The 2023 Annual Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Legal Practice (NBA-SLP) ended today as delegates began to leave Abuja to their various stations. The well-attended Annual Conference held at NBA House, Abuja. Many leading lights of the Bar and Bench as well as other justice sector stakeholders attended the eagerly awaited two-day technical sessions which dwelt on the theme, “Legal Practice Without Borders.” The conference was garnished with several sideline and fun events.


The programme started by 9:30 am with an Opening Prayer, the NBA prayer, followed by the National Anthem. There was a recognition of notable NBA members and special guests.

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Plenary Session One started at 10:08 am with the topic, “Legal Practice, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Matters: A Jurisdictional Comparison.” The Chairperson of the Session was Hon. Justice Ejembi Eko while the Panelists were Hon. Justice Opufaa Ben-Whyte, Amina Suzanah Agbaje, Olumide Omosebi, and CSP Dolapo Badmus.

It was noted that women and children suffer domestic violence. India has 30% rate of domestic violence; in the United States, reports of domestic violence are about 10%. A child who grows up in home prone to domestic violence home will likely become violent growing up.

In the NBA Violence Against Children, 66% of girls and 55% of boys suffer violence while growing up. In the US, it is called “Family Violence” while in the UK it’s called “Domestic Abuse.” Domestic violence was defined as a pattern of behavior used to gain control over a partner.

In Nigeria, there are the Domestic Violence Act and the Child Rights Act, 2003 (CRA). The CRA has been adopted in many States. It is pertinent to note that the Domestic Violence Act does not treat violence as a criminal offence. Causes of Domestic Violence and Child Abuse are unemployment, societal disorder, and lack of education among others. Amina Suzanah Agbaje Esq advised lawyers to take up domestic violence cases on pro bono. It was noted that challenges in domestic violence matters include the slow pace of justice delivery.

Domestic Violence affects both men and women. The most challenging aspect is that some stakeholders often treat domestic violence as a “family affair,” thus making the culprits to engage in impunity. It was suggested that the law against stalking – which obtains in Turkey – should be enacted into Nigeria’s body of laws as a deterrence against domestic violence.

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Plenary Session Two started at 11:49 am with the topic, “Law Practice in the Digital Age: Balancing Professional Responsibility and Technological Innovation.” The Chairperson of the session was Hon. Justice Peter A. Akhihiero while the panelists were Hon. Justice O. O. Oyewumi, Mena Ajakpovi, Àa Edet Esq, Inemesit Dike, and Dr. Maryam Shehu Mohammed.

Justice Oyewumi stated that Legal Practice has moved from the hitherto conservative way. The jurist noted that technology innovation has helped in delivering several cases virtually, adding that it is a quick and effective way of delivering justice. Justice Oyewumi noted that virtual trials have not taken away the respect accorded lawyers. The jurist stated that the NICN Rules 2017 ensures that court proceedings are in line with global best practices, adding that where a hearing notice is sent through email and text messages among other channels, such notices are deemed as valid.

Inemesit Dike stated that technology is here to stay. She urged lawyers to take advantage of technology in order to be able to succeed in the profession. She encouraged tech lawyers to obtain certification for their skills, adding that Artificial Intelligence (AI) may take away the job of a lawyer unless such a lawyer has equipped himself with the relevant knowledge and skills.

On the Data Protection Act, it was noted that the global economy now runs on data in all facets of human endeavor, adding that this underpins why we need to protect our privacy through Data Protection Act. As lawyers, we should understand the rules in protecting our clients as well as learn what privacy is all about especially for those who own the data. The Data Protection Act also gives punishment to those who violate the privacy rights of persons. It was also noted that technology is designed to upstage the existing versions.

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Plenary Session Three started at 2:11 pm with the topic, “Exploring the Frontiers of Dispute Resolution in Investment Matters In Nigeria: Investments & Securities Tribunal In Focus.” The Chairperson of the session was Hon. Amos Issac Azi while the panelists were Hon. Jude Ike Udunni, Hon. Nosa Smart Osemwengie, Alex Muoka, Onyedikachi Edeh, and Prof. Augustine Agom.

The panelists stated that there is a civil law that created Investments & Securities Tribunal as civil law. Arbitration is also a mechanism added and utilized from the law. There are reasons why IST has attained so much; they have membership which are drawn from different backgrounds.

Hon. Nosa Smart Osemwengie also stated that the financial market is divided into the Money Market and Capital Market which is a long time fund and matter of dispute is settled by the Investments & Securities Tribunal 2007. IST used to have jurisdiction over pension matters but no longer do. Note that the IST is not an inferior court, and appeal from the IST goes to the Court of Appeal. The Federal High Court can enforce jurisdiction from IST or any other courts when it (Federal High Court) does not have jurisdiction. By the IST Rules 2004, the IST is a fast track court that must resolve dispute within 3 months.

Procedurally, according to Onyedikachi O. Edeh Esq., cases are not mentioned at the tribunal; instead, the tribunal proceeds to hearing of the case. In the course of evidence, when it is time to tender documents, same are tendered together in a bundle. Also, it is noteworthy that the tribunal is a fast-track court in case of time management. It was also stated that the tribunal has served as a check in the way we do things as lawyers. The decision of the tribunal also encourages investment inflows to the country, and the tribunal has also helped to enrich the jurisprudence on capital market.

Among the challenges besetting the sector is shortage of subject-matter experts to cushion the shortage generally of Investment matters and encourage lawyers to go into IST because there is a lot to gain from the market.

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