41 Banned Items: Nigerian Government to Dump CBN’s Forex Policy

41 Banned Items: Nigerian Government to Dump CBN’s Forex Policy

Recall that
earlier in the year, the Central Bank of Nigeria (“CBN”) banned 41 items from
access to the Official Foreign Exchange Market. The items include the

3.    Margarine
4.    Palm
kernel/Palm oil products/vegetables oils
5.    Meat
and processed meat products
6.    Vegetables
and processed vegetable products
7.    Poultry
chicken, eggs, turkey
8.    Private
9.    Indian
10.  Tinned
fish in sauce(Geisha)/sardines
11. Cold
rolled steel sheets
12. Galvanized
steel sheets
13. Roofing
14. Wheelbarrows
15. Head
16. Metal
boxes and containers
17. Enamelware
18. Steel
19. Steel
20. Wire
rods (deformed and not deformed)
21. Iron
rods and reinforcing bard
22. Wire
23. Steel
24. Security
and razor wine
25. Wood
particle boards and panels
26. Wood
Fibre Boards and Panels
27. Plywood
boards and panels
28. Wooden
29. Toothpicks
30. Glass
and Glassware
31. Kitchen
32. Tableware
33. Tiles-vitrified
and ceramic
34. Textiles
35. Woven
36. Clothes
37. Plastic
and rubber products, polypropylene granules, cellophane wrappers
38.  Soap
and cosmetics
39.  Tomatoes/tomato
40.  Eurobond/foreign
currency bond/ share purchases.
It appears the
Nigerian government have reconsidered their position on this subject and would
reverse the policy which many have argued did more harm than good to the
Nigerian economy. In the space of 8 months, the Nigerian Naira, the official
currency of the country has lost more 250% of its value, trading at NGN485/$1
from NGN199/$1 that it traded for in the first quarter of the year.

The plan is
contained in the newly released 2017 Fiscal Policy Roadmap. The policy document
prepared by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, will, instead, come up
with fiscal measures to reduce pressure in the parallel market. According to
the document, the FG “will replace administrative measures on list of 41-items
with fisca measures to reduce demand pressure in parallel market.” The plan of
the Nigerian government is to address barriers to growth that will drive
productivity,generate jobs and broaden wealth-creating opportunities to achieve
inclusive growth”.

It is generally
thought that the initial policy of the CBN to restrict access to foreign
exchange for the importation of these items from the official foreign exchange
market created a major business barrier and encouraged activities in the
foreign exchange parallel market, which led to a wide gap existing between the
official value of the Naira and its parallel market value. While the CBN values
the Naira at NGN305/$1, it is exchanged at NGN485/$1 at the parallel market. It
is hoped that this proposed change will free the market from regulatory
chokehold and encourage investments and businesses.

Magnus Amudi is an Associate Attorney at Aelex. His major areas of practice are Corporate/Commercial Law, Energy and Natural Resources, Company Secretarial/Compliance, Labour and Employment Law.

Ed’s Note – This article was originally published here
Why we need competition laws in Nigeria

Why we need competition laws in Nigeria

According to the Black’s
Law Dictionary, 8th edition, Competition is the struggle for
commercial advantage; the effort or action of two or more commercial interests
to obtain the same business from third parties. Whish and Bailey describe
Competition as a struggle or contention for superiority, and in the commercial
world this means a striving for the custom and business of the people in the market

In the Nigerian telecommunication
industry for instance, the major players include MTN, GLOBACOM, ETISALAT and
AIRTEL. These aforementioned companies are competitors in the Nigerian telecom
industry. Competition law in regard to these companies will seek to regulate
the actions of these companies in their bid to gain market power and win
consumers over. 
Competition law consist of
rules that are intended to protect the process of competition in order to maximize
consumer welfare.  In other words, competition
law can be described as consisting of rules and regulations which oversee the
conduct in which companies carry on business (Whish, Bailey 2012). 
The major aim of
competition law is to ensure a deep supply market for consumer goods and
services, not just to ensure that there are many suppliers in the market for
particular goods and services, but to ensure that such suppliers play according
to a set of rules that would make it difficult for any of them, individually or
as a group, to lessen or eliminate competition in the market[ii].
In Nigeria, there is no
form of competition law in existence and this may make the concept strange to
many readers, others may wonder why competition is relevant in the first place.
In answering that question, please note that fair competition allows for open,
equitable, and just competition between business competitors. Unfair
competition on the other hand can lead to – 
forming cartels and colluding to decide market pricing and production,
agreements, for instance, if all telecom agencies in Nigeria came together and
jointly decided to offer their services for a certain price range thereby
forcing the consumers to buy them.
of dominant position, whereby a company uses its position as the dominant
operator in the industry to force prices on consumers, for instance, recently consumers
brought before the Consumer Protection Council, a case against Pay-Tv provider,
DSTV, demanding that the council compels it to review its charges downwards[iii].
The CPC does not have such authority and this may allow DSTV increase its tariffs
excessively knowing Nigerians will have to pay because there is no other Pay-Tv
service provider competing with DSTV.
by an enterprise, and
mergers, for instance if MTN, GLOBACOM, AIRTEL and ETISALAT were to announce a
merger, such action will be remove all form of competition in the telecom
There is currently no law
in the country solely dedicated to competition, even though it exists in some
Acts, such as the Nigeria Communications Act. Although there exists a Price
Control Act, this only serves to protect consumers of stable and essential
items, like sugar, salt, milk, flour, matches, petroleum products, motor
vehicles, motorcycles and bicycles’ with their spare parts (“Controlled
Commodities”). The Price Control Act empowers the Price Control Board to fix
the Controlled Price range for these essential items and makes it a criminal
offence for any person to sell any of the listed Controlled Commodities above
their approved controlled price[iv].
The National Assembly has
been called upon severally to pass a Competition Law in Nigeria, but all
efforts have proved abortive. Currently, there are several proposals for the
Bill before the National Assembly and it is hoped that the 8th
National Assembly will heed this national call and pass a law prohibiting
anti-competition actions by companies. 
At a time when Nigeria is
currently undergoing a recession and earning power is diminishing among the
vast populace, unscrupulous companies can find it ideal to collude and jointly
levy on the Nigerian people, a price regime bothering on exploitative.
Adedunmade Onibokun, Esq.
 Adedunmade is the Principal Partner of
Adedunmade Onibokun & Co., a corporate commercial law firm located in
Lagos, Nigeria. He can be reached via

Whish and D. Bailey (2012). Competition Law . 7th ed. London : Oxford .
http://www.vitaveritasllp.com/competition-law-in-nigeria/. Last accessed 2nd
December, 2016.
[iii] Leadership
Editors. (2016). Need For Competition Law In Nigeria. Available:
Last accessed 2nd December, 2016.
Photo Credit – Gov.uk 
Hierarchy Of Courts In Nigeria- Adenike Adetifa

Hierarchy Of Courts In Nigeria- Adenike Adetifa

 “A party is entitled as of right to the
consideration of his case before the court”.
    NWOKORO V ONUMA (1990) 3 NWLR PART 136 P.22
Courts are recognized and
renowned as the hallowed chambers of justice, where even-handed justice is
meted out to all and sundry, without sentiment, emotion, favoritism or being
unnecessarily embroiled in crass legalism. They are not only courts of law but
courts of equity. As discussed in an earlier post, a party is entitled to fair
hearing before a court and where there is a breach of the rule of fair hearing
as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution (As Amended), the whole proceedings
automatically become vitiated with a basic and fundamental irregularity, which
renders such proceedings null and void. The test of fair hearing is the
impression of a reasonable person who was present at the trial- whether from
his observation, justice has been done in the case.
In Nigeria, the 1999
Constitution (As Amended) divides the structure of government into three arms –
the legislative; the executive and the judiciary. By the provision of Section 6
of the 1999 Constitution (As Amended), judicial powers are vested in the
courts. Courts are authorized by law to exercise jurisdiction at first instance
and on appeals on all actions and proceedings relating to matters between
persons, or between government or authority and any person in Nigeria to
determine any question as to the civil rights and obligations of that person.
It is in line with this that we will be considering in this article, the issues
of hierarchy and jurisdiction of courts in Nigeria.
The Supreme Court of
Nigeria which is the apex court in Nigeria was established in 1963 following
the proclamation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the then 1960
Constitution which came into operation on October 1, 1963, following the
abolition of Section 120 which abrogated the appellate jurisdiction of the
judicial committee of the Privy Council which was Nigeria’s apex court.
The Court is now provided
for in Section 230 of the 1999 Constitution (As Amended) and by this provision,
the court consists of the Chief  Justice of Nigeria and not more than
21(Twenty One) judges at all times. The court’s decision on any matter is final
and binding on all other courts in Nigeria without any form of appeal to any
other body or person. This of course is without prejudice to the powers of the
President or the Governor of a State with respect to prerogative of mercy for
any person convicted of an offence under any law in Nigeria. Likewise, the
decision of the Supreme Court may be nullified by legislation and more
importantly, the Supreme Court can overrule itself.
The Supreme Court which is
presently situated in Abuja, Nigeria has original jurisdiction to the exclusion
of any other court in certain disputes. The term “original jurisdiction” means
it is the court of first instance and been the apex court in the country, it
consequentially means no appeal can be heard in respect of those matters before
another court in Nigeria. These matters includes: any dispute between the
Federation and a State or between States if and in as far as that dispute
involve any question (whether of law or fact) on which the existence or extent
of a legal right depends. The Supreme Court does not have original jurisdiction
on any criminal matter and finally, it has jurisdiction to the exclusion of any
other court in Nigeria to hear and determine any appeal from the Court of Appeal.
The Nigerian Court of
Appeal is the next court in the hierarchy of courts in Nigeria. Unlike the
Supreme Court which is situated only in Abuja, the Court of Appeal is divided
into different judicial divisions and sits in certain states in Nigeria. It is
established by Section 237 of the 1999 Constitution (As Amended), headed by the
President of the Court of Appeal and consists of not less than 49(forty-nine)
judges at all times. The court has original jurisdiction to the exclusion of
all other courts in Nigeria to hear and determine any question as to whether –
any person has been validly elected to the office of the President or
Vice-President, Governor or Deputy Governor in Nigeria; appeals from the
Federal High Court, the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja,
High Court of a State, Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory,
Abuja, Sharia Court of Appeal of a State, Customary Court of Appeal of a State,
Court Martial and any other Tribunal.
Just like the finality of
decisions in Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal also enjoys the finality of
decisions on appeals lying to it from the decisions of the National and State
Houses of Assembly election petitions and also appeal arising from any civil
jurisdiction of the National Industrial Court.
Like the Court of Appeal,
the Federal High Court is divided into different judicial divisions for
administrative convenience and sits in more than 15(fifteen) states in Nigeria.
Section 249 of the 1999 Constitution (As Amended) provides for the
establishment of the Federal High Court. The Federal High Court is headed by a
Chief Judge and consists of such number of Judges as may be prescribed by an
Act of the National Assembly but is duly constituted if it consists of at least
one Judge of the court. The Court has exclusive jurisdiction in civil cases and
matters as set out under Section 251 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (As Amended).
It is important to note
that the Federal High Court also has appellate jurisdiction and all the powers
of the High Court of a State. The court shares concurrent jurisdiction with the
State High Court in matters relating to banker-customer relationship,
interpretation or application of the constitution and fundamental human rights
enforcement cases.
 There is a High Court of
the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja which caters for the FCT and High Court of
a State. Section 255 of the 1999 Constitution (As Amended) provides for the
establishment of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja while
Section 270 provides for the establishment of a High Court for each State of
the Federation. The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory and the State High
Court individually is headed by the Chief Judge and consist of such number of
Judges as may be prescribed by an Act of National Assembly (in respect of the
High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja) or the State House of
Assembly (in respect of the High Court of a State). A High Court has the widest
jurisdiction under the 1999 Constitution (As Amended) in civil and criminal
matters and has appellate jurisdiction over decisions of Magistrate Courts,
Customary Courts, Area Courts etc.
The National Industrial
Court is established by Section 254A of the 1999 Constitution (As Amended),
headed by the President of the National Industrial Court and consist of such
number of Judges as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly. Like
the Federal High Court, the National Industrial Court is also divided into
different judicial divisions for administrative convenience which sits in some
States in Nigeria.  The exclusive jurisdiction of the National Industrial
Court in civil causes and matters are set out in Section 254C of the 1999
Constitution and it has all the powers of the High Court of a State and an
appellate jurisdiction.
There is a Sharia Court of
Appeal for the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja which caters for the FCT and
State Sharia Court of Appeal. Section 260 of the 1999 Constitution (As Amended)
provides for a mandatory establishment of a Sharia Court of Appeal of the
Federal Capital Territory, Abuja while Section 275 provides for an optional
establishment of a Sharia Court of Appeal for any State that requires it in
Nigeria. Both courts are headed by a Grand Kadi and consist of such number of
Kadis as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly for Sharia Court
of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and the House of Assembly of
a State for a State Sharia Court of Appeal. Both courts exercise appellate and
supervisory jurisdiction in civil proceedings involving questions of Islamic
personal law.
Like the Sharia Court of
Appeal, there is a Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory,
Abuja and a Court of Appeal of a State. The Customary Court of Appeal of the
Federal Capital Territory is established by Section 265 of the 1999
Constitution (As Amended) and caters for the FCT while Section 280 provides for
the optional establishment of a Customary Court of Appeal for any State that
requires it in Nigeria. Both courts are headed by President of the Customary
Court of Appeal and consists of such number of Judges as may be prescribed by
the National Assembly for the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and the House of
Assembly for any State that requires it. Both courts exercise appellate and
supervisory jurisdiction in civil proceedings involving questions of customary
Although not provided for
in the 1999 Constitution (As Amended), it is established by the law of the
House of Assembly of a State. A magistrate court is a court of summary judgment
as matters are determined in this court without pleadings or briefs filed by
the parties. In the Southern part of Nigeria, they are referred to as
Magistrate courts but they are referred to as District courts in the Northern parts
of Nigeria when they sit in their civil jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of a
magistrate courts is provided for under the various magistrate court rules of
each state establishing them.
We hope this write up was
beneficial to you. We would like appreciate the effort and contribution of Mr.
Ibiyemi Ajiboye an ex-law student of University of Ibadan towards this article.
Readers of this article are welcomed to leave their questions, comments,
constructive criticism, suggestions, new ideas, and contributions in the
comment section or via our email- thelawdenike@gmail.com. We
look forward to reading your comments and contributions.
  • 1999 Constitution of the Federal
    Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
  • Ugwa v. Lekwauwa (2010) 17 NWLR PART
    1222 P.211@ 236 para D-E
  • D.P. V K.S.I.E.C (2005) 15 NWLR PART
    948 P.230 @ 254 para H-A
  • http://supremecourt.gov.ng/About/history
  • I Efevwerhan, Principles of Civil Procedure
    in Nigeria, 2nd ed., Snaap Press Ltd, Enugu, 2013.
This blog is a free education material, for your general information and
enlightenment purposes ONLY. This write up, by itself does not create a
Client/Attorney relationship between yourself and the author of this blog.
Readers are therefore advised to seek professional legal counseling to their
specific situation when they do arise. This blog is protected by Intellectual
Property Law and Regulations. It may however be shared with others parties or
person provided the writer’s Authorship is always acknowledged and this
disclaimer notice attached.

Photocredit – thelawchronicle.com 
The Concept Of Plea Bargain As A Veritable Tool For Justice Or Corruption – Adebayo Oluwaseyi Olayiwola

The Concept Of Plea Bargain As A Veritable Tool For Justice Or Corruption – Adebayo Oluwaseyi Olayiwola

The Concept Of Plea Bargain As A
Veritable Tool For Justice Or Corruption Under The Nigerian Criminal Justice
The concept of Plea bargain has its origin in the
United States of America as part of their belief that society is dynamic, so
the law needs to keep up with it. The practice came about as a potent weapon in
their criminal law jurisprudence. 

Plea bargain was first used in the United States
of America in the year 1973 when her Vice President, Spiro Agnew, was made to
resign on the accounts of fraud, but was later convicted of his refusal to pay
taxes. However, in the 1960s the Scholars had begun to shed light on plea
bargain but the concept was endorsed by US Supreme Court and upheld the
process in the 1970 case of
BRADY v. UNITED STATES 394 US 742, 90 S.C.T. 1463, 25 L.Ed., 2d 747 (1970).

The concept was given credence in the case of PERKINS v. COURT OF APPEALS 738 S.W. 2d 276, 282 (Tex Crim. App. 1978)
where certain number of safeguards into the bargaining process was laid down
and the court held that:
The promise of a prosecutor made during
plea negotiations must be kept.
To be valid, a guilty plea had to be made
voluntary and with full knowledge of its implications.
The concept of plea bargaining in the recent times was
introduced vide The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2005 in Chapter XXIA of Code
of Criminal Procedure.
In order to have a concrete insight of the said topic,
it is pertinent to define certain keywords as embedded in the topic; such words
as “Corruption”, “Criminal”, “Justice”, “Criminal Justice” etc.
is corruption?
It has been defined
as: depravity, perversion, or taint; an impairment of integrity virtue, or
moral principle; especially the impairment of public official’s duties by
then is a criminal?
Simply put, a criminal is one who has committed a
criminal offense.
is justice?
Justice has been defined as “the fair and proper
administration of laws. 
of Plea bargain:
The concept of Plea bargain in Criminal cases refers to
pre-trial negotiations between the defendant through his/her Counsel and the
prosecution during which the accused agrees to plead guilty in exchange for
lesser punishment. Also, a plea bargain/plea agreement is an agreement in
criminal cases whereby the prosecutor offers the defendant the opportunity to
plead guilty, usually to a lesser charge or to the original criminal charge
with a recommendation of a lighter punishment than the maximum sentence.
Plea bargain has also been referred to as a deal offer
by a prosecutor as an incentive for a defendant to plead guilty. It is also
referred to as a negotiated agreement between a prosecutor and a criminal
defendant whereby the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser offence or to one of
the multiple charges in exchange for some concession by the prosecutor, usually
a more lenient sentence or a dismissal of the other charges.
of Plea bargain
Plea bargaining though relatively novel to Nigerian
Criminal Justice System is already being practiced in other countries across
the globe for a long period of time. In fact, this concept is a norm in the
United State of America as stated above whereby 75% of the Criminal cases get
decided on plea bargaining. Hence, the types of plea bargaining is as follows:
: under this type, the accused has the option of
pleading guilty to a lesser charge or to only some of the charges filed against
him. For instance, a defendant charged with burglary may be offered the
privilege to plead guilty to “attempted burglary”; or a defendant charged with
assault and molestation; may be offered the opportunity to plead guilty to just
the molestation charge.
: this occurs when a defendant is told in advance what
his sentence will be if he pleads guilty. For instance, if a defendant is
facing serious charges and is afraid of being convicted with maximum sentence,
he may plead guilty and be punished with an acceptable sentence which limits the
severe punishment accrued to the defendant.
According to Lord Justice Denning M.R in one of his
dictums where he said and I quote: “Justice is rooted in confidence, and the
confidence is destroyed when a right thinking person walks away thinking the
Judge is biased in the case
Also, the legal maxim “Fiat Justitia Ruat Coleum” meaning let justice be done even if
heaven will fall”
In line with the aforesaid, it is highly fundamental to
ask this question: why bargaining with an accused defendant and not allowing the law to
take its full course (simplicita) on anyone who is alleged and found guilty of
embezzling, stealing or looting public funds which belongs to all the citizens
(innocent tax payers) of the nation? 
Conversely, it is quite shocking and alarming that the
concept promotes bargain with an accused defendant all in the name of ensuring
that both parties do not loss out at the end of the day. At this juncture, it
is ideal to critically examine the aims and objectives of this concept to wit;
a country like Nigeria where most public office holders loot and embezzle
public funds with full guts and confidence at the detriment of the masses
without considering their plights and havoc such heinous act bring on them. 
Not only this, the concept (plea bargain) which
promotes bargain between the prosecutor and the defendant (accused) whereby an
agreement is reached and the defendant plead guilty to some of the offences
charged with before trial and enjoys lesser sentence. This kind of arrangement
is of no doubt berated our criminal justice system and judicial system, knowing
well that the judiciary is being referred as to “the last hope of a common man”
and it is highly imperative for the judiciary to dispense the carrot and stick
of justice without any fear, favoritism or partiality. Going by this concept,
this cannot be obtained under our criminal justice system due to the fact that
its preempt true justice on one hand and limits the Court (Judges) on the other
hand from implementing the full measures of law as provided for in our various
Criminal Statutes against any erring criminal and such it is nothing but a
mockery of our criminal justice system and a clog in the wheel of progress of
the judiciary in dispensing true justice. 
According to the words of Prof. G.S. Pande, in his article Criminal Justice; these
were some of the observations and suggestions, he opined and they go thus:
“Punishment for an offence must be
according to the gravity of the offence, personality of the offender, the
nature of his guilt and other relevant circumstances. It need not be
retributive alone. Reform and rehabilitation of the criminal, wherever feasible
without unduly endangering the social life, is necessary, but for offences
which pose a real treat to the normal life in the society and which are of
cruel nature, detriment punishment must be awarded. If punishment is
inadequate, there is every likelihood of repetition.”
Typical illustrations to buttress this assertion are
not far fetched, but I shall mention just a few. Precisely, December 18th,
2008, the Federal High Court sitting in Enugu delivered a judgment in the case
involving former Governor of Edo State in person of Lucky Igbinedion where he
was charged for looting N4.4 billion
public funds belonging to the State, acquiring of palatial houses and
properties for himself within and outside the country at the detriment of the
people of Edo State who ought to be the beneficiaries of the funds. While
delivering his judgment, Justice Abdul
only fined the former Governor a paltry sum of N3.5million out of
the said huge amount embezzled with no option of jail time for egregious crime
of plundering the Edo State treasury for solid eight years in office. The
concept (plea-bargain) was also used during the case of the former Inspector
General of Police (IGP), Chief Tafa Balogun who was convicted for just six
month and has his properties confiscated after he pleaded to bargain. 
Also, in the case of F.G.N v. Alamieyeseigha
involving the Ex-Governor of Bayelsa State where he was charged for looting the
fund belonging to the State; the concept of plea bargaining was adopted and
delivering his judgment; Justice
Mohammed Shuaibu
of the Federal High Court in Lagos State order as follows:
in respect of the properties in the Charge Sheet (Information Sheet), they are
hereby forfeited to the Complainant (Federal Republic of Nigeria). The proceeds
after sale would be forfeited to Bayelsa State couple with six months
This is of no doubt ridiculous and far
below the crime committed by the accused person and no wonder Mr.Babafemi the
former spokesman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) told
Nigerians at the behest of his boss Mrs. Farida Wazari ( now former
Commission’s Chairman) in the wake of Chief Cletus Ibeto’s arrest that: 
“Also, the chairman of the commission
(as she then was), Mrs. Farida  Wazari,
expressed opposition to plea bargain strategy being used by the anti-corruption
agency, saying it was wrong and unhelpful in the crusade against corruption in
But it was scandalous that after the judgment that was
handed down on the former Edo State Governor, Lucky Igbinedion on December 18,
2008 by Justice Abdul Tafari at the Enugu Federal High Court to hear the same
Mr. Babafemi in a press statement saying that the outcome of the exercise at
the court in Enugu fall short of the Commission’s (EFCC) expectation. He said
and I quote: 
“It is believed that the essence of a
plea bargain is not only for suspects to forfeit the proceeds of crime but that
such should go with a sentence which will serve as deterrence.” “In view of
this development, the Chairman of the EFCC (as she then was), Mrs. Farida
Wazari has instructed the commission’s Counsel to file an appeal against the
verdict immediately.” “The Commission will rather go the long way of
prosecution than to settle for a plea bargain verdict that has no bite or will
not serve any deterrence purpose.”
The above statements definitely are not the words of
the writer of this article but that of the then spokesman of EFCC and they
revealed the lacuna attached to the concept of plea bargain and its shaky
foundation which may not be able to combat corruption under our criminal
justice system in Nigeria as a nation.
It is therefore imperative to ask how far the
Commission has lived up to the above assertion or statement…I humbly want the
readers of this piece to supply the necessary response whether in the negative
or positive i.e. whether the Commission can be given pass mark or not. 
Another criminal case where the concept was adopted was
that of the former MD/CEO of the just acquired Oceanic Bank Plc in person of
Mrs. Cecelia Ibru who was charged for money laundering, embezzlement and
financial recklessness and after she pleaded guilty to bargaining arrangement. Justice Dan Abutu sitting at the
Federal High Court in Lagos State only sentenced her to a jail term of 18
months, six months on each of the three count charges to run concurrently for
illegally acquiring cash and assets worth N191
It is crystal clear that all the aforesaid are pointing
to just one fact and this I like to couch inform of a question: can
there be said to be true and genuine justice with the use of the concept of
plea bargaining in our Nigerian Criminal Justice if truly we are sincere about
warding off corruption and promoting justice in our country
? In my humble view, it is a “Res
Ipsa Loquitor”
meaning “the fact speaks for itself”.
It is my humble opinion as the write of this piece that
the concept (plea bargain) cannot be used to get rid of corruption in our
country nor could it promotes true criminal justice either. It amounts to a
mere mockery of our criminal justice system and pose a big threat to the
country’s effort in combating corruption (if truly there is any such ambition). 
If truly Nigeria as a country is sincere and ready to
fight corruption and promote justice, the issue of plea bargaining concept
introduced into our criminal justice system needs to be reviewed. The
government particularly the legislative arm must look into the law critically
and carryout thorough evaluation of the merits and demerits of the concept to
our criminal justice system and proffer necessary solution by passing into law
cogent amendment of the concept or total abolition of it. The judiciary which
is tagged the last hope of the common man needs also to be watchful and be
cautious in delivering judgment in respect of the concept; in order not to keep
bringing its standard to dispute. 
Our court(s) or judiciary is meant to stand for true
justice and need not be swayed away by the concept “plea bargain” but the
courts should ensure that sound and effective judgment devoid of fear,
favoritism and partiality is dispensed at all times.
This writer is therefore, of the opinion that the
concept of plea bargaining needs to be given clinical evaluation and total
overhauling if Nigeria as a nation is truly committed to fighting corruption
and promoting justice on all facets.
Conclusively, I will like to end this piece with the
words of Honourable Justice Morki (JSC)
(Pt. 117) at pages 151-
152 where he said and I quote:
“…It is important to mention that this
is a time when the Nigerian nation is fighting the difficult battle against
corruption in all its ramifications. All hands should be on deck to eliminate
or eradicate this social ill. Corruption or corrupt practices, if not checked,
threaten the peace, order and good government”.
Altimate Investment Ltd v, Castle & Cubicle Ltd
(2000), All FWLR (Pt. 117) at pages 151-152.
Black’s Law Dictionary, Seventh Edition. Pg.348, 380,
869 & 1173
Brady v. United States. 397 US 742, 90 S.C.T. 1463,
25L, Ed, 20 747 (1970)
Economic and Financial Crime Commission Act, 2004 (As
F.G.N v. Alamieyeseigha. The punch Law Report, Friday
July 27 2007 P.4
National Institute of Law Enforcement and Criminal
Justice, Plea Bargaining in the United States (Washington DC U.S. Government
Printing Office, 1978)
Perkins v. Court of Appeal 738 S.W. 20 276 (Tex Crim.
App. 1987).
Oluwaseyi Olayiwola 
(N.D Bus. Admin. & Mgt. FEDPOLY Ede; LL.B O.A.U; B.L  

Photo Credit – Here 

Busayo Adedeji – A Review of the Cybercrimes Act

Busayo Adedeji – A Review of the Cybercrimes Act

cybercrime act was signed into law on the 15th of May, by President
Goodluck Jonathan before leaving office. 
The objectives of the act are to provide an effective and unified legal
regulatory and institutional framework for the prohibition, prevention,
detection, prosecution and punishment of cybercrime in Nigeria; ensure the
protection of critical national information infrastructure and promote cyber
security and computer systems and networks electronic communications, data and
computer programs intellectual property and privacy rights.

Some salient provisions of
the act include:
·       Designation of certain computer
systems or networks’ as Critical National Information Infrastructure.
The act provides that “The President may on the recommendation of
the National Security Adviser, by Order published in the Federal Gazette,
designate certain computer systems, and/or networks, whether physical or
virtual, and/or the computer programs, computer data and/or traffic data vital
to this country that the incapacity or destruction of or interference with such
system and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national or
economic security, national public health and safety, or any combination of those
matters as constituting Critical National Information Infrastructure.”[i]
to the above power vested in the president, he may make orders for the
preservation, storage etc of the critical national information infrastructure and
offenses against infrastructure are punishable by imprisonment for as long as
10 to 15 years.
Registration of Cybercafés
act provides that from the commencement of the act all operators of cybercafé
shall register as a business concern with Computer Professionals’ Registration
Council in addition to a business name registration with the Corporate Affairs
Commission. Cybercafés shall maintain a register of users through a sign-in
register. This register shall be available to law enforcement personnel
whenever needed.[ii]
act does not however prescribe any penalty for cybercafé operators that do not
comply with the above provision. It however prescribes an imprisonment of 3
years or fine of one million naira (or both) for any person who perpetrates
electronic fraud or online fraud in cybercafé. 
In the event of proven connivance on the part of the owners of the cybercafés,
such owners shall be liable to imprisonment for 3 years or a fine of 2 million
naira. The burden of proving such connivance shall be on the prosecutor.
Intercepting electronic messages,
emails and electronic money transfers
act provides that any person who unlawfully destroys or aborts any electronic
mails or processes through which money and or valuable information is being
conveyed is guilty of an offence and is liable to imprisonment for 7 years in
the first instance and upon second conviction shall be liable to 14 years’
  • Computer
    Related Forgery
A person
who knowingly accesses any computer or network and inputs, alters,
or suppresses any data resulting in inauthentic data with the intention that
such inauthentic data will be considered or acted upon as if it were authentic
or genuine, regardless of whether or not such data is directly readable or
intelligible, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment
for a term of not less than 3 years or to a fine of not less than 7,000,000.00
or both.[iv]
  • Electronic
The act provides that electronic
signature in respect of purchases of goods, and any other   
shall be binding. Whenever the authenticity or otherwise of such signatures is
in question, the burden of proof, that the signature does not belong to the
purported originator of such electronic signatures shall be on the contender.
Any person who with the intent to defraud and or misrepresent, forges through
electronic devices another person’s signature or company mandate commits an
offence and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not
more than 7 years or a fine of not more than N10,000,000.00 or to both
fine and imprisonment.
following contractual transactions or declarations are however excluded and may
not be by electronic signature[v]:
  • Creation
    and execution of wills, codicils and or other testamentary documents;
  • Death
  • Birth
  • Matters
    of family law such as marriage, divorce, adoption and other related issues;
  • Isuance
    of court orders, notices, official court documents such as affidavit,
    pleadings, motions and other related judicial documents and instruments;
  • Any
    cancellation or termination of utility services;
  • Any
    instrument required to accompany any transportation or handling of dangerous
    materials either solid or liquid in nature; and
  • Any
    document ordering withdrawal of drugs, chemicals and any other material either
    on the ground that such items are fake, dangerous to the people or the
    environment or expired by any authority empowered to issue orders for
    withdrawal of such items.
Cyber Terrorism
Any person that accesses or causes to be accessed any
computer or computer system or network for purposes of terrorism, commits an
offence and is liable on conviction to life imprisonment.
The act
further stipulates that for the purpose of the provision as stated above,
“terrorism” shall have the same meaning under the Terrorism (Prevention) Act,
2011, as amended.
theft and impersonation
The act provides that any person who is engaged in the
services of any financial institution, and as a result of his special knowledge
commits identity theft of its employer, staff, service providers and
consultants with the intent to defraud is guilty of an offence and upon
conviction shall be sentenced to 7 years imprisonment or N5, 000,000.00
fine or both.
act further provides that any person who fraudulently or dishonestly makes use
of the electronic signature, password or any other unique identification
feature of any other person; fraudulently impersonates another entity or
person, living or dead, with intent to –
(a) gain advantage for himself or another
(b)  obtain any property or an interest in
any property;
disadvantage to the entity or person being impersonated or another person; or
avoid arrest or prosecution or to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of
justice commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment
for a term of not more than 5 years or a fine of not more than N7,
000,000.00 or to both such fine and imprisonment.
Manipulation of ATM/POS terminals
Any person who manipulates an ATM machine or Point of
Sales terminals with the intention to defraud shall be guilty of an offence and
upon conviction sentenced to Five Years imprisonment or N5, 000,000.00
fine or both. Furthermore any employee of a financial institution found to have
connived with another person or group of persons to perpetrate fraud using an
ATM of Point of sales device, shall be guilty of an offence and upon conviction
sentenced to Seven Years imprisonment without an option of fine.[vi]
Electronic card related fraud
For card related offenses the act stipulates a jail term
of up 5 years and a fine of up to 7 million for offenses ranging from purchase
or sale of card of another, dealing in cards etc. In the case of financial
institutions, there is a fine of 10 million for any in institution that makes
available, lends, donates, or sells any list or portion of a list of
cardholders and their addresses and account numbers to any person without the
prior written permission of the cardholder(s).[vii]
Duty of financial institutions
institutions are required to verify the identity of their customers; as such
they are to request documents that bare their names, address and other relevant
information before issuance of ATM cards, credit cards, debit cards and other
related electronic devices. They are to apply the principle of know your
customer in documentation of customers preceding execution of customers
electronic transfer, payment, debit and issuance orders.
Any official or organization, who fails to obtain proper
identity of customers before executing customer electronic instructions in
whatever way, commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of
N5, 000,000.00. It further provides that any financial institution that
makes an unauthorized debit on a customer’s account shall upon written
notification by the customer, provide clear legal authorization for such debit
to the customer or reverse such debit within 72 hours. Any financial
institution that fails to reverse such debit within 72 hours shall be guilty of
an offence and liable on conviction to restitution of the debit and a fine of N
5, 000,000.00.
Administration and Enforcement
office of the National Security Adviser shall be the coordinating body for
and enforcement agencies under this Act and shall provide support to all
relevant security, intelligence, law enforcement agencies and military
services to prevent and combat cybercrimes in Nigeria
Arrest, search, seizure and
act provides that a law enforcement officer may apply ex-parte to a
Judge in chambers for the issuance of a warrant for the purpose of obtaining
electronic evidence in related crime investigation. The judge in turn may issue
a warrant authorizing a law enforcement officer to enter and search any
premises or place if within those premises, place or conveyance –
(i)  an offence under the act is being
committed; or
(ii)  there is evidence of the commission of
an offence under the act; or
(iii)  there is an urgent need to prevent the
commission of an offence under the act.
judge may also make orders relating to search of persons, computer systems or
networks, vehicles etc.[viii]
The federal High Court in any location
in Nigeria, regardless of where the offence is committed has exclusive
jurisdiction to try offenses committed under the act.
Overall, the Cybercrime Act (2015) is
a boost for the Nigerian legal system as offences that are captured in the act
were in hitherto not provided for in any of our laws. This new act is in my
opinion a welcome development as it attempts to safe guard national security,
corporations and individuals alike.

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


Section 3(1) Cybercrime Act
Section 7(1) Cybercrime Act
9 Cybercrime Act

Section 13 Cybercrime Act

Section 17(2) Cybercrime Act
Section 30 Cybercrime Act
Section 33, 34 & 35
Section 45
Penalty for Cyberstalking in Nigeria

Penalty for Cyberstalking in Nigeria

The Cybercrimes (Prohibition,
Prevention, Etc) Act, 2015 provides for an effective, unified and comprehensive
legal, regulatory and institutional framework for the prohibition, prevention,
detection, prosecution and punishment of cybercrimes in Nigeria. The act also
ensures the protection of critical national information infrastructure, and
promotes cybersecurity and the protection of computer systems and networks,
electronic communications, data and computer programs, intellectual property and
privacy rights.

As Nigeria’s online community
grows daily with the springing of thousands of blogs every week, the
Cybercrimes Act is a piece of legislation that should get the attention of
bloggers and online information marketers. One of the offences prohibited under
the Act is “Cyberstalking” which can be found under Section 24 of the Act. It
provides that –
(1)Any person who knowingly or
intentionally sends a message or other matter by means of computer systems or
network that -­
is grossly offensive,
pornographic or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character or causes any
such message or matter to be so sent; or
he knows to be false, for the
purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience danger, obstruction, insult, injury,
criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to another
or causes such a message to be sent commits an offence under this Act and shall
be liable on conviction to a fine of not more than N7,000,000.00 or imprisonment for a term of not more than 3 years
or to both such fine and imprisonment.
By virtue of the above
provisions, it seems a number of people are guilty of this offence. Many
bloggers and online users are guilty of sending messages and articles over the
internet which can be considered to come under the purview of Section 24(1). 
The act
further states in Subsection 2 that –
Any person who intentionally
transmits any communication through a computer system to bully, threaten or
harass another person, where such communication places another person in fear
of death, violence or bodily harm or to another person; commits an offence
under the Act and shall be liable on conviction to a term of 10 years and/or a
minimum fine of N25,000,000.00.
penalty mentioned above also goes to persons found liable of transmitting
communications which – contain any threat
to kidnap any person or any threat to harm another person, any demand or
request for a ransom for the release of any kidnapped person, to extort from
any person, firm, association or corporation, any money or other thing of
if the transmission contains any threat to harm the property or reputation of another
or the reputation of a deceased person or any threat to accuse another person
of a crime, or to extort from any person, firm, association, or corporation,
any money or other thing of value: such person commits an offence and shall be
liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of 5 years and/or a minimum fine
of N15,000,000.00.
It should be noted that the
courts have the power to make an order protecting the victim of a Cyberstalker and
the Act empowers all law enforcement, security and intelligence agencies to
develop requisite institutional capacity for the effective implementation of
the provisions of the Cybercrimes Act. 
It is important that every
active online user is familiar with the provisions of the Cybercrimes Act to
ensure they do not run fowl of its provisions. 
Dunmade Onibokun 
Principal Partner 
Adedunmade Onibokun & Co. 
Tolulope Aderemi – The Niger Delta Crisis: Negotiations Vs. Military Force

Tolulope Aderemi – The Niger Delta Crisis: Negotiations Vs. Military Force

Over the years, various
agitations have filled the political space on the ‘emancipation of the
Niger- Deltans
’; rightly so. The environmental degradation frequently
occasioned by the oil & gas exploration and production activities in the
Delta region has largely birthed this agitation as well as various Groups
making different claims; some to ownership of oil and gas whilst others to, a
need to be compensated for ‘taking their natural resource’. Some others have
advocated the need for government to, appropriately interpret the laws and
enlighten the populace on the state of the true ownership of the ‘black
. Only recently, a former Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
(and a former Minister too) on one of the private television stations,
advocated for complete secession of the oil blocs to the ‘Niger Deltans’ with
government only maintaining a ‘participating’ right. Suffice to say that
all views may be right or wrong. What is important is the consequence of not
taking prompt, strategic and decisive action on the incessant and alarming
damage done by the militants to our oil infrastructure thereby causing Nigeria
as a whole to lose its market share in the global oil space.

 The Niger Delta
Militants (the category of which includes the Niger Delta Avengers in
particular) started attacking oil pipelines sometimes in February, 2016. The
reactionary bombings were allegedly not unconnected with the termination of
commercial contracts (for the protection of pipelines) to the militants, the
discontinuance of the amnesty program put in place by former President Goodluck
Ebele Jonathan as well as a reduction in the stipends paid to the militants. It
will be recalled that a similar situation was averted by former President Umaru
Musa Yar’Adua, who, sometimes in 2006 and 2009 provided monthly stipends to
militants who were willing to disarm and maintain peace under an amnesty
program. This, as adjudged by many, relatively stabilized the Nigerian oil

 This paper is not to
chronicle the ‘Whys’ of the Niger Delta agitations but to consider the
commercial consequence of the serial bombings which has hitherto shapened both
the micro and macro Nigeria oil space. Nigeria’s Ministern of State for
Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu (and the immediate past Group Managing Director of
NNPC) must be commended for clinically and strategically shoring our daily
output from 1.3mbp to about 1.9mbpd. Nevertheless, his successor, Dr Maikanti
Baru, must grapple this situation with equal diplomatic and aggressive vigor to
avoid situations resulting into a sequence of missed/delayed shipments at the
various export terminals in the region; particularly, the Royal Dutch Shell
Plc’s Forcados and Bonny export terminals, Eni SpA’s Brass River, the Escravos
terminal and Exxon Mobil Corp.’s Qua Iboe terminal.  These events have
also led to a declaration of force majeure by Royal Dutch
Shell, Nigeria on exports of Bonny Light crude oil, which was only lifted at on
Thursday, July 7, 2016.

 Counting Nigeria’s
According to NNPC’s
Monthly Financial and Operations Report (Report) for March 2016, Nigeria
produced a total of 59.27 million barrels of crude oil in February 2016 (i.e.,
an average of 2.04 million barrels daily) which is lower than the 66.49 million
barrels produced in January of the same year. This represents a 10.85% decrease
when compared to the level of production in January. In addition, NNPC states
in the April Report, that the oil production level for the month of March 2016
stood at 57.43 million barrels (i.e., an average of 1.85million barrels daily)
which is 3.10% lower than February production levels. This is by far the lowest
oil production levels Nigeria has recorded in over 27 years. Quite apart from
this, the country has lost about 1,500 MW (megawatts) of power supply due to
the damage done to the Forcados pipeline which accounts for about 40-50%
(percent) gas production.

 The Nigerian
Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) may also record losses in the region of
about N20billion monthly as a result of the incessant pipeline vandalism. The
country, which formerly maintained the position of Africa’s largest oil
producer with a production level of about 2.5 million barrels per day, has lost
this position to Angola due to the violent attacks on the pipelines. The
estimated growth of the country has also dampened, as the World Bank now
projects in its semi-annual Global Economic Prospects that the Nation’s economy
will grow by an estimate of 0.8% per cent which is down from the initial 4.6%
per cent growth estimate. The reduction of the nation’s oil out-put remains a
major factor for the decline in the growth of the nation’s economy. The
resultant effect of Nigeria’s poor oil production output has also consequently
affected the total monthly crude output of the Organization of the Petroleum
Exporting Countries (OPEC); which fell from 32.83 million barrels a day in
April to 32.71 million barrels in just one month. 

Damages done to the
gas pipelines which belong to the Nigerian Gas Company (NGC) affected the flow
of gas to electricity power plants and prevented the flow of crude oil to
refineries in Warri and Kaduna. This damage has led to a daily loss of about
N79 million barrels of crude oil and that it will cost about N120 million to
repair the damaged pipelines before normal power generation can be restored.
The Forcados export pipeline operated by Royal Dutch Shell Plc which was
attacked in February, 2016 was undergoing serious repairs when it suffered a
second attack recently. These disheartening events all impact negatively on our
overall oil & gas earnings as a country.

 Force or
Initially, it was reported
in some media outfits that the government was reluctant to enter into
negotiations with the militants in a bid to curtail the attacks on the
pipelines. It is becoming clear now that diplomatic means, as opposed to
military tactics, might be the way to resolve the menace wrought by the
Niger-Delta militants. This, of course will not take away the true ownership of
the natural resource from the Federal government. Rather, more attention needs
to be paid to cleaning up the havoc wrecked by E&P activities, youth
empowerment in the Delta region, accountability of all relevant State governments
for the additional 13% derivation and other peculiar incentives peculiar to the
Niger Delta community. These are obvious and realistic methods of curbing the
violence from further escalating.

The need to also
re-consider the security of the pipelines (by some of the indigenes) also
commends itself. Making the indigenes stakeholders in the protection of the
pipelines might reduce the spate of incessant bombings of these
infrastructures; as the oil pipelines span through rivers and mangroves and run
for over 27,027 square-mile under water, making it more difficult for military
protection; who in most cases are not as familiar of the areas as the
indigenes. The Federal Government must also increase its engagement with the
relevant State Governors to devise additional methods (particularly, with the
use of smart technology) to reduce infrastructural damage on oil assets.

On a final note and
looking into the future, the welfare, environment and youth empowerment of the
Niger Delta community must be carefully looked into. The Ministry of the Niger
Delta and all other Agencies set up for this purpose must be made more
proactive and operational. The Petroleum Industry Bill must also be clear on
the benefits of being an indigene of a Littoral State whilst acknowledging that
sovereign rights over Nigeria’s oil and gas in situ, unarguably
rests in the government. This is very important.

 Tolu Aderemi is a
Partner, Energy & Infrastructure of Perchstone & Graeys; a foremost
commercial Law Firm in Lagos, Nigeria.

Ed’s Note: This article
was originally published here
Femi Falana – Official corruption and immunity in Nigeria

Femi Falana – Official corruption and immunity in Nigeria

In order to ensure the
smooth running of the government the Constitution has conferred immunity on the
heads of the executive. A couple of laws have equally granted immunity to
members of the judiciary and the parliament. However, the proposal of the Senate
to confer absolute immunity on the heads of all legislative houses in the
country and the recent freezing of the bank account of Mr. Ayo Fayose, Governor
of Ekiti state by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have
re-opened the debate on the propriety of retaining the immunity clause in the

This paper contends that
no public officer is entitled to absolute immunity as the beneficiaries of the
immunity clause may be sued in their official capacity or made nominal parties
in criminal proceedings. They may also be sued to defend their elections either
in court or election petition tribunals or charged with crimes against humanity
and genocidal acts before the international criminal court at The Hague. In
conclusion, the Nigerian people are called upon to demand for the abolition of
immunity in the struggle for public accountability and transparency.

Genesis of sovereign

The doctrine of sovereign
immunity is of antiquity. It is basically founded on the anachronistic legal
principle of rex non potest peccare (the king can commit no wrong). As the king
enjoyed absolute immunity he could neither be impeded in his own courts nor
subject to any foreign jurisdiction. Maneleus of Sparta confirmed that the king
was above the law of the Realm, when he said “when a king takes spoils, he robs
no one; when a king kills, he commits no murder, he only fulfils justice.”

Under the feudal system of
government the king was equated with the State. Hence Louis XIV of France once
declared “I am the State”. Although the absolutist powers of the king were
swept away by the Glorious Revolution in England the immunity of the Crown was
left intact. Thus, by virtue of the Crown Proceedings Act the king was totally
absolved of vicarious liability with respect to the tortious acts of his agents
or servants. See Roper V. Public Works Commissioner (1905) I.K.B. 45. The Crown
Proceedings Ordinance, the Petition of Rights Ordinance, the Public Officers
Protection Ordinance etc which embodied the essentials of state immunity were
imposed on Nigeria by the British colonial regime. Consequently, Nigerians were
unable to sue the British Government for the massive violations of their rights
and the criminal diversion of the wealth of the country under colonial rule.

Even though the Crown
Proceedings Act was abolished in England in 1947 its ghost continued to haunt
Nigeria several decades after independence. For instance, the law was invoked
to cover up the atrocities perpetrated by the armed soldiers who destroyed the
Ransome-Kuti family house at Idi Oro, Lagos on February 18, 1977. Thus, in
Chief (Mrs) Olufunmilayo Ransome Kuti Vs. Attorney-General of the Federation
(1985) 2 NWLR (PT 6) 211 at 236-237 the Supreme Court held that the federal
government was not vicariously liable for the arson and willful damage to
property carried out by its armed agents. But the apex court took advantage of
the case to declare that section 6 of the Constitution has abolished the
anachronism of state immunity.

Apart from the Crown
Proceeding Act which was annulled in the Ransome-Kuti’s case a number of other
laws which preserved state immunity have either been declared illegal or
whittled down by Nigerian Courts . But in spite of the abolition of state
immunity the Constitution has conferred immunity on the heads of the executive
arm of government during their terms of office. Under the defunct military
dictatorship the absolute immunity of military dictators was preserved in the
supremacy decrees. Specifically, the Constitution was suspended while the
jurisdiction of the courts was ousted with respect to anything done or
purported to have been done by the military dictators.

In Femi Falana & Ors v
General Ibrahim Babangida the plaintiffs sued the defendant to justify the
unilateral dissolution of the Armed Forces Ruling Council, the ruling body
under the military junta at the material time. In striking out the case for
want of locus standi the trial judge, the late Ligali Ayorinde C.J. described
the military president as the “kabiyesi” of the country as he was not
accountable to anyone or institution in the country. But the judge failed to
appreciate that the “kabiyesi” in the Oyo empire could be removed if he was
found to have committed grave crimes against the people.

The purpose of immunity
for public officers
The sole justification for
immunity is that the heads of state and government should enjoy absolute
immunity to enable them to perform official duties without distractions. In
other words, such public officers should not be harassed or distracted in the
performance of their duties by fear of civil or criminal litigation. By virtue
of Section 308 (1) of the 1999 Constitution “no civil or criminal proceedings
shall be instituted or continued against the President, Vice President,
Governors and Deputy Governors during their period of office.” The implication
of the immunity clause is that any of the persons to whom the section applies
shall not be arrested or imprisoned either in pursuance of the process of any
court or otherwise and no process of any court requiring or compelling the
appearance of the person shall be applied for or issued.

However, the provision of
the immunity clause shall not apply to civil proceedings against the public
officer in his/her official capacity or to civil or criminal proceedings in
which such a person is only a nominal party. Cases filed before the assumption
of office of public officers covered by the immunity clause are stayed to await
the expiration of their tenure. See the cases of Col. Oluwole Rotimi Vs.
Macregor (1974) NSCC 542; Bola Tinubu Vs. I.M.B. Securities Ltd. (2001) 11 WRN
27; (2001) 16 NWLR (PT 740) 670 and Media Technique Nig. Ltd. Vs. Lam Adesina
(2004) 44 WRN 19. Paradoxically, public officers protected by the immunity
clause are not precluded from instituting civil proceedings during their term
of office.

In Olabisi Onabanjo Vs.
Concord Press of Nigeria (1981) 2 NCLR 349 the Defendant challenged the libel
suit filed by the Plaintiff on the ground that he was excluded from being sued
during his term of office as the governor of Ogun State. In dismissing the
preliminary objection Kolawole J. (as he then was) held that even through a
governor could be sued he was not precluded from instituting and maintaining an
action in Court. See also the case of Aper Aku Vs. Plateau Publishing Company
Ltd. (1985) 6 NCLR 338 and Chief D.S.P. Alamieyeseigha Vs. Teiwa & Ors.
(2001) 33 WRN 144.

With respect, it is
submitted that if those covered by the immunity clause can institute libel
suits or enforce other rights it is unjust to prevent other persons from suing
them while in office. As there is equality before the law it is grossly unjust
to allow public officers covered by the immunity clause to institute civil
suits when their opponents are precluded from suing them by issuing or serving
court processes on them. The injustice in the discriminatory practice becomes
apparent when it is realized that the defendants cannot appeal against the
cases if they are decided in favour of the public officers.

Judicial immunity
By virtue of secion 6 of
the Constition the judicial powers of the State are veted in judges. Such
powers shall be exercised by judges without fear of favour. The law
establishing each of courts provides that judges shall not be held liable for
any act done in the discharge of their duties. In other words judges cannot be
subject to civil or criminal proceedings on account of negligence or errors
made in the course of discharging their functions. Litigants who are
dissatisfied with the decisions of judges have the right to appeals to higher
courts for redress. However, the National Judicial Council is empowered to
investigate allegations of misconduct against judges and recommend appropriate
sanctions to the appointing authorities.

In order to deal with
allegations of judicial corruption judges who were found to have engaged in
misconduct have been removed from the bench. According to the Chief Justice of
Nigeria, the Honourable Justice Mahmud Mohammed, not less than 54 judges have
been compulsorily retired or dismissed from office from 1999-2016. Two Senior
Advocates of Nigeria who are alleged to have bribed three judges are currently
standing trial at the Lagos high court. Since it takes two to tango the judges
who allegedly received the bribes from both senior lawyers should not be spared
from criminal prosecution.

Legislative immunity
The Legislative Powers and
Privileges Act has conferred limited immunity, powers and privileges on the
members of the national assembly in the performance of their legislative
duties. Specifically, they are immune from civil or criminal proceedings in
respect of deliberations and comments made by them in course of proceedings in
the parliament. In view of the controversy which has trailed the arraignment of
the leaders of the Senate it is pertinent to point out that the privileges and
immunity conferred on the legislators cannot shield them from prosecution for
criminal offences. Indeed, under section 25 (1) of the Act, any person who
causes to be printed a copy of any Act or law, report, paper, minutes or votes
or proceedings of a legislative house shall be guilty of an offence and shall
be liable on conviction to a fine of two hundred Naira or imprisonment or 12
months imprisonment or to both such fine and imprisonment.

Furthermore, no
prosecution shall be instituted for any offence committed under the Act except
by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) upon information given to him
by the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives
.With respect to the alleged forgery of the Senate Rules which occurred
sometime last year the Senate President did not report the matter to the AGF.
Since the Senate President failed to perform his statutory duty in the
circumstance, the AGF decided to file the charge the four defendants with
conspiracy and forgery under the Penal Code applicable in the Federal Capital
Although Nigerian
legislators have not been conferred with absolute immunity the Senate believes
that its leaders are above the law of the land. Hence, the Chairman of the Code
of Conduct was recently summoned to justify the trial of the Senate President,
Dr Bukola Saraki on the allegation of false declaration of assets. Although the
Senate withdrew the illegal summons based on negative public reaction it has
invited the Attorney-General of the Federation to appear before the senators to
explain the rationale for filing criminal charges against the senate president,
deputy senate president and two legislative staff. Since the senate is
prohibited by its own rules from debating any matter which is sub judice the
decision of the Attorney-General, Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN, to treat the summons
with disdain cannot be faulted.

It ought to be pointed out
that not even the court not even the court can question the Attorney-General in
the exercise of his powers to charge any criminal suspect to court pursuant to
section 174 of the Constitution. In The State v Ilori & Ors (1983) 1 SCBLR
94, the Supreme Court held that the powers of the Attorney-General are a matter
for his quasi-judicial discretion and one within his complete province as he
possesses ”the constitutional powers in full and the responsibility for any
decision thereupon rests solely on him.” The apex court proceeded to state that
“a person who has suffered from the unjust exercise of his powers by an
unscrupulous Attorney-general is not without remedy; for he can invoke other
proceedings against the Attorney-General. But certainly, his remedy is not to
ask the court to question or review the exercise of the powers of the
Attorney-General.” Since the Senate lacks the vires to summon the
Attorney-General to partake of a debate on a matter that is sub judice the
illegal summons should be formally withdrawn without any further delay.
Instead of writing protest
letters to regional and international organisations as well as embassies of
countries which operate under the rule of law with emphasis on equality of
citizens before the law the defendants are advised to follow the principle laid
down by the Supreme Court in the case of The State v Ilori & Ors (supra).
More importantly, to prevent the political manipulation of the Attorney-General
by the executive the national assembly may wish to take advantage of the
planned constitutional review to ensure that section 174 of the Constitution is
amended to separate the office of the Attorney-General from that of the
Minister of Justice.

Immunity and electoral
In order to actualise the
equality of the rights of all contestants in a presidential or governorship
elections it has been held by the Supreme Court that immunity cannot be invoked
in election petitions. Otherwise, public officers to whom immunity applies may
take advantage of their positions to rig elections and threreby sabotage the
democratic process. The rationale for suspending the operation of the immunity
clause during the hearing of election petition was explained by the late
Justice Kayode Eso in Obih Vs. Mbakwe (1984) All NLR 134 at 148 when he said,
“With respect, to extend the immunity to cover the governors from being legally
challenged when seeking a second term will spell injustice.”

Similarly, in Turaki v.
Dalhaltu(2003) 38 WRN 54 at 168 the Court of Appeal (per Oguntade JCA (as he
then was) held that “If a Governor were to be considered immune from court
proceedings, that would create the position where a sitting Governor would be
able to flout election laws and regulations to the detriment of other person
contesting with him. This will make a nonsense of the election process and be
against the spirit of our national Constitution which in its tenor provides for
a free and fair election.” See Amaechi v INEC (2008) 5 N.W.L.R (Pt 1080) 227;
Baido v INEC (2008) 12 N.W.L.R (Pt 1101) 379.

In the case of the
Alliance for Democracy v. Peter Ayodele Fayose (No 1) (2004) 26 WRN 34 the
respondent challenged the issuance of a subpoena on him on the ground that
Section 308 has conferred immunity on him as a governor. While dismissing the
objection the Court of Appeal (per Muri Okunola JCA) held: “… the immunity
provided by the provisions of section 308 of the Constitution of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria 1999 on a State Governor is put in abeyance when his
election is being disputed before an Election Tribunal as to make him amenable
to being compelled by a subpoena to tender document(s) or give evidence before
the Election Tribunal.”
In recent time, there are
election related proceedings that have been filed against heads of government
despite the immunity clause in Section 308 of the Constitution. It is on record
that majority of the governors were respondents in several election petitions
arising from the 2015 general elections. Although the elections petitions have
been concluded a pre-election in which President Buhari was a defendant has
just been discontinued by the Plaintiff while the case against the governor of
Cross River state has been dismissed on the ground that the allegation of
falsification of age was not proved beyond reasonable doubt. Two pre-election
cases which are still pending against Governor Bagudu of Kebbi state and
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia state.

Immunity and criminal
Two weeks ago, the EFCC
traced N1.2 billion criminally diverted from the Office of the National
Security Adviser to a Zenith bank account belonging to the Ekiti state
governor, Mr Ayo Fayose. As soon as he learnt that the account was under
investigation Mr. Fayose invaded one of the branches of the bank at Ado Ekiti
with armed gendarmes and demanded for the withdrawal for the balance of N500
million in the account. To prevent the governor from transferring the fund the
EFCC froze it. and later obtained an ex parte order of interim seizure. In
challenging the action of the EfCC the governor said that his immunity had been
violated. Convinced that he had been betrayed by the bank Mr. Fayose said that
the money was actually donated by the bank to his campaign. As I have argued
elsewhere the action of the EFCC cannot be impugned having regard to the
combined effect of sections 28 and 34 of the Efcc Act as well as section 308 of
the Constitution.

However, assuming without
conceding that the bulk of the fund spent on his campaign was donated by Zenith
Bank Plc the governor has unwittingly justified the investigation and freezing
of his account by the EFCC. He has also confirmed that the humongous sum of
money was transported from Abuja to Akure in contravention of the Money
Laundering Act. By his utterances, Mr. Fayose is simply saying that the
management of Zenith bank stole depositors’ money and laundered it to fund his
political campaign contrary to section 90 of the Electoral Act, 2010 as
amended. On the basis of his own confessional statement, Governor Fayose and
the management of the bank are liable to be prosecuted for electoral fraud,
money laundering and criminal diversion of depositors’ fund to the tune of N1.2
billion. Therefore, whether it is public money stolen from via the office of
the NSA or depositors’ fund through the bank the decision of the EFCC to freeze
Mr. Fayose’s account is perfectly in order.

In Gani Fawehinmi vs.
Inspector General of Police (2002) 23 WRN 1 the Supreme Court held that
although public officers covered by the immunity clause cannot be arrested or
prosecuted they are not excluded from investigation for corruption and other
criminal offences. It was the view of Uwaifo JSC “The evidence may be useful
for impeachment purposes if the House of Assembly may have need of it. It may
no doubt be used for prosecution of the said incumbent Governor after he has
left office. But to do nothing under pretext that a Governor cannot be
investigated is a disservice to the society.”

Curiously, the interpretation
of the immunity clause was limited to section 308 (1) of the Constitution. It
is doubtful if the Supreme Court would have maintained the same stand if its
attention had been drawn to Section 308 (2) thereof where it is expressly
provided that a public officer protected by the immunity clause can be
subjected to “criminal proceedings in which such a person is only a nominal
party”. This means, in effect, that a public officer who enjoys immunity can be
made a defendant in a nominal capacity in criminal proceedings . In FRN v
Dariye (2011) 13 N.W.L.R (Pt 1265) 521, the Court of Appeal dismissed the
charges against the appellant, a sitting governor at the material time on the
ground that he was made a principal party in the criminal case. According to
Tur J.C.A:

“Learned counsel to the
appellant ought to have seen the impracticability, futility and absurdity of
instituting criminal proceedings against Chief Joshua Chibi Dariye either as
the Governor of Plateau State or in his name since he is not a nominal party
under section 308 (2) of the Constitution but the principal offender alleged to
have conspired with the other co-accused persons to commit the offences.”

Investigation of corrupt
practices involving heads of government by independent counsel

By virtue of section 52 of
the ICPC Act the Chief Justice of Nigeria is empowered to appoint an
Independent Counsel, who shall be a legal practitioner of not less than 15
years standing, to investigate any allegation of corruption against the
President, Vice President, Governor or Deputy Governor. At the end of such
investigation the Independent Counsel is required to make a report of the
findings available to the National Assembly or the House of Assembly of a State
as the case may be for the impeachment of the indicted officer.
When Justice M.A. Akanbi
was the ICPC Chairman he caused the commission to submit about about 20
applications to the Chief Justice of Nigeria seeking for the appointment of
Independent Counsel to investigate allegations of corruption against some
sitting governors. None of the applications was granted on the ground that
there was no budget for the office of the independent counsel! Instead of
applying for an order of mandamus to compel the Chief Justice to carry out his
statutory functions under the ICPC Act the case files were reportedly withdrawn
by the ICPC. Thus, section 52 of the ICPC Act has not been tested for the past
16 years.
Plea of immunity by state

Recently, the
Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) requested the efcc to investigate a
complaint alleging the criminal diversion of N11 billion from the coffers of
the Rivers state government. In a letter addressed to the AGF which has since
been advertised in some national dailies. In the letter the Rivers AG challenged
the competence of the AGF to direct the efcc to investigate the allegation of
the missing fund. Without missing words, the AGF was asked to leave the
suspected looters alone as the money alleged to have been criminally diverted
is owned by the Rivers state government. In support of his strange submissions
the Rivers state AG cited a couple of cases decided by the federal and state
high courts.

With respect, the
decisions relied upon by the Rivers states AG do not represent the correct
state of the law with respect to public accountability in Nigeria.
Incidentally, the Rivers state government was one of the defendants in the case
of AG, Ondo State v AGF wherein the Supreme Court had held that ” generally
speaking, power to prosecute for an offence is not determined by the ownership
of the property allegedly stolen or misappropriated and that the determining
factors are: (i) Who can exercise prosecutorial powers, (ii) The nature of the
offence and, (iii) Where the offence was committed-the venue. In Dariye v FRN
(2015) 10 N.W.L.R. (Pt 1467) 325 the Supreme Court reiterated the principle
when it held that “the owner of the subject matter of the charges is
immaterial. What is material is that a Federal enactment has been violated.”
It view of the fact that
the efcc has been asked by the AGF to investigate the alleged violation of
relevant federal enactments with respect to stolen funds belonging to the
Rivers state government it is hoped that the state AG will advise the suspects
involved to cooperate with the anti graft agency in the circumstance. Having
regard to the categorical pronouncements of the apex court in the AG, Ondo
state v AGF (supra) and FRN v Fariye (supra) the ownership of the alleged
missing sum of N11 billion is of no moment.

waiver of immunity
Realizing that the war
against corruption could not be meaningfully prosecuted as long as some public
officers were immune from prosecution President Obasanjo campaigned for the
abolision of immunity for heads of government. In 2001, he waived his immunity
and appeared before the Oputa Commission in response to the petition of Dr.
Beko Ransome Kuti. The allegation was that it was the military regime headed by
him which had authorised the violent destruction of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s
residence on February 18, 1977.

However, the other
ex-military dictators refused to appear at the panel of inquiry. In fact, one
of them successfully challenged the summons served on him in Fawehinmi v
Babangida. In setting aside the summons the Supreme Court held that the
Commission could not compel the attendance of any witness and that the federal
government had no power to set up a commission of enquiry outside the federal
capital territory.

Limitation of immunity
under international law
It is submitted that the
immunity conferred on state governors by the Constitution is not applicable
outside the territory of Nigeria as only the President is entitled to sovereign
immunity under customary international law. The case of R. (on the application
of Alamieyeseigha) v Crown Prosecution Service [2005] EWHC 2704 (Admin) is
relevant in this regard. In September 2005, following investigations by the
Proceeds of Corruption Unit of the Metropolitan Police in the United Kingdom
and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Chief D.S.P
Alamieyeseigha was arrested in London, questioned and charged with three counts
of money laundering.
A world-wide criminal
restraint order was obtained by the Crown Prosecution Service over his assets.
He then sought to quash the decision to prosecute him in London on the grounds
that, as a result of his position as Governor and Chief Executive of the State
of Bayelsa, he was entitled to state immunity in criminal proceedings brought
in the United Kingdom. The argument was rejected by the trial judge who held
that as a governor of state which is a constituent part of Nigeria, the
applicant was not entitled to sovereign immunity in respect of criminal
proceedings brought in the United Kingdom.

In FRN v Joshua Dariye
(2007) S.R (D) 179, the plaintiff filed a forfeiture proceeding against the
defendant in a British court in February 2007. The defendant who was then a
governor in Nigeria applied for a stay of proceedings or transfer of the case
to Nigeria on ground of forum conveniens. The objection was dismissed. During
the proceedings the defendant failed to provide an adequate explanation for the
source of his funds and the court ordered that his assets be returned to
Nigeria. The court dealt separately with the defendant’s property and his bank accounts.

However, the Rome Statute
to which Nigeria is a signatory does not recognise the immunity of the
President and state governors. Therefore, if a warrant is issued for the arrest
of any of the Nigerian leader for genocidal acts or crimes against humanity the
immunity conferred on the public officer by the Constitution cannot be
successfully invoked to shield him/her from trial before the International
Criminal Court. When President Omar Bashir of Sudan was in Nigeria last year to
attend an international conference a human rights body filed an action at the
federal high seeking to compel the federal government to arrest the guest and
hand him over to the Special Prosecutor of the ICC for genocide over the
massacre of over 300,000 people in Darfur, Sudan in 2005. As soon as he got
wind of the suit the visiting Sudanese President hurriedly left Nigeria

In the Minister of Justice
and Constitutional Development & Ors v The South Africa Litigation Centre
& Ors (Unreported Case no 867/15) President Al Bashir arrived in South
Africa to attend the African Assembly on June 13, 2015. As the Government took
no steps to arrest him the respondent, the South African Litigation Centre
(SALC), brought an urgent application on Sunday 14 June 2015, in the Gauteng
Division of the High Court, Pretoria seeking orders declaring the failure to
take steps to arrest him illegal. The order issued by the court which directed
the Jacob Zuma government to arrest him was flouted as President Bashir’s plane
was allowed to fly out of the country.
Upon hearing the
substantive matter, the trial judge condemned the government of South Africa
violating its obligations under the Rome Statute as it pertains to the arrest
of President Al Bashir. Dissatisfied with the ruling the government challenged
it on appeal. In dismissing the appeal the Supreme Court Appeal of South Africa
held that “The conduct of the Respondents in failing to take steps to arrest
and detain, for surrender to the International Criminal Court, the President of
Sudan, Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir, after his arrival in South Africa on 13
June 2015 … was unlawful.”

Notwithstanding the
absolute immunity conferred on heads of government they may be sued in their
official capacity or made nominal parties in criminal proceedings. In order to
promote accountability and transparency in government and deepen the democratic
process the courts have whittled down the absoluteness of immunity enjoyed by
the heads of government with respect to electoral disputes and criminal investigations.
In the circumstance, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the police and the anti
graft agencies should carry out their statutory duties by ensuring that
allegations of corrupt practices involving heads of government are probed while
the reports are either submitted the appropriate legislative houses or kept for
the prosecution of the indicted heads of government upon the expiration of
their terms of office.

No doubt, the rising wave
of executive lawlessness in the polity including the rapacious looting of the
treasury by some heads of government has led to an upsurge in the popular
demand for the abolition or removal of the immunity clause from the
Constitution. This disturbing situation was well captured by Tur JCA in FRN v
Dariye (supra) when he said:

“Experience has shown that
the immunity clause in the Constitution has
been abused by many
Governors and Deputy Governors and Nigerians
have been clamouring for
its removal from the Constitution. That has
been the yearnings of
those who want to rid the country of corruption
by persons thrust with the
responsibility of executing governmental
affairs of the Federation
or the States.”

This year alone the
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has secured over 200 convictions in
respect of cyber crimes, 419, fraud, stealing and other cases. By the standard
of any legal system that is a record achievement. But the public perception is
that the EFCC is not succeeding because the fat cats have remained largely untouchable.
The anti-graft agencies have to devise new methods of fighting the menace of
2. The criminal justice
system is successfully manipulated to frustrate trials. Once a big man or woman
is admitted to bail the defence counsel engages in dilatory tactics to wear out
the court and the prosecutor. As far as I am concerned, the EFCC has to go back
to the drawing board. When the EFCC started under Mallam Nuhu Ribadu it was
able to frustrate the rich. Unfortunately, the EFCC was taken over by powerful
criminal suspects in connivance with a former Attorney-General of the
Federation. Under the pretext of fighting corruption under the rule of law they
castrated the EFCC. Mr. Lamorde is just trying to rebuild the organization. It
is going to take some time because the damage is enormous. To arrest the
frustration of cases the EFCC has to go back to section 40 of the EFCC Act
which has abolished stay of proceedings even though the right of appeal is
preserved. There is no civilized country in the world where a criminal trial
can be stayed to await an appeal. Until recently, it was not part of our
criminal justice system. So, we have to restore the sanity of the system in the
overall interest of the society.
4. The Goodluck Jonathan
Administration is a continuation of the Umaru Yaradua Administration. To that
extent, not much has changed in the fight against corruption. However, I don’t
blame any regime for not fighting corruption. For me there are adequate
opportunities within the system to expose and shame corrupt people. A few
individuals and NGOs are taking advantage of openings in the system to expose
corruption. SERAP and others have just lost the move to get the CBN to account
for the mismanagement and diversion of the $12.4 billion the Ibrahim Babangida
junta. We are appealing against the judgment of the Federal High Court. The
CNPP is seeking an order of mandamus to compel the EFCC and ICPC to prosecute
President Olusegun Obasanjo for massive corruption. LEPAD has obtained an order
to compel the National Assembly to disclose the salaries and allowances of

5. The Network Against
Corruption has demanded for the removal of some corrupt miniters on account of
corruption. The Coalition Against Corruption Leaders has joined issues with the
Federal and State Government over corrupt practices. On its own part the
Jonathan Administration set up some probe panels which have exposed the
unprecedented sleaze in government. It is left for Nigerians to put the reports
of such panels to maximum use. Many individuals and organizations are making
requests for information under the FOI. The Code of Conduct Bureau has been
sued for refusing to make available the assets of President Jonathan. Both
Chambers of the National Assembly have taken up the challenge of exposing
corruption. In the process legislators who soil their own hands are being
pursued. The EFCC has taken many persons and companies to court over the fuel
subsidy scam.

6. Frankly speaking, most
governments in the world are corrupt. It is the business of the media and other
civil society organizations to expose corruption in government. Before the
creation of the ICPC and EFCC corruption was fought in Nigeria by a few
patriotic individuals aided by the press. We have to go back to that glorious era
in the collective interest of the society. Unlike what obtained under the
Obasanjo regime when the government ordered the killing of innocent people
President Jonathan will not go out of his way to order armed soldiers to
destroy any community. But then, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces
he has to check the excesses of the JTFs and restrain them from killing
innocent people in the fight against terrorism. The extra judicial killing of
suspects and other innocent people by the police is on the rise. This has to
stop. The parade of suspects by the police, NDLEA, SSS etc has to stop. The
society has to fight the increasing wave of rape. The discriminatory treatment
of women has to be tackled. The Jonathan Administration has inaugurated the
National Human Rights Commission. I expect a major intervention of that body in
the area of human rights violations. The new council is made up of men and
women of ideas, courage and commitment. There are other institutionalized
mechanism for protecting human rights abuse. The Legal Aid Council, Office of
the Public Defender, Mediation Centres, Public Petition Committees in the
legislative houses, public complaints commission etc. Nigerians should be
mobilized to seek redress in these institutions whenever human rights are

7. The Yaradua regime paid
lip service to the rule of law. Apart from compliance with a few court orders,
just a few, it was business as usual. The Appropriation Act was not fully
complied as the EFCC was taken over by corrupt elements. Impunity was the order
of the day. And when the President took ill the Attorney-General and a few
other ministers ruled the country by fraud. A supplementary budget was even
forged by the power mongers. The Jonathan Administration has not shown a greater
fidelity to the rule of law. In specific cases some heads of MDAs have been
called to order by the office of the Attorney-General. But institutions like
the NNPC and CBN have ignored requests made under the FOI. The Appropriation
Act is treated with contempt by the government.

6. Both the bar and the
bench in Nigeria have failed to realize the enormity of the crisis of
injustice. Hence reports of committees set up by the ex-CJN and the NJC on the
Judiciary have not been taken seriously. In fact, the judiciary has been much
more serious than the NBA in terms of judicial reforms. Senior lawyers have
become too complacent because they are reaping bountifully from the decadence
of the system. When we had an independent bar Nigerian lawyers once went on
boycott of courts to protest disobedience to one court order. That was under a
military dictatorship. But today disobedience of court orders is the order of
the day. And the NBA is indifferent to the growing culture of anarchy in the

7. The Committee was made
up of retired Chief Justices and former Presidents of the Bar. No consultation
can be greater than that. Regrettably, the NBA is losing its relevance as far
as judicial reforms are concerned. By the way, why should the NBA wait for the
consultation of the CJN? The bar has to be pro-active and take its own
independent decisions and not turn itself into an appendage of the CJN or an
extension of the NJC. Unlike the CJN and NJC the NBA is a non state actor.

Being the paper presented
by Femi Falana at the 60th birthday anniversary of Professor Julius Ihonbere,
Secretary to the Edo state government at Benin City, Edo State on Saturday,
July 2, 2016.

Source: PM News Nigeria