a unanimous decision by a seven-man panel of Justices led by Justice Muhammad Dattijo, the Supreme Court held that it lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit which it said amounted to an abuse of the judicial process. It held that the President was not a proper person to approach the court with such a suit, owing to the nature of reliefs that were sought. The President and the Attorney General of the Federation had taken the National Assembly to the Supreme Court as the court of first instance to seek the removal of section 84(12) from the Electoral Act as the same was inconsistent with the provisions of Sections 42, 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 147, 151, 177, 182, 192 and 196 of the 1999 Constitution as well Article 2 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights. Following the decision of the Supreme Court, the section since remained a part and parcel of the Electoral Act 2022.

Recently, attention has been drawn to section 65 of the Electoral Act which makes provision concerning the announcement of results by returning officers of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC). The section is herein produced in full.

65.—(1) The decision of the returning officer shall be final on any question arising from or relating to— (a) unmarked ballot paper ;

(b) rejected ballot paper; and
(c) declaration of scores of candidates and the return of a candidate :

Provided that the Commission shall have the power within seven days to review the declaration and return where the Commission determines that the said declaration and return was not made voluntarily or was made contrary to the provisions of the law, regulations, guidelines, and manual for the election.

(2) A decision of the returning officer under subsection (1) may be reviewed by an election tribunal or court of competent jurisdiction in an election petition proceedings under this Act.

This section implies that where a returning officer makes an announcement or takes a decision as it relates to unmarked ballot papers, rejected ballot papers, declaration of scores, and the return of a candidate, that result is still subject to review by INEC, as to whether it was made voluntarily or per not provisions of the law, regulations, and guidelines, and manual for the election. It further implies that the announcement or decision taken by the Returning Officer is not a final decision as the same can be changed based on review by INEC if done within 7 days.

The inclusion of this section in the Electoral Act might not be unconnected to the incident that happened in Imo State stated above, where INEC insisted that Sen. Rochas would not be given the certificate of return having confirmed from its investigation that the returning officer for Imo West senatorial district election had reported that he declared Governor Okorocha winner “under duress”. However, the Abuja division of the Federal High Court ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to with immediate effect, issue a certificate of return to former Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, as the senator-elect for the Imo West Senatorial District. The court had stated thus amongst others:

“once the declaration is made under Section 68(c) of the Electoral Act, INEC has become functus officio and INEC has no lawful authority to withhold the certificate of return for any reason whatsoever….Therefore the issue of duress is unknown to both the Electoral Act and the Constitution.”

However, with the introduction of section 65 into the Electoral Act, this judgment of the Federal High Court has been overtaken and is no longer applicable. A returning officer or the commission only becomes funtus officio after 7 days of the announcement of the result.

One interesting thing about this section is that it is not new to the Nigerian electoral system, but this is the first time that it is being codified. We had a few isolated cases in the recent past.

  1. In February 2019, the Returning Officer for the Imo West Senatorial District election, Professor Ibeawuchi Innocent, said that he declared Governor Rochas Okorocha the winner of the poll under duress. While addressing the press, they stated thus “I declared this thing before under duress; I’m still under duress declaring this one,” INEC, according to its spokesperson, refused to recognize Rochas as the winner of the election having confirmed that the returning officer declared the said results under duress.
  2. During the same election, the Returning Officer for Anambra South senatorial election in last Saturday’s poll, Prof Meshach Umenweke, has denied publication by some national dailies that he declared the candidate of the Young Progressives Party(YPP), Ifeanyi Ubah, winner to save his life. He stated that he never at any point said he announced the result of the Anambra South senatorial election under duress nor in the mode that is implied (by the newspapers). He then re-affirm his declaration that Ifeanyi Ubah, the candidate of the YPP, is the winner of the Anambra South senatorial seat.”
  3. On 7th November 2021, The Returning Officer of the Orumba North Local Government Area, Dr. Michael Otu, said he nearly lost his life when thugs attacked the Local Government collation center during the Anambra Governorship Election held in the state. He said that he was teargassed when trouble ensued. He narrated that the score sheets were mutilated and he was made to sign a fake result under duress. He further stated that INEC officers attached to him were compromised.

In my view, this novel section of the Electoral Act comes with its advantages and disadvantages.

The advantage of the section is that it allows the Returning Officer to make retractions where a result has been declared under duress or was made contrary to the provisions of the law, regulations and guidelines, and manual for the election. We know the terrain in Nigeria and how elections have over the years been tainted by hooliganism, ballot-snatching, theft of election materials, kidnapping of political opponents, the assassination of political rivals, arson, assault, and physical destruction of election materials, and even intimidation, and outright molestation or killing of election officials. These listed challenges could affect the returning officer who in turn is forced to announce a result in favour of a particular candidate. But once the coast is clear and the tempers are down, the returning officer with the intervention/investigation of the commission can retract on the result announced and give proper grounds/reasons for the retraction.

The disadvantage of this provision is that a Returning Officer that allows him or herself to be influenced by politicians or moneybags may decide to retract a good result in favour of a tainted result. These are the sides to section 65 which makes it a good legislation and the same time a bad one.

As it stands today, a returning officer can retract a result upon investigation by the commission once it is proven that the announcement of the result was done voluntarily or not done in accordance with the provisions of the law, regulations and guidelines, and manual for the election. This remains the position of the law and so it remains until it is either set aside by another legislation or by an order of the court. The good part of the legislation is that the decision of the Returning Officer or the commission, whether the original result announced or the reviewed result, both results may be subject to an election tribunal petition proceedings as provided for in Section 65(2) of the Act.

Akintayo Balogun is a legal practitioner in based in Abuja. He can be reached at akinson6@gmail.com

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MANY HURDLES FOR CBN REDESIGNED NAIRA SCHEME

By Hassan Olalekan Sherif

On Wednesday, November 23, 2022, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria launched the redesigned N200,N500 and N1000 Naira notes. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele and other dignitaries were in attendance. The new currency notes are now supposedly in circulation since December 15, 2022, with both the new and old notes to run concurrently as legal tenders until January 31, 2023.

In explaining the overriding objective behind this initiative, the CBN in a press release dated November 11, 2022, signed by Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, the CBN’s Director of Corporate Communications, claims it is committed to preserving the integrity of the local legal tender by reducing the significant amount of cash outside the banking system and its use for criminal activities, curtailing currency counterfeit and promoting financial inclusion, amongst others.

While these objectives are lofty really, the response of the banking public to the implementation of the policy has been mixed and deservedly so. On one hand, the policy has ensured an increased currency deposit across banks and other financial institutions. In fact, the CBN stated that of the N3.23 trillion currency in circulation, N2.73 trillion was outside the vaults of commercial banks across the country; and supposedly held by the public. However due to the instant naira redesign initiative, it is reported that more than N2 trillion has been pulled back into the vaults of banks as well as that of the CBN.

On the other hand, the banking public have expressed their concerns over the continued scarcity of the new naira notes which now puts the preparedness of the CBN in doubt. Although officially, commercial banks across the nation have commenced dispensing the newly redesigned N200, N500 and N1,000 Naira notes on Thursday, December 15, 2022, many banks’ branches in reality are yet to begin giving out the new notes. Commercial Banks still issue old notes over the counter and continue to load ATMs with the same. As to why the scarcity of the new notes linger, most of these commercial banks have arrogated their inability to dispense new notes to inadequate supply from the CBN. These realities now cast doubts on the CBN’s ability to meet its January 31 deadline, leaving many to wonder and indeed this writer too, if the implementation of the CBN’s redesigned naira policy and the circulation of same is a well-thought-out venture or a thoughtless one? And in view of the extant laws governing the issuance, form and design of legal tenders in Nigeria, is the newly redesigned legal tender, even legal?

Thoughtful or Thoughtless?
The CBN commenced officially dispensing the newly redesigned noted on December 15, 2022. Deadline for use of the old note is presently pegged at January 31, 2023. This means a total of 47 days within which to adequately supply the newly redesigned notes to Nigerians. This is a period less than two months. This timeframe is less than 7 weeks cumulatively.

In view of the foregoing, the World Bank in its report accessed that the timing and short transition period for the new naira may have negative impacts on economic activity. The World Bank thus advised that “international experience suggests that rapid demonetizations can generate significant short-term costs, with small-scale businesses, and poor and vulnerable households, potentially being particularly affected due to being liquidity-constrained and heavily reliant on day-to-day cash transactions”. The CBN would have none of these advisories and have continued to push for its January 31, 2023 deadline even in light of the many bottlenecks stifling a successful circulation of the redesigned naira.
This has left many wondering if the in-situ stance was a thoughtful one, especially considering that the CBN had only recently revised its policy on Cash Withdrawal Limit after much ruckus from the public and the request from the National Assembly to considerably adjusts same.

Is the New Redesigned Legal Tender, Legal?
Even more worrisome is the legal status of the newly redesigned naira notes and whether due process was followed. The CBN Act provides in Section 19(1)(b) that the currency notes issued by the CBN shall be of such forms and designs and bear such devices as shall be approved by the President on the recommendation of the Board.

Firstly, this writer cannot access any public record/gazette containing recommendations on the form and design of the new notes by the CBN Board of Directors to Mr. President, especially preceding Mr. President’s purported approval. It was only reported that Mr President had approved the redesigned naira after the Minister of Finance claimed that her ministry was not consulted or carried along in the naira redesign plans. However as to the form and substance of this purported approval, this writer, as well as the people he had interviewed, cannot tell or confirm. It is also curious whether the form and design of our currency should only be reported as approved by Mr President, through a public show of approval and fanfare and photo ops. This writer is not aware of any written instrument of approval from Mr. President and can also not confirm that there was any recommendation by the Board of the CBN to Mr President on the form and design of the redesigned naira notes.

Secondly, the CBN Governor cannot ipso facto declare a new design. According to Section 6(2) of CBN Act, the Board of Directors (the Board) of the CBN shall consist of a Governor who shall be the Chairman, four Deputy Governors; the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance; five Directors; and the Accountant-General of the Federation.

Though the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Finance is a member, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed had declared that the CBN did not carry her ministry along in its naira redesign plans. This suggests that the Board may have never met to make any recommendation in respect of the redesigned naira, or that the Board was not properly constituted before her recommendations for the redesigned currencies or that the Board formed a quorum with the Permanent Secretary in absence, or just outrightly that the Minister of Finance was being economical with the truth. Whatever the case, it is quite crystal that a proper and valid recommendation of the Board must precede the approval of a change in the form and/or design of the naira, before the approval of the President can be validly obtained and properly granted. This is doubtful in light of the suggestions herein.

On the withdrawal of old currency notes and cessation as legal tender on or before January 31, 2023, there are also legal implications. Section 20(3) of the CBN Act states that the CBN “shall have power, if directed to do so by the President and after giving reasonable notice in that behalf, to call in any of its notes or coins on payment of the face value thereof and any note or coin with respect to which a notice has been given under this sub-section, shall, on the expiration of the notice, cease to be legal tender”.

In essence, there must be a DIRECTIVE from Mr. President and REASONABLE NOTICE must be given for recalling old notes in circulation where a new currency is introduced. Again, it is not within the immediate confirmation of this author that Mr president had issued such a directive to the CBN and it is not verifiable on the CBN’s official website. Moreso giving less than three months’ notice for the change to a new currency and calling for all old currency within that timeframe cannot in good conscience and for a country with over 200 million population be reasonable, especially as the Apex bank is even yet to, as claimed by commercial banks, adequately and appropriately supply the redesigned currency for onward dispensing to customers.

The Way to Go?
As a matter of urgency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) must pursue currency hawkers, Persons of Interest/Politicians and others who have mopped up the very few new naira notes recently released by the CBN. Some claim that the CBN and Deposit Money Banks are in collusion with currency hawkers who sell the new notes on the black market to wealthy “customers”. If we must not transmute to the days of yore where 90 percent of the Nigerian currencies were in the hand of a select few, the trend must be looked into and nipped in the bud. Section 21 (4) of the CBN Act has already made it an offence punishable with a fine of N50,000 naira or 6 months imprisonment or both, for any person to hawk, sell or otherwise trade in the Naira notes, coins or any other note issued by the CBN. The CBN is empowered by section 6(3)(f) of the CBN Act to carrying out such other activities as are necessary and expedient for the purposes of achieving its objectives and should take a more active role in ensuring the prosecution of offenders. At the very least, the CBN, as a regulator, cannot afford to be complicit in this nefarious and illegal venture and any of its staff found wanting must and should accordingly face the necessary sanction.

This writer has also read in the Thisday Newspaper of Wednesday the 11th of January, 2023, that the CBN has warned that it will penalize banks that fail to comply with its directive to dispense the newly redesigned N200, N500 and N1000 through their ATMs. The Apex bank is also insistent on the January 31, 2023 deadline for the withdrawal of old notes in circulation. It is interesting to note that even in the face of all these “threats”, there is no clear-cut punitive measure in the event of a breach. And at the moment, there is no implication for non-compliance from the Bank save the threat of a penalty. There is also no monitoring mechanism for the implementation of the policy.

As with the CBN policy on Cash Withdrawal Limit which was revised after much ruckus from the public and the request from the National Assembly that withdrawal limits be considerably adjusted, the CBN must urgently review its naira redesign policy within the prism of legality and practicability. It must also consider the viability of its logistics just so the issue of inadequate supply is taken care of. It is not rocket science that there is a scarcity of the new redesigned notes. The feasibility of achieving an adequate supply of the notes to Nigerians through the commercial banks is looking slim given the narrow timeframe.

Hassan Olalekan Sherif is an Abuja based legal practitioner. He is a Legal Associate with J-K Gadzama LLP and can be reached at hassanolalekansherif@gmail.com. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author.

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SHITTU, EFCC PROSECUTOR, MOURNS OLALEKAN YUSUF, SAN

CHIEF OLALEKAN YUSUF SAN, Principal Partner and founder of Olalekan Yusuf, SAN & Co., passed on last Thursday. Described as “the go-to Counsel for complex legal matters, particularly in the area of land law, law of secured credit transactions and Commercial Law,” Yusuf took silk in 2013.

He was a former Chairman (2000-2002) and Vice Chairman (1998-2000) of Nigeria Bar Association, Ikeja Branch, a member of the General Council of the Bar and the International Bar Association (IBA).

In this article, law teacher and fiery Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) prosecutor Wahab Shittu SAN pays tribute to his memory.

Adieu AbdulFatai Olalekan Yusuf SAN.

This morning l woke up to the sad reality that our olalekan AbdulFatai Yusuf SAN is no more. It sounds unbelievable, but it is a sad reality.

We were close right from our SBS days between 81- 82 where we cultivated friendship and brotherhood. It was not like we saw each other often, even if our law firms are not too far from each other. Our hearts always bonded.

A strong friendship doesn’t need daily conversations, doesn’t always need togetherness. As long as the relationship lives in the heart, true friends will never part.

And so it pains to know that our friend and brother is no more, at least in the land of the living.

It pains. However every pain teaches a lesson. Every lesson changes a person.

The lesson here for me and everyone else, is that as mortals, we cannot live forever. For each and everyone of us, one day it will be over.

This ought to teach us all that we need to embrace Good deeds, and try to move closer to God, because one day for you and l , it will be over.

When that day comes, and no matter how long, how will you and l like to be remembered?

Myself and the departed Olalekan Yusuf SAN renewed contacts
and togetherness as students of the Faculty of law, University of Lagos between 1983- 86 and subsequently attended law school together in 1987.

And from that vantage point of knowledge, l now share testimonial about the departed learned silk.

The departed was married to Bimpe, a director of the National Library, a relationship that started from Ojoku Grammar school and blossomed at SBS Ilorin. Both were inseparable and remain so till death separated them this morning. At SBS ilorin , both always clung to each other like Romeo and Juliet. To my knowledge, both never cut corners. The relationship may have shown the departed as one committed to relationships. Learned silk was fiercely loyal. I never saw the departed learned silk in any other intimate relationship with any other woman other than Bimpe throughout his life. What a devoted man he was.

The relationship blossomed and was blessed with successful children including a medical surgeon and legal practitioner, amongst others. The departed believed in quality education and gave all his children his best in terms of care and commitment to quality education.

In terms of commitment to relationships, l reference the departed’s closeness to our colleague, our late Ade olowomoran. Both of them forged friendships until Ade olomoran’s last hours, and Yusuf remained committed to his friend even after his sudden death after our service years in Kano. The departed never betrayed his friends.

One of my wife’s sisters is married to the learned silk’s Elder brother. I can confirm from the testimonial of my wife’s sister, that the departed silk was responsible for the upkeep and educational training of all his Elder brother’s children up to the University level and also supported the extended family with required resources. Such was his depth of humanity. My wife’s sister remain inconsolable with tears this morning as we called to offer our condolences.

I recall sharing the departed’s commitment to community services with the world at his last birthday. Singlehandedly, the departed impacted his native Ojoku community. He built a befitting police post for the community which he handed over to the Nigerian police force. Such was his devotion to community services.

The late departed ran a stellar and professionalised legal practice. His law chambers along Allen Avenue remain a delight in terms of organisation, architecture and library services. A delight and reference point for any professional.

Many will attest to the departed’s excellent taste and dress sense. He was always well turned out either in immaculate suits or native wears. He made such a huge impression such that the body of Senior Advocate accorded him the hosting rights in one of the body’s special functions.

Always reserved with admirable presence, the departed silk chose carefully his circle of friends. One of his closest friends that l know is Hakeem Ogunniran, the celebrated business lawyers who reigned as the CEO of one of the blue- chip companies in Nigeria. Both remain close friends, until death snatched our departed friend away this morning.

I can go on and on about the departed silk, including my last physical contact with him in his office, when he reiterated the professionalism of his practice and his determination never to pervert the course of justice by not offering bribes to any judicial officer for any favours whatsoever.

And so our AbdulFatai Olalekan Yusuf SAN, the expert property/ commercial lawyer and litigator is no more.

He bade Farewell to the world this morning, and we mourn.
I mourn.

May Allah receive his gentle soul peacefully in Aljannah firdaus.
Amen.

And to Bimpe ( the only woman in his life), his children, family, immediate and extended, his Ojoku community, his in- laws in my native Offa community, his colleagues and cycle of friends including the body of Senior Advocate of Nigeria and his retinue of clients including the estate of his rich client (Estate of renowned chief Ayodele Ayoku), l say Farewell.

Farewell, Farewell, Farewell to our brother and friend, AbdulFatai olalekan Yusuf SAN as his body is interred at a solemn burial rites according to Muslim customs this evening.

Farewell my brother,
Farewell our friend
Farewell my friend

Wahab Shittu SAN

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SOLAR FOR ALL: CHIEF (MRS.) AYORINDE JOINS LIST OF BENEFICIARIES

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SOLAR FOR ALL: Chief. Mrs. Bolanle Ayorinde of Ayorinde SAN & Co joins list of beneficiaries (in partnership with NBA Abuja, NBA Lagos, BOSAN Abuja, Otu Oka-Iwu Abuja, NBA Kano, NBA Gwagwalada, Medical Doctors at FMC Cooperative, FCT Pharmacies, and UNILAG College of Medicine Alumni among others).

To get an efficient Solar/Inverter system for 24 hours electricity supply and save at least half of your current power cost while you “Pay Small Small” for up to Six Months, call Solar For All Ltd: 08060266163.

Visit: (Abuja) Suite A8, Kenuj O2 Mall (Behind Games Village).
(Lagos) No 113A, Mainland Way, Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi.

As Electricity continues to be an issue in the country and diesel/fuel gets more expensive Solar For All Ltd was at the descent Ibadan home of Mrs.Ayorinde, where it installed a Solar System that powers all the essentials in the home, ensures 24-hour power supply and a reduced power cost of at least 50%.

Other beneficiaries from whom the efficiency of delivery can be verified include: Ebun Olu Adegboruwa SAN, Dr.Muiz Banire SAN, High Chief Emeka J-P Obegolu SAN, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde SAN; Chief J-K Gadzama SAN; Mazi Afam Osigwe SAN; Prince Adetosoye Adebiyi Esq; Mr. Paul Daudu Esq of 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 of SPA Ajibade SAN & Co; FIDA Nigeria (FIDA House Abuja); Prince Adetokumbo Kayode SAN; Mrs. Amina Agbaje Esq (FIDA Nigeria CVP); 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 of Liman, Liman SAN & Co; Hon. Justice Emeka Nriezedi of the Anambra State Judiciary; Dr. Hassan Liman SAN; Chief J. U. K. Igwe SAN; Mr. Chike Ekeocha, Esq. of Alex Izinyon SAN & Co/SUEX Nig. Ltd; Mummy Sylvia Okoregbe Esq; John Ochogwu, Esq; Hon. Rodrich Ugwu Esq; Prof. Godson Ogbonna of Abia State University, Uturu; Sir Austin Mwana Esq; Mr. Thony Lyiod Onyemaizu Esq; Dr. Agada Elachi Esq; Mr. Zach Akubo of 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 of the Trademoore Estate, among many others.

Some of the benefits of Solar/Inverters include:
*Solar is cheaper at long-run!

*24 hours Power Supply for homes/offices

  • Your current Power cost will drop by at least 50% after we install.

*No noise!

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*No fueling

*25 years warranty on the German Solar panels.

  • In case of any issue with the Inverter Machine, another Inverter is deployed before we take the one that needs attention for troubleshooting/repairs.

“To get an efficient Solar/Inverter system for 24hours Light, while you “Pay Small Small” for up to Six Months; Call Bricks and Castles Energy-Tech Ltd: 08050489622, 08060266163

Visit: (Abuja) Suit A8 Kenuj O2 Mall Kaura District Abuja (Behind Games Village).

(Lagos) No 113A, Mainland Way, Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi.

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MAIKYAU TO CJN: ‘WHY WE WANT OLANIPEKUN TO QUIT AS BOB CHAIR’

Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN has written another scathing letter to the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the Secretary of the Body of Benchers asking them to pressure BoB Chairman, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN to quit.

In the petition, Maikyau said: “I have, since assuming office as President of the NBA, expressed concerns over the negative impact of the e-mail by Adekunbi Ogunde (as with so many other actions of our colleagues), on the legal profession in Nigeria. In my inaugural address on August 26, 2022, I specifically referred to the e-mail and the matters arising therefrom.

“I did not mince words about the devastating effect of that e-mail on our noble profession of law and by virtue of the strategic position of this Body in showcasing the crème-de-lacrème of the legal profession in Nigeria, this Body must acquit itself of any complicity, albeit after the fact, in any act of professional misconduct.

“For us as members of the legal profession to discharge this responsibility, we must be in position to earn and command the confidence of the people. Needless to say, the confidence of Nigerians in the legal profession is at an all-time low and, like I observed in my Address during the 2022/2023 Legal Year Ceremony of the Supreme Court on 28 November 2022, the unfortunate situation is not unconnected with the conduct of members of the profession, both on the Bench and at the Bar.

“It is for this reason that I must respectfully call on this Body to take definite steps toward regaining the confidence of Nigerians in the legal profession. The e-mail by Adekunbi Ogunde, which presented this Body and indeed the entire legal profession in Nigeria, as one subject to and/or susceptible to manipulation by the Chairman, is the greatest damage ever inflicted on the legal profession in Nigeria and the psyche of Nigerians. Whatever confidence Nigerians may have had in the legal profession was drastically eroded by the content of that email, which gained wide publicity in the social media.

“Interestingly, there was no denial that the said e-mail was indeed written, and whether the content of the email was authorised or not is immaterial to the impression created by its content. The only way this Body can demonstrate that it “consists of men of the highest distinction in the legal profession” is to come out and speak boldly against that negative narrative and refuse to celebrate it in anyway under any guise.

“We must not allow younger members of the profession to have the slightest thought that the content of Adekunbi Ogunde’s email is a template for legal practice in Nigeria. No one should be in any doubt that, the content of the email is condemnable and does not represent this Body and the legal profession. We owe the younger generation of lawyers the duty to speak and not be silent. My administration has committed to protecting the legal space for the benefit of the upcoming generation of lawyers. Not only are we resolved to resist any external incursions into the legal space, we shall equally resist any action that seeks to destroy the fabric of the profession.

“We owe the younger generations of not only lawyers but all Nigerians, honest and sincere mentorship. To allow the status quo in this Body to remain, despite the glaring colossal damage to the conscience of this nation, the legal profession, is to abdicate our responsibility to the nation.”

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SUPREME COURT JURIST UNVEILS NBAWF, IAWL REPORTS ON WOMEN

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The Institute for African Women in Law in collaboration with the Nigerian Bar Association Women Forum launched three reports on women in leadership and law. The research gives empirical data on women in law and leadership in three sectors of the legal profession – the bar, bench and academia.

The research was carried out on behalf of the IAWL by the Research and Documentation committee of the NBAWF headed by Prof Adejoke Oyewunmi, Professor of Law at the University of Lagos.

The event which was held at Radisson Blu Anchorage Hotel, Lagos, was moderated by Ozofu Igemudia, Partner at Udo-Udoma & Belo-Osagie and featured notable and distinguished members of the bar, bench and academia in the Nigerian legal industry.

Several justices of various courts were in attendance – Justice Amina Augie, Honourable Justice of the Supreme Court and guest speaker at the event; Prof Yinka Omorogbe, SAN, former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Edo state; Justice Toyin Oyekan-Abdullahi, Judge, High Court of Lagos state,

Also in attendance were senior members at the bar including Gbenga Oyebode, Co-founder and Of Counsel, Aluko and Oyebode; Yakubu C. Maikyau SAN, President of the Nigerian Bar Association ably represented by Adesina Adegbite, General Secretary of the NBA; Hairat Balogun, OON, founder and Senior Partner, Libra Law; Funke Agbor, SAN, Senior Partner, Dentons-ACAS Law.

Representing academia were Prof Oluyemisi Bamgbose, SAN, immediate Past Chairperson of the NBAWF and Deputy Vice-chancellor, University of Ibadan; Prof. Chioma Kanu Agomo, Professor of Law at the University of Lagos; Prof Adejoke Oyewunmi, Head, Research and Documentation Committee of the NBAWF; Onyoja Momoh (PhD), International Family Law expert and Board member, IAWL.

In her opening remarks, Chinyere Okorocha, Chairperson of the NBA Women Forum congratulated both bodies on the “momentous report launch”. She noted that the NBAWF was first contacted in 2021 by Prof J. Jarpa Dawuni, Founder and Executive Director, of IAWL to carry out the research on behalf of the institute and this report marks the first properly compiled data on women in law and leadership in Nigeria. She also noted that women for centuries were not treated as they should in the various professions they found themselves including the legal profession. According to her, “this is why the research is important and will help to find out through empirical evidence whether what women suffer is perhaps marginalisation, discrimination, unequal pay or just women making a lot of noise.” She also stated that the recommendations from the reports will be carried forward to the right places in order to get good results.

In his goodwill message, Yakubu Maikyau, SAN, represented by Adesina Adegbite, lauded the initiative of the IAWL and NBAWF on the research and noted that it was a good thing that women take charge of their destiny. He also noted that the NBAWF would constantly enjoy the support of the administration.

Prof Dawuni stated that the research was conducted in four African countries – Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Senegal. The research has been concluded and launched first in Nigeria and will now be launched in other countries. According to her, the study shows that although there are notable female thought leaders in Nigeria, a lot still needs to be done to increase the number of female legal professionals in leadership in every sector of the legal industry. According to her “the research was done to obtain data on women lawyers in leadership, highlight the successes of female lawyers in Nigeria, pointing out the challenges and proffer solutions to these challenges

An overview of the reports was given by Yinka Omorogbe, SAN, former Attorney General of Edo state, noting that, “it provides recommendations on how to improve their conditions and promote effective gender-inclusion policies.”

In the fire-side chat between Justice Amina Augie, JSC and Prof J. Jarpa Dawuni, the Honourable Justice talked about her 45-year career and highlighted her experience as a woman in academia and on the bench. She noted that to rise and be part of leadership, women face a lot of challenges, however, “women have to embrace obstacles, learn lessons from them and be prepared for anything”. In her words, “women have to be the best they can be”. She also noted that women have to prepare themselves for leadership. “Wanting to be a leader is one thing and preparing for when it will come is another; women have to own it and embrace crisis and be confident always” Amina JSC noted.

The reports of the research were unveiled by J. Jarpa Dawuni and Chinyere Okorocha flanked by Justice Amina Augie JSC, Prof Oluyemisi Bamgbose SAN, Gbenga Oyebode, Yinka Omorogbe SAN and Dr Onyoja Momoh.

In her acknowledgements, Dr Onyoja Momoh noted that the reports show that a lot still needs to be done and that it is not enough to have gender-inclusion policies in place unless they are effectively implemented. In her words, “rights are meaningless unless they are consistently enforced.”

The closing remarks were given by Prof Oluyemisi Bamgbose SAN who stated that it was only just the beginning of what the partnership between the two bodies will achieve. She also noted that the research carried out by the IAWL and NBAWF has shown that the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal number five which concerns gender equality and women empowerment is achievable.

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NBA WOMEN FORUM, IAWL LAUNCH REPORTS TODAY

PHOTO: L-R Prof. Oluyemisi Bamgbose SAN, immediate past NBAWF Chairperson; Prof J. J. Dawuni, Founder and Executive Director, IAWL and Chinyere Okorocha, NBAWF Chairperson

The Institute of African Women in Law (IAWL) will in collaboration with the Nigerian Bar Association Women Forum (NBAWF) launch three reports on Women in Law and Leadership in the Legal Profession.

The report will be unveiled today at Radisson Blu, Victoria Island, Lagos. It spotlights women in the Nigerian bar, bench and academy, and is aimed to inform policy actions.

The reports summarize the empirical findings gathered on women in law and leadership as part of strategic actions under the Women in Law and Leadership (WILL) initiative of the Institute for African Women in Law. WILL is crucial because of the legal system’s unique role in addressing gender-based discrimination. Women’s unique perspectives, participation, and leadership in the justice system are valuable tools in achieving goal number five (#5) of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on gender equality by ensuring the specific interests and priorities of women are represented in decision-making processes.

Key actors in the legal profession including judges of superior courts of record, leading academics and top law firms, as well as diplomatic missions and philanthropic organizations will be present at the launch. Speaking about the reports and the launch, J. Jarpa Dawuni (PhD), Founder and Executive Director, IAWL stated that “the Institute for African Women in Law’s five-year strategic goal of Women in Law and Leadership is aimed at accelerating systems change for women in leadership. These reports are a first step to informing policy actions. We will work with our country partners, the NBAWF to expand opportunities for women in law in Nigeria”.

According to the Chairperson of NBAWF, Chinyere Okorocha, “The NBAWF is proud to have collaborated with the IAWL on this laudable report. It is a rich source of data on the issues affecting women leaders in the sector and we look forward to partnering with stakeholders to implement the recommended solutions”.

She also acknowledged her predecessor, Prof. Oluyemisi Bamgbose SAN, under whose leadership the collaboration was initiated, as well as the Head of NBAWF Research and Documentation Committee, Dr. Adejoke Oyewunmi, who led the NBAWF team.

The NBAWF is an arm of the Nigerian Bar Association committed to empowering, inspiring and supporting female legal professionals in Nigeria. Since its inauguration in 2019, the NBAWF has served as a platform for advocacy for female lawyers, championing the promotion and appointment of female lawyers to well-deserved positions, and empowering female lawyers through mentorship and exposure to national and international workshops.

The Institute for African Women in Law (IAWL) is a pan-African non-profit, non-governmental organization committed to supporting the formidable works of women in law across the continent of Africa and the Diaspora. Its goal is to be a focal point for addressing issues across the legal and judicial sectors. Its vision is to build a network of legal professionals devoted to using the law as a tool for positive social change and development. The Institute’s four-step strategy includes enhancing potential, nurturing leadership, creating opportunities and building partnerships.

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LAGOS LAWYER FOR BURIAL TODAY, AS ‘KILLER-COP’ PLEADS NOT GUILTY (VIDEO)

The Lagos State Government has commenced prosecution of an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Mr. Drambi Vandi for the alleged murder of a Lagos-based lawyer, Mrs. Omobolanle Raheem on Christmas Day.

Meanwhile, the deceased will be buried today after a funeral service at the Olive Tree Parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Banana Island, Lagos.

This is coming on the heels of a Service of Songs held yesterday at the same venue as well as a Day of Tributes organized by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in honour of the deceased.

Lagos Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN yesterday led the prosecution as Vandi was arraigned before Justice Ibironke Harrison of the Lagos State High Court sitting at Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) on a one-count charge of murder.

The charge, dated December 28, 2022 and marked LD/20598c/22, alleged that Vandi killed Raheem contrary to Section 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015.

The charge read: “ASP Vandi on the 25th of December 2022 at Ajah roundabout along Lekki-Epe Expressway Lagos in the Lagos Judicial Division unlawfully killed one Omobolanle Raheem (F) by shooting her in the chest.” Vandi pleaded not guilty.

Onigbanjo informed the court that the prosecution had two witnesses, Mr. Matthew Ameh and Mr. Ebimini – both Police Inspectors.

Testifying from the witness box, Ameh stated that he, Ebimini and Vandi were colleagues at the Ajah Police Division, adding that Vandii was the leader of their three-man team on the day of the incident. Ameh, who said he had been in the Force since 2001, testified that Ebimini and Vardi were armed on the day of the incident.

He explained that before they were posted out for work that morning, the Divisional Police Officer of the Ajah Division cautioned all the police units under his control against indiscriminate firearms use.

Ameh said: “(The DPO stated) That as we were going out, our duty was to protect life and property, that on no account should anyone use his firearm unless someone’s life is in danger or your life is in danger.”

He stated that they were on a “stop and search” duty under the Ajah Bridge on Christmas Day when a Toyota car approached.

He said: “Ebimini was in front, I was in the middle while Supol Vandi was the last man behind (us).”

Ameh said as the car approached Ebimini, he flagged it down but the car drove past.

The witness said: “It didn’t stop for him. The car got to where I was, I flagged it down; it didn’t stop for me.

“The next thing I heard was a gunshot. I looked back to see what was happening and I saw the vehicle with the glass falling.”

He told the court that “It was the front screen (windscreen)” that fell off.

“The next thing I saw again was a dark woman jumping down from the vehicle and holding Supol Vandi. She said: ‘Oga, you have killed my sister.

“The woman held him and before I and Ebimini could get to them, they had entered the car, locked it and zoomed off. We do not know where they drove to.”

He said when they returned to their police station, their Divisional Police Officer (DPO) drove in with Vandi in a patrol van.

Following partial cross-examination by Vandi’s counsel, Mr. Adetokunbo Odutola, the judge acceded to Mr. Onigbanjo’s prayer for an accelerated hearing of the case, Justice Harrison adjourned further proceedings till January 25 and 26.

The NATION reports that proceedings were delayed for over an hour following Odutola’s absence.

Justice Harrison stood down Vandi’s arraignment until the lawyer showed up at past 11am.

The judge, upon being informed of the presence of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President Mr. Yakubu Maikyau, SAN, and the NBA Lagos Branch Chairman, Ikechukwu Uwanna, urged them to make interim arrangements for a lawyer to defend Vandi pro bono. Maikyau agreed.

Vandi, an Assistant Superintendent attached to the Ajiwe Police Station in Ajah, Lagos State, allegedly shot Raheem while she was returning from a Christmas Day outing with her family members.

He was arrested and appeared before Chief Magistrate C.A. Adedayo on December 30, 2022, a day after the Police Service Commission (PSC) approved his suspension.

The magistrate ordered that he be remanded at the Ikoyi custodial facility pending advice of the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions.

To view some highlights of the trial, click here.

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MAIKYAU INAUGURATES NBA WOMEN FORUM EXCO

The new Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association Women Forum (NBAWF) was today inaugurated by Nigerian Bar Association President (NBA), Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN. The handover and inauguration ceremony was held at the Westwood Hotel, Ikoyi.

The event witnessed the passing of the baton of leadership to the new executive and council members. Chinyere Okorocha, the new Chairperson, took the mantle of leadership from Prof. Oluyemisi Bamgbose SAN, the immediate past chairperson of the Forum.

Other executive committee members are Ifueko Alufohai, Vice-Chairperson; Irene Iniobong Pepple, Secretary and Mercy Ijato-Agada, Treasurer.

The event also ushered in the new Governing Council of the Forum comprising Folashade Alli, Soibi Ovia, Ekaete Ubokudom, Chinyere Okeziem-Nwoko, Musleemah Nagode Olamide, Oyeyemi Aderigbigbe and Mohammed Adama.

The ceremony was witnessed by distinguished members of the Bar and other notable guests. Aside from Maikyau, Justice Kazeem Alogba, Chief Judge of Lagos State was ably represented by Justice Nicol-Clay. Others are Ayotola Jagun, past NBAWF Governing Council member; Habeeb Akorede Lawal, NBA Publicity Secretary; Mandy Asagba, President, African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA); other NBA National Executive members, NBAWF committee members, state leads and branch coordinators.

In her welcome address, Jagun, who is also the Company Secretary of Oando, stated that NBAWF had evolved due to the dedication of the outgone executive members and through committees which reflect the needs of female lawyers in Nigeria.

She noted that the NBAWF is dedicated to its passion to empower, inspire and support female lawyers in Nigeria. Encouraging all female lawyers in Nigeria to be part of the NBAWF activities as the Forum is representative of female lawyers across the board, she charged all to be part of the change they want to see.

In his opening remarks, Maikyau lauded the Forum especially the outgone executives for laying a strong foundation for the new executives. He noted that the NBAWF has been of great support in attaining the general objectives of the NBA, and pledged his continuous support for the Forum. In his words, “the NBAWF is a pride to all and we will not relent in our efforts to support the Women Forum whenever our support is needed because this will also be in line with the objectives of the NBA”.

Maikyau stated that it was not enough to simply pass the baton of leadership but that the past executives must continually support the present administration.

The NBA President administered the oath of office on the Chairperson of the Women Forum, Chinyere Okorocha. The newly inaugurated Chairperson in turn carried out her first duty by administering the oaths of office on other executive members and council members.

In her handover report, Bamgbose congratulated the new executives for starting their tenure on a solid foundation and affirmed her support for the new leadership. She especially expressed confidence in the new chairperson, who was the vice-chairperson during her tenure and lauded her dedication and commitment to the objectives of the body.

Some of the landmark achievements of the Forum during her tenure were the creation of nine committees for the Forum in 2020; the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Women in Law Section of the New York State Bar in 2020; the signing of a research collaboration agreement with the Institute of African Women in Law in 2021; initiating a Sexual Harassment Policy which was adopted by the NBA in October 2022; organising of trainings and workshops on issues affecting female lawyers in Nigeria and yearly commemoration of the International Women’s Day. She thanked the past presidents of the NBA, Paul Usoro, SAN and Olumide Akpata for their support for the Forum in the past years.

Okorocha thanked her predecessor who she noted had left a big shoe for her to fill, as well as members of the Bar for their support. She expressed her unwavering resolve to honour the trust and confidence placed in her, and vowed that she would always act in the best interest, integrity and well-being of the Forum.

The Chairperson stated that her administration is committed to a 5-Point Agenda which included strengthening the Forum; building capacity for female lawyers in Nigeria; achieving nationwide coverage and recognition for the Forum; promoting female lawyers in leadership, and promoting work-life balance for women in the legal industry in Nigeria.

She expressed her administration’s commitment to institutionalise transparency and build the capacity of the members of the Forum. NBAWF Secretary Irene Iniobong Pepple gave the closing remarks and vote of thanks.

The NBA Women Forum serves as a critical voice for female lawyers in Nigeria. It is a platform for addressing various professional, legal, policy and legislative issues impacting women. The various programs of the Forum focus on trainings, empowerment, and building networks through collaboration and partnerships with various bodies. The forum focuses on issues that are mainly of interest to female lawyers in Nigeria, encouraging gender balance, expanding networks and developing the careers of its members, as well as advancing critical change in the legal profession in Nigeria.

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UN CHIEF, IGINI, OTHERS X-RAY 2023 ELECTIONS AT GANI FAWEHINMI ANNUAL LECTURE

United Nations’ International Elections Commissioner, Mrs. Charlotte Kesson-Smith Osei; Mr. Mike Igini, former INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State, and Commodore Kunle Olawunmi, a Public Affairs Analyst & Commentator are among the dignitaries that will deliver speeches at this year’s Gani Fawehinmi Annual Lecture slated for this weekend.

This year’s lecture will hold on Sunday, January 15, 2023 at the LAHL Bevent Centre of the Lagos Airport Hotel, Obafemi Awolowo way, Ikeja with the theme: “Free, Fair and Credible Election as Indispensable Tool for National Development.”

A statement by Patrick Agboola, Esq., Publicity Secretary, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch, notes that the 19th edition of the Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) Annual Lecture will be used to preserve the outstanding legacies of the late human and civil rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi SAN and his contribution to the development of law, legal profession and human rights protection, as well as to ensure free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State and his Rivers State counterpart, His Excellency Governor Nyesom Wike are among the prominent Nigerians expected at the event.

Sanwo-Olu will be the Chief Host while NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, SAN will be the Host. The Chairman of the occasion is Professor Akin Oyebode, former Vice Chancellor of University of Ado-Ekiti.

The Special guests of the day are the Lagos State Chief Judge, Justice Kazeem Alogba and Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike (Life Bencher).

The NBA statement noted that “The guest speaker is experienced in the conduct of elections in Africa and beyond and is better placed to share her wealth of experience with Nigeria.”

The Chairman of the Planning Committee, Dr. Muiz Banire (SAN) said that this year’s programme “promises to be memorable.”

The NBA will also use the occasion to engage rapporteurs who facilitate the transmission of the key points that will be raised during the lecture to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Mrs. Charlotte Kesson-Smith Osei, the United Nations’ International Elections Commissioner; Mr. Mike Igini, a former Resident Electoral Commissioner, Akwa Ibom State, and Commodore Kunle Olawunmi, a Public Affairs Analyst & Commentator are among the dignitaries that will deliver speeches at this year’s Gani Fawehinmi Annual Lecture slated for this weekend.

This year’s lecture will hold on Sunday, January 15, 2023 at the LAHL Bevent Centre of the Lagos Airport Hotel, Obafemi Awolowo way, Ikeja with the theme: “Free, Fair and Credible Election as Indispensable Tool for National Development.”

A statement by Patrick Agboola, Esq., Publicity Secretary, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch, notes that the 19th edition of the Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) Annual Lecture will be used to preserve the outstanding legacies of the late human and civil rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi SAN and his contribution to the development of law, legal profession and human rights protection, as well as to ensure free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State and his Rivers State counterpart, His Excellency Governor Nyesom Wike are among the prominent Nigerians expected at the event.

Sanwo-Olu will be the Chief Host while NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, SAN will be the Host. The Chairman of the occasion is Professor Akin Oyebode, former Vice Chancellor of University of Ado-Ekiti.

The Special guests of the day are the Lagos State Chief Judge, Justice Kazeem Alogba and Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike (Life Bencher).

The NBA statement noted that “The guest speaker is experienced in the conduct of elections in Africa and beyond and is better placed to share her wealth of experience with Nigeria.”

The Chairman of the Planning Committee, Dr. Muiz Banire (SAN) said that this year’s programme “promises to be memorable.”

The NBA will also use the occasion to engage rapporteurs who facilitate the transmission of the key points that will be raised during the lecture to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

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NBA WOMEN FORUM NEW EXCO TO BE INAUGURATED MONDAY

The new Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association Women Forum (NBAWF) will be inaugurated on Monday, 16th January, 2023 at the Westwood Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos. The new Executive Committee members will be taking over the mantle of leadership from the erstwhile executives.

Chinyere Okorocha, Partner and Head of the Health and Pharmaceuticals Sector at Tier-1 law firm, Jackson, Etti & Edu is the incoming Chairperson of the Forum. She will take over the mantle of leadership from leading legal scholar, Professor Oluyemisi Bamgbose, SAN.

Other members of the Executive Committee are Ifueko Alufohai, Vice Chairperson; Irene Iniobong Pepple, Secretary; Mercy Ijato-Agada, Treasurer and Theodora Kio-Lawson, Publicity Secretary.

The NBA Women Forum is an arm of the Nigerian Bar Association committed to empowering, inspiring and guiding female legal professionals in Nigeria. Since its inauguration in 2019, the NBAWF has served as a platform for advocacy for female lawyers.

The Forum fosters gender equality as it affects the promotion and appointment of female lawyers to well-deserved positions. The NBAWF has also been at the forefront of empowering female lawyers in Nigeria through mentoring and exposure to national and international workshops, thereby encouraging female lawyers to have a global outlook, perspective and reach.

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LAGOS STATE HANDS OVER RENOVATED HOSTEL TO NIGERIAN LAW SCHOOL

The Lagos State Government has completed renovation of a wing of the Nigerian Law School hostel at the Lagos Campus of the school.

A source who is familiar with the project told CITY LAWYER that the handover ceremony was done on 5th January, 2023 between Lagos State Government officials, representatives of the Nigerian Law School as well as the contractor.

CITY LAWYER gathered that the extensive works included renovation of a wing in the building of 5 floors, renovation of 10 rooms on each floor totaling 50 rooms, replacement of water closets and showers, painting of corridors and external walls, electrical and special services, as well as mechanical services.

The contract was awarded by the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led Administration and implemented by the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure while the contractor was Messrs Motak Investments (Nig.) Limited.

It is recalled that Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike recently built and handed over a state-of-the-art facility to the Council of Legal Education for the take-off of the Port Harcourt Campus of the Nigerian Law School.

Several other renovation projects have either been completed or are ongoing at the school, arising from an ambitious renovation programme launched by the Chairman of the Council of Legal Education, Chief Emeka Ngige SAN during his 60th birthday anniversary ceremony.

Following the launch of the initiative, several stakeholders have keyed into the chairman’s pet project and taken up sundry renovation works to shore up the decayed infrastructure at the 60-year-old school.

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ELECTRICITY TARIFF HIKE: HOW NERC, LICENSEES AND CONSUMERS CAN ORCHESTRATE BETTER OUTCOMES

In this article, Energy Lawyer HASSAN OLALEKAN SHERIF argues that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has recently been caught napping in the discharge of its regulatory roles, saying the commission seems to protect DISCOs more than consumers

BACKGROUND
The front page of The Punch Newspaper of Thursday, January 5, 2023, says it all. It screams with the banner headline “DisCos hike electricity tariff secretly, consumers kick”. As though this was not enough, the deck to this headline was not any nicer, it reads “Consumer accuse Discos of fleecing Nigerians, Operators, NERC Silent”. The 2nd Deck to the banner headline was even more revealing as it states that “Discos began new tariffs Jan 1, there are other arbitrary increments -ECAN”

To offer further perspective, the Business Day newspaper of January 05,2023 explains on Page 30 that the Mr. Emeka Ezeh, Head of Corporate Communications at the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) said on December 19, 2022, that the EEDC effected “minor tariff review which worked out to a jump of 13%” and that the “minor increase in “the rate of tariff approved by the NERC is for electricity distribution companies to meet up with the current economic realities in the power/electricity sector.”

While the dust from this revelation is still yet to settle, the NERC has remained mum, neither confirming the hike nor refuting the claims of a hike. The Minister of State for Power, Goddy Jedy-Agba, has also denied knowledge of the indiscriminate electricity tariff imposed by the NERC on consumers. One of the Discos, the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) in response to an enquiry on Twitter, has arrogated its increase in Tariff to be a result of a directive from the NERC.

Increasingly, the silence and dearth of information are deafening especially in such an important sector of the economy as this. All aspects of the Nigerian economy are tied, one way or the other, to the use of electricity/power and a hike in the price of tariffs would have a ripple effect in the hike of the prices of other commodities and services. And so, while the hide and seek continues between the regulator of the sector – the NERC, and the other industry players such as the DisCos and GenCos, It is certain from the litany of confirmations from consumers, that what used to obtain in terms of electricity tariff, no longer obtains at the moment. There has been a spike and consumers are at the receiving end of it all.

Quite sadly, with the worst inflation in the history of the country, the worst unemployment rate and the high rate of insecurity, there is no end in sight for these cries and woes in light of the harsh economic realities in the Country. If it was hard for Nigerians before the silent hike in electricity tariffs, it is now even harder for Nigerians. The only semblance of an affirmation in recognition of a duty to inform consumers before this seemingly unlawful hike in electricity tariff now appears to be a lone tweet from the AEDC in answer to a request from a consumer for confirmation of a hike in the price of electricity tariff. From the explanation the AEDC has offered on its official Twitter handle, the tariff hike was in compliance to the order of the NERC. The NERC on its part has however not announced the latest hike in tariff.

While this back-and-forth endures, it has become expedient to appraise our extant laws, to highlight the regulatory compliances, roles and functions of these relevant stakeholders in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) with a view to awakening the consciousness of these stakeholders to their statutory and moral obligations, so that they can better appreciate the gargantuan obligation they have cut out for them, and whose interests really they serve and must protect.

THE NERC
The Electric Power Sector Reform Act, 2005 (“EPSRA”) is the enabling law establishing the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (“NERC” or the “Commission”). (see Section 31(1) of the EPSRA). The NERC is the regulator of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI). According to Section 32(1)(d) of the EPSRA, one of the Commission’s primary functions is to ensure that the prices charged by licensees are fair to customers and sufficient to allow the licensees to finance their activities and obtain reasonable earnings for efficient operations.

In accordance with the authority granted under Section 76 of the EPSRA, the Commission has established a methodology for determining electricity tariffs in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) and subsequently issued a Tariff Order called the Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO) that sets out tariffs for the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity in Nigeria,

Amongst a litany of other roles, Section 32 (1)(e) of the EPSRA specifically provides that it is the function of the NERC to ensure the safety, security, reliability, and quality of service in the production and delivery of electricity to consumers. In furtherance of its objects, the NERC shall also establish appropriate consumer rights and obligations regarding the provision and use of electric services; license and regulate persons engaged in the generation, transmission, system operation, distribution, and trading of electricity. See Section 32(2)(c)&(d) of EPSRA.

It is also interesting to note that the NERC shall also consult, from time to time, and to the extent the Commission considers appropriate, such persons or groups of persons who major are likely to be affected by the decisions or orders of the Commission including, but not limited to licensees, consumers, potential investors, and other interested parties (See Section 32(3) of EPSRA. The begging question remains, to what extent has the NERC lived up to its roles and functions? As the Nigerian consumer would confirm, much is to be desired.

THE MUTI YEAR TARIFF ORDER:
The Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO) is an incentive-based tariff model that is used in the NESI to set wholesale and retail electricity prices by using a unified method to determine total industry revenue requirements that are tied to measurable performance improvements and standards. The MYTO’s goal is to establish cost-reflective tariffs that will allow the power sector to be properly funded and functional. It establishes a 15-year tariff path for the NESI, with minor reviews occurring each year in response to changes in a limited number of variables (such as inflation, interest rates, exchange rates, and generation capacity) and major reviews occurring every five years, when all inputs are reviewed with stakeholders.

THE NERC AND ITS MANY FAILURES OF DUE PROCESS
Section 76(1)(a) & (b) of the EPSRA has listed generation, trading, transmission, distribution and system operation as activities that are subject to tariff regulation in order to prevent abuse of market powers.

Prior to approving a tariff methodology, the NERC has an obligation to give notice in the official Gazette, and in one or more newspapers with wide circulation, of the proposed establishment of a tariff methodology, indicating the period within which objections or representations in connection with the same may be made to the Commission (See Section 76(6) of the EPSRA). The NERC must also fix the date on which the tariff methodology shall come into operation and it shall cause notice to be given in the official Gazette of that date. (See Section 76(😎 of the EPSRA).

If it appears to the NERC that a tariff methodology should be changed, the Commission must give notice in the official Gazette, and in one or more newspapers with wide circulation, of the proposal to change the methodology, indicating the period within which representations in connection with the proposal may be made. (See Section 76(9) of the EPSRA). After taking into account any objections or representations received in response to a notice issued, the NERC may confirm the proposed changes to the tariff methodology (See Section 76(10) of the EPSRA).

For the present review of tariffs, the NERC has neither given Notice of a proposed change in the official Gazette nor in any national newspaper or its website of a change in tariff methodology. The NERC has also not received comments from the public nor reviewed the same or even convened a stakeholder consultation with the public.

REGULATION ON THE PROCEDURE FOR ELECTRICITY TARIFF REVIEWS IN THE NIGERIAN ELECTRICITY SUPPLY INDUSTRY: A MEANS TO AN END OR AN END IN ITSELF?
In the exercise of the Powers to make Regulations conferred by Section 76 and 96 of the EPSRA, the NERC has also enacted a regulation governing the review of electricity tariff called: Regulation on the Procedure for electricity Tariff Reviews in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (The Regulation). The Regulation substantially provides the procedures for major and minor reviews of tariffs and applications for extraordinary tariff review.

For major review, Clause 4 of the Regulation has mandated that a one-year notice of intention to commence a major review of the existing tariff shall be issued by the NERC to Licensees. The Notice shall request for submission of applications for the review of the tariff. The NERC shall thereafter, according to Clause 5 of the Regulation, review applications for the development of a Consultation Paper. The Consultation Paper shall be published on the official Website of the Commission, and request for comments from the public within twenty-one (21) days.

For Minor reviews, Clause 7 of the Regulation provides that existing tariffs shall be reviewed bi-annually subject to some of the following factors: the inflation rate, exchange rate, and average daily peak generation capacity for the previous six months period. The Commission is also supposed to issue a Notice three months prior to the end of the 6 months Minor Review period, in two national newspapers and on its official website, of its intention to commence the process for minor review of existing tariff. Comments from the public should be reviewed and a stakeholder consultation shall be convened with the public.

While the underlying objective of these clauses is for accountability from the Licensees and the Regulator to the Consumers who will bear the brunt of any major, minor or extraordinary review and whose input should therefore only fairly be sought and considered, the NERC has enforced its Regulation and the EPSRA more in breach than in compliance. A careful perusal of its website will show that the last time a public notice was uploaded on the NERC website was on the 25th of February 2020, when the “Public Notice of Applications for Tariff Review and Request for Intervenors to participate in Tariff Hearings” was uploaded in respect of the review of the MYTO-2015.

The MYTO-2015 Tariff Order for the NESI was also reviewed vide an Extra Ordinary Tariff Review procedure in the year 2020. The Consultation Paper on this review was uploaded on the NERC website on the 25th of February 2020. This can only be interpreted to be in breach of the NERC regulation which provides that a major review shall be every 5 years and in accordance with laid down procedures. The NERC, has however reviewed the MYTO-2015 in 2020 under the Extraordinary Review procedure which is reserved for extreme urgency where the parameters in the NESI have changed from those used in the operating tariffs such that a review is necessary to maintain industry viability (See Clause 9 of the Regulation). The Extra Ordinary review mechanism is more flexible as its usage is limited to cases of extreme urgency and cannot be an escape route for a review that ought to have been a major or minor one. Moreso, applications for extraordinary review must be preceded by a formal request from the Licensees. In the present hike, the licensees are yet to confirm that there was any formal request to the NERC and thus from the facts available, there appears to be no compliance in this regard, assuming the right review procedure were extraordinary in nature.

IS THE NERC’S RESPONSIBILITY LIMITED ONLY TO LICENSEES?
It now appears that the NERC has, under the cloak of a minor review, unilaterally hiked the prices of electricity tariffs so much so that since 2015 when all inputs are reviewed with stakeholders, there has not been an input from the most important industry stakeholders -the consumers.

Section 32 of the EPSRA has highlighted that the principal responsibility of the NERC is to protect the interest of Consumers. The NERC has a duty to maximize access to electricity services, by promoting and facilitating consumer connections to distribution systems in both rural and urban areas. It is also the duty of the NERC to ensure that an adequate supply of electricity is available to consumers; and also, to ensure that the prices charged by licensees are fair to consumers. In the same vein, the NERC is saddled with the duty of ensuring the safety, security, reliability, and quality of service in the production and delivery of electricity to consumers; and ensuring that its regulation is fair and balanced for licensees, consumers, investors, and other stakeholders.

Against these principal responsibilities of the NERC to consumers, there have been serial blackouts, the perennial collapse of the national grid and poor feedback from consumers on the services from the Industry Operators. The general consensus seems to be that morally, the instant unjust hike by the NERC is a malapropism for injustice.

Legally, reviews of electricity tariffs are not automatic. This is usually preceded by the licensees applying for a review of their tariff rates. The request for rate review is ideally to be premised on the need to incorporate changes in economic parameters and other factors affecting the operational efficiency of the licensees. In line with section 47(1) of EPSRA and Regulation 8(b) of the “Regulations on Procedure for Electricity Tariff Reviews in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry”, the NERC then invites the general public to submit comments on the review of the proposed rate submitted to the Commission by the licensees.

In submitting comments, interested stakeholders are to review and take into consideration the Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs) submitted to the Commission by the respective licensees. The NERC shall thereafter take into consideration responses to this document and other submissions that may be provided at the wider Public Hearing prior to a final decision on the applications by the Commission

Suffice to say that in recent times, the NERC has been found short of carrying out its functions. The DisCos now arrogate price hikes, ipso facto, to the order of the NERC. The NERC seems to think its major statutory responsibility is to its licensees and not consumers, who are always at the receiving end. For what better way is there to explain that in all its reviews since 2015, the NERC has failed to comply with its own enabling law and Regulation? It has serially failed to issue public notice or publish same in the gazette, or in a national newspaper. It has also failed to conduct public hearings before the approvals of tariffs and more importantly the NERC has failed to factor in the cries and woes of the consumers in its reviews.

It cannot be overstated that what is worth doing at all, is worth doing well. The NERC, now more than ever, must wake up to its roles and functions. The consumers also have a moral obligation to hold the Industry Operators accountable. We all must play our roles diligently. It cannot be business as usual. A stitch in time, saves nine.

Sherif is an Abuja based Energy sector lawyer. He can be reached at +2348132548364 or via email at hassanolalekansherif@gmail.com. The views expressed in the article are those of the author.

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RPC INADEQUATE FOR TODAY’S CHALLENGES, SAYS MAIKYAU

The General Council of the Bar was yesterday inaugurated by its President and Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN.

Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Representatives at the council were elected at the last NBA General Elections.

Below is the full text of a speech delivered at the ceremony by NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN.

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BOLANLE: BURIAL OF SLAIN LAWYER STALLED, AS NBA DEMANDS AUTOPSY REPORT

The burial of Lagos lawyer Bolanle Raheem has been stalled due to the demand by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) for the autopsy report by the medical team.

While the Wake Keep was earlier scheduled to hold at 4 pm today at The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Olive Tree Parish, Ikoyi, Burial Service was slated to hold tomorrow at 10 am at the same venue.

But CITY LAWYER gathered from multiple and unimpeachable sources that the plans have been put off due to NBA’s insistence that it must review the autopsy report. It was also gathered that the lawyers’ association is demanding a copy of the ballistic report from the police high command. The autopsy report is expected latest tomorrow.

A ranking NBA source told CITY LAWYER yesterday that “the demand is to avoid a repeat of the Gafaru Buraimoh case where the body may have to be exhumed for an autopsy. We have the mandate of the family to represent their interest in this matter. We have to be satisfied with the autopsy report and its ability to support a water-tight case. We cannot afford to be taken unawares.”

The NBA had in a press statement noted that “The NBA was represented at the post mortem examination carried out on our late member, Mrs. Omobolanle Raheem at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital on 30/12/2022. A preliminary report of the exercise is expected today, 31/12/2022. The NBA hopes that the report shall further aid the process of prosecution.”

But a source who was at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) during the autopsy session told CITY LAWYER that NBA’s team was not allowed to witness the autopsy procedure on the ground that they were not pathologists.

“We made very strident efforts to convince the medical team that we needed to witness the process but they flatly refused,” said the senior lawyer. “Even the family members were not allowed to witness the procedure. The husband of the deceased was merely invited to identify the corpse; nothing more. The pathologists argued that since the family did not appoint a pathologist, they could not witness the procedure.”

Sources told CITY LAWYER that the NBA does not want to be foisted with a fait accompli, moreso as the deceased is yet to be buried.

CITY LAWYER gathered that the postponement is also expected to offer a window for NBA to participate actively in the funeral rites of the deceased.

Meanwhile, NBA President Yakubu Maikyau SAN has visited the family of the deceased to commiserate with them. Leading a team of NBA National Officers among others, Maikyau also visited the Assistant Inspector General of Police in-charge of Zone 2 Command, Onikan, Bode Adeyinka Adeleke; Lagos State Commissioner of Police Abiodun Alabi, and Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo SAN to emphasize the need for speedy prosecution of the matter and for the police to stem extra-judicial killings.

Press statements made available to CITY LAWYER by NBA spokesman Habeeb Lawal stated that the officials assured Maikyau that they would leave no stone unturned in prosecuting the matter and overhauling the policing system.

It is recalled that Bolanle was allegedly shot and killed by ASP Drambi Vandi on Christmas Day while returning from church service and Christmas outing with her family. The officer has been charged with murder and remanded at Ikoyi Correctional Centre.

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LSN: NBA SUSPENDS WALSON-JACK, FORMER SCRIBE FUMES

• MAIKYAU WAS ACCUSER, PERSECUTOR, PROSECUTOR, JUDGE
• ‘NBA NOW HAS A PLACE IN HALL OF INFAMY’
• ‘I WAS DENIED FAIR HEARING’
• ‘NBA LEADERSHIP NOW CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER’

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has suspended its former General Secretary, Mr. Nimi Walson-Jack as a member of the NBA National Executive Council (NBA-NEC).

CITY LAWYER recalls that the NBA-NEC had resolved during its last quarterly meeting in Abuja “that a past General Secretary, Mr. Nimi Walson-Jack, who acted as a Solicitor to the promoters of the new Law Society be stripped of his privileges as past General Secretary and consequently, be suspended from being a member of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Association.”

Reacting to the suspension, Walson-Jack said it violated the NBA Constitution and also breached his right to fair hearing.

In a statement obtained by CITY LAWYER, the former NBA scribe said that “Both the process and substance of arriving at the resolution to sanction me have shown the NBA as being anti-Rule of Law and earned our previously esteemed Association a place in the hall of infamy of dictators and anti-Rule of Law elements who abound in mushroom organizations across Nigeria and the World.”

Listing what he described as “Litany of violations,” the former NBA General Secretary said: “The leadership of the NBA, by its resolution, breached the Constitution of the NBA, my fundamental right to a fair hearing, and the right of my Clients to Counsel of their choice. The President of the NBA was the accuser, persecutor, prosecutor, and Judge in his cause.”

He stated that the NBA-NEC “has no power to suspend, expel or remove a statutory member like me unless the Constitution is amended, an exclusive preserve of the Annual General Meeting,” adding that “The leadership of the NBA, by its resolution, breached the Constitution of the NBA, my fundamental right to a fair hearing, and the right of my Clients to Counsel of their choice. The President of the NBA was the accuser, persecutor, prosecutor, and Judge in his cause.”

Alleging that “the leadership of the Bar led by and including Senior Advocates of Nigeria was blinded by dislike or hate of my person” in the resolution to suspend him, Walson-Jack urged that international lawyers’ organizations, members of the legal profession in Nigeria and abroad, the Nigerian judiciary, the media and Nigerians “must begin to question the commitment of the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association to promote the Rule of Law.”

Below is the full text of the statement.

STATEMENT ON THE UNCONSTITUTIONALITY AND ILLEGALITY OF THE SUSPENSION OF HON. NIMI WALSON-JACK FROM THE NEC OF THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION.

Introduction
The Nigerian Bar Association at the last meeting of its National Executive Council held on Thursday, 15 December 2022, in Abuja, Nigeria, deliberated on a crackdown on members of the Legal Profession who are advocating and championing the formation of a new Professional Association for Lawyers in Nigeria and resolved to take punitive measures against them.

In paragraph 2.1(e) of its Communique issued on 15th December 2022, and signed by Messrs. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, OON, SAN, and Daniel Ka-ayii Kip, its President, and Assistant General Secretary, respectively, the NBA stated “NEC particularly resolves that a past General Secretary, Mr. Nimi Walson-Jack, who acted as a Solicitor to the promoters of the new Law Society be stripped of his privileges as past General Secretary and consequently, be suspended from being a member of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Association.” The communique is clear on the fact that the reason for punishment (if it could be called that) is for discharging a professional duty to provide legal services to members of society.

I am the Hon. Nimi Walson-Jack, a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, and the person referred to in the communique. For nearly four decades, I have combined legal practice with stints in academia, public service, politics, and civil society promoting and defending the rights of people in Nigeria and around the world. From 2004 – 2006, I served as the General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association.

The resolution to punish me for representing the promoters of the new law society is a return to the dark ages of socialism and communism when Governments sanctioned and jailed Lawyers for representing persons whose activities were considered contrary to those of the political leadership. This infamous resolution would win a gold medal in the coven of dictators, not in the assembly of Lawyers in defense of Democracy and the Rule of Law. It is an affront to the right of Lawyers to represent the diverse interests of their law-abiding clients.

Litany of Violations
The leadership of the NBA, by its resolution, breached the Constitution of the NBA, my fundamental right to a fair hearing, and the right of my Clients to Counsel of their choice. The President of the NBA was the accuser, persecutor, prosecutor, and Judge in his cause.

It is interesting to note that a weighty issue like the suspension of a past General Secretary from the decision-making body of the Association, was not listed on the Agenda for the Meeting, which was circulated in the morning of the meeting. I was neither informed of any complaint against me by any person, Lawyer, or non-lawyer nor asked to respond to any complaint or allegation bothering on my representation, as a Solicitor, of the interests of my clients, the promoters of a new Law Society who are citizens of Nigeria and distinguished Lawyers.

In the haste to condemn, the leadership of our Bar Association acted without observance of the basic procedure of listening to the other party. The President and the NEC did not invite me and did not hear from me before taking a decision that has tainted the image and reputation of the NBA. No opportunity was given to me to make a presentation before a penalty for a non-existent offence was imposed on me. For the avoidance of doubt, there is no provision in the Constitution of the NBA that prohibits a Lawyer and member of the Association from supporting, advocating, defending, promoting, or representing the promoters for the establishment of another Association of Lawyers in Nigeria. No offence was committed in my representation of the promoters of a new Law Society distinct from the NBA.

The Right of my clients to Counsel
The Right of every person to Counsel is a fundamental principle of the Rule of Law enshrined in global conventions, treaties, protocols, national legislation, and Rules of Professional Conduct. By Rule 24(1) of the Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) 2007, a lawyer in Nigeria must accept any brief, provided that the appropriate professional costs are paid or agreed upon.

The Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers adopted 07 September 1990, by the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, Havana, Cuba, recognize the need for adequate protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms to which all persons are entitled, and requires that all persons have effective access to legal services provided by an independent legal profession. Access to lawyers and legal services is guaranteed. All persons are entitled to call upon the assistance of a lawyer of their choice to protect and establish their rights and to defend them.

By the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers and the Rules of Professional Conduct for Lawyers in Nigeria, my duties toward my clients, the promoters of the Law Society in Nigeria, include:
a) advising them as to their legal rights and obligations, and as to the working of the legal system in so far as it is relevant to their legal rights and obligations;
b) assisting my clients in every appropriate way, and taking legal action to protect their interests; and
c) assisting them before courts, tribunals, or administrative authorities, including the Corporate Affairs Commission, to whom I wrote a letter on behalf of my clients.

The NBA as a professional association of lawyers has a vital role to play in upholding professional standards and ethics, protecting its members from persecution and improper restrictions and infringements, and providing legal services to all in need of them, furthering the ends of justice and public interest. Ironically, it is the leadership of a professional Association of lawyers that have threatened and impaired the guarantees and safeguards secured for the functioning of lawyers. It is the Bar Association and not the Government that has improperly interfered with my ability to perform all of my professional functions.

Dangerous Implications of the NBA-NEC decision
My suspension from the National Executive Council of the Nigerian Bar Association is an act of intimidation, and harassment, which hinders my ability to continue to provide legal services to citizens who incidentally are also Lawyers. The deliberations and resolutions of the NEC are an improper interference, as my clients and I are threatened and liable to suffer prosecution or administrative, economic, or other sanctions for an action taken by recognized professional duties, standards, ethics, and the law.

The civil and penal immunity I have enjoyed for 39 years as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria has been breached and violated by the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association, which should be defending my professional services and appearances before Courts, Tribunals or other legal or administrative Authorities, like the Corporate Affairs Commission.

In our Country, to refuse or decline to represent the interest of a party could be considered sanctionable under the Rules of Professional Conduct. The NEC of the NBA has colluded with the leadership to punish me for representing persons whose activities are contrary to the interests of some persons in leadership positions.

Threat to the Rule of Law
Both the process and substance of arriving at the resolution to sanction me have shown the NBA as being anti-Rule of Law and earned our previously esteemed Association a place in the hall of infamy of dictators and anti-Rule of Law elements who abound in mushroom organizations across Nigeria and the World.

The resolution to punish me for representing the promoters of the new law society is a return to the dark ages of socialism and communism when Governments sanctioned and jailed Lawyers for representing persons whose activities were considered contrary to those of the political leadership. This infamous resolution would win a gold medal in the coven of dictators, not in the assembly of Lawyers in defense of Democracy and the Rule of Law. It is an affront to the right of Lawyers to represent the diverse interests of their law-abiding clients.

The moral of the decision to suspend me is not lost when it is noted that among the NEC members who took this ignominious resolution are Lawyers who have represented corrupt politicians, election riggers, money-launderers, drug traffickers, kidnappers, and confessed murderers. As a Lawyer, one cannot deride them for the interests many of them represent because they were only discharging their legal responsibility.

Unconstitutionality
In deciding to suspend me from the NEC, the leadership of the Bar led by and including Senior Advocates of Nigeria was blinded by dislike or hate of my person, that they overlooked the Constitutionality of my membership. Section 8 (1) (b) of the NBA Constitution 2015, provides for automatic membership of the NEC by past Presidents and General Secretaries. In the process of my suspension, the leadership or the NBA chose in one breath to ignore our Constitution and in another breath amend the Constitution. The NEC has no power to suspend, expel or remove a statutory member like me unless the Constitution is amended, an exclusive preserve of the Annual General Meeting. Overriding our Constitution shows how low the leadership of the Bar has gone and is ready to go in furtherance of parochial interests.

History repeating itself
My suspension from the NEC is the second unconstitutional and illegal action the leadership of the NBA has embarked on within five months. The first was the suspension of a serving General Secretary, Mrs. Joyce Oduah, by the Olumide Akpata-led administration, which illegality was also ratified by NEC. Both the suspension and its ratification were set aside by a Federal High Court in Abuja. In its ruling, Justice Ahmed Mohammed held that the action of the NBA’s National Executive Committee (NEC) constituted an affront to the rule of law and overreached court proceedings in the suit. The Court held that the NBA-NEC which gave legal effect to the General Secretary’s suspension acted in “bad faith and utter disregard for the proceedings of the court.” This is an indictment of Lawyers who ought to know the Law and work for the ends of justice.

It beats the imagination of every rational being, why the leadership body of an Association of Lawyers would brazenly embark on actions, that even a Court of law has recognized as an affront to the Rule of law, in bad faith and utter disregard for the proceedings of the Court. They continue to act contrary to known legal and professional principles.

CALL TO ACTION
If the leadership of the NBA is allowed to get away with the illegality of my suspension for the reason that I represented the promoters of a new Law Society, then the right of Nigerians to Lawyers of their choosing, and the duty of Lawyers to our clients would become endangered. It would be a triumph of the whims and caprices of individuals over the Rule of Law.

International Lawyers’ Organizations, members of the Legal Profession in Nigeria and abroad, the Nigerian Judiciary, the Media, and Nigerians must begin to question the commitment of the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association to promote the Rule of Law. I commend the Nigerian Judiciary that has spotted the dark spot and acted timeously to checkmate the monster in its infancy.

Together, we must work conscientiously to put more nails in the coffin that would bury this insidious problem of violations of the basic tenets of the Rule of Law in our professional Organization. Unfortunately, the leadership of the NBA has deviated from promoting the Rule of Law. They have rather become a clear and present danger to the promotion of the Rule of Law.

A stitch in time saves nine.

Hon. Nimi Walson-Jack
Creek & Savannah Partners Law Firm
Abuja. Nigeria.

Monday, 02 January 2023.

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BOLANLE: ‘VANDI FIRED KILLER SHOT, WAS NEVER IN NIGER’ – POLICE

  • REPLIES CITY LAWYER REPORT
  • BLAMES SPIRITUAL ATTACK FOR SHOOTING
  • VANDI TO ACCOUNT FOR 2 MISSING BULLETS

The Nigeria Police Force has debunked the allegation by a former Director in the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Richard Chenge that embattled officer Drambi Vandi had a posting in Niger State.

Vandi allegedly shot and killed Lagos lawyer Bolanle Raheem on Christmas Day while she was returning from church service and Christmas outing with her family.

Chenge had in an exclusive interview with CITY LAWYER alleged that the officer resembles an operative named Zara Vandi who in mid-1990s shot and killed at point-blank range a Nigeria Customs Service officer at a check-point along Minna road. He vowed that his effort to prosecute the case, COP V ZARA VANDI was frustrated by the police high command.

But speaking on a radio programme, Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO) Muyiwa Adejobi stated that Vandi never worked in Niger State.

Though he did not disclose Vandi’s full career trajectory, Adejobi said that “The guy has been a very good man. Forget about the story that he was one-time in Niger (State), he was this. He was never in Niger State Command. I debunked that one on a platform yesterday.”

He also alluded to the possibility of a spiritual attack which compelled Vandi to carry out the alleged shooting, saying: “Whatever that happens in the physical realm is controlled in the spiritual realm. That’s the spiritual aspect of it. The man was never drunk; it’s just a news.”

Adejobi stated that “We have done test. No sign of drunkenness, nothing. So what could have warranted him to cock his rifle and shoot directly at the woman?” He urged citizens to always “pray against it that, don’t let me misbehave today; don’t let me do this today; don’t let evil borrow me to do this today.”

He added that “If something wants to happen, we wouldn’t know the person they have sworn for, whether it is the woman, or the husband or the police; something is wrong somewhere, because it is not common for an ASP to fire. It has always been the rank and file!”

Saying that there is an indictment against Vandi, the police spokesman stated that “We know that Vandi was the one who pulled the trigger based on our preliminary investigation because they gave him twenty-something, I think twenty-three, ammunitions, AK-47 ammunitions; he could not account for two.”

Vandi was charged before a Yaba Chief Magistrate Court for killing Raheem and was remanded at Ikoyi Correctional Centre pending legal advice from the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP). The matter has been adjourned to January 30, 2023.

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SAN AWARDS: APPLICATION OPENS FOR 2023 EDITION, ENDS MARCH 31

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: 2023 AWARD OF THE RANK OF SENIOR ADVOCATE OF NIGERIA

By the combined provisions of Section 5(2) of the Legal Practitioners Act, Cap L11 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and Regulation 10 (1) (4) of the Guidelines for the Conferment of the Rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria 2022 (“the Guidelines), the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee (the LPPC” or “the Committee”) hereby makes a formal call for applications preparatory to the award of the rank for the year 2023 Commencing with this year’s exercise, applications shall only be made online and prospective applicants are directed to visit www.lppconline.com to make their applications.

DIRECTIVES TO PROSPECTIVE APPLICANTS ON SUBMISSION OF THEIR RESPECTIVE APPLICATIONS

2.1 The application portal, www.lppconline.com will be open to the general public at 12:00 am on January 1st, 2023.

2.2 An applicant must pay a non-refundable processing fee of One Million Naira (N1,000. 000.00) only to any of the following accounts held in the name of the “Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee (SAN)”:

Account Number:1014103141, at Zenith Bank PLC,

Account No. 0213662834 at GTBank PLC

2.3 Upon conclusion of payment, an applicant should upload a copy of the evidence of payment on the application portal. The appient will receive an email notification from the LPPC Secretariat confirming the applicant’s payment and clearing the applicant to proceed with the application process online

2.4 For any enquires/information, applicants should send All applicants (whether Advocates or Academica) an electronic mail to The Secretary, Legal Practitioners must upload clear and legible copies of all Privileges Committee via: mandatory or supporting documents that are required by the Guidelines for the purpose of their application on the application portal. Only clear copies of materials presented shall be considered/acceptable by the Secretariat in compliance with Regulation 9(2) of the Guidelines. In the case of Academic applicants who may wish to submit publications that are too voluminous to be conveniently scanned and uploaded, it shall be sufficient to scan and upload the title page of such publications, whilst submitting the hard copies along with the flashi drives referred to in clause 25 below.

2.5 After uploading copies of all mandatory or supporting documents online, applicants shall also submit five flash drives containing a copy of their completed application form (to be downloaded from the online portal) as well as copies of all the mandatory and supporting documents uploaded on the online platform to the LPPC Secretariat.

2.6 Any application together with supporting documents submitted in a manner contrary to the directives of the LPPC as enumerated above will be rejected by the Secretariat.

2.7 All applications together with their mandatory or supporting documents must be submitted online at www.lppconline.com before 12:00 noon on the 31st March, 2023 whilst the flash drives referred to in clause 25 above must be delivered to the LPPC Secretariat before 4:00pm on the 3rd April, 2023.

2.8 Any submission made after the deadlines stipulated in clause 2.7 above shall be treated as a non-submission.

Hajo Sarki Bello, Esq.

Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court/ Secretary Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee

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SALEH APPOINTED CHAIR OF NBA GARKI PUBLICITY C’TE

Consummate Bar-man and former Welfare Secretary of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Unity Bar, Abuja Branch, Mr. Abdussalam Mohammed Saleh has been appointed Chairman of NBA Garki Branch “Committee on Publicity and Media.”

According to an appointment letter signed by Messrs Obioma Ezenwobodo and Olatunji Atoyebi, the Branch Chairman and Secretary respectively, Saleh, who was a member of NBA Ungogo Branch Human Rights Committee, will spearhead the 6-member committee with the mandate to rejig the publicity machinery of the branch.

“We are glad to inform you that you have been appointed to serve as the Chairman of the Branch’s Committee on Media and Publicity,” the letter stated. “We are confident our Branch will gain from your wealth of experience as you and your Committee will project the Branch, give it good visibility with good publicity via social media and any other relevant means.”

Other members of the committee are Mr. Emmanuel Ekwe (Vice Chairman) and Lydia Izan who doubles as incumbent Branch Publicity Secretary and Committee Secretary. Also appointed as members of the committee are Messrs Uchenna Ejimofor, Manny Ikpebe and Uchenna Ibe.

The committee’s expansive Terms of Reference include the following: To

  1. Support, collaborate and assist the Executive Committee in achieving its objectives.
  2. Interface with government and non-governmental agencies dealing with sector and other related matters.
  3. Bring members of the Branch up to speed with happenings in the sector.
  4. Organize programmes, seminars and lectures relating to publicizing the Branch activities.
  5. Present the Branch in a good image and make publications towards laundering the image of the Branch.
  6. Conduct surveys and studies with a view to advising the concerned agencies on the best policies forward.
  7. Participate actively in advocacy, policy and legislative processes geared towards improving the sector.
  8. Be self-funding and may be assisted by the Branch when necessary.
  9. Shall transact with the Branch Bank Accounts in all its financial dealings and remit all money it realized to the Branch Account immediately.
  10. Present its budget or proposal for its event to the Chairman for approval by the Executive Committee and the approval shall take cognizance of the money the committee realized or generated for the said event.
  11. Carry out all its correspondence through the Branch letter headed paper supplied by the Branch and approved by the Branch Chairman.
  12. Obtain the approval of the Branch Chairman before entering into any agreements or memorandums of understanding with any government or private agency.

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AT LAST, POLICE NAME KILLER-COP IN GAFARU’S MURDER

• BODY MAY BE EXHUMED FOR AUTOPSY

The Nigeria Police Force has finally identified the officer who allegedly shot and killed Late Gafaru Buraimoh in Ajah, Lagos State on December 6, 2022.

Responding to persistent enquiries from concerned citizens, Lagos State Police Command spokesperson, Benjamin Hundeyin named the officer as Inspector Imeh Johnson. He also released a photograph of the indicted officer.

His words: “The officer is Inspector Imeh Johnson and he is still under detention at the State Criminal Investigation Department. Case is being concluded. Updates will be made available.”

CITY LAWYER recalls that the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) had last Saturday demanded that the Police should identify the officer involved in the fatal shooting.

Hundeyin added that “The orderly room proceedings (with recommendation) of Inspector Imeh Johnson have been forwarded to the Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) Zone 2, Lagos for review and final decision.”

Meanwhile, there are strong indications that Buraimoh’s body may be exhumed for autopsy to aid prosecution of the case, even as the Police have indicated that Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo SAN will prosecute the case.

A reliable source who is familiar with the case told CITY LAWYER that Buraimoh was hurriedly buried on the insistence of the family according to Muslim rites, adding that the need for evidence to prosecute the killer cop has necessitated plans to exhume the corpse for autopsy.

CITY LAWYER recalls that Drambi Vandi, another officer from the same zonal command had barely three weeks later also shot dead Lagos lawyer Bolanle Raheem while she was returning from Christmas church service and outing with her family.

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NBA RAISES LEGAL TEAM TO PROSECUTE BOLANLE, GAFARU KILLER COPS

  • ASKS POLICE TO NAME KILLERS OF GAFARU
  • AUTOPSY REPORT ON BOLANLE EXPECTED TODAY
  • GETS FAMILIES’ CONSENT TO SUE FOR COMPENSATION

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has appointed a 9-member Adhoc Committee led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria to join in prosecuting police operatives who killed Lagos lawyer Omobolanle Raheem and Gafaru Buraimoh.

In “An Official Update” on the killings made available to CITY LAWYER, the NBA leadership also stated that it has received consent of both families of the deceased to file lawsuits for compensation for the victims.

The lawyers’ body has also demanded disclosure of the names of the police operatives involved in the killing of Buraimoh, saying: “The NBA notes with concern that since Gafaru was killed in Ajah on 7/12/2022, the police authorities have refused to disclose the identity of the police officer (s) suspected to have been responsible for Gafaru’s death. The NBA has therefore demanded that the Nigerian Police officially and immediately disclose to Nigerians the name(s) of the suspected murderer(s) of citizen – Gafaru Buraimoh. This is the first responsible thing to do!”

Led by respected senior lawyer, Mrs. Titilayo Akinlawon SAN, the committee was mandated “To continue to interface with the families of late Omobolanle Raheem, and Gafaru Buraimoh, the police and the office of HAG, Lagos State over the incidents and cases until the conclusion of prosecution in the respective cases.”

The NBA statement, which was signed by its National Publicity Secretary Akorede Habeeb Lawal, also revealed that autopsy was conducted on the body of Bolanle at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) yesterday, adding that the report of the autopsy is expected today.

Below is the full text of the statement.

AN OFFICIAL UPDATE

RE: THE KILLING OF MRS OMOBOLANLE RAHEEM: NBA CONSTITUTES ADHOC COMMITTEE; COMMITTEE TO ALSO HANDLE THE MURDER AND CIVIL CASES OF OMOBOLANLE RAHEEM AND GAFARU BURAIMOH

Distinguished Colleagues,

  1. Since the barbaric and inexcusable murder of our member, Mrs Omobolanle Raheem by ASP Drambi Vandhi of the Nigerian Police Force on 25/12/2022, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has taken some steps in respect of which we now provide this update to our members and Nigerians. .
  2. We start by acknowledging that nothing we do will ever be enough to bring back our late member, Mrs. Omobolanle Raheem. We however believe that our strong and unwavering pursuit of justice in this case may mean that another Nigerian will not have to lose his or her life in the illegal, unlawful and unjust manner that Omobolanle’s life was taken.
  3. On 26/12/2022, the NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, SAN established an open line of communication with Police authorities over this incident. This communication line has remained open and it has enabled us to track the investigation process and the internal disciplinary procedure of the Nigerian Police. In this regard, we are able to report that on Thursday, 29/12/2022, the Police Service Commission suspended ASP Drambi Vandhi from the Police Force over this incident.
  4. Furthermore, on 30/12/2022, the Attorney General of Lagos State filed a one count charge of murder at the Yaba Chief Magistrates’ Court against ASP Drambi Vandhi under the remand procedure of Lagos State. Consequent upon the charge, the court ordered that ASP Drambi Vandhi be remanded at Ikoyi Correctional Centre pending legal advice from the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP) and the charge was adjourned to 30/1/2023 for review of the remand order and DPP’s advice.
  5. On the instruction of the NBA President, the First Vice President of the NBA, Mrs Linda Rose Bala was in Lagos to meet with the Honourable Attorney General (HAG) of Lagos State on the same 30/12/2022. The HAG pledged the resolve of the Lagos State Government to ensure quick justice in respect of the case. The NBA therefore expects that the legal advice will be ready soon enough and the Lagos State Government shall in no distant time file information against ASP Drambi Vandhi at the High Court of Lagos State.
  6. The NBA was represented at the post mortem examination carried out on our late member, Mrs. Omobolanle Raheem at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital on 30/12/2022. A preliminary report of the exercise is expected today, 31/12/2022. The NBA hopes that the report shall further aid the process of prosecution.
  7. In spite of our evident and passionate interest in this case, we reasonably appreciate that the family of Mrs Omobolanle Raheem must first be consulted on some of the actions we may wish to take, particularly as it relates to taking out a civil action and claiming damages on behalf of the family of our late member. For this reason and for the purpose of condoling with the family, the NBA President directed the First Vice President, Mrs. Linda Rose Bala, to lead a team to meet with the family of late Mrs Omobolanle Raheem. The team paid the visit on the family on Friday, 30/12/2022 and the family has agreed for the NBA to act on its behalf in respect of this case.
  8. It is therefore pertinent to state that the NBA had not, prior to this meeting on 30/12/2022, engaged or had any form of discussion on the institution of any action on behalf of the family of the deceased. Also, as of the date of that meeting, the NBA had neither briefed anyone to file a suit nor claimed damages of any amount on behalf of the NBA and/or the family of late Mrs Omoblanle Raheem.
  9. Recall that in our statement of 26/12/2022, the NBA vowed to also ensure justice in the case of Gafaru Buraimoh, a citizen who was killed by policemen attached to the notorious Ajiwe Police Station in similar circumstance as the late Omobolanle Raheem. The NBA President directed the NBA First Vice President to meet with the family of late Gafaru. The NBA Team paid the visit to the family on the same Friday, 30/12/2022 and late Gafaru’s family has requested that the NBA takes up Gafaru’s case. The Team also extended NBA’s condolences to the family.
  10. The NBA notes with concern that since Gafaru was killed in Ajah on 7/12/2022, the police authorities have refused to disclose the identity of the police officer (s) suspected to have been responsible for Gafaru’s death. The NBA has therefore demanded that the Nigerian Police officially and immediately disclose to Nigerians the name(s) of the suspected murderer(s) of citizen – Gafaru Buraimoh. This is the first responsible thing to do!
  11. Finally, in order to consolidate on all the steps that have so far been taken and to ensure that our efforts are concerted, the NBA President has now constituted the Team earlier announced in respect of this incident on 26/12/2022 into an Adhoc Committee of the NBA. The Committee comprises the following members:

i. Mrs. Titilola Akinlawon, SAN – Chairperson
ii. Charles Ajiboye (National Assistant Publicity Secretary) – Member
iii. Ikechukwu Uwanna (Chairman, Lagos Branch) – Member
iv. Seyi Olawunmi (Chairman, Ikeja Branch) – Member
v. Olalekan Thanni (Chairman, Ikorodu Branch) – Member
vi. M.A. Sodipo (Chairman, Badagry Branch) – Member
vii. Omotayo Omosehin (Chairman, Epe Branch) – Member
viii. Oladotun Hassan (Secretary, Epe Branch) – Member
ix. Mrs. Abiye Tam-George (Vice Chairman, Lagos Branch) – Secretary

  1. The Committee’s terms of reference are as follows:

i. To continue to interface with the families of of late Omobolanle Raheem, and Gafaru Buraimoh, the police and the office of HAG, Lagos State over the incidents and cases until the conclusion of prosecution in the respective cases;

ii. To hold watching brief on behalf of the NBA in the course of the prosecutions of ASP Drambi Vandhi and the perpetrator(s) of the death of Gafaru Buraimoh and render periodic reports;

iii. To file civil suits on behalf of the families of late Omobolanle Raheem and Gafaru Buraimoh and do all that is necessary to obtain reasonable compensation for the respective families;

iv. To collaborate with the NBA-Human Rights Institute to develop a capacity training program for the police on respect for human rights to be implemented jointly by the NBA, the Nigerian Police Force and the Police Service Commission;

v. To handle all other issues incidental to ensuring justice in the murder cases of Omobolanle Raheem and Gafaru Buraimoh.

  1. The NBA President thanks all NBA members and Nigerians for their genuine interest and commitment to this cause.

Akorede Habeeb Lawal
National Publicity Secretary

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