Signing Of Court Processes And The Need For A Departure From The Law In Okafor v. Nweke |  Daniel Adedigba

Signing Of Court Processes And The Need For A Departure From The Law In Okafor v. Nweke |  Daniel Adedigba

Let me start with a quick analysis of the Law in Okafor v Nweke (2007) LPELR-2412 (SC). In simple terms, the law which has formed the basis of an age – long judicial precedence is that where any Court process is signed in the name of a law firm as opposed the name of the legal practitioner, the entire proceeding based on the process shall be null and void.

The rationale is that such processes are irregular and amounts to nothing in the face of the law. The Supreme Court has fortified this position in numerous cases such as MTN (Nig.) Ltd v. C.C. Inv. Ltd (2015) 7 NWLR (Pt. 1459) 437/465, SLB Consortium Ltd v. NNPC (2011) 9 NWLR (Pt. 1252) 312, Peak Merchant Bank v. NDIC (2011) 12 NWLR (Pt. 1261) 253, among others.

In the interest of Justice, it is time to revisit the judicial precedence in Okafor v Nweke as the law has occasioned grave injustice and non-departure will keep strengthening technicalities – an irony to the purport of the Law, the Court and our Judicial system.

In the case of Solumade & Ors v. Kuti & Ors (SC/327/2010), decided on the 11th June 2021, the suit lasted for over 23 years from the trial court to the Supreme Court. The Respondent in this case expended 23 years in a quest for Justice only for the Appellant to raise it at the first time at the Supreme Court that processes filed in the year 1998 were irregular and consequently, the litigation journey of 23 years was nothing but an exercise in futility, null and void.

Similar situation was the fate of the case of Aya v. Nkanu & Anor (SC/940/2015) also decided on the 11th June 2021. The respondent litigated its matter for a duration of 9 years only to be confronted with an objection at the Supreme Court on the ground that an originating process filed 9 years ago was signed by a law firm as opposed to a legal practitioner called to the Nigerian Bar.

The consequence, among others, of the judicial precedence in Okafor v Nweke, is huge distrust in our judicial system – perhaps how can a litigant repose confidence in a system where an objection sourced from a 23 years old irregularity throw his case into the judicial dustbin. This precedence makes resources expended in the pursuit of justice nothing but sheer futility and makes mockery of Justice.

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The Supreme Court has consistently echoed the need to pursue Justice over technicalities. In the case of Veepee Industries Ltd v. Cocoa Industries Ltd (2008) 4-5 SC (Pt 1) 16, the Supreme Court admitted the need to depart from previous decisions if consistent adherence will occasion injustice on the path of a party and result in a complete destruction of the right of access to Court.

Rule 5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct provides that a non-lawyer shall not form partnership with a lawyer in the practice of law. It is then technicalities taken too far to hold that a law firm is not called to the Nigerian Bar and a process signed by a law firm can crumble a proceeding at any time even if raised at the Supreme Court.

If this issue is to be treated with an iron hand, I think it should be a procedural irregularity which should be raised timeously and not one capable of vitiating a well-conducted proceeding.  Continuous adherence to the law in Okafor v Nweke will defeat the very strong rationale of the Supreme Court in holding that the error of a counsel should not be visited on a litigant. It will consistently obstruct justice while elevating technicalities and above all, lead to loss of confidence in our Judicial system.

 

Daniel Adedigba is a Legal Practitioner based in Abuja, Nigeria

adedigbadaniel01@gmail.com

+2348108019481

Become An Expert Entertainment Lawyer

Become An Expert Entertainment Lawyer

Career training programs prepare you for a job in a specific field, and this training is preparing lawyers for their role in the Nigerian entertainment industry.

According to statistics, total revenue in the Nigerian Entertainment industry is projected to reach US$4.77m in 2022. Furthermore, a report from consultants at PwC forecasts that the fast-growing industry will earn $14.8bn in 2025. No doubt the Nigerian entertainment industry is a big deal globally and with high revenues come legal issues and discussions.

According to Yahaya Maikori, the role of lawyers in the entertainment industry includes, but not limited to general counsel of the client, education, advocacy, advisory services, brand protection and management services.

We have put together a stellar faculty of award winning entertainment lawyers and experts to provide lawyers with a clear mastery of the entertainment industry and how to take advantage of the opportunities therein.

Modules for this training include;

1. Music Contracts & Agreements

2. Film & media Agreements

3. Negotiation & Dispute Resolution

4. Talent Acquisition & Management

5. Licensing & Intellectual Property

6. Etiquette & public speaking

The Members of Faculty include;

– Beverly Agbakoba-Onyejianya (Partner, Olisa Agbakoba Legal)

– Akinyemi Ayinuoluwa (Partner, Hightower Solicitors)

– Fola Alade (Partner, FOTEFA Partners LP/ Mediation Academy)

– Oyinkansola Fawehinmi (Foza) (Founder/President, DMCE.)

– Yeye Bush (Lead Etiquette Consultant, Manners Matter) .

Other details are:

Theme: Entertainment Law Mastery

Date : 29th & 30th September, 2022

Venue: NECA House, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos

Time: 9am – 5pm daily

Registration Fee: 70,000 Naira | 50,000 Naira (early bird – ends 15th September, 2022)

Registration Link: https://bit.ly/3znIb4w

Participants who should attend include lawyers and stakeholders in the Entertainment industry at all levels. If you want a successful practice in Entertainment law and business, you should make sure you are in this room on Training Day.

For enquiries, please contact: 

Lawlexis

09029755663

lawlexisinternational@gmail.com

Agreement Templates For Individuals & Businesses

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Nigerian Lawyers Directory

Nigerian Lawyers Directory

Finding the right lawyer for you may seem like an overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be if you know where to look. Before you begin your search, you must first know that there are different type of lawyers, usually depending on their area of practice, so it’s important that you know what area of law you need legal advice on.

These areas may include business registration, tenancy, family and probate or even criminal proceedings. After you have decided on what area of law you need a lawyer for, it becomes easier to narrow your focus and begin your search. There are quite a number of ways to find a lawyer, examples include through talking to your friends and contact, carrying out an online search, or looking though a Lawyers Directory. You may also consider looking around your neighborhood as you may spot a law office close to you.

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There are also other features that you may need in your ideal lawyer asides area of practice, which is location and sometimes gender. You may need a lawyer in a particular city or state or even want to find a lawyer based on gender. For instance, some parties in divorce proceedings sometimes want a lawyer of the same gender as them. This is due to their belief that such lawyer may understand them better than a lawyer of the opposite gender.

If you are however looking for a lawyer based on the above mentioned criteria, there is an online directory for Nigerian Lawyers that can be quite helpful. The Legalnaija online lawyers directory allows you find a lawyer through a location, area of practice or gender. The Legalnaija online lawyers directory also allows you search for lawyers in any state or community in Nigeria. To find a lawyer in Nigeria now, you can simply find one on the app.legalnaija.com.

NBASBL2022: Chairman’s Conference Framer For The 16th Annual International Business Law Conference

NBASBL2022: Chairman’s Conference Framer For The 16th Annual International Business Law Conference

                 NBASBL Chairman, Ayuli Jemide

Protocols

Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen. Thank you for making the time to join us at the 16thNBA-SBL Annual International Business Law conference.I appreciate the presence of our distinguished speakers and participants at this year’s conference.

A few things about this year’s conference:

As a central theme, we thought we should have conversations pertaining to recent developments in the business environment. A lot has been happening in the lawyering landscape that is worth talking about – from new legislations, to new trends, to recent law firm management successions, and several other topics worth talking about. (more…)

Nigerian Laws on Abortion: Examining the Pro-choice viz-a-viz the Pro-life perspective | Sam OmotosoEsq, ACarb. and Martha Kama Esq.

Nigerian Laws on Abortion: Examining the Pro-choice viz-a-viz the Pro-life perspective | Sam OmotosoEsq, ACarb. and Martha Kama Esq.

1.0 Introduction

A lady is a victim of rape, due to the shame, trauma and pain that comes with it, she keeps it to herself. Soon she finds out that she is pregnant, the father (rapist) unknown. She does not want to keep the child because he/she is a result of an unwanted unfortunate situation. Could she abort the fetus growing in her womb to become a child? Wouldn’t that be right considering the fact that she (a Secondary School Student) of poor parents who has no means to cater for the wellbeing of a soon to be child with no man enough father? Or would it be illegal to do so? Several sad tales.

The argument for or against abortion is a never ending debate, the legal position in respective jurisdictions notwithstanding.

The different sides of the divide will be the pro-choice (for abortion) and the pro-life (against abortion).

Part of the reoccurring questions that comes with this sensitive subject will be-

  1. Is Abortion always wrong?
  2. What about when it is done in certain situations such as:
  3. When the life or health of the mother is at stake?
  4. In the case of rape or incest?
  5. When exactly does life begin? – At fertilization? At the first heartbeat? At the existence of brain waves? Or immediately after carnal knowledge takes place.
  6. The pro-Choice

The Pro-choice will argue that for a lot of pro-lifers, it seems abortion is all about the baby.(Embryo or Fetus as the case may be). The woman, and the factors that might contribute to her decision to terminate her pregnancy, do not seem to matter much. But how can we end abortion if we do not examine why women seek out abortions in the first place? What if she wants to terminate the pregnancy because she does not have the maturity and capacity to carry and raise a child? What if she was just a victim of circumstance?

More so, making it illegal will not stop it from happening. The estimated unintended pregnancy rate is 59 percent per 1,000 women aged 15-49. 56 percent of unintended pregnancies are resolved by abortion and a research by Guttmacher Institute put the number of unsafe abortions done in Nigeria every year to 456,000.

The staggering statistics above shows that banning abortion does not necessarily reduce the abortion rate, and enforcing a ban on all abortions would be impossible, but will instead drive women to likely seek out abortions through unsafe, illegal procedures anyway which will only increase the mortality rate of young women.

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The Pro-choice activists further argue that there might be a political undertone, because if this was about babies, there would be universal healthcare and free education for the children instead of Anti-abortion Laws. Or maybe Anti-abortion laws and Universal healthcare and free education policies and laws floating side by side. That is; if the Government really cared as much for the babies. The pro-choice activists will sum up their arguments by stating that as a woman, the idea that a government can make decisions about what a person should do with a person’s body in 2022 is absurd.

  1. Pro-life

The pro-lifers will definitely love to start their argument by stating that “If you do not want a baby, do not do the do that will make you have a baby”. Pretty straightforward right?Of cause not! What about the victims of rape?

The Pro-lifers will say that everything happens for a reason and that no matter how sad a person situation might be, you have no right to take “a life”. For this school of thought, once a baby begins to form, a life you have no right to take begins to form.

The only meeting point between morality (pro-life) and “being free” (pro-choice) will be in an instance when keeping the embryo or fetus in the womb of the mother could lead to the death of the mother. That is the only meeting point.

2.0 What is the position of the law?

The law is a tool of social engineering, blinded so it could see no sentiments or emotions, holding a sword to be used on anyone who does not comply with the words that flows freely from its unfettered mouth.

In Nigeria, criminal law system is divided between the northern and southern states. The Criminal Code is currently enforced in southern states. The abortion laws of the Criminal Code are expressed within sections 228, 229, and 230. Section 228 states that any doctor providing a miscarriage to a woman is guilty of a felony and up to 14 years of imprisonment. Section 229 states that any woman obtaining a miscarriage is guilty of a felony and may be sentenced to imprisonment for up to 7 years. Section 230 states that anyone supplying anything intended for a woman’s miscarriage is also guilty of a felony and maybe sentenced to up to 3 years of imprisonment. (Miscarriage in this instance means “Abortion on grounds aside health of the mother”).

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The Penal Code operates in northern states, with abortion laws contained in sections 232, 233, and 234. The sections of the Penal Code parallel the Criminal Code, besides the exception for abortion with the purpose of saving the life of the mother. The Penal Code’s punishments include imprisonment, fine, or both. The offenses of these codes are punishable regardless of whether the miscarriage was successful. No provisions have been made to the Criminal Code making exceptions for the preservations of the mother’s life. However, the cases of Rex v. Edgar and Rex v. Bourne have made it generally accepted that abortion performed to preserve the mother’s life is not an appropriate transgression of the Criminal Code.

3.0 Conclusion

The simple sublime interpretation is that the law has closed its eyes to any circumstance, be it; rape, incest, child pregnancy etc., but for the singular grounds of a life threatening situation for the mother.

Conclusively, the scale on the other hand of Justice in Nigeria as regards Abortion weigh in favour of the Pro-lifers. This is the situation not only in Nigeria but even in the United States thanks to the recently overturned decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Roe v. Wade.

The Pro-choice choristers will live to sing another day.

Sam Omotoso Esq, ACarb is a Lawyer, Chartered Arbitrator and an On Air Personality with special interest in Litigation, Human Rights and Legal Writing.

Martha Kama Esq is a Lawyer and an Equality advocate with a flair for family law and human rights.

 

 

Deepfake Digital Technology; Between The Truth And A Lie  | Adeniyi Aderinboye LL. B (Hons) LLM. BL

Deepfake Digital Technology; Between The Truth And A Lie  | Adeniyi Aderinboye LL. B (Hons) LLM. BL

It was in 2018, when a viral video of a sitting Governor in the North-Western part of Nigeria and one of the 36 states, circulated the internet[i]. In that disgraceful video, the Governor was seen pocketing a vast wad of American dollars which was believed to be a bribe from government contractors for public works. All efforts to dispel the video clip as fake were resisted by the Nigerian citizens whose minds were already made-up about deep-rooted corruption in the political system. Three years after the video, the Governor again in an interview maintained by saying “it is a lie, nothing of this nature ever happened”[ii].

Prior to this, one had stumbled on pornographic videos of top American celebrities while surfing the internet.  These digital videos usually appear convincingly true until one reads press statements in the media, disputing their veracity or resorting to logic in arriving at a more reasonable outlook.  The authenticity or otherwise of recent online videos can be difficult to decipher when produced or created with the now popular ‘deepfake technology’.

What is deepfake technology?

Deepfake technology is a type of artificial intelligence used to create convincing images, audio and video hoaxes[iii]. Deepfakes are a synthetic media created by machine-learning algorithms, named for the deep-learning methods used in the creation process and the fake events they depict[iv].

The earliest source of deepfake was for social media fun, where random fans of popular stars or politicians swap faces to represent their hero doing what they are best known for. There are countless videos, superimposing Nollywood Actor; Nicholas Cage’s likeness into countless movie scenes. Michael Jackson videos have also been manipulated by enthusiastic fans to mimic his natural dance talents.

A Joke Taken Too Far.

Unfortunately, what started as a fun tool has become a technology through which fake news, fact distortions, blackmail and political manipulation are portrayed. This raises public and legal concerns especially given the potential harm it causes to an individual’s reputation.

In 2018, a deepfake video of Donald Trump dismissing climate change was published by the Belgian socialist party “Socialistische Partij Anders”[v]. According to the political party, the intention was to use the fake video to grab people’s attention, then redirect them to an online petition calling on the Belgian government to take more urgent climate action[vi]. This 2018 fake video of the US President had serious implications on the climate change campaign and the world’s effort in the Paris agreement.

Deepfake technology has also led to a surge in the circulation of fake pornography videos of celebrities; mostly females, who, though, were not part of the video had their faces convincingly transposed into the bodies of the Actors[vii].

In 2020, rapper Jay-Z’s Roc Nation filed a take-down notices against “deepfake” videos that use artificial intelligence to make him rap Billy Joel’s song and one of Hamlet’s soliloquies[viii].

The Way Forward

In light of the of the problems associated with deepfakes, there is need for legal measures to be taken to curtail the devastating implications of this. The western world is leading in this approach to nip in the bud, the menace of deepfakes.

Two deepfake-related laws were proposed in the U.S. Congress, but failed to gain traction. These are the Malicious Deepfake prohibition Act of 2018 and the Deepfakes Accountability Act, which was filed in June 2019, created to address “the spread of disinformation through restrictions on deep-fake video alteration technology.” The bill would also criminalize communicating an intentionally false “personation record,” unless the fake nature of the message is conspicuously disclosed[ix] .

The EU does not have specific deepfake technology law yet. However, there is a proposed Artificial Intelligence Act which covers deepfake technology. Also, the General Data Protection Regulation represents a veritable piece of legislation that can be relied upon for scrutiny.  Article 5 (1) of EU General Data Protection Regulation[x] for instance provides that;

“Personal data shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date; every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that personal data that are inaccurate, having regard to the purposes for which they are processed, are erased or rectified without delay(‘accuracy’)”.

By virtue of the provisions of Article 5 of the EU GDPR, if a deepfake content is irrelevant, inaccurate or falsity, a victim can request that it be erased or rectified without delay within the European Union.

In 2021, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)was passed by the US congress which requires the US Department of Home Security (DHS) to study deepfake creation technology and create mitigation solutions. The Act further requires DHS to provide annual reports identifying all potential harm from deepfake technology including foreign influence campaigns to harm specific populations for the next five years[xi].

More Countries, especially in Africa, needs to take initiatives from the US, in pushing agendas and the legislature to implement laws that will control the increasing problems of deepfakes. Nigeria for instance does not have a federal statute protecting the rights of citizens against deepfakes, but reliance can be placed on Section 37 of the constitution[xii] which protects the right to privacy, the Cybercrimes Act[xiii] and other subsidiary legislations.

 

[i] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGCvXTISNns

[ii] https://dailytrust.com/ganduje-breaks-silence-on-dollar-videos-says-clips-are-fake

[iii] https://www.techtarget.com/whatis/definition/deepfake

[iv] https://www.discoverdatascience.org/articles/everything-you-need-to-know-about-how-to-use-deepfake/

[v] Flemish social democratic party founded in Belgium in 1978

[vi] https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/nov/12/deep-fakes-fake-news-truth

[vii] https://telanganatoday.com/anger-mounts-over-deepfake-porn-targeting-female-celebs

[viii] https://www.nme.com/news/music/jay-z-takes-legal-action-against-creator-of-deepfakes-of-him-rapping-hamlet-and-billy-joe

[ix] Defending Each and Every Person from False Appearances by Keeping Exploitation Subject to Accountability Act of 2019, H.R. 3230, 116th Cong. (2019); Malicious Deep

[x] The EU General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679

[xi] https://www.asisonline.org/security-management-magazine/latest-news/today-in-security/2021/january/U-S-Laws-Address-Deepfakes/

[xii]  The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended)

[xiii] Cybercrimes (prohibition and prevention) Act 2015

The Legal Effect Of Imo State Government White Paper by Osora F. Uzonwanne Esq.

The Legal Effect Of Imo State Government White Paper by Osora F. Uzonwanne Esq.

THE LEGAL  EFFECT OF GOVERNMENT WHITE PAPER & RECCOMENDATIONS THEREIN: IN RESPECT OF THE PORTION OF OWERRI / ONITSHA ROAD INDUSTRIAL LAYOUT AND PORTION OF UMUGUMA LAND IN IMO STATE:

By

Osora F. Uzonwanne Esq.,

08033382080

4th July, 2022

INTRODUCTION: The Government of Imo State headed by Chukwuemeka Nkemakolam Ihedioha (CON) under the powers conferred on him by section 3 of the Commission of Enquiry Law (Cap.24), Laws of Eastern Nigeria, 1963 through an instrument constituted a Commission of Inquiry on Lands Related Matters which came into force on 19th day of August, 2019. The nine-man commission was chaired by Hon. Justice Florence I. Duroha-Igwe (Rtd).

The terms of reference of the commission are to wit:

  1. Ascertain the extent of land compulsorily acquired or forcefully wrested from the owners.
  2. Ascertain and determine whether such compulsory acquisition as mentioned in (a) above were lawfully made or not.
  3. Ascertain the extent of allocation and revocation of land in Imo State from June 2006 – May 2019 and determine the propriety of such allocation and revocation.
  4. Ascertain and determine whether due process and diligence and strict adherence to the provisions of Land Use Act, 1978 and all other relevant laws on acquisition of land were followed.
  5. Determine the extent of compliance with the relevant laws for the development of the New Owerri Capital Territory and adherence to the Master Plan of Owerri Capital Territory as authored by Fingerhurt and Partners.
  6. Examine and ascertain whether Government land or part of it have been converted to private use and identify the persons responsible and make recommendations for recovery.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF OKOHIA UMUNJO/ PORTION OF OWERRI/ ONITSHA ROAD INDUSTRIAL LAYOUT AND PORTION UMUGUMA LAND:

At the creation of Imo State in 1976, the Government acquired the entire expanse of land known and called OKOHIA UMUNJO/ UMUGUMA LAND, currently known as Industrial layout which was owned by the UMUNJO  AND UMUGUMA COMMUNITY. The acquisition of the said land was for industrial purpose and it was done without due process and no compensation whatsoever was paid to the land owners.

The Okohia Umunjo/Umuguma land belonging to Umunjo and Umuguma Community and others was left to fallow for many years and became the den of arm robbers and kidnappers where they perpetrated all sorts of crimes.

As a result of the above, the Umunjo/Umuguma  Community caused a letter to be written through their attorney to the government of Imo State dated 28th November, 2018 for the release of the said land back to them.

Through a letter dated the 14th of December, 2018 the Imo State Government released the Okohia land to the Umunjo/Umuguma Community through the Imo State Housing Corporation for the development of a layout to be called Pocket Layout.

Subsequently, there was a change of government which culminated to the assumption of the government of Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha and the incident of constituting of a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into land related matters in the state.

The Umunjo/Umuguma Community petitioned the Judicial Commission of Inquiry as was required by the commission for all land owners whose land were affected to appear before the commission to make submissions of their claims to the commission.

At the end of the deliberations, the Judicial Commission of Enquiry came up with their Findings and Recommendations which was accepted by the incumbent government of Sen. Hope Uzodinma and same was passed into law and published in a White Paper, an Official Gazette.

Finally, it is worthy of note that the Umunjo Okohia and Umuguma land or Portion of Owerri/ Onitsha Road Industrial Layout is cut up and mentioned in the First, Second, Third and Fourth  Terms of References of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry (as is mentioned above) in their Findings and Recommendations which is accepted by the Imo State Government. The summary of the panel’s findings and recommendations is that the said land was amongst the lands wrongly or illegally acquired by the government and there was no compensation paid to the land owners, thereby recommended that government should endevour to do the needful by following due process of acquisition of land . See: Government White Paper on the Report of the Judicial Commission of Enquiry on Lands and Related Matters Imo State (June 2006 – May 2019) published, August 2020.

THE LEGAL STATUS OF A GOVERNMENT WHITE PAPER BY A JUDICIAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY:

It is apropos at this juncture to note that it was on the strength of the above white paper that gave impetus to the Interim Forfeiture Order  by Hon. Justice E. F. Njamanze (Rtd.) on  24th February, 2021 and Final Forfeiture Order on 9th August, 2021 in Suit No. HOW/191/2021– Between: ATTORNEY GENERAL OF IMO STATE AND MRS NKECHI ROCHAS OKOROCHA & 5 ORS.

On 24th February, 2021 the court had ordered the Interim Forfeiture of all the properties linked to Okorocha. The court had also asked Okorocha to show case as to why a final and absolute order of forfeiture should not be given following an application brought to it by Louis Alozie on behalf of the state.

Okorocha through his counsel failed to give good reason why the order should not be made absolute. The court in a ruling delivered on 9th August , 2021  ordered the final forfeiture of properties said to be acquired  through “illegal means” by Rochas Okorocha, ex-governor of Imo state. The forfeited properties are listed in the Imo State Government White Paper Report on recovery of lands and other related matters.

Hon. Justice Njemanze made a judicial pronouncement by saying that the White Paper Gazette by the Imo government is a legally-binding document. In defining what is white paper? Njamanze made reference to the case of TAO & SONS INDUSTIES LTD Vs GOVERNOR OF OYO STATE & ANOR (2010) LPELR 5002CA, The Court of Appeal per Kekere-Ekun JCA (as he then was) held:

“The view expressed by the court by Abdullahi Vs Hashidi at page 646 C-D is clear and straight forward. His Lordship Pats Acholonu JCA (as he then was) stated; “In the normal course of governace, the government, be it Federal, State or Local manifests its acceptance of a report or inquiry by way of publication of a White Paper which tells the world the reaction of the government to the inquiry.” The Supreme Court acknowledged the significance of a White Paper in the case of COOKEY Vs FOMBO (2005) 15 NWLR (pt. 947) 187  when it held that the 1st Respondent could not file an action against a third party on the recommendation of a panel of inquiry that had not been published in a White Paper.”  

In MAJOR – GENERAL OLU BAJOWA Vs FRN & ORS (2016) LPLER-40229 CA. Ekanem JCA said:

There is no doubt that the appellant could not have sued the Respondent in respect of the recommendation of justice Nwazota Panel because the government did not issue a white paper accepting or rejecting the same. In COOKEY Vs FOMBO (2005) 15 NWLR (pt. 947) 187  the supreme court held that the recommendation of a committee has no binding force and cannot ground a cause of action without a law or a White Paper. Also in GOVERNOR OF OYO STATE Vs FOLAYAN (1995) 1 NWLR (pt 413)292, 382. Onu JSC stated as follows “The government having not yet accepted the recommendations are legally not binding on the Government and the parties until accepted…It cannot be in doubt that where a government sets up a panel of inquiry, there must be some overt act by the government to signify its acceptance or rejection of the White Paper. The White Paper is notice to the whole world of the position taken by the government on relevant report… ” The reason is that a government that sets up a commission of inquiry is at liberty to reject or accept the recommendation of the commission. See AREMO 11 Vs ADEKANYE (2004)13 NWLR (pt 891) 571. So the Commission’s recommendation amounts to nothing until accepted by the government in a White Paper…”

The properties include Eastern Palm University, Ogboko; Royal Spring Palm Hotels and Apartments; IBC staff quarters illegally acquired for the purpose of Rochas Foundation College, Owerri; Magistrate Quarters, Orlu Road/Cooperative Office/Girls Guide Illegally converted to private use housing market square, Kilimanjaro Eatery; Public Building Plot B/2 Otamiri South Extension Layout given to the Ministry of Women Affairs for establishing a skills acquisition centre for women, illegally acquired for the benefit of Nneoma Nkechi Okorocha’s All-in Stall, Aba Road.

Others are Plot P5, Naze Residential Layout, initially part of Primary School Management Board but now annexed to All-in Stall, Aba Road belonging to Nkechi Okorocha, and all the properties contained from pages 226 to 272 of the Government White Paper on the recommendation of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into land Administration in Imo State from June 2006 to May 2019.

Njamanze, based on the above legal backings added that the Imo State Government can go ahead and do whatever it deems fit with the properties. The judge also ruled that persons who might have purchased said properties are at liberty to approach the court to prove their titles:

“In essence, the White Paper gives the State Government power to retain custody of the properties listed therein as having been obtained or acquired in breach of the law. Any person who professes to own such properties which are found or contained in the white paper cannot lawfully walk into them without incurring the wrath of the government. At the point the government be it Federal , state, Local accepts the recommendations of the panel of inquiry and publish/gazette same as in the instant case, the properties are well taken over by the government absolutely until the person or persons affected show that the findings were patently erroneous. This can be done by taking up a writ of action to challenge the findings and recommendations contained in the white Paper or the White paper itself.” 

 

CONCLUSION

The gamut of these write up concerns the powers of the governor of the state to constitute a judicial commission of inquiry and the legal status of the  white paper gazette publishing the findings and recommendations of the commission. From the foregoing, the governor is empowered by the Commission of Inquiry Law to constitute the commission and arm it with the terms of references to base their inquiry on. From the plethora of cases cited above, and many others not cited, it is discernable that the White Paper is a notice to the world of the position of Government of Imo State over and in respect of all the lands contained therein including the Okohia Umunjo/ Umuguma Land. The Okohia Umunjo/Umuguma  Land is now absolutely under the control of the State Government and the government is to synergize with the Umunjo/Umuguma Community for the appropriate  compensation  arrangements to be made between them according to the recommendations of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry as was published in the white paper gazette. Finally, there is a window of remedy for any aggrieved or affected person or persons to take up an action by way of a writ to challenge the white paper or the findings of the panel of inquiry by showing grounds why the property or properties should be left off the hook.

 

Osora Francis Uzonwanne is a PARTNER IN ADVANCED CHAMBERS, A LEGAL FIRM BASED IN OWERRI. He holds a Masters Degree in Philosophy and Currently undergoing a study for a Doctorate in Philosophy at Imo State University, Owerri.

 

 

NBASLP2022: Legal Practice in Nigeria: Our Reality, Our Future

NBASLP2022: Legal Practice in Nigeria: Our Reality, Our Future

A New Age:The 2022 Annual Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Section on Legal Practice (SLP) is set to usher in a new age of legal practice with its theme ” Legal Practice in Nigeria: Our Reality, Our Future. ”

Discussions on topical issues are scheduled to hold between July 3 and 6, 2022 in Asaba, Delta State, Nigeria.

TOPICS such as :

1. Legal Practice in Nigeria challenges and Solutions.

2. Lack of consistency in judicial pronouncements in Nigeria; code of conduct to the rescue.

3. Ethics in law practice;

4. Assisted reproductive technology and the law in Nigeria.

5. Court martial and opportunities for legal practice in the military

6. Alternative dispute resolution: A solution or illusion

Early Bird Registration ends in 5Days.

Hurry and Register Now; www.conference.nba-slp.org

NBAAGC2022: Registration Now Open

NBAAGC2022: Registration Now Open

The Technical Committee on Conference Planning (TCCP) for the 2022 Annual General Conference (AGC) of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) is pleased to announce the commencement of registration for the 62nd NBA Annual General Conference.

Registration for the conference commences today, June 12th, 2022, at www.nbaconference.com, with an early bird registration window which closes on 17th July 2022. Participants will be able to register for either physical attendance or virtual attendance.

The conference will hold at the Eko Atlantic City, Victoria Island, Lagos from 19th to 26th August, 2022 with the theme “Bold Transitions”. Renowned Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, will be the Keynote Speaker.

Regular registration for the conference will start on 18th July and end on 5th August, 2022. Late registration will run between 6th and 12th August, 2022, while registration for virtual attendance will be on an ongoing basis.

“The core objective of the 62nd edition of the NBA Annual General Conference is to host a world-class conference, with in-depth discourse on critical issues affecting the legal profession and the country, facilitated by the most eminently qualified resource persons able to galvanize all conference attendees towards the path of becoming better legal practitioners and experts in their chosen fields; shape public opinion on critical issues; and inspire lawyers to build the law firms of the future,” said Tobenna Erojikwe, Chairman, Technical Committee on Conference Planning (TCCP).

The registration fees are broken down according to categories. There has also been a significant reduction in the fees for virtual attendance compared to 2021.

Lawyers in the category of 1-5 years of practice will pay N15,000 for early bird registration, N40,000 regular registration, N80,000 for late registration, and N5,000 for virtual attendance as against N7,500 charged last year.

Lawyers within the 6-10 years category will register with N22,000 for early bird, N60,000 for regular, N120,000 for late registration, and N10,000 if they want to participate virtually compared to N11,250 they paid for virtual participation last year.

Lawyers who have practiced between 11-15 years will pay N36,000 registration fee if they make use of the early bird window, N70,000 for regular registration, N140,000 for late registration, and N15,000 for virtual attendance, N3,000 less than the N18,000 they were charged last year.

For lawyers between 16-20 years, the cost is N54,000 for early bird, N80,000 for regular, N180,000 for late registration, and N20,000 for virtual registration compared to N27,000 paid in 2021.

Lawyers who have more than 20 years of practice will pay N95,000 if they come as early bird, N150,000 for regular, N300,000 for late registration, and N30,000 for virtual attendance, a whopping N17,500 reduction from what it cost them to attend virtually in 2021.

Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Attorneys General, and Benchers will pay N190,000 early bird, N300,000 regular, N500,000 late registration, and N50,000 for virtual participation, N45,000 less than the N95,000 they paid last year.

It will cost Magistrates and other Judicial Officers N50,000 to register if they use the early bird window, N50,000 regular, N50,000 late registration, and N20,000 for virtual attendance compared to N25,000 for last year.

Honourable Justices, Honourable Judges, Grand Khadis and Khadis will pay N75,000 registration whether they come as early bird, regular registration or late registration. However, if they wish to participate virtually, the cost is N25,000 instead of N37,500 they paid in 2021.

For non-lawyers who want to attend the conference, the fee is N100,000 irrespective of whether it is early bird, regular or late registration. If they want to register to attend virtually, the fee is N30,000, N20,000 less than last year’s fee.

International Delegates will pay a fee of $300 for either early bird, regular or late registration, but $100 for virtual attendance, $50 less than last year’s fee.

“The AGC will bring together thought leaders in the areas of justice delivery, technology, economy, politics, judicial reforms, human rights, and rule of law. The aim is to have leading lawyers and thought leaders in the various fields to discuss and harmonise positions on the way forward on building a more effective Bar and a resilient country able to thrive amidst changing global dynamics,” Erojikwe said.

About NBA

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) is the non-profit, umbrella professional association of all lawyers admitted to the Bar in Nigeria and a member of all statutory bodies that regulate the Nigerian Bar and Bench.

The NBA is Nigeria’s foremost and oldest professional membership organisation and Africa’s most influential network of legal practitioners, with over 120,000 lawyers on its roll in 125 active branches across the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria. It is organised into three practise Sections, eleven Fora, and two Institutes, all supported by one National Secretariat.

The NBA is engaged in the promotion and protection of human rights, the rule of law and good governance in Nigeria. It has an observer status with the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, and a working partnership with many national and international governmental and non-governmental organisations concerned with human rights, the rule of law and good governance in Nigeria and across the world.