Categories
News & Events Uncategorized

The Effect Of The Pandemic On The Legal Sector In Nigeria With Kayode Ajulo Esq.

The Elite Lawyers Association in their exclusive interview with the distinguished legal practitioner of class and style sought to know if the pandemic that have ravaged the legal sector had any positives and if there are panacea thereof in the midst of its negative impacts. The legal icon had this to say:

The COVID-19 pandemic is becoming one of the most serious threats to global markets and international trade seen in recent times. Border closures and travel restrictions instituted by different countries to restrain the spread of the virus, have adversely affected transportation and other supply side businesses and service providers. Uncertainty about the disease has plagued stocks, bonds and futures markets with negative implications. Financial markets have suffered losses and global economic forecasts are being reassessed and downgraded to account for the loss in trade and income to businesses and governments resulting from the pandemic

He called the NBA to kindly find means to ease the burden placed on young lawyers by the pandemic and other related events. He however, appreciated the Elite Lawyers Association for their desire to make impacts in the legal profession which will go a long way to ensure law reform.

Categories
News & Events

The Effects Of The Global Pandemic On The Judicial Sector With J.S Okutepa SAN

Due to the global pandemic that is ravaging every sector in the world, the Elite Lawyers Association with the zeal to bring answers to young lawyers who are greatly affected and to assist the judicial sector profer solutions to its effects; sort and earned an interview section with the most distinguished learned silk J.S Okutepa SAN of Okutepa & Co.

The following were derived from his assertions:

When asked about his views on the welfare of young lawyers, he had this to say:

‘The NBA has set up a welfare committee on Covid-19 where senior lawyers, such as myself, are being called upon to make donations as palliatives for young lawyers. I have my reservations for it….The profession of law is so honorable that I consider it demeaning for young lawyers to be given palliatives as if they are beggars. The nobility of this profession does not allow me to think along that line. I rather want to think along the line that to solve the problems of young lawyers, the NBA, as a professional Association must think beyond giving money as a sign of palliative. Because it’s tantamount to giving fish to a man rather than teaching the man how to fish for himself. So I think my attitude is that we have squandered so many opportunities of creating jobs for young Lawyers.’

He further stated thus;

‘What stops the Attorney general of the various ministries to say if we give out briefs to mr A B, C, and D of N10,000,000 (ten million naira), for instance, the lawyers in the ministry of justice must bring out N3,000,000 (three million naira) from there to give to the young lawyers in the ministry of justice who are assisting you in addition to their salaries, so they can also have money in their pockets?’

‘What stops the Nigerian Bar Association to invest part of our practicing fees in investment-driven opportunities businesses that can be exclusively reserved for lawyers as employment? What stops the Nigerian Bar Association?

The rest of the interesting interview with great insights is revealed in the video clip above.

Categories
Law & Crime

A Review Of the Supreme Court of Nigeria’s Recent Decision in Orji Uzor Kalu v. FRN.

I read with much pleasure, my learned friend, Uche Amulu’s commentary and the analysis contained therein, of the recent judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria (hereafter, “SCoN”) in the case of Orji Uzor Kalu v. FRN (hereafter “Orji Kalu”) . For purposes of brevity, I will adopt the facts of the case and his summary of the judgment in Orji Kalu as he laid them out. I may however add or proffer an alternative summary, which Mr. Amulu may have not included (for good reasons I believe). I have also read the said Judgment of the SCoN.
The relevant laws to this analysis are mainly (1) the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended) which hereafter shall be referenced simply as “the constitution” and (2) the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 (hereafter ACJA).
My review of the SCoN’s judgment is conducted from two main legal perspectives or methods, viz the black- letter or doctrinal method and the socio-legal methods. In acknowledgement of the divergent definitions that these two terms have lent themselves over the years, let me clarify what I mean in reference to the black-letter or doctrinal and the socio-legal methods.
For the purposes of this review, my use of the term “black-letter” method of analysis refers to an analysis or review of the judgment from a strictly legal perspective and on a correctness (as opposed to reasonableness standard). This is a method of analysis that will simply examine the SCoN’s judgment in the light of the “letter-of-the-law”. For that reason, I will simply seek to determine what the SCoN said the law is (viz-a-vis the relevant sections/provisions of the constitution and ACJA) and offer my opinion on whether or not they are correct in that their interpretation the those laws.
On the socio-legal analysis, I will seek to analyse the SCoN’s judgment from a reasonableness standard, taking into account, its impacts to and consequences for such things as:
i. The constitution
ii. Cost of Litigation and Access to Justice
iii. Integrity and Administration of the Criminal Justice system particularly


AND


iv. The integrity and administration of the overall litigation/court systems in general.
In conclusion, I offer some recommendations on how remedy the effects or consequences of the SCoN’s judgment.

THE BLACK-LETTER/CORRECTNESS ANALYSIS
It appears to me, that the central issue on the appeal to the Supreme Court was whether or not the trial Judge, M.B. Idris J (as he then was and now JCA) was a Judge of the Federal High court within the meaning of sections 249 (2) (b), 250, and 253 of the constitution, when he rendered judgment and convicted the defendants in the Orji Kalu case. Framed differently, the appeal was a direct challenge to the validity and constitutionality of section 396 (7) of the ACJA 2015. Again, Mr. Amulu has laid out these provisions in his initial commentary, and I adopt them as laid out for this rejoinder. However, just to put things into perspective, the said section 396(7) of the ACJA gives or (now more accurately) purported to give “a judge of the High Court, who has been elevated to the Court of Appeal . . .dispensation to continue to sit as a high court judge” so as to conclude “any partly-heard criminal matter pending before him at the time of his elevation”.
The undisputed fact in this case was that Idris J, had already subscribed to the oath of office as a Justice of the Court of Appeal at the time of rendering the judgment. Secondly, he received a “fiat” pursuant (purportedly) to the said section 396(7) of the ACJA, from the President of the court of Appeal (PCA) to go back and conclude the said Orji Kalu trial. I supplied the emphasis above for a reason to be addressed shortly.


I have read arguments that the defendants (or at least one of them) in the Orji Kalu case actually sought the dispensation of the PCA upon which Justice Idris returned to conclude the trial and that therefore it was ‘unconscionable” for them to benefit from the irregularity that they had themselves authored. In my opinion, this is of no moment because it is settled law from a long line of decided cases that neither the court nor parties can confer jurisdiction on a court that lacks one, whether by express agreement or by implied conducts.


The Supreme Court determined that Idris (JCA) ”having been elevated to the Court of Appeal, has ceased to be a Judge of the Federal High Court. Accordingly, he had been deprived of whatever jurisdiction he had as a Judge of the Federal High Court” to further adjudicate on the Orji Kalu trial and render judgment on it. Eko (JSC), delivering the unanimous Judgment, further held that section 396(7) of the ACJA was inconsistent with section 290(1) of the 1999 constitution. Applying section 1(3) of the constitution, he declared the said section 396(7) of ACJA void to the extent of its inconsistency.
I do not quite agree with a finding of inconsistency with the constitution, against section 396(7) of ACJA based on section 290(1) of the constitution. However and in any case, saddled with the same task, and on strict application of the black-letter method, I would have arrived at the same conclusion but on the basis of section 253 of the constitution, as opposed to section 290(1) of it. Section 253 of the constitution which established the jurisdiction by of the Federal High Court, states that the court shall be deemed to have been properly constituted “if it consisted of at least one judge of that court”. It follows therefore, again speaking strictly from a black-letter perspective, that at the time of rendering the judgement, M.B. Idris is a not a judge of the Federal High Court. And where once the SCoN has found section 396(7) to be inconsistent with the constitution, his status as a Justice of the Court of Appeal at the time of the judgment renders the said judgment to bereft of jurisdiction.
The question that needs to be considered, but perhaps not on a black-letter consideration of the judgment, is whether two things can be said to in conflict or inconsistent with each other if they are complimentary to each other. This line of thought will be considered in the socio-legal analysis of the judgment.
On a strict application of the principles of jurisdiction as laid down in the seminal case of Madukolu v Nkemdilim, the court in the Orji Kalu case, because it was not “properly constituted” is therefore bereft of jurisdiction , and the effect/consequence of any judgment delivered by a court without jurisdiction is, has always been and may well continue to be, a nullity .


While I may agree with Mr. Amulu in his analysis that “that that section 396(7) of the ACJA [was]enacted by the National Assembly with aim of giving the Federal High Court additional powers to more effectively exercise its jurisdiction”, I do not however believe that they effectively achieved that aim. Firstly, the power to grant dispensation to conclude a trial at the Federal High Court was vested in the President of the Court of Appeal, thereby negating the effects of section 19 (3) & (4) of the Federal High Court which vested the power of administration and assignment of cases in the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court. That, in and of itself alone, is problematic.
On the basis of the foregoing analysis, and having read the full transcript of the Supreme Court’s reason for its decision, this is surely not one of those judgments that you wonder what law exactly is the law applying or how they came to their conclusion. The Supreme Court, having approached its interpretation of the relevant sections of the constitution literally and rigidly (I may add), was entitled to the conclusion that it reached and can therefore, in my opinion, not be faulted on a strict black-letter based analysis of the extant laws.


THE SOCIO-LEGAL/REASONABLENESS ANALYSIS
As we all know, the effects and consequences of laws or judgments go beyond the immediate parties for who they were made/delivered. So much as there may be differing views on what exactly is the grand purpose of law, I don’t think that there may be any assessment or analysis of the purpose of courts that may not, one way or another, include its duty to do justice. Granted that there may not be a generally accepted/acceptable definition of justice, what is not justice is however not as controversial.
A court of law, and more so the Supreme Court that sets the tone of the law for other courts to follow, must always be guided by this primary purpose, as with the rules of law, in approaching its decisions. With respect, I feel like the SCoN, by its decision in the Orji Kalu case, sacrificed substantial justice on the alter of doctrinal affirmation or discipline. I say that because, this case, no matter the way you look at it, turns on constitutional interpretation, on a simple phrase on that constitution (i. e. “a judge of that court” in section 253) and finally turns on a balancing exercise between the competing rights/factors in this case.
As Mr. Amulu rightly noted, the constitution, though clearly states that the Federal High Court is only properly constituted when it has at least “. . . one judge of that court”: who or what ”. . . one judge of that court” means/refers to had not received any prior Judicial interpretation. This was an opportunity for the SCoN to render that interpretation, bearing in mind, the aims, purpose and objectives of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, as well as other equally poignant factors that will be outlined shortly.


In my opinion, a reasonable approach to interpreting or defining who/what “one judge of that court” means is not the literal rule that the SCoN seems to have adopted here. In the English seminal case of Dupont Steel v Sirs which seems to be the foundational precedent for statutory interpretation for most common law countries, Lord Justice Diplock had this to say about the interpretational role of the courts :
“When Parliament legislates to remedy . . . a defect or a lacuna in the existing law . . . the role of the judiciary is confined to ascertaining from the words that Parliament has approved as expressing its intention what that intention was, and to giving effect to it”.
A corresponding Nigerian authority in this regard is the case of Rabiu v State where the SCoN had this to say specifically about constitutional interpretation :
“In interpretation of the Constitution, mere technical rules of interpretation are to some extent inadmissible in a way so as to defeat the principles of government enshrined in the constitution Where the question is whether the constitution has used an expression in the wider or narrow sense, the court should whenever possible and in response to the demands of justice, lean to the broader interpretation unless . . . narrower the interpretation would best carry out the object and purpose of the constitution”
Also, in AG Lagos State v. Eko Hotels Ltd & Anor, the SCoN restated this position when it held that :
“ . . . where the meaning [of the Constitution] is not directly obvious on the face of the language, the court will investigate the intention behind the use of the language and come out with an interpretation or construction that best fits the apparently hidden intention”.
From the purpose of ACJA 2015, it was clear that it set out to cure some defects/mischiefs in the administration of criminal justice. Its purpose was said to promote :
“efficient management of criminal justice institutions, speedy dispensation of justice, protection of the society from crime and protection of the rights and interests of the suspect, the defendant, and the victim”.
Applying these authorities, I will submit that the phrase “one judge of that court” does not immediately lend itself to a clear and unambiguous meaning, especially when viewed in the light of said section 396(7) of ACJA, which until this judgment, was a valid law. It was therefore wrong (in the reasonableness standard) to have approached the interpretation from a literal perspective. It is my opinion, that the SCoN, should have approached their interpretation of both section 290(1) and 253 of the constitution in such a manner that would not defeat the central purpose of ACJA or metastasise the mischief or defect (viz unreasonably long periods of trial) that the said section had intended to cure/remedy. By its interpretation, I argue that the Supreme Court has rather than “save” the constitution (as many commentators were quick to assert), further endangered the constitution and the overall administration of Justice in the following ways:
Hampers the Actualization Fair Trial Within Reasonable Time and other Fundamental Rights
Section 37 of the constitution guarantees “fair hearing within a reasonable time” in the “determination of . . . civil rights and obligations” of all citizens. This is a right that is more on paper than attainable for most Nigerians encountering the criminal justice system. With no pun intended, Eko (JSC), had conducted a review of the instant section 396 of ACJA, particularly its subsection 2, and acknowledged that that section, as well as section 395(2) of ACJA and section 36(1) of the Constitution are “all about . . . speedy trial” .


It will sadly be the case, following this judgment, that criminal trials will continue to take longer (double the time) whenever the instance such as was the case in Orji Kalu arises where the trial Judge is elevated to the Court of Appeal. The aspect of this that undermines the fairness of such trial is in the case of a less wealthy defendant (or complainant). Assuming that the defendants in this case were not a former Governor with the financial wherewithal to prosecute his defence to whatever length required. The implication for a less wealthy defendant will be a doubling in expenditure, which could hamper the quality of representation wherein such defendant is no longer able to afford the services of a good/senior lawyer and is then forced to higher probably a new wig. On the reverse, the opponent is the Federal (or State) government, with ‘unlimited’ resources.
When considered further in the light of the fact that the prosecution viz-a-viz the government (and not the defendant) would have caused the elevation of the Judge, it becomes even more unconscionable and unfair that this would be the legal principle. Situate this within the context of malicious politically-motivated prosecutions that we all know, go on in Nigeria, then you will understand why this decision could very easily become a tool for oppression and persecution more than anything else; whereby defendants are arraigned on trumped-up charges, and on the eve of their acquittal, the trial charge is elevated to the court of Appeal so as to start their ordeal afresh.


The impact of this on personal liberty is best appreciated when liberty is viewed beyond the scope of physical liberty . Anyone who has been subject or part of litigation (whether criminal or civil) will understand the emotional and mental toll it takes on the participants. Recall that sometimes, the defendants may be on onerous bail conditions that places severe restrictions to a lot of things in their lives, including movement (travelling abroad is the most common). The Supreme Court itself agreed this much when it held that seizure of international passport of a citizen amounted to an incursion into that citizen’s freedom of movement in Director of SSS v Olisa Agbakoba .
On the basis of these analysis, I will adopt the words of the Supreme Court itself in Rabiu (supra) to submit that by this Judgment in Orji Kalu, it has defeated “the principles of government enshrined in the constitution” a la fair trial and within a reasonable time, liberty and freedom of movement.
Increases the Cost of Conducting Litigation and thereby Undermines Access to Justice
As I noted earlier, the implications of this judgment go beyond the immediate defendants and also beyond the prism of criminal Law system. In a country like ours where the justice system and the judiciary itself are known to be susceptible to influence or manipulations, elevation of trial judges could be the next tactics for obstructing justice and frustrating poorer litigants from accessing the individual justices in their case.
Imagine an influential defendant or plaintiff (including government or a government agency) who knows that his or her case is weak (whether criminal or civil), and just influences the elevation of the trial judge on the eve of judgment. Think about the proverbial case of the poor widow and the rich/influential man; where the poor widow strives with the last of her possession to try to reclaim a piece of land from this bullyish rich/influential man, and after about 5 years of trial, whether by the making of the rich man or not, the Judge is elevated to the court of appeal on the eve of rendering judgment. By this time, the widow is more probable than not to have run out of resources and may not be able to finance a whole new trial as a result of this.
On the basis of this Orji Kalu judgment, that widow, as with any other litigant that finds themselves in such similar situation, has had their access to justice practically undermined at best, if not totally denied.
Undermines the Integrity of Criminal Trials and Its Investigations
Cases such as the Orji Kalu case is one which perhaps the evidence is not time sensitive. However, there are trials and criminal investigations that its evidence and the underlying investigation may be best reliable in shorter periods of time (rape may be one of them). With this judgment and the consequence thereof a la trial de novo, this legal principle may have only contributed to denying the victims justice for no error or wrongdoing of their own.


Undermines the Integrity of Litigations Generally
One scenario by which this point can be illustrated is with our Election Petition (EP) cases. The constitution as we know, stipulates that the whole trial in EP cases must be concluded within 180 days. I would not think it is beyond what a desperate government in power could to to frustrate any given election petition matter in which it fears might not be favourable to it, by causing the elevation of a member of such tribunal on the eve of concluding the matter so as to begin a new hearing, by which the 180 days may either completely elapse, or no longer be enough to take the matter up till the last appellate court for review.
On the basis of these socio-legal considerations, I will submit that the decision of the Supreme Court in the Orji Kalu case is impeachable on a reasonableness standard.

THE WAY FORWARD
It still remains the duty and obligation of the legislature to make/amend laws. Truth remains that if the legislature had done its duty thoroughly and properly with respect to the vexatious section 396(7) of ACJA, the Supreme Court will have no issue giving effect to it.
Having said that, I am of the strong view that the durable and sustainable cure to this defect in the ACJA is a constitutional amendment, that would:


a. permit Justices of the Court of Appeal to serve as Judges of the respective High Courts from where they have been elevated to the court of appeal, on an agreement/arrangement between the President of the Court of Appeal and the Chief Judge of that High court, for the purpose of concluding “partly-heard” matters in the interest of Justice


OR


b. Alternatively, ensures that High Court Judges elevated to the Court of Appeal may not subscribe to the oath of office as Justices of the court of Appeal, to sustain their jurisdiction as High Court Judges, until such a time that they have concluded “partly-heard” and “imminently-ending” trials pending before them at the High Court. As an incentive, this could be done so that for the purposes of their rights and privileges as Justices of Court of Appeal, their time in office as JCAs would start counting at the date of their appointment as opposed to the date they actually subscribed to the oath, which could be a year later due to delays in concluding cases at the High Court.
I am of the view that achieving a speedier dispensation or administration of our justice system is fundamental to sustaining both its integrity and functionality, as well as restoring the diminished confidence of the public in the system. I am tempted to say that had the Supreme Court ever cared about these germane factors, it is difficult to see how they could come up with their interpretation and consequential judgment in the Orji Kalu case. As such, the necessary amendments to remedy the pitfalls of the Orji Kalu judgment ought to be done and very quickly too.
Ikenna Aniekwe writes from Toronto, Canada and apologises in advance to anyone for finds the length of this review unusually long.

Profile of the Writer
Ikenna Aniekwe holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree (Elect/Elect – Power Option) from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka Nigeria; an LLB (Summer cum Laude) from the University of the West of England, Bristol UK, BL from the Nigerian Law School and most recently, an LLM in International Business and Human Rights Law (research) from the prestigious Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, Toronto Canada. He is currently undergoing the Law Licensing processes and hopes to be called to the Canadian Bar in 2021.

Ikenna is also a Senior Associate at NICCOM LLP (www.niccomllp.com) where he brings his wide breadth of experience into bear in advising on the firm’s most remarkable works.


Prior to his sojourn into Law, Ikenna was (and still retains a substantial interest as) a renowned filmmaker with skills in screenwriting, Directing and Producing with over 50 Nollywood Film titles to his credit.
He also has a hobby and a side career in football, with a certification and license from the Footballer Association of England and Wales in Adult football coaching. He is also a member of the Nigerian Referees Association for over a decade, a registered member of the Referees Association of England and Wales (Non-active) and of the Canadian Soccer Referees Association.


Ikenna is an avid researcher of law with a broad interest in International Law and Human Rights, particularly the effects of International Business norms and practices on Human Rights in the Global South.

Categories
The Big Question Winning Essay

RAHILA DAUDA Esq.

The practice of law is as ancient as the world itself, it keeps evolving and transforming, a lawyer will do great harm for himself or herself if he or she refuses to embrace the new normal of practicing of law.
It is very important that we make progress even with the way things are currently, for me I strongly believe our justice system should make use of technology in it’s Administration of Justice. There a lot of laws that need to be reformed in order to ensure an effective justice delivery, unfortunately for our judicial system is Nigeria, our laws have been enacted in such a way that technology has been giving little or no consideration, this is because most of our laws don’t get to be reviewed and reformed as it should be, The Quarantine Act of 1926 for example which we still use in this time and century should have been revisited since before now. Other acts such as the Married Women Property Act of 1822 for example should be reviewed and reformed in line with our peculiarities.
Young lawyers especially should leverage on the use of technology in their legal practice, they should not continue to rely on the usual way of doing law, new emerging areas of law like Fintech, Media law, Intellectual property should be considered, becoming experts in such field is very advisable.

Categories
The Big Question Winning Essay

OKEKE IFUNANYA JEMILA Esq.

No doubt the world is at a biological war fare with the corona virus, a deadly virus that has drastically changed everything, we have no choice than to adapt to a whole new way of life, we are constantly unlearning and re-learning ways to survive this pandemic now.

Every profession known to mankind including the legal profession has been severely affected. The legal profession is unquestionably a very noble one, the society admires anyone who has taken to this prestigious profession. Sadly, the outward presentation of this profession in Nigeria has deafen and rendered non-existant the inward challenges faced by many in this noble profession especially the young lawyers, who get called to the Nigerian Bar Association and dive into the profession with so much enthusiasm and great expectation, only for their hopes to be dashed with the harsh realities of “ you should be privileged to be gaining experiences from us”,  with little or no financial motivation and made to comb the courts with worn out shoes and a little ray of hope for a better tomorrow.

This has been the harsh realities of young lawyers before the corona virus pandemic and leaves one to the horrific imagination of what their fate will be after the pandemic, considering the economic effect of the pandemic globally, employers are laying off employees, the world has shut down and when we finally re-open, a lot of unpleasant changes will definitely occur. How then can these young lawyers be encouraged to continue in the profession and pursue their dreams because, whether we appreciate it or not, they are the future of the Nigerian legal profession and without a solid foundation and support, our future is destined to be in shambles.

How then can this situation be averted? A change can only be successful when it starts from the foundation, there are many legislations governing legal practice in Nigeria and one of the them  is the Rules of Professional Conduct 2007 and by virtue  of rule 7, lawyers are prohibited from carrying on the business of:

  • Buying and selling of commodities
  • Commission agent
  • And other business which the Bar Council may from time to time consider to be incompatible with the practice of a lawyer or as tending to undermine the high standing of the profession

Having a comprehensive look at the provision of the above rule, one can only conclude that to contravene them will result to grave consequences. Considering the fact that young lawyers make little or nothing from the legal practice, I recommend that the above rule be amended to encourage the carrying of businesses as long as it is legal and does not interfere with the productivity of lawyers.

The Nigerian Bar Association should also map out a certain remuneration for young lawyer within a defined age bracket and ensure that such stipulation is adhered. The young lawyers in the Nigerian legal profession deserve all the encourage that they can get because the future depends on them.

Categories
The Big Question Winning Essay

CHINYERE UDENKWO Esq.

The global pandemic ravaging the world is gradually unveiling a new era, were all facet of the Economy is affected in one way or the other. The law practice as well as the administration of justice in Nigeria is not left out. Although, the Nigeria legal system was entirely analogue, there has been a steady but slow switch to technology. This has shown that legal practice and administration of justice in Nigeria is due for a reform that should usher us into the era where the use of technology in the courts would become a norm and for this digitalization to be possible every player, in the legal industry have a role to play in gearing the process. For instance in Lagos, the e-filling system had earlier been introduced and has been in use prior to covid-19 induced lockdown. This cannot be said of most other states of the Federation.

The shutdown of courts have led to the congestion of cases especially those requiring urgency and other pending matters, backlog in the delivering of judgement and delay in the administration of justice. Nigeria should take a clue from country like Kenya where a Kenyan judge recently delivered 23 judgement via skype in his chambers at the Mombasa high court.
The litigation lawyers are not left out as the shutdown of the courts is indeed frustrating. Thus this is an indication for this lawyers that the legal practice have grown beyond going to court and impressing client. There is now need for them to diversify their skills and competence to take advantage of the changing system. For instance where the litigation lawyer have to appear for a matter through the use of zoom or skype, it will definitely increase the charges of Legal services such lawyer will need to improve the infrastructural settings of his firm to be more palatable to the viewing public.
The fate of the new wigs is still a sad story to tell as the Nigeria legal system is not making any adequate provision for the accommodation of this set of individuals in the legal industry. It is a well known culture that the remuneration of an average young lawyer in Nigeria remains remarkably low due to low demands for legal services. The young lawyers should equip themselves to be grounded in the legal principles and technologies supporting legal principles as many older lawyers are mostly analogical and will need the young lawyer’s assistant to be able to meet up with the transition to digitalization. There should be a legislation guiding the employment of the young lawyer. For instances, there should be a general standard for such employment, which will make issuance of a contract of employment between the principal and the young lawyer a norm, as they are mostly at the mercy of the principal. Such contract of service should be in conformity with the provision of the Labour Act (which absolutely define who a worker is and the rights of such persons) and also a reasonable remuneration should be included.
It is pertinent to know that the global change has more than ever made digitalization of the justice system inevitable if any progress will be achieved. There should be reforms and enactment of some sort to accommodate the global change. For instance the provision of the Rules of professional conduct 2007 particularly under rule 7(1-2) which prohibits a legal practitioner from engaging in other trade or business and the provision with regard to advertising as encapsulated under rule 39(2) of the RPC calls for a reform, as Nigeria should take a clue from the united states of America legal system where a lawyer is authorized to advertise his services. This will in turn create another avenue through which a lawyer can generate income and prevent frustration faced by litigation lawyers if this Lockdown continues. The civil procedure rules of the various courts needs some readjustment, there should be provision for the inclusion of virtual sitting of courts like use of skype, zoom and the likes. There should also be provision of technological facility( zoom or skype appearance room or the likes) for the prisons and police stations to enable the inmate to adequately appear for their matters.
Although, it is noteworthy that Lagos is again blazing the trail, by releasing a Practice direction to regulate the proceedings of virtual court hearing in order to conform with the social distancing rule required in this period.
In conclusion, the digitalization of the legal practice in Nigeria will definitely lead to the downsizing of the workforce in the legal industry, but be that as it may, it will subsequently usher the system into a new era of positive growth, although there has been positive steps taken by some courts, an example is the E-filling adopted mostly by the industrial courts, and the virtual hearing held via zoom at Ikeja high court 10 Lagos state on the 4th day of May 2020 , a judgment delivered by Honourable Justice Dada is a welcome development and such growth is worthy of emulation by other courts in the country. Also Order 34 rule 29 of the Abuja Federal Capital Territory High Court Civil procedure rules 2019 which permits the admission of the evidence of a witness through video conference of any electronic devices capable of recording live(as if he is personally in attendance in the court) is a progress.
This global pandemic with it’s diverse effects should be an eye opener to the Nigeria legal system to put in place enforceable legislation to intensify the efforts towards ensuring the complete technological compliance of the court system.

Categories
News & Events

Law Essay Competition

The Law Essay Competition titled “The Big Question” has finally come to a close as the winners have emerged and their prizes have been duly awarded.

A hearty congratulations to the winners of the IST edition of the Big Question Competition. To the rest of the participants, you are also a winner and we wish the best. The 127 new partners who signed up with us via our website, you are warmly welcomed to the family.

Elite Lawyers Association
Transform Your Wit!

Categories
Law & Crime

THE PRINCIPLES OF SELF DEFENCE IN THE NIGERIAN LEGAL SYSTEM

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Wn2ej7RPzEI/W5VGhAjFBaI/AAAAAAAADdo/xNFXbCIhXWQfzF8OOrwXkOBg-lHEoxwtgCLcBGAs/s320/images%2B%25284%2529.jpeg


A woman stabs the husband, to death in Ikorodu Lagos alleging it was self defence.

Now, the question that comes to mind would be: Self defence which may reduce the punishment for the offence of murder to manslaughter, will it avail her in a successful plea and other defences?

Definition of Self Defence

Self-defence according to Black’s Law Dictionary, 10th Edition is the use of force to protect oneself, one’s family or one’s property from real or threatened attack.

The principle states that a person is justified in using a reasonable amount of force in self-defence where he or she reasonably believes that the danger of bodily harm is imminent and that force is necessary to avoid this danger.

Section 286 of the Criminal Code Act states:

when a person is unlawfully assaulted, and has not provoked the assault, it is lawful for him to use such force to the assailant as is reasonably necessary to make effectual defence against the assault provided that the force used is not intended, and is not such as is likely, to cause death or grievous harm”.

If the nature of the assault is such as to cause reasonable apprehension of death or grievous harm, and the person using the force by way of defence believes, on reasonable grounds, that he cannot otherwise preserve the person defended from death or grievous harm, it is lawful for him to use any such force to the assailant as is necessary for defence, even though such force may cause death or grievous harm.

According to report, the sobbing suspect was interviewed, she said “I didn’t kill him intentionally. He was always Battering me. Today, he pinned me down and started beating me again. I picked the knife to scare him, but I mistakenly stabbed him”.

From the statement above, one would be left to wonder if the intended plea would be “accident” or “self defense” or “provocation” or if conflicting defense are intended.

In the supreme court case of Peter Iliya Azabada V. The State Legal Pedia Electronic Citation (LER 2014) Sc. 367/2011. Onuoghen JSC had this to say:

‘ In criminal trial, the trial court should consider all defences available to an accused person irrespective of its merits or stupidity. I hold the view that the principles does not mean that the court can uphold conflicting defences.
Where the defences raised by an accused person conflicts with one another, the trial court, in my view, though obliged to consider all the defence applicable to the case having regard to the evidence on record. Where the facts disclosed in evidence support one as against the other as in this case the court will adopt the established defence.

On the other hand, one may be inclined to think of what provocation is. This is what Rhodes  – Vivour, JSC had to say on provocation; “Any act or words may be provocative” he went further to define provocation as an act or series of acts done by the deceased (when alive) to the accused person which would cause a reasonable person, a sudden a temporary loss of self control rendering the accused person to subject to passion as to make him for the moment not master of his mind.

What then happens in a successful defence of provocation in a charge of murder?


Rhodes-Vivour, JSC went on to say: “in a charge for murder, a successful defence  of provocation has the effect of reducing the charge to Manslaughter. Once the accused person is convicted for manslaughter, the trial judge has discretion on sentence”. Sentence can be a custodial sentence ranging from one day to day life imprisonment. Whereas, for a conviction for murder, there is no discretion. The sentence is death”.

On accident

Accident means that the action leading to the injury was unintentional. Accident as a legal defence applies as long as the defendant has no criminal intent, no evil design and did not engage in any culpable negligence. But it only applies where a defendant is engaged in a lawful conduct.

To assert accident as a legal defence, the burden is on the defendant to prove that he/she acted with no criminal intent or culpable negligence.

The defence of accident is available in any case that requires intentional criminal conduct as an element.

This means that in an offence whereby an accused picks up a knife to “scare” someone and eventually stabs the victim, the accused cannot (in my opinion) rely on accident.

Now let us look at the provision of the Law Section 24 of the Criminal Code states that “a person is not criminally responsible for an act or omission which occurs independently of the exercise of his will or an event which occurs by accident”. 
The question now is “at what point will an event or an act committed be deemed accidental?

In Maiyaki V. State, the Supreme Court held as follows “An event is said to be accidental where the act by which it is caused is not done with the intention of causing it and when its occurrence is as a consequence of such act, it is not so probable that a person of ordinary prudence ought in the circumstance in which it is done, to take reasonable precautions against it.

In conclusion, when one successfully pleads accident, it only makes the act not to fall within the provisions of Section 316 of the Criminal Code. 

OKOYE BRIAN C. Esq.

Categories
Law & Family

AN OVERVIEW OF FAMILY LAW IN NIGERIA

This work will cover key issues like: jurisdiction and, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, divorce, nullity of marriages, judicial separation and custody of children.

JURISDICTION AND CONFLICT OF LAW

Nigeria as a federation has 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The breakdown of statutory marriage and other matters incidental to it are under the exclusive list of the Nigerian Constitution as amended in 2010. This therefore means that the National Assembly makes the laws regulating matrimonial causes.

The law regulating and governing marriages, marital breakdown and welfare of children in Nigeria is the Matrimonial Causes Act enacted in 1970. Again, in 1983, the Matrimonial Causes Rules were made , setting out the procedure for instituting actions for the dissolution of marriage and custody and maintenance matters incidental to dissolution of marriage.

Pursuant to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Nigeria enacted in 2003, the Child’s Rights Act which has been adopted by 24 states including Lagos, Enugu and Rivers states. The law sets out provisions on the welfare and adoption of children. Lagos State enacted the Family law Rules in 2012 which have greatly simplified procedures on adoption, custody, guardianship and welfare of children in Lagos State.
Others laws include:
The Maintenance Orders Act
The Married Women’s Property Act 1882
The Law against Domestic Violence in Lagos State 2007
Received English Law
There are no separate family courts. The high court of the states and the Federal Capital Territory has jurisdiction to entertain matrimonial causes. It should however be noted that where an order of maintenance is ordered by the High Court, it can be enforced by a court of summary jurisdiction in a summary manner. See Section 114(1) of the Matrimonial Causes Act. Lagos State has its own family court to deal with matters of guardianship, custody and adoption but not related to matrimonial causes.

The requirement for courts to have jurisdiction to entertain divorce proceedings and relief attached thereto is “domicile” in Nigeria. Thus, a person domiciled in any state of Nigeria is deemed domiciled in Nigeria and can bring a petition for divorce in the High Court of any state in Nigeria whether or not he is domiciled in that state. The rule of forum convenience empowers the court to transfer matrimonial cases filed in a state High Court to any other state, but in the interest of justice.
In respect of joint property of the parties to the divorce proceedings, the rule of domicile also applies and the court where the divorce matter was instituted has jurisdiction. However, it is advisable to institute such matter or proceedings where the said property held jointly is situated. This will eliminate the need to register the judgment in the state where the property is situated before enforcement.

With respect to children, the court with jurisdiction over divorce proceedings has same over custody and child maintenance. This is because such jurisdiction is based on the main matrimonial cause. Thus, general rights of the child for instance, adoption, custody, guardianship and maintenance are not based on matrimonial causes and as such, domicile is not a requirement. Mere residence in the state that has adopted the Child’s Rights Act will suffice.

The terms “domicile” and “residence” are often used synonymously, however, they are different. Where domicile is the place where a person is physically present and to which that person intends to return and remain as a permanent abode, residence is the place where a person actually lives. Therefore, it means that residence requires bodily of physical presence as an inhabitant in a place while domicile requires bodily or physical presence and an intention to make the place a permanent abode. In Nigeria, the domicile of the husband determines the jurisdiction of the court but this is subject to the provision of Section 7 of the Matrimonial Causes Act which makes special provisions on the wife’s domicile thus:
In the case of a deserted wife domiciled in Nigeria either before her marriage or immediately before the desertion.
A wife, resident in Nigeria for at least three years immediately preceding at the date of bringing proceedings.

PRE- AND POST-NUPTIAL AGREEMENTS

Pre- and Post-Nuptial agreements are not common in Nigeria, thus, there is no reported Nigerian case law on them. The Court of Appeal has by implication, pronounced on the validity of such agreements in Oghoyone V Oghoyone where it held that the trial court was right in holding that the respondent had a joint interest in a property belonging to the parties because it was not referred to in their pre-nuptial agreement. Also, Section 72(2) of the Matrimonial Causes Act recognizes the rights of parties to execute such agreements but the validity or extent to which the agreement will be binding is at the discretion of the court.

DIVORCE
Divorce is the legal dissolution of marriage by a court or other competent body. In Nigeria, leave of court is required to petition for dissolution within two years of marriage except where the petition is predicated on grounds of lack of consummation, adultery, rape, sodomy and bestiality; and leave will not be granted unless the party seeking leave has suffered exceptional hardship or depravity. The court also considers the interest of the children of the marriage and possibility of settlement in determining the application for leave.  There is only one ground for divorce in Nigeria : that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. Therefore, there are facts and situations which establissh that a marriage has broken down irretrievably and they are provided in Sections 15 and 16 of the Matrimonial Causes Act. A petitioner must satisfy one or more of these facts in court. These facts are:
Lack of consummation of the marriage
Adultery and the fact that the petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the respondent.
Desertion for a continuous period of at least one year immediately preceding the filing of the petition.
The other party to the marriage has, for at least one year, failed to comply with a decree of restitution of conjugal rights.
The other party to the marriage has been absent from the petitioner for such time and in such circumstances to provide reasonable grounds for presuming that he or she is dead.
The facts above are usually known as the fault-based dissolution of marriage in that the petitioner must allege fault on the part of the respondent. There are however non-fault based dissolution of marriage where the petitioner need not allege any fault on the part of the respondent in order to secure dissolution of marriage. these facts are:
The parties have lived apart for a continuous period of at least two years immediately preceding the filing of the petition, and the respondent does not object to the dissolution of marriage. note that this fact is conjunctive that is, both facts in one must be established.
The parties have lived apart for a continuous period of at least three years immediately preceding the filing of the petition.
A petition for dissolution of marriage will not succeed if the petitioner has condoned any of the above grounds or facts that must be proved.

NULLITY
Nullity simply put means invalid; the state of nothingness. Nullity of marriage can be of a voidable marriage or of a void marriage. Section 5 of the Matrimonial Causes Act provides that marriage is voidable where:
Either party to the marriage is incapable of consummating the marriage.
Either party is: – of unsound mind; mentally defective; or subject to recurrent attacks of insanity or epilepsy.
Either party is suffering from a venereal disease in a communicable form.
The wife is pregnant by a person other than the husband.
The petition for nullity cannot be granted at the instance of the party suffering the incapacity unless the party was unaware of the incapacity at the time of the marriage. Again, with respect to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th points above, a decree of nullity will not be granted unless the following is established:
Ignorance of the fact constituting the ground on the part of the petitioner at the time of the marriage.
Petition was filed not later than 12months after the date of marriage.
Marital intercourse has not taken place with the consent of the petitioner since the petitioner discovered the fact constituting the ground.
A decree of nullity of a void marriage will be made in any of the following instances:
At the time of the marriage, either of the parties is lawfully married to another person.
The parties are within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity and affinity.
The marriage is not valid under the law of the place where the marriage takes place due to a failure to comply with the law of that place relating to the form of solemnization of marriages.
Lack of consent of either party, because: – it was obtained by duress or fraud; the party was mistaken as to identity of the other party or the nature of the ceremony; the party is mentally incapable of understanding the nature of the marriage contract.
Either party is not of marriage age (18years according to the Child Rights Act).

JUDICIAL SEPARATION
A decree of judicial separation only relieves the petitioner from the obligation to cohabit with the respondent while the decree subsists. It can be made in any of the circumstances stated with respect to grounds for dissolution of marriage. It does not affect the status, rights and obligations of the parties to the marriage. Thus, the marriage is still valid and subsisting and neither party can remarry while the decree subsists.

CUSTODY OF CHILDREN
A party seeking dissolution of marriage or other relief must state the number and age of the children and the arrangement for their maintenance, education and custody. The court can raise the issue of custody suo motu where the parties refuse to and cannot grant a decree absolute until arrangements for children are determined. The court may order joint custody or award custody to one of the parties with visitation rights for the other party and the primary consideration in awarding custody is the interest of the child. factors determining which of the parties should have custody include the emotional attachment to a particular parent, adequacy of facilities, wishes of the child, age and sex of the child, conduct of parties and so on. As a punitive measure, custody is not awarded to the offending party. However, where the mother does not suffer moral misconduct, infectious diseases, insanity, lack of reasonable means, or is not cruel to the children. Custody of children of tender age and female children is given to the mother. Custody may be sought under the Matrimonial Causes Act or the Child Rights Act. However, custody for unmarried couples is provided for only in the Child Rights Act. Where the Act has not been adopted, the customary or islamic law applies. It is at the discretion of the court to include visitation rights of the other party in a custody order and also order supervision. Child arrangement is valid till the child reaches 18 or 21 years depending on whether the order was made pursuant to Matrimonial Causes Act or Child Rights Act.


BY


C. C NWANKWO Esq

Categories
Civil Law

Community policing in Nigeria: Reforming the structural/ operational Nature of the Police.

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-MO-c0WRs-Qo/W55Y5IVLSGI/AAAAAAAADew/xnP6XcUwsGEt6fzx1A0kkaAXlVjVKhoSgCLcBGAs/s280/images%2B%25285%2529.jpeg

Abstract
Everywhere in the world, security has proved to be a challenge which has attracted global and municipal attention. It is our aim in this discourse to analyse the issue of security as it relates to the Nigerian State and the ongoing debate on whether states of the federation should be allowed to establish its own police departments; the advantages or likely challenges associated with the policy; and the overall effect the idea may have on the Nigerian economy, as it shall also be our concern, as we go on in this discourse, to raise possible recommendations on the subject matter.


 INTRODUCTION
The most onerous responsibility of any Government is to ensure at all times the continuous safety of the lives and properties of people within its territory. Consequently, it became necessary, if not inevitable, for the Government of the countries of the world to establish to wit- the Army; the Air force, the Navy, the police and other paramilitary agencies that would ensure that lives and properties are secure at every material time. Nigeria as a country with all these agencies as mentioned above still falls short of ensuring that the lives and properties of her citizens are not destroyed by terrifying acts of unscrupulous members of the society.

 Since 2010 when the Ex-President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan took over power, the issue of security became even more challenging in the country and as a result, the country was plunged into its darkest period since the civil war with diverse kinds of terror being unleashed in different parts of the country ranging from the kidnap of over two hundred girls in the Northern part of the country, to the issue of BOKO-HARAM as a terrorist group with its dominance in the Northern part of the country, the terrifying acts of the Fulani Herdsmen in Enugu state , Kano state, Kaduna state and most recently in Yobe state and indeed other parts of the country. Just recently it was also reported by the media that the BOKO-HARAM terrorist group kidnapped dozens of girls from Yobe state which is also in the northern part of the country. The list could go on and on but the point we are trying to emphasize would remain the same as the security threats the country is facing is continuously spreading its effect throughout the country.

It is important to state at this point that the kinds of threat we face as a nation are not entirely different from the terror that other countries of the world are facing but the fundamental thing to note is that they have taken a different approach towards seeking for lasting solutions to reduce the security challenges they are facing and as far as possible upgrade their security consciousness to a point where the threats would not affect their development and growth economically. It is my aim to comparatively discuss these measures as we move on in this work.

           The Nigeria Police
The Nigeria Police is an agency of the government created by an act of the National Assembly.  Section 3 of the Police Act provides as follows: 
There shall be established for Nigeria a police force to be known as the Nigeria Police Force (in this Act referred to as “the Force”).
Thus, it is the above section that creates what is known and referred to as today in Nigeria as the Nigeria Police Force and from which they derive the powers they wield and control. The Act further provides under section 4 among other things, for the duties of the Nigeria Police. Section 4 of the Act provides:
  “The police shall be employed for the prevention and detection of crime, the apprehension of offenders, the preservation of law and order, the protection of life and property and the due enforcement of all laws and regulations with which they are directly charged, and shall perform such military duties within or outside Nigeria as may be required of them by, or under the authority of this or any other Act.  [1979 No. 23.”
The above section clearly outlines what the fundamental duties of the Force are and it is on this basis that the Nigerian police have seemingly conducted their affairs in the past up until now. It is worthy of note that the Act further provides under section 5 of the Act the constitution of the Force as follows:
                  “ There shall be an Inspector-General of the Nigeria Police, such number of Deputy Inspectors-General, Assistant Inspectors-General as the Nigeria Police Council considers  appropriate, a Commissioner for each State of the Federation and such ranks as may,  from time to time, be appointed by the Nigeria Police Council”.
From the foregoing provision, it is clear that due to the very important need to ensure that the Nigeria Police Force carries out its functions effectively, it provides that there shall be a commissioner of police for each state of the Federation who would of course be charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the police command in each state performs its functions diligently and effectively.

            THE STATE OF BRAZIL
The government of Brazil is notable among the countries in the world that are operating multiple law enforcement institutions. There are as a matter of fact about five different police departments established under the Brazilian constitution. These institutions operating in the country includes: The Federal Police, The Federal Highway Police, The Federal Railway Police, The state military police and Fire Brigade and The State Civil Police. Of these, the first three are affiliated to federal authorities and the other two are controlled by the government of the states. There is also the one called the “Municipal Guards” however the Guard is not considered a public security force. It is important to note also that by federal law 13,022 gave them de facto police features. According to the Supreme Federal Tribunal, the security forces considered police units by BRAZILIAN LAW  are the ones provided under the Federal Constitution.

          THE STATE INTITUTIONS
There are two types of state police: due to the nature of this paper we shall just briefly discuss the two agencies that are affiliated with the state:
The Military Police and Fire Brigade is the state police responsible with maintaining law and order. It patrols the streets and conducts searches where the situation demands it and imprisons suspects of criminal activity and goes further to hand them over to the civil police custody and in the event that the crime the individual is suspected to have committed is a federal offence, to the federal police. It is important to note that the body is not a branch of the Armed forces and it also does not perform traditional policing duties.
The civil police are the police with criminal law enforcements duties. It has the responsibility of investigating crimes committed in contravention of Brazilian law. The significant thing about this unit is that it does not patrol the streets and generally does not use uniforms.
The above briefly highlights the structure of the Brazilian police and its modus operandi. The structure which has been adopted by the Brazilians is what many jurist regard as community policing. The aim being to make sure that security is at the highest level even at all material time. We shall however, in the later pages of this work, delve into a very brief enquiry on how far this unique procedure has worked and the factors affecting it as we had mentioned in the beginning of this work.

         The United State of America

The concept of community policing as an ideal security structure has its dominance and has been widely practiced in the states of America. It is equally interesting to note that different jurists have expressed their views on what the concept actually implies. However the term community policing is a term that has not proven to have an easy definition because of its nature. This was acknowledged by Wesley Skogan when he cited (Moore, 1992) thus:
“Community policing is not a clear concept, for it involves decision-making processes and creating new cultures within police departments, rather than being a tactical plan. It is an organizational strategy that redefines the goals of policing in other to guide the future developments of departments.”
We cannot agree more with the position of Skogan that the opinion of Moore carefully depicts what community policing actually means. It remains our view that community policing is a concept that seeks to develop a relationship between the police and the public with a view to solving the common problems of the people of the community unanimously. This view was further given support by the erudite scholar professor Jack R. Green when he opined thus:
“The organizing theme of community policing suggests that law enforcement can be more focused, proactive, and community sensitive…”
This concept has been practised in different forms in the Houston, Texas, Madison, Wisconsin, Oakland, California, Baltimore, Maryland, Newark, New Jersey etc. and virtually every part of America. Different issues were used to test the practicability of the idea of community policing in different Areas of the states and in each of these states came to the conclusion that it is a more effective and  efficient system. This concept has in fact played a significant role in the response to criminal activities in the United States such as mass shootings and knife attack in the United Kingdom.



Challenges in the Nigerian System:
The Nigeria state shares some remarkable similarity with the United States where community policing is the only system that has been in place for decades. This similarity is mostly shown in the area of ethnic diversity and cultural differences. The states however equally share shown dissimilarity in the way and manner they have been able to harness the beauty of diversity that is evidenced in their day to day lives. The idea of community policing as an upgraded level of security became necessary in the United States due to the vast nature of America and its landmark. Thus, there was need for the community to be more in charge with the management of their own security. This same need is ever growing in Nigeria with the constant security issues that have risen to a surprisingly remarkable level.Nigeria indeed needs a system of security that will reform the system and provide a more suitable system that will be more responsive to the needs of the society. The police need to create a better relationship with the communities as this would encourage more participation in matters of security. Security is a public matter as much as it is an individual matter and if this is the case, it remains my humble opinion that a community that makes its indigenes more involved in security matter would achieve better security than when it is a matter that is squarely in the domain of people that are foreign to that locality.
I also hold strongly that the killings in Kaduna, Zamfara and other parts of the country would have either been averted or at least, a quicker response would have been seen, if there was a communal system of policing in those areas which would enable the states to respond to aggression without having to wait for the federal authorities to respond to every situation. This is because when the indigenes of a locality are in effective management of their own security, there is the tendency that they would be more responsive.
 It is my opinion that if there is a state police system, the nation would have upgraded its security system and consequently the issue of herdsmen attack, Boko Haram and other communal issues would reduce drastically because the communities would be more equipped to handle threats as they arise.
Amongst the advantages that the system of State sponsored policing or communal policing, whichever form one may regard it, would bring about are the provisions of jobs in the society. If this system is adopted, we would be creating over 20,000 jobs in the system. Given that the nation has been notable for the rate of unemployment its citizens suffers and its inability to do anything about it, a reform in the economy that will begin with job creation  would in more ways than one be highly accepted.


            THE IDEAL ESCAPE

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-p8I7Zr-Q7k8/W55ZJ72c5II/AAAAAAAADe4/aJBQv6V4TCMki62Ij4FyW2YTOi8fnqxuACLcBGAs/s280/images%2B%25286%2529.jpeg


The police have in many ways shown that there is need to take further steps to ensure that they are more effective in the performance of their duties as provided under section 4 of the Act. This has been made even clearer given recent events that have been unfolding in the country in recent time.
It is our humble view that the Idea of having only a federal police command that that is highly detached from the community has proved to be highly inefficient in resolving the security problems that are currently facing the nation. This inefficiency is further strengthened by the highly populated nature of the country with its vast landmark which the Intelligence unit of the Federal Police command cannot adequately cover. For there to be improvement in the security of this nation, the Police departments of Nigeria must became proactive and highly connected to the members of the communities so as to be more efficient in understanding the problems of those various communities. This is what is called problem-oriented policing according to Professor Jack R. Greene. Unless we adopt a system of policing that encourages community participation in issues relating to the security of the nation, the recurrent Herdsmen attack; Boko-Haram attacks and other acts of terror will not seize to destroy  the very fabric that still hold this nation in one piece.   In Nigeria today, there are communities which do not have a nearby police command unit that would respond quickly to security issues. Some communities do not even have police command units to ensure that the lives and properties of the inhabitants of those areas are protected equally as the ones in other places.
The argument has been that those areas are very remote which then ultimately begs the question: Should they be deprived of their fundamental right to security of human lives and properties because they are from the rural part of the country?
Indeed this question must be answered in the negative because if given an affirmative answer, it would go against the spirit of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria. Thus, the remote nature of these areas where these criminal acts occurs mainly has not in any way or manner taken away the guaranteed rights of the citizens that reside in those areas. We humbly submit that they, in all intents and purposes, deserve equal treatment and reserve equally the same rights as those that live in the urban areas.
  Due to these terrifying acts that are overwhelmingly increasing in our society, it has led the National Assembly to the debate as to whether there should be another police command for the states which would ultimately be referred to as “State Police”. This argument is indeed one which the writer has given much attention to and after due consideration has come to the conscious and irresistible conclusion that it is a move towards the advancement of security if it is adequately set up
Recommendation:
Whether it is called “State Police” or “Community Policing” the point we have been trying to make is that there is need for some sort of reform in the set up of security Agencies in Nigeria and it is my opinion that the reform should produce an organization that would be highly connected to the community. No matter what the nomenclature is, the idea is that more Institutions should be established that would be more connected to the States and the communities within the states. A reform like the one I am proposing along side with other jurists is of course, one that cannot be achieved without an Act of the National Assembly. Security/ Arms and Ammunition as an item in the Exclusive legislative list makes it imperative for the national assembly to be instrumental in initiating these long overdue developments in the area of security. It is also our opinion that the State police system should be introduce given the limitless opportunities that would also be created if this reform is introduced. This ranges from Job creation to increase in the welfare of the people and just the security of lives and properties. However, careful measures must be taken to ensure what their functions/limits would be, if any, so that what should be used as an advantage would not finally operate as a disadvantage especially in the hands of politicians. Even though I may not have been able to cover the field given the nature of this paper, it remains my hope that I have shed some light on what would definitely be a stepping stone in the security of this country. Regardless of our political affiliations, the security of this nation should remain a primary objective.

C.C NWAGU Esq.
Associate: Chudi Ozokolo & Associates