That we be governed by law and not by the whims of men | Adedunmade Onibokun

That we be governed by law and not by the whims of men | Adedunmade Onibokun

Our founding fathers and our powers-that-be have opted
for the rule of law in preference to the rule of force and absolute totalitarianism.
 – Nnaemeka – Agu JSC;
A.G Bendel V.
Aideyan(1989) 4 NWLR (Pt. 118)671[i]

The term “Rule of Law” is one used very
often. To the Nigerian layman, it sums up to his or her ability to exercise the
legal rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution; it also includes the
access to quick and fair dispensation of justice. In Nigeria, all governments
come into power with the promises of strengthening the rule of law and to look
out for the common man. The reality however is not the case, for if you carried
out an opinion poll, you will discover that almost all Nigerians believe justice
is reserved only for the rich and powerful.
Despite the current state of the justice
administration system in Nigeria, the rule of law cannot expressly be
jettisoned while we all embrace anarchy. It is through the propagations of the
rule of law that we will build our society, our democracy and our government. One
may begin to question the exact definition of the rule of law at this point and
may even further wonder how it relates to the lot of the average Nigerian.
term rule of law was coined by A.V Dicey in his book, “Law of the Constitution”10th
Edition, published in 1885, to mean the –
“the absolute supremacy or predominance of regular law
as opposed to the influence of arbitrary power, and excludes the existence of
arbitrariness, of prerogative or even of wide discretionary authority on the
part of government
(Emphasis Mine)

To further understand what the term rule
of law means, Sir Adetokunbo Ademola, first indigenous Chief Justice of Nigeria
stated that, “as soon as you accept that Man is governed by law and not by
whims of men, it is the rule of law”. To put it simply, the rule of law means
that as Nigerians within the territorial space of our nation, we should be
governed by a system of laws and that such laws must be supreme. That our justice system should be efficient as opposed to being governed by decisions
of individual government officials.
Nigerian history, the greatest enemy of the rule of law, as always been the
government and its officials. In this regard all governments, whether past or
present are inclusive. The political class has always unscrupulously shelved
the rule of law for their personal gains and whims, usually bending the law to
act in their favour and applying force to cement their acts and silence public
criticism. This situation is aptly put by Denton West JCA in the case of
Balonwu V. Obi (2007) 5 NWLR (Pt. 1024) 563, where Milord stated that, “indeed
for politicians, the rule of law is non-existing until it suits their purpose,
and it is only then it is observed to the letter”.  

 A national policy on justice administration is long overdue as currently, there are thousands of prison inmates awaiting trial in Nigerian prisons and have been there for many years; millions of Nigerians are unable to get access to justice as they cannot afford the cost of legal fees and the years it takes to conclude matters in courts; neither is the police and other security agencies doing any better in bolstering the confidence of the average Nigerian in the legal system as it stands today.
Recently, the Attorney – General of the
Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) on the 7th
of November, 2017, raised hopes of a structural balance in the nation’s justice
delivery system, when he spoke on the new national policy on justice and how it
will mitigate the challenges of effective administration of justice in Nigeria. These raised hopes could however be dashed, as the national policy on justice is still at
the road map stage and may take a long time for same to come in
effect, let alone for its benefits to be felt by the average Nigerian.
It is however important to point out, that
if we must strengthen the rule of law in Nigeria, the Judiciary must truly be
independent in funding and in administration. The powers of the State Governor
and the President over the funding of the judiciary at all levels must be
removed and the Judiciary should be truly empowered to deliver justice as it
deems fit to the average Nigerian. All policies of government that does not
first address the issue mentioned above is merely a present relief to the sore
justice system but will deliver a long lasting solution.  
It is our duty as Nigerians to always
strive for the promotion of justice and the rule of law at all levels. That our
laws be upheld and no Big-Man be allowed to escape through the nets of justice
while the poor suffer innocently. It is our obligation, not only for ourselves
but also the future generations.
Adedunmade Onibokun
Lawyer & Author 

Witty Sayings & Quotes of Nigerian Judges. Femi Daniel, 2012.
Impeachment and Removal in Nigerian Democracy, Kayode Omosehin, 2009. 
DRONE IN A TOY SHOP: The Battle Between Technology Development & National Security In Nigeria

DRONE IN A TOY SHOP: The Battle Between Technology Development & National Security In Nigeria

While window
shopping in the mall one day, I saw something unusual through the window of one
of the stalls. It was something I had always thought it would be cool to have,
if only I knew what to do with it. It was a drone. A DRONE? A DRONE in a toy
store??? I know you must think I’m old and archaic but really what is a drone
doing in a toy store.

The possibility
of drones being available for sale to the general public is one that makes me
fearful for a number of reasons. There is no doubt that the introduction of
this technology brings much potential for growth in many different areas. It
may contribute to making security surveillance systems cheaper and safer,
therefore improving our ability to safeguard infrastructure (such as oil
pipelines) and the general public from evil doers such as the killer herdsmen
and the dreaded boko haram sect. Other applications may include use by
hospitals to deliver emergency first aid equipment, speedy delivery of pizza to
my house, and even more awesome innovations from those in the music and
entertainment industries. However, the introduction of drones also poses
several risks in the wrong hands, especially in the context of the complex and
volatile nature of Nigeria these days.

Therefore my
major question is: how can the use of drones be regulated such that innovation
and progress is encouraged in a systematically controlled environment.

I was elated to
see that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has proactively taken
steps to provide safety guidelines for the operation of drones, particularly in
a non-segregated airspace, for certification, safety and security reasons. The
word proactive is used due to the fact that the International Civil Aviation
Organisation (ICAO) is yet to publish Standards and Recommended Practices
(SARPs), as far as certification and operation of civil use of Remotely Piloted
Aircraft (RPA) is concerned. [1]the NCCA has put in place very stringent procedures for
the acquisition of licences to operate a drone in Nigeria, which includes the

1. Writing a letter to the Director General,
Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) stating your proposed use of your

2.  The payment of a non-refundable processing fee of
N500,000 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) bank draft payable to the Nigerian Civil
Aviation Authority.

3.    It is also expected that your business is
incorporated with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) with a minimum capital
shares of N20,000,000. [2]
4.   Due diligence by the Nigerian Security Agency (NSA)
and part in compliance with NCAA is carried out on the applicant.

And finally an
annual renewal of licence fee of NGN100, 000.00.[3]
As laudable as this
step may seem, it poses more as a deterrent to potential drone users due to the
high cost and unpredictable outcome of the application process. The application
process is geared mainly to those who are able to raise revenue, whether
legally or on the side (i.e., illegally). This is also evident from the little
detail of a non-refundable half a million-naira processing fees. (note that the
total certification process costs more than the average cost of a drone). The
certification process by the NCAA has therefore grounded the use of drones to a
near total halt.

Furthermore, the
Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs 2015 Part and
Implementing Standards (Nig.CARs 2015 Part IS. stipulates the
guidelines for the use of drones in Nigeria which covers how, when and where to
use drones.[4] This is funny because the guidelines will now
guide no one, or at best very very very few privileged people and institutions
who know people in high places that can guarantee license approval (the story
of Nigeria).

In the spirit of
technological progress however, what is most important is the ability to strike
a balance between the good and the bad potentials of drone use. The complex
balance between the encouragement of use to increase economic and innovative
growth is crucial. For example, going beyond regulating the use of drones, it
would be nice to see the NCCA co-operating with the Nigerian Customs and
immigration services in order to control the importation or smuggling of drones
such that importation is not discouraged but controlled and properly tracked.

certification process should also be attached to the purchase and use of drones
whereby prospective buyers must show evidence of certification before being
able to import or buy drones off the rack of equally certified retailers, just
like buying a gun (considering the fact that drones are also potentially
weapons). Also the NCCA may encourage the building of drones (knowing how
innovative Nigerians can be) for the encouragement of technological
development, as well as having a less stringent and more cost effective
certification/licensing process to encourage legitimate users, importers and
builders to register activities. Finally, a wider spread law to enforcing and
punishing the violation of any and all guidelines and laws.[5]
As the world
continues to evolve, Nigeria should not continue to be seen as a country who
constantly lags behind technology-wise. 

A little progress has been seen in
recent years  throught the introduction of electronic commerce into the
Nigerian evidence act 2011. But it would be nice to see more progress in this
direction by creating and amending laws to be more accepting of technological
development. I do understand however that there is a need for complete synergy
between the law and enforcement agencies for this dream Nigeria to be realised.
Drones pose even higher dangers where so many dysfunctional agencies and laws
are in existence. While deterring the use of drones in the country may not be
the most technology oriented move to make, it is the safest for now pending
when we become a more mature and technology forward and functional nation.
Therefore, I’m more than happy to wait for the time to buy my own drone and fly
to see what I look like from an aerial view, than get stalked or worse by a
random unknown and dangerous person. I am happy to be patient.
[3]Anti-Drone Regulations: NCAA Will Send Nigeria To
The Stone Age; Samuel
; viewed 27th September 2016
[5] Drones and their interaction with security and
privacy; sokombaa alolade

Abimbola A. Laoye-Balogun

Managing Partner 
H.B Balogun & Co.

Ed’s Note – This article was published here.

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Compliance Under The Corporate Immigration Regime in Nigeria

Compliance Under The Corporate Immigration Regime in Nigeria

Under the Nigerian corporate immigration regime, foreign
nationals may undertake any type of business and own 100 percent equity and
undertake any type of business in Nigeria except those in the negative list,
that is, production of arms, narcotics and related substances which are
prohibited to Nigerians and Foreign Investors alike.[1]

Only exempted foreign companies may carry on business in
Nigeria without incorporating a local entity. The application for exemption is
made to the office of the Secretary to the Federal Government.[2]
Relevant Permits –
businesses hoping to carry out business in Nigeria must incorporate a local
entity in Nigeria with a minimum share capital of ten million naira (N10,000,000.00).
The company is required to have at least 2 shareholders (they may be
corporations or individuals) and 2 directors. 
the company has been incorporated and obtained the Certificate of Incorporation,
issued by the Corporate Affairs Commission (“CAC”),
the company can then apply to the Federal Ministry of Interior (“the Ministry”) for a business permit,
which licenses the entity to carry on business in Nigeria.
the Ministry has granted the business permit, the entity is then required to
apply to the Ministry for an expatriate quota. The expatriate quota enables the
company to employ foreign nationals to positions that have been approved by the
ministry which are listed out on the expatriate quota itself. It is noteworthy
that the expatriate quota which is usually granted for a period of 2 – 3 years
(subject to the discretion of the ministry), clearly states that for every
expatriate position occupied by a foreign national there must be at least 2
Nigerian nationals understudying the foreign national. It is always advisable to commence renewal
of the expatriate quota at least 4 months before the expiry date
Relevant Visas
foreign nationals who have been employed on long term basis by companies duly
incorporated in Nigeria, usually arrive the company on a Subject to
Regularization (“STR Visa”) (the
application for the visa is usually made by the company in Nigeria to the Nigerian
Mission abroad).
Once in Nigeria the foreign national is expected to
regularize the visa within 90 days by making an application to the Nigerian
Immigration Service (“NIS”), this
process is called Regularization of Stay (“ROS”).
At the end of the of the regularization period the NIS issues the Combined
Expatriate Resident Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC)
to the foreign national.
Temporary Work
Permits (“TWP”): companies desirous
of bringing foreign individuals into Nigeria on short term basis can do so by
applying for a TWP visa. This is visa usually granted to companies desirous of
bringing foreign nationals into Nigeria for the purpose after sales installation
of machinery, maintenance services etc. The application is first made by
applying to the NIS, who issues a cablegram before the Nigerian Mission abroad
issues the visa.
·       Business Visa:
This class of visa is granted to foreign nationals entering Nigeria for the
purpose attending meetings and conferences. Visitors on this visa are expressly
prohibited from taking up any form of employment in Nigeria.
·     Under the E-pass
regime, visitors in Nigeria who are likely to overstay the duration of their
visa can apply for an extension in-country.
Local Content Laws
certain sectors of the Nigerian economy there are local content laws which all
companies must adhere to. The provisions of these laws range from giving
priority to Nigerian firms to encouraging locally made wares. These laws apply
mostly to the Oil and Gas as wells as the power sector.
Monthly Expatriate Quota Returns
company carrying on business in Nigeria with foreign nationals in its
employment is required to file to the NIS a monthly returns of expatriate quota
positions occupied and provide such details in these returns as may be
requested by the NIS. It is noteworthy to state that the quota returns is often
used by the Internal Revenue bodies as a means of reconciling the number of
expatriate employees employed by a company over a period of time for tax
computation purposes.

Busayo Adedeji

Busayo advises clients on
corporate immigration issues, advising clients on employment and labour law
issues, ensuring that clients are in line with regulatory compliance rules,
civil litigation etc


Sections 17 and 31 of the Nigerian Investment and Promotion Commission Act.
Section 56 Companies and Allied Matters Act.
The Communication Service Tax Bill: A Desperate Cry For Help – Emmanuel Ohiri

The Communication Service Tax Bill: A Desperate Cry For Help – Emmanuel Ohiri

1.     Introduction
31st August 2016, the National Bureau of Statistics of Nigeria (Bureau)
confirmed what was already in the minds of all Nigerians and the world- Nigeria
was in recession. From the Bureau’s Q2 report, Nigeria’s GDP declined to -2.06%
(year-on-year) in real terms. Rather than focus on alleviating the effect of
the recession, the National Assembly is contemplating levying taxes on communication
and internet services in Nigeria. 

This proposed tax is planned to come into
effect through the Communication Service Tax Bill (Bill) sponsored by Hon.
Saheed Akinade-Fijabi representing Ibadan North West/South West Federal
Constituency, which is currently at its second reading. The bill proposes a
seven percent (7%) tax on charges payable by a user (customer or a
of an electronic communication service by a Telecommunication
and or Internet service providers (“Service Providers”) in Nigeria. 
2.     Overview
of the Bill
2.1   The
Chargeable Services
2(4) of the Bill provides that the Communication Service Tax (CST) shall be
levied on the electronic communication services supplied by Service Providers,
including the following:
(a)   Voice
(b)   SMS;
(c)   MMS;
(d)   Pay
per view television stations; and
(e)   Data
usage from telecommunication services providers and internet service providers.
2.2  Persons
Liable to pay the Tax and Rate
addition to the electronic communication service fee payable by the user, the
Service Providers are required to impose the CST being 7% of the service charge
payable for the use of the communication service.
2.3  Collection
of Taxes and its Administration
Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) will be responsible for the general
administration of the CST including the collection and remittance to the
Federation account.
2.4  Penalties
and Interests
penalties for non-compliance with the provisions of the Bill are:
a)    N100, 000.00 (One Hundred Thousand Naira) to be
paid by a Service Provider who without justification fails to file returns to
the FIRS by the stipulated date and a further sum of N20,
000.00 (Twenty Thousand Naira) for each day the return is not submitted.
b)   Failure
to pay tax by the due date attracts a monthly interest of 150% (One Hundred and
Fifty Percent) of the average of the commercial banks’ lending rate, as may be
published by the Central Bank of Nigeria from time to time, payable by the
defaulting Service Provider.
means by which FIRS may recover a tax or penalty of any interest, which remains
unpaid after its due date, include garnishee proceedings, an order to levy
distress on the property/assets/chattels of the Service Provider. The Bill
incorporates the provisions of the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Act 2007 with
respect to objections and appeals on tax related matters.
3.     Conclusion
Bill imposes an additional burden on the masses by imposing taxes on the users
of the electronic communication service, rather than taking steps to alleviate
the effect of the recession on the populace. The Bill also imposes significant
compliance burden and costs on the Service Providers. It is apparent that the
National Assembly has disregarded the resultant effect of the Bill on
low-income earners and small-scale business entrepreneurs who despite the
economic situation require telecommunication and internet services in their
day-to-day activities.
taxation already exists in the information and telecommunications industry
alongside general tax requirement of companies in Nigeria, which include but
not limited to 30% Companies Income Tax, PAYE deductions for employees, 2%
Education Tax, 1% Industrial Training Fund Payroll contribution, and most
interestingly 1% Information Technology Tax (NITDA Levy) and 5% VAT on
consumption of their services. Clearly, the introduction of 7% CST increases
the tax burden on Service Providers and consequently their customers. 
is without doubt that any potential foreign investor would flee at the sight of
the ever expanding list of taxes imposed on companies in Nigeria. Indeed the
CST can be seen as a desperate attempt of the government to boost its dwindling
internally generated revenue in the face of the economic meltdown currently bedeviling
the nation. As such, this Bill must not be allowed to scale through the second
reading and must be strongly opposed at its “public” hearing.
Emmanuel Ohiri (TNP)
Ohiri is a vibrant and dynamic young lawyer with a high level of intellectual
curiosity, passion for perfection and tactical proficiency
Note – This article was originally published here.
Powers of National Security Agencies in Nigeria

Powers of National Security Agencies in Nigeria

According to Wikipedia, National security is a concept that a government, along with
its parliaments, should protect the state and its citizens against all kind of
national” crises through a variety of power projections, such
as political power, diplomacy, economic power, military might, and so on.

Nigeria like every other
nation has Security Agencies in addition to the Police and the Armed Forces.
For instance the United States of America has the Federal Bureau of
Investigations (FBI), the Department of Homeland Security and the Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA). The United Kingdom also has MI6. Likewise Nigeria
has its own agencies with similar duties as the agencies stated above.  
 These agencies are provided for in the
National Security Agency Act. The Act is An Act to
disband the Nigeria Security Organization and to create three security
agencies, charging each with the conduct of the relevant aspect of the national
security, and other related matters
The Act states that
shall, for the effective conduct of national security, be established the
following National Security Agencies –
       (a)       the Defence Intelligence Agency;
       (b)       the National Intelligence Agency; and
(c)        the State Security Service (SSS).
The respective agencies
also have their duties outlined. Section 2(1) of the Act provides that the
Defence Intelligence Agency shall be charged with responsibility for-
 (a)  the
prevention and detection of crime of a military nature against the security of
protection and preservation of all military classified matters concerning the
security of Nigeria, both within and outside Nigeria;
 (c) such other responsibilities
affecting defence intelligence of a military nature, both within and outside
Nigeria, as the President, or the Chief of Defence Staff, as the case may be,
may deem necessary.
  Subsection 2 of the
Act provides for the duties of the National Intelligence Agency and states that
it shall be charged with responsibility for-
  (a) the general maintenance of the security of
Nigeria outside Nigeria, concerning matters that are not related to military
issues; and
    (b)such other responsibilities
affecting national intelligence outside Nigeria as the National Defence
Councilor the President, as the case may be, may deem necessary.
 Furthermore Subsection 3
provides for the State Security Service and provides that, The State Security
Service shall be charged with responsibility for-
(a) the prevention and detection within
Nigeria of any crime against the internal security of Nigeria;
 (b) the protection and preservation
of all non-military classified matters concerning the internal security of
Nigeria; and
 (c)such other responsibilities
affecting internal security within Nigeria as the National Assembly or the
President, as the case may be, may deem necessary.
 The National Intelligence
Agency is Nigeria’s version of the Central Intelligence Agency, while the State
Secret Service (SSS) is Nigeria’s version of the FBI.  The Act States in Section 4, that the powers
of these agencies shall have effect regardless of any law to the contrary. It
should be noted that the exception to this provision will be the Constitution
of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.  However,
the Supreme Court noted in Dokubo -Asari
v. F.R.N. (2007) ALL FWLR (Pt. 375) 558 at 585; Paras B – E & F – H (SC)
that “where national security is threatened or there is the real likelihood of
it being threatened, human rights or the individual right of those responsible
take second place. Human rights or individual rights must be suspended until
the national security can be protected or well taken care of”. 
This rule of law is not
new as the court further posits that, “the corporate existence of Nigeria as a
united, harmonous, indivisible and and indissoluble sovereign nation, is
certainly greater than any citizen’s liberty or right. Once the security of
this nation is in jeopardy and it survives in pieces rather than in peace, the
individual’s liberty or right may not even exist”.
 The Act also makes provision for 2 advisory
councils namely The National Defence Council and The National Security Council,
while also providing for their duties and functions. 
 The above mentioned
agencies are established by the Act to promote and protect the National
Security of Nigeria. 
Adedunmade Onibokun Esq.
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Opinion: On Sambo Dasuki and the ruling of the ECOWAS Court by Raymond Nkannebe

Opinion: On Sambo Dasuki and the ruling of the ECOWAS Court by Raymond Nkannebe

considered ruling yesterday 4th October, of a three man panel of the Ecowas
court led by Justice Friday Nwoke that terminated in an order of immediate
release of the estranged former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki who has
been in custody of the DSS since last year, and cost against the Nigerian state
in the sum of 15 million naira is a welcome development. Nigerian security
operatives on no reason should be allowed in any guise to overshot the runway
of the law ostensibly to fortify the security of the nation.

right to Freedom of Liberty save in the exceptional cases must always remain
guaranteed. While some may argue that the circumstances bringing Dasuki within
this maze of legality falls within those exception encapsulated in section 35
of the constitution and as such should earn him a continuous detention at the
DSS, we beg to disagree and anchor our disagreement on a plethora of decided
cases by the supreme and appellate courts of this clime to wit :Abacha v state,
Bamaiyi v state, Fawehinmi v state Ani v state to name but a few. Where the
learned justices of both courts reechoed the attitude of the courts in
admitting to bail a person accused of an offence grave as they may be, to the
effect that where the accused would not prejudice the investigation of the
police; commit another offence or abscond from the jurisdiction of the courts
during the pendency of the trial; then bail becomes a right. 

is our submission that poor Dasuki has fulfilled or at one point or the other
undertaken to fulfill these conditions, yet his twin rights of Freedom of
Movement and liberty as enshrined in sections 38 and 35 of the constitution respectively,
remain breached by security agencies. 
so, one of the “exceptional circumstances” in the language of the
ACJA 2015 to be admitted to bail as provided in section 161(2)b is,
“extraordinary delay in the investigation, arraignment and prosecution for
a period exceeding one year”. It is common knowledge that Sambo Dasuki has
remained in custody beyond this window of the law. Therefore, it is safe to
conclude that our security operatives have breached both the judicial and
statutory requirements of the law in their desperation to secure conviction of
the former Security Chief. 
is lugubriously pitiable that whereas the role of the police in any democracy
is to prosecute accused persons, the police have taken to persecution and a
man-eat-man approach to justice. This judicial rascality and professional
indiscretion must stop. 
is on the sands of the fore going therefore, that the judgment of the Ecowas
court as a regional court of competent jurisdiction becomes instructive and
hence should be hailed. While many lawyers have argued that the judgment of the
court is at best persuasive and it’s sanctions prone to abuse by member
nations, it remains to be seen how the Buhari administration who rode to power
on the wings of democracy and Rule of Law and who therewith, told a beleaguered
nation at his inaugural address that he would uphold the rule of law and all
conventions to which Nigeria is a signatory to, would react to this particular
ruling of the court. 
us conclude by paraphrasing the irrepressible late Justice Chukwudifu Akunne
Oputa in one of his legal sound bites. The prosecution in its pivotal role of
helping the courts come to the justice of a case must always remember that
their role is to prosecute and not persecute. A spectacle where the Law is
triumphant and justice prostrate therefore, must remain a sorry, and I dare
say, gory spectacle. For the law in the final analysis is but a hand maid of
writer, a lawyer and public affairs commentator wrote in from kano. He can be
reached via Raymondnkannebe@gmail. Twitter : @RayNkah 

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Forward Recommendations On The National Automotive Policy – Senator Olugbenga Ashafa

Forward Recommendations On The National Automotive Policy – Senator Olugbenga Ashafa

Senator Gbenga Ashafa, Chairman Senate Committee on Land Transport

Senator Olugbenga Ashafa, the Senate
Committee Chairman on Land Transport on Tuesday 4thOctober, 2016 at
the 2 day National Workshop for Chief Executives of Mass Transit Organisations
on the Nigeria Automotive Policy, urged the organisers to break away from the
culture of hoarding communiqués generated from such forums.

While delivering his good will
message, the Senator commended the Nigerian Institute for Transport Technology
and the National Automotive and Design Development Council for putting together
the all too important National Workshop.
Speaking further, the Senator
Representing Lagos East stated that “the functionality of our National
Automotive policy side by side our Mass Transit System is very important to our
economy hence; this workshop is timely as it directly affects the pressing
challenge that we face as a country today, which is the challenge of our

Ashafa identified the important
issues that the Workshop needed to interrogate to include “how to ensure that
the National Automotive Policy remains a viable document on one hand and how to
ensure that the local manufacturing sector remains attractive to the investor
(both local and foreign).”
The Senator concluded by calling on
the organisers of the workshop to ensure that any recommendations requiring the
action of the Senate Committee on Land Transport, should be forwarded to the
committee without hesitation. In his own words, “I have observed a critical
missing link in how we make use of our body of knowledge after the brilliant
ventilation of ideas at such a forum as this. We have the habit of keeping the
resolutions to ourselves without forwarding same to relevant arms of government
for execution. Even when we do, we do not follow through to ensure that each
arm takes responsibility of his part of the job. I therefore urge that if at
the end of this workshop, you come up with any recommendations which you
believe the Senate Committee on Land Transport should push in form of a
legislation or a legislative agenda, kindly forward same to us.”

One Step Closer to Creation of State Police

One Step Closer to Creation of State Police

Sometime ago, I wrote
about why we needed to establish State Police in Nigeria and empower local security agencies
The advantages will be of course immense including employment for the teeming
youths, safer neighbourhoods and superior policing infrastructure. My voice is
definitely not the first and won’t be the last in support of this initiative
and I am glad we are moving one step closer as a nation to achieving this goal.

At the House of
Representative on the 27th of September, 2016, the Bill which seeks
to alter the 1999 Constitution of the Federation, to provide for the
establishment of State Police and to ensure effective community policing in
Nigeria, standing in the name of Hon. Awoleye Abiodun Dada passed through its
second reading and was accordingly referred to the Ad hoc Committee on
Constitutional review for further legislative action.
Section 214 of the 1999 Constitution,
provides that there shall be a police force for Nigeria, which shall be called
the Nigeria Police and, subject to the provisions of this section no other
police force shall be established for the Federation or any part thereof. In
order therefore to establish State Police in Nigeria, this provision of the Constitution
must be amended. It is hoped that the Bill becomes law in the shortest possible
The Nigerian Police is
regulated by the Police Act, Cap.P19, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
Section 10 of that Act provides that for public safety and public order The
President may give to the Inspector-General such directions with respect to the
maintaining and security of public safety and public order as he may consider
necessary, and the Inspector-General shall comply with those directions or
cause them to be complied with.
I believe the amendment
when passed will further lead to the State House of Assemblies passing their
respective Police Laws establishing the police in each state and enumerating
their duties, powers and administration. Most likely, the law will also empower
State Governors in regard to the security of their states as also provided for
in Section 10 of the Police Act. Also, the Police Act may be further amended to
properly outline the respective legal jurisdiction of the Federal and State
Adedunmade Onibokun

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Nigerian Senate Considers Report Of Ad-Hoc Committee On The State Of The Economy & Passes Five Motions

Nigerian Senate Considers Report Of Ad-Hoc Committee On The State Of The Economy & Passes Five Motions

The Senate on Tuesday,
September 27, 2016 commenced consideration of the Report of its Ad-hoc
Committee on the State of the Economy. The Report presented before the Chamber
for consideration has seventeen recommendations. The recommendations were
extensively deliberated upon by  Senators and at the end most of them were
adopted by the Chamber.

According to the report,
the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria conducted a two-day intense and
wide ranging debate on the state of the Nigerian economy. It observed that the
negative GDP growth of 0.36% and 2.6% in the first and second quarters of 2016
technically plunged the national economy into recession. This contraction was
largely due to the fall in oil revenues and further exacerbated by the
vandalism of the nation’s oil assets in the Niger Delta region as well as the
country’s plummeting foreign exchange reserve from more than $60 billion in
2007 to $24 billion currently.
Major highlights of the
report is the decision of the Upper Legislative Chamber, urging President
Muhammadu Buhari not to sell the country’s national assets, and the suggestion
to raise a team of experts that would engage the youth of the Niger Delta for
amicable resolution of the crisis in the region. The report also summoned the
Chief Financial Reporting Officer of the federation to brief the Chamber.
Similarly, five Motions
were also debated and passed by the Senate, they include:
1) Inconclusive Elections,
sponsored by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu (Enugu West) and the
Senate Leader, Muhammed Ali Ndume (Borno South). The Motion sailed through with
three prayers below:
A) Call on the President
of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to immediately nominate suitably qualified
persons to fill the vacant positions at INEC in line with the constitution to
enhance the capacity of the Institution to conduct conclusive elections.
B) Call on INEC to
immediately conclude all pending re-run elections in the country.
C) Constitute an Ad-hoc
Committee to hold a public hearing to review the performance of the INEC
 in the last one year with a view to ascertain the factors that may have
caused the perceived decline of the electoral system.
2) Unscrupulous violation
of Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous) Act, sponsored by Sen. Dino
Melaye (Kogi West). The Motion noted with serious concern the repatriation of
$13.92 billion illegally out of Nigeria by the Mobile Telecommunication Limited
(MTN) through its bankers between 2006 and 2016. The Motion scaled through with
single resolution below:
A) Mandate the Committee
on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions to carry out a holistic
investigation into the matter and report back to the Senate.
3) Earth Tremor and the
preparedness of Nigeria to deal with the intending consequences, sponsored by
Sen. Danjuma La’ah (Kaduna South). The law-maker noted that the Earth tremor
that occurred in Kwoi and its environs in Jaba Local Government Area of Kaduna
State on Sunday, through Monday September 11 and 12, 2016 as well as the
increasing Earth tremors occurrence in Nigeria in recent time, there is the
likelihood of witnessing Earth Quake in the near future. The Motion was passed
with three prayers below:
A) Urge the government at
all levels to take the Earth Tremor warnings in parts of the country serious
and begin to take proactive measures to educate the populace on what to expect
and how to react when it occurs.
B) Urge the National
Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Security Agencies to move in
immediately through public enlightenment and drills to prepare the people
against any eventuality as the resources required at this stage would be
C) Mandate the Committee
on Environment and Solid Minerals to undertake tour of affected communities and
report back to the Senate.
4) The need to ascertain
the Degree of Local Content in Nigerian Oil and Gas industry, sponsored by Sen.
Gershom Bassey (Cross River South). He stated that the Senate is aware that the
National Committee on Local Content Development (NCLCD) discovered that the
local participation in the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry in
Nigeria was less than 5% meaning that 95% of the yearly expenditure of about $8
billion left the country. The Motion also sailed through with two resolutions
A) Mandate the Senate
Committee on Petroleum Upstream and Gas to conduct a public hearing to
investigate the implementation of local content with a view to determine the
degree of compliance with the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development
Act (NOGIC) by the industry operators.
B) Mandate the Senate
Committee on Petroleum Upstream and Gas to investigate the utilization of the
Nigeria Content Development Fund.
5) Looming crisis in the
Nigerian Aviation Industry, sponsored by Sen. Samuel Anyanwu (Imo East). The
Law-maker noted with concern that the looming crisis in the Aviation sector
portends grave danger to air safety and operations. He added that the sector
has been gasping for survival over some years now but worsen by the current
economic recession. The Motion was passed with two prayers below:
A) Mandate the Committee
on Aviation and the Ministry of Aviation to liaise with the Nigerian Civil
Aviation Authority (NCAA) to urgently look into the problems faced by the
airlines in order to fashion out possible solutions to the problem and avert
latent danger inherent in the crisis.
B) Mandate the Federal
Ministry of Transport to urgently commence the rehabilitation of major highways
and the rail system to serve as a viable and safe alternative to air travels.
Ed’s Note – This article was originally published here
New CBN Guidelines For Banks On The Treatment Of Dishonoured Or Dud Cheques – Bolanle Oduntan, Esq.

New CBN Guidelines For Banks On The Treatment Of Dishonoured Or Dud Cheques – Bolanle Oduntan, Esq.

The Central Bank of
Nigeria has issued new guidelines to all banks on dishonoured or dud cheques.
It is instructive for individuals and businesses to understand these guidelines
which take effect from 28th June, 2016 and the consequence of issuing dud
As reported in the media,
the CBN has installed additional regulatory measures against the issuance of
dud cheques by individuals and corporate customers in other to strengthen the
confidence and integrity of negotiable instruments issued within the country.
The key points to note in the new CBN Guidelines are that all banks are
mandated to;

Perform status check on all potential
customers to ensure they are not dud cheques issuers before granting credit
facilities to them or opening an account for them,
Forward the details of cheques issued by a
customers and returned “insufficient funds” whether presented over the
counter or through a licensed Credit Bureaux and the Credit Risk Management
System (CRMS) on monthly basis,
Cancel all unissued cheque books of
customers who have issued dud cheques three (3) consecutive times or more
across banks, and
Prevent all inter-bank cheques issued by such
customer for a period of five (5) years.
The guidelines  also
provides that the details of offending customers will be listed in the database
for a period of five (5) years from the date of submissions after which the
name will be eligible for removal. Also subsequent default following a removal
of an offenders name from the list will attract a permanent listing of such
defaulter in the Credit Bureaux database and such defaulter can only be removed
from the listing with the approval of the Central Bank.
It is also worth noting
that, the principal legislation criminalising the issuance of dud cheques
is the 1977 Dishonoured Cheques (Offences) Act. The rather
brief law makes it an offence for any person anywhere in Nigeria to induce
the delivery of any property or to purport to settle lawful obligations by
means of a cheque which when presented within a reasonable time is dishonoured
on the grounds that no funds or insufficient funds were standing to the credit
of the drawer of the cheque. This law has however been sparsely tested with the
sad consequence that there are professional debtors who obtain services under
the pretense that the cheques they issue will consequently be honoured by the
The crux and key
provisions of the Dishonoured Cheques (Offences) Act are as follows:
Section 1
of the Act makes it an offence to obtain delivery of goods or credit by means
of a cheque that, when presented for payment not later than three months
after the date of the cheque
, is dishonoured on the ground that no funds or
insufficient funds were standing to the credit of the drawer of the cheque in
the bank on which the cheque was drawn;
An individual found guilty of this crime is
liable to imprisonment for two years, without the option of a fine;
A body corporate found guilty of this crime
is liable to be sentenced to a fine of not less than N5,000. Note that a
minimum fine is prescribed by the law; a judge may apply discretion to increase
the fine applicable on a case by case approach; and
The Act in Section 2 however
provides for the lifting of the corporate veil where the offence involves a
body corporate. It provides that “where the offence is committed by a body
corporate is proved to have been committed with the consent of or connivance
of, or to be attributable to any neglect on the part of any director, manager,
secretary or other similar officer, servant or agent of the body corporate (or
any person purporting to act in any such capacity), he, as well as the body
shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and may be proceeded
against and punished in the same manner as an individual.
For businesses in general,
one of the factors considered when investors seek out promising ventures to
invest in, is the creditworthiness of the business (and in some cases that of
it key principal actors such as directors and principal members). What
creditworthiness says about a company is a company’s ability to meet its
financial obligations and pay its debts and the main way to improve on
creditworthiness is to pay bills and meet financial obligations on time.
Issuing a dud cheque is certainly not a way to achieving this.
At a time when direct and
foreign portfolio investment has plunged, importation of foreign capital
declined to a low of $647.1 Million in the 2nd Quarter of 2016 (according to Financial Times) and with the country officially in a
recession, it is important to note that future investments in Nigeria (when we
are able to come out of this recession) will come with even tougher scrutiny
and due diligence by investors, commercial banks and prospective business
The truth is that being a
serial debtor with an open display of opulence, is fast becoming an acceptable
trend. Start-ups looking to raise capital investment will among other
considerations undergo even greater scrutiny; not just the business
operations and financials but also its principal members to determine the
viability of prospective investments.
Five years is a long time
to have an individual or a corporate entity listed as an issuer of dude
cheques, in other words, as a person or organisation that chronically does not
honour its financial and business obligations. A lot of business goodwill and
credibility can be lost within this period with deep financial consequences.
Large businesses already
have internal credit rating systems, this move will go further by providing an
even larger pool of data to work with. Finally, this move by the CBN, coupled
with existing BVN infrastructure will ultimately help with a better enforcement
of existing laws as the appropriate prosecuting agencies will have a credible
list of offenders for prosecution.

 ‘Bolanle Oduntan is a corporate lawyer, litigator and ADR
practitioner. He advises start-ups, SMEs, multinational companies and
provides legal support and expertise. He practices in Lagos the commercial
capital and business nerve center of Nigeria and indeed West Africa.
If you have any question about this post, please contact ‘Bolanle,
your solicitors or financial advisers.
This article does not constitute legal or financial advice nor does it create a
contract between the reader and the writer.
Ed’s Note – This article
was originally published here
Photo Credit – here