On November 14, 2018, the leading law publisher in Nigeria by name "The Nigeria Lawyer" featured Onyekachi Umah, Esq as the Legal Personality of the Week. Mr. Umah granted an interview to TheNigeriaLawyer.com and same was published on www.TheNigerialawyer.com and same is reproduced below;  

MAY WE KNOW YOU, SIR?

My name is Onyekachi Umah.

WHO IS ONYEKACHI UMAH, ESQ IN DETAILS?

Onyekachi Umah is a husband and a private legal practitioner with amazing experience in intellectual property, transaction and regulation advisory, corporate, commercial and investment law and energy law as well as litigation and arbitration arising from them. He is a certified arbitrator both in Nigeria and the United Kingdom. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) and a Certified Conflict Management Practitioner. He is a member of prestigious “Young ICSID” of International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), Washington DC. Among other, he has a certificate in Law of Contract from a program of Harvard University, a certificate in International Environmental Negotiation from United Nations Institute for Training and Research, Geneva and recently, a certificate in Conflict Management from United States Institute of Peace, Washington, D.C. He also holds a master of laws degree from University of Jos.

He is the managing partner of a leading law firm; Bezaleel Chambers International. He is the founder and President of a free law awareness platform known as www.LearnNigerianLaws.com that promotes awareness and understanding of rights and laws of Nigeria (#SabiLaw) and offers free daily law tips (#DailyLawTips). Understanding the challenges of Administration of Criminal Justice in Nigeria, he dedicates his daily law tips every Mondays to promoting Criminal Justice (#CriminalJusticeMonday). Recently, he started a new series on Election Laws tagged (#SabiElectionLaws) to increase legal awareness on elections laws, policies and regulations in Nigeria. He is the convener of the Sabi Law Lecture Series (#SabiLawLectureSeries), travelling around Nigeria delivering free law awareness lectures. He also organises and sponsors a quarterly competition, titled “Sabi Law Video Challenge” (#SabiLawVideoChallenge) were Nigerians win money (over $130.00 per winner) for making videos of themselves talking on any law or right as a way to promote law awareness and have fun. To further promote legal awareness among Nigerians across the world, he started a law awareness show titled “Sabi Law With Onyekachi Umah, Esq” (#SabiLawWithOnyekachiUmahEsq) showing on social media platforms via @LearnNigerianLaws.

Mr. Umah has written over Three Hundred (300) free to access articles and materials on law with a desire to enlighten the public. He is also the Assistant Secretary of Nigerian Bar Association, Capital Bar, Abuja and a member of the Rotary Club of Abuja, Metro (RCAM), District 9125. Among others, he is serving as a member of the Advisory Committee for Law Clinics Partnership for Reforming Pre-trial Detention in Kuje Prison Project funded by the United States Department Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement. He has been featured as the Legal Personality of the Week by This Day Newspaper (a leading national newspaper) on its September 11, 2018 edition and has also won several awards for his innovative legal practise across the world.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN LAW PRACTICE?

I have been practicing law in Nigeria for about 8 years.

ARE YOU THE AUTHOR OF “DAILY LAW TIPS”.

Yes, I am the author of “Daily Law Tips” published on www.TheNigeriaLawyer.com and  www.LearnNigerianLaws.com

 HOW DID “DAILY LAW TIPS” START?

Well, since my days as a student, I have had people calling for advices and tips on their rights. As a practicing lawyer, I receive numerous calls from clients, strangers, fellow lawyers and friends, asking for clarifications, tips, “how-Tos” and “What-To-Dos” on rights, duties, laws and policies affecting them, their families and business. Majority of the questions are on human rights, employment, tenancy, family, criminal, business regulation, justice administration, immigration, probate, tax and commercial law.  Often times, questions are repeated and my answers are undocumented considering the means of communication and as such they cannot not easily be stored and passed on to another person in need.

Bum, an idea came in December 2017, when Nigerian police was harassing Nigerians on use of Christmas fireworks without any legislative authority. I recorded my tips on the subject matter and shared it on social media to ensure people are not intimidated by police and punished for no offence. Since it was a season for settlement of family and traditional land disputes across villages in Nigeria, I wrote a lot of tips on the subject matter and shared freely. The response from my family, friends and fans were amazing and encouraging. So, I stopped repeating myself, since I could easily refer people to my earlier answers to their questions. I started writing my responses to questions as “Daily Law Tips”, sharing same for free across the world. As at today, we have published over 220 daily law tips on numerous areas of Nigerian laws and regulations, shared on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, MyBusiness and WhatsApp for free with over 11 Million views.

WHAT IS THE MOTIVATION BEHIND YOUR “DAILY LAW TIPS”.

First of all, out of experience, most cases in Nigeria are avoidable with due diligence. Stereotypes, religion, poor educational level, poor legal literacy, disregard for formal agreement and lack of trust in judiciary have increased disagreement and disputes in Nigeria. Apart from pre-election and election petitions, majority of civil cases are mere small claims that can be avoided by a little understanding of rights, simple agreement and due diligence (background checks). Hence, my motivation is to freely offer my experience, knowledge and understanding of law to all Nigerians across the world via “#DailyLawTips” as a means to increase access to justice, increase understanding of law and demand for rule of law in Nigeria.

WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU FACE IN PUBLISHING YOUR “DAILY LAW TIPS”.

To run a daily publication, requires special grace, hard work and perseverance in order to keep up with delivery time and maintain standards. As a Nigerian residing in Nigeria, I battle with unreliable electricity supply and internet services. To combat them, I generate and supply my own electric power and since I cannot do same for internet, I have existing subscription with four (4) telecommunication companies at all times. Considering the nature of my work as a practicing lawyer, I travel a lot and there are no internet services in most airports except in their VIP lounges. Worse still, in Enugu Airport, there has been no internet in the VIP lounge maintained by government and I still get to pay same service fee any time I stay in the VIP lounge. So, to research and publish on the go like I do, it quite expensive in Nigeria. Time is the most expensive assets I put into the project, having in mind alternative forgone.

AS A PRACTICING LAWYER, WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR THE JUDICIARY.

Among the three arms of government, Judiciary is the less respected and funded. There is need for absolute separation of power and rule of law for our democracy to deepen. The executives must respect court orders. Elections are around, there is need for judges to avoid ex parte orders that can truncate democratic processes. Bribery and corruption should not be sighted in our judiciary rather impartiality and wisdom. For us, the practicing lawyers, we waste a lot of time waiting for judges who may be sick or out on administrative engagements. I advice that judges’ calendars should be consulted before fixing courtesy calls, parades and appointments that take them off court.

I look forward to a judicial system, where lawyers need not come to court before 9:00am only to be heard by 3:23pm after a long wait and loss of other businesses. Cases should be adjourned to clear dates and times, so that lawyers come in to do their cases about 10 minutes before the commencement time, to avoid waste and increase productivity. Often times at the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in Abuja, I wait for over five (5) hours only to be heard to do my case for the day for 25 minutes. Still on the Court of Appeal, there is need to offer three microphones to all members of a panel instead of only to the presiding judge since all members get to talk and the microphone is stationed.

DO YOU SUPPORT THE CONFERMENT OF THE TITLE OF SENIOR ADVOCATE OF NIGERIA ON OUTSTANDING LAWYERS?

Yes, I do. Life progresses where there is a motivation and hard work must be appreciated. Apart from win smiles of clients, touching lives and making monies the next inspiring factor for young lawyers in Nigeria is the title of Senior Advocate of Nigeria. Some lawyers are sane and upright not because of training alone, eagle eye of disciplinary committee but because they want the blessing of our Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee. So, it has a way of holding our ethics and identifying mentors for younger professionals. I support the title and I desire it.

IS THERE A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR NIGERIAN LAWYERS IN NIGERIA?

There is a very bright future for lawyers in Nigeria and many more to come. Going by statistics, there are 16 Federal faculties of law, 20 State faculties of law and 19 private faculties of Law. There are only 6 Law School Campuses in Nigeria and 1,550 candidates were called to bar in July, 2018 while 4, 633 candidates will be called to bar by this November, 2018. From a reliable source, there are not up to 100, 000 lawyers in Nigeria. Nigeria has a population of 197,403,529 as at October 27, 2018, based on the latest United Nations estimates. Hence, roughly a single lawyer in Nigeria has more than about 1,974 Nigerians to engage his services. Also remember that the population of Nigeria is growing uncontrollably while the graduation of lawyers is controlled. The natural resources of Nigeria and economic potentials will keep increasing Nigeria’s foreign direct investment, thereby increase number of foreigners and business in need of lawyers and their legal services. Above all, foreign lawyers are not authorized to practice in Nigeria, so Nigerian lawyers are immune from the annoying importation appetite of Nigerians. I am not unaware of some dubious foreign businesses here in Nigeria, secretly engaging foreign lawyers on Nigerian soil. So, Nigeria is a wonderful country to practice law and there is a geometric growth of legal literacy among Nigerians, thereby increasing demand for rule of law and access to justice.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG LAWYERS?

Legal practice is for lawyers that are dedicated to hard work! Nothing good comes easy and nothing is magical here. You need to prove yourself, think out of the box and fly with technological advancements. Ensure you use To-do lists and consciously time your day and activities to ensure maximum productivity. If you want quick money, please don’t practice law!

Thank you!

Onyekachi Umah, Esq has been featured by a leading national newspaper (This Day Newspaper) as a legal personality of the week in its edition of September 11, 2018. Mr. Umah answered questions in his interview, giving insights to his law practise in Nigeria, passion to increase access to legal information and awareness as well as advice to other legal practitioners across Nigeria. Details of the interview as published by This Day Newspaper are contained below.

  

  1. Please give a brief introduction of yourself.

My name is Onyekachi Joseph Umah. I am a husband, private legal practitioner and arbitrator with experience in intellectual property, transaction and regulation advisory, corporate, commercial, investment law and energy law as well as litigation and arbitration arising from them. I am member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) and a Certified Conflict Management Practitioner. Among other, I have a certificate in Law of Contract from a program of Harvard University, a certificate in International Environmental Negotiation from United Nations Institute for Training and Research, Geneva and recently, a certificate in Conflict Management from United States Institute of Peace, Washington, D.C. as well as a master of laws degree from University of Jos.

I am the managing partner of a leading law firm; Bezaleel Chambers International and the founding President of a law awareness platform known as LearnNigerianLaws.com that promotes awareness and understanding of laws of Nigeria (#SabiLaw) and offers free daily law tips (#DailyLawTips) across Nigeria. I am the convener of the Sabi Law Lecture Series (#SabiLawLectures), through which I travel around Nigeria delivering free law awareness lectures and increasing access to legal information. I have written over fifty articles on law with a desire to enlighten the public. I am presently serving the Nigerian Bar Association as the Assistant Secretary of Capital Bar, Abuja after serving as Chairman of Young Lawyers Forum. I am a member of the Rotary Club of Abuja, Metro (RCAM), District 9125. I practise law and reside in Abuja with my awesome wife and an energetic boerboel dog. I like basketball and I play martial art (taekwando).

 

  1. Have you had any challenges in your career as a lawyer and if so what were the main challenges?

Yes, I have had challenges in my career as a lawyer. Upon graduation and my call to the Nigerian bar, I was young and people felt I was just too young to be a lawyer. I recall going for a meeting to see a certain General Overseer of a popular church in Abuja on behalf of a learned senior, the General Overseer just couldn’t believe I was already a lawyer. Well, when I finished my presentation, the General Overseer immediately called my senior and poured a lot of accolades on me and also mentioned that I looked too young and have no beard. Another challenge was getting briefs. I kept asking a lot of senior lawyers how to get clients and retain them within the Rules of Professional Conduct since such was never taught in the law school and University faculties. It took me very long time to find answers. Then, there was very little legal materials on the internet and that caused limited access to legal information and delay in research.

 

  1. What was your worst day as a lawyer?

I once had a client I defended well in a civil suit, who recommend a new client to me over criminal investigation. The new client had an invitation from State Security Services (SSS) and engaged my services to defend him. When we got to the command of SSS, I represented my client very well but it was obvious the operatives of SSS were not comfortable with my presence. In swift swing, I was threatened by operatives of SSS to exit their office or be beaten up and shot in the presence of my client. As I opposed them, tension grew and my client got scared to the extent he pleaded I exit the command.

 

  1. What was your most memorable experience?

I have a lot. In 2016, aside my law practice, I started promoting awareness on laws and rights of Nigerians via LearnNigerianlaws.com and the #SabiLawLectureSeries. In one of my lectures on August 2017, I spoke to Catholic Women Organization on legal marriage in Nigeria as it affects their unions, spouse, children and inheritance. When the light of understanding came to them, their expression of joy was unprecedented and their appreciation knew no bounds. It was an awesome experience speaking to very elderly women, enlightening and empowering them and their families through my law awareness program.    

 

  1. Who has been most influential in your life?

I have learnt a lot from a lot of great men starting from my father; Dr. Fidelis N. Umah. He thought me to read, question status quo and have unending quest for knowledge. As a practicing medical doctor he still squeezed out time to teach me English, Mathematics, Writing, Sciences and even Latin language ahead of my mates in school. He was a perfect gentleman with high morals and his lifestyle was my first school. In his words, he thought me to “chop and chop” books, newspaper, journals and anything readable. He believed every knowledge was important irrespective career path. Today, reading, writing and being a gentleman of the bar has become my lifestyle even before becoming a lawyer and thanks to my father.

 

  1. Why did you become a lawyer?

I was that boy that talked too much with a high sense of on the spot creativity. I narrated movies I never watched to my classmates and they would listen with great attention for as long as my mouth was open. So, literature was part of me and my quest to know my rights and read the constitution of Nigeria as a student got me closer to law. I remember the first day in my secondary school, when my English teacher mentioned that you cannot be arrested without a warrant of arrest, I quickly wrote it on the back page of my book. For every tip I received from him, I got more excited and I was eager to use them and share them. So, I became a lawyer to know my rights and duties, protect them, then defend and enlighten others on same. 

 

  1. What would your advice be to anyone wanting a career in law?

Law is for hard and smart workers. If you don’t have passion for listening, logic, reading, writing and patience for details, then a career in law is not for you. If you want to graduate and immediately own a Lamborghini, close from work by 4pm everyday, stay away from books on weekends and wear every thing that trends, then kindly stay away from a career in law. Career in law needs your time, attention, good health, supportive spouse, patience, hard work, smart work, networking, good leadership, persistency, creativity, international exposure and high ethics. If you must be a lawyer, be a good one, have quest for knowledge, marry technology and think out of the box to create a niche for yourself.    

 

  1. If you had not become a lawyer, what would you have chosen?

Unfortunately, I cannot imagine any other profession other than law practise. Well, thinking about this now that I am answering this question, may be I would have been an entertainer because of my love for creativity and literature.  

 

  1. Where do you see yourself in ten years?

My passion aside defending and advising clients, is to increase access to legal information through promotion of awareness on laws, rights and duties of Nigerians. I see myself helping more Nigerians to understand their rights, demand for justice everywhere as well as avoid disputes and promote peaceful co-existence.

 

ADVERT:

 

 

   

 

DAILY LAW TIPS
by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.
(Tip 64)

The correct citation of the constitution of Nigeria is “Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999”. Nothing more, nothing less, whether amended or not.

See section 319 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.

#DailyLawTips
#LearnNigerianLaws
#SabiLaw

To receive our Daily Law Tips for free follow our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram via “LearnNigerianLaws”

Powered by www.LearnNigerianLaws.com

DAILY LAW TIPS
by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.
(Tip 63)

No matter the size, location and long ownership of your land, no government will compensate you for your land if it compulsorily acquires it. Rather government shall compensate for unexhausted improvements/developments on such land, like buildings, crops, fence, well and installations, etc.

See section 29 of Land Use Act.

#DailyLawTips
#LearnNigerianLaws
#SabiLaw

To receive our Daily Law Tips for free follow our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram via “LearnNigerianLaws”

Powered by www.LearnNigerianLaws.com

DAILY LAW TIPS
by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.
(Tip 62)

Although State High Courts have exclusive jurisdiction to entertain cases of land disputes and none payment of compensation, there is NO court in Nigeria that has power and jurisdiction to entertain any case on adequacy of compensation to be paid or paid over a compulsorily acquired land by government.

See, Sections 39 and 47 of Land Use Act.

#DailyLawTips
#LearnNigerianLaws
#SabiLaw

To receive our Daily Law Tips for free follow our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram via “LearnNigerianLaws”

Powered by www.LearnNigerianLaws.com

DAILY LAW TIPS
by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.
(Tip 61)

Although all lands in a state belongs to the Governor of such state, government cannot compulsorily acquire a land for overriding public interest without first issuing a valid Notice to the holder of right of occupancy of such land.

See, Section 28 (4) of Land Use Act.

#DailyLawTips
#LearnNigerianLaws
#SabiLaw

To receive our Daily Law Tips for free follow our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram via “LearnNigerianLaws”

Powered by www.LearnNigerianLaws.com

DAILY LAW TIPS
by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.
(Tip 60)

The offence of entering a public transport by a person suffering from an infectious diseases without giving prior notice to person in charge of such transportation is punishable with a fine of #10.00 or 1 month imprisonment and payment of any cost incurred by the transporter in disinfecting the ship or vehicle.

See, Section 31 of Public Health Act and equivalent state laws.

#DailyLawTips
#LearnNigerianLaws
#SabiLaw

To receive our Daily Law Tips for free follow our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram via “LearnNigerianLaws”

Powered by www.LearnNigerianLaws.com

DAILY LAW TIPS
by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.
(Tip 59)

An employee is entitled to compensation for any accident sustained on the way between his place of work and his home or his favourite restaurant or his bank where he usually receives his payment.

See, Section 7 (2) of Employees’ Compensation Act.

#DailyLawTips
#LearnNigerianLaws
#SabiLaw

To receive our Daily Law Tips for free follow our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram via “LearnNigerianLaws”

Powered by www.LearnNigerianLaws.com

DAILY LAW TIPS
by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.
(Tip 58)

It is an offence for a person suffering from an infectious diseases to enter a ship or a public transport without previously informing the person in charge of such transport of his disease.

See, Section 31 of Public Health Act and other equivalent state laws.

#DailyLawTips
#LearnNigerianLaws
#SabiLaw

To receive our Daily Law Tips for free follow our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram via “LearnNigerianLaws”

Powered by www.LearnNigerianLaws.com

DAILY LAW TIPS
by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.
(Tip 57)

A professional who works for public service or civil service or any public interest institution without being registered with the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria is guilty of an offence, punishable with a #500,000 or 6 months imprisonment or both.

See, Section 41(6) of Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria Act.

#DailyLawTips
#LearnNigerianLaws
#SabiLaw

To receive our Daily Law Tips for free follow our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram via “LearnNigerianLaws”

Powered by www.LearnNigerianLaws.com

DAILY LAW TIPS
by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.
(Tip 56)

It is an offence to start building or build or use a FACTORY without first registering it with the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity. It is punishable with fine of #2,000 or 12 months imprisonment or both.

See, Section 3 (4) Factories Act.

#DailyLawTips
#LearnNigerianLaws
#SabiLaw

To receive our Daily Law Tips for free follow our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram via “LearnNigerianLaws”

Powered by www.LearnNigerianLaws.com

DAILY LAW TIPS
by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.
(Tip 55)

No professional is permitted to work for Nigeria and be paid without first of all being registered with the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria.
All professionals in public and civil service should take note. Defence lawyers should explore this.

See, Section 41(2) of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria.

#DailyLawTips
#LearnNigerianLaws
#SabiLaw

To receive our Daily Law Tips for free follow our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram via “LearnNigerianLaws”

Powered by www.LearnNigerianLaws.com

DAILY LAW TIPS
by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.
(Tip 54)

A business name needs not to be registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) where such name only shows that the business is conducted in succession or it contains only surname of 2 or more partners with same surnames added letter “s”. For example “ONYEKACHI UMAH & SONS” and “UMAH’S”.

See, Section 573(2) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act.

#DailyLawTips
#LearnNigerianLaws
#SabiLaw

To receive our Daily Law Tips for free follow our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram via “LearnNigerianLaws”

Powered by www.LearnNigerianLaws.com

DAILY LAW TIPS
by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.
(Tip 53)

The Executive Secretarty and the Officers of the Federal Capital Territory Authority have Right of Access at all times to any land or building located within the Federal Capital Territory to ensure their is no contravention of law in any building or land.


See, Section 8(1)(a) of the Federal Capital Territory Act.

#DailyLawTips
#LearnNigerianLaws
#SabiLaw

To receive our Daily Law Tips for free follow our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram via “LearnNigerianLaws”

Powered by www.LearnNigerianLaws.com

DAILY LAW TIPS
by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.
(Tip 52)

Every FACTORY in Nigeria is expected to be registered with the Ministry of Labour and Productivity at least 6 months before the construction of such Factory.

See, Section3 of the Factories Act.

#DailyLawTips
#LearnNigerianLaws
#SabiLaw

To receive our Daily Law Tips for free follow our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram via “LearnNigerianLaws”

Powered by www.LearnNigerianLaws.com

DAILY LAW TIPS
by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.
(Tip 51)

Employees’ Compensation Act applies to all employers and employees in Nigeria whether Public or Private sector, not-minding the number of employees an employer has. Only the Nigerian Army is exempted.
Ensure your employer is registered with the NIGERIA SOCIAL INSURANCE TRUST FUND to be protected and duly compensated.

See, Sections 2 and 3 of the Employees’ Compensation Act,2010.

#DailyLawTips
#LearnNigerianLaws
#SabiLaw

To receive our Daily Law Tips for free follow our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram via “LearnNigerianLaws”

Powered by www.LearnNigerianLaws.com

DAILY LAW TIPS

by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.

(Tip 50)

Where a party to a civil suit intends to change his/her legal practitioner, 3 days Notice of same must be filed in court before the next hearing date.

See, Order 55 (2) of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2018.

#DailyLawTips
#LearnNigerianLaws
#SabiLaw

To receive our Daily Law Tips for free follow our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram via “LearnNigerianLaws”

Powered by www.LearnNigerianLaws.com

DAILY LAW TIPS
by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.
(Tip 49)

Any marriage conducted outside Nigeria between a Nigerian and a Non-Nigerian before a Marriage Officer in his office is VALID in Nigeria.

See, section 49 of Marriage Act.

#DailyLawTips
#LearnNigerianLaws
#SabiLaw

To receive our Daily Law Tips for free follow our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram via “LearnNigerianLaws”

Powered by www.LearnNigerianLaws.com

DAILY LAW TIPS
by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.
(Tip 48)

In custody of a child, no parent has a higher or better right over the other. Both parents are equal and can be granted custody, the sex of a child notwithstanding, unless a parent shows special reasons why the other should not be granted custody.

See, WILLIAMS V. WILLIAMS (1987) 2 NWLR (PT. 54) 66.

#DailyLawTips
#LearnNigerianLaws
#SabiLaw

To receive our Daily Law Tips for free follow our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram via “LearnNigerianLaws”

Powered by www.LearnNigerianLaws.com

DAILY LAW TIPS
by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.
(Tip 45)

A GUARANTOR is technically a debtor. He is expected to pay where and when the Principal/Main Debtor fails to pay debt.
Think twice before your sign a Guarantor’s form/agreement.

See the case of CROWN FLOUR MILLS LTD V. OLOLAUN (2008) 4 NWLR (PT. 1077), 254 @ 298.

#DailyLawTips
#LearnNigerianLaws
#SabiLaw

To receive our Daily Law Tips for free follow our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram via “LearnNigerianLaws”

Powered by www.LearnNigerianLaws.com

DAILY LAW TIPS
by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.
(Tip 44)

A certificate of a License Place of Worship with regards to powers to wed people is not same as a Certificate of registration of a church/worship place. The first is issued by Ministry of Internal Affairs while the later is issued by Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

See section 6 of Marriage Act.

#DailyLawTips
#LearnNigerianLaws
#SabiLaw

To receive our Daily Law Tips for free follow our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram via “LearnNigerianLaws”

Powered by www.LearnNigerianLaws.com

DAILY LAW TIPS
by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.
(Tip 43)

Do you know that a tenant for a term certain (for a certain period of 1 year) upon the expiration of his rent & term does not need a Notice to Quit rather a 7 days Notice of Owners Intention to Recover his Premises.

See sections 7 and 8 of Recovery of Premises Act and equivalent laws in states.

#DailyLawTips
#LearnNigerianLaws
#SabiLaw

To receive our Daily Law Tips for free follow our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram via “LearnNigerianLaws”

Powered by www.LearnNigerianLaws.com

DAILY LAW TIPS
by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.
(Tip 42)

Area Courts are for all persons; both Christians and Muslims. It is for all Africans and non-Africans that agree to go before it.

See section 14 and 15 Area Courts Act and equivalent laws in states.

#DailyLawTips
#LearnNigerianLaws
#SabiLaw

To receive our Daily Law Tips for free follow our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram via “LearnNigerianLaws”

Powered by www.LearnNigerianLaws.com

DAILY LAW TIPS
by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.
(Tip 41)

Every litigant that intends to oppose a motion in a matter before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory now has 7 days from the day of receipt of such motion to file his counter affidavit and written address.

See the brand new HIGH COURT OF THE FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY, ABUJA (CIVIL PROCEDURE) RULES 2018 specifically ORDER 43(1)(3).

#DailyLawTips
#LearnNigerianLaws
#SabiLaw

To receive our Daily Law Tips for free follow our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram via “LearnNigerianLaws”

Powered by www.LearnNigerianLaws.com

DAILY LAW TIPS
by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.
(Tip 40)

Court processes and other legal documents can be validly served on any person on a Saturday. Saturdays are not holidays in Nigeria like Sundays. Saturdays count!

See the decided case of ETSAKO WEST LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCIL V. ISA (2014) 8 CLRN or (2104) LPCLR -23023 SC.
Also see section 15(5) Interpretation Act.

#DailyLawTips
#LearnNigerianLaws
#SabiLaw

To receive our Daily Law Tips for free follow our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram via “LearnNigerianLaws”

Powered by www.LearnNigerianLaws.com

DAILY LAW TIPS
by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.
(Tip 39)

Happy valentines!

It is an offence for a couple already married in English/Statutory Marriage to later seek to re-marry themselves under Traditional/Native/Customary law. It is an offence punishable with 5 years imprisonment!
So couples that perform English wedding before payment of bride price and traditional weddings are earned!
Kindly see Section 47 of the Marriage Act.

#DailyLawTips
#LearnNigerianLaws
#SabiLaw

To receive our Daily Law Tips for free follow our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram via “LearnNigerianLaws”

Powered by www.LearnNigerianLaws.com

 

DAILY LAW TIPS
by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.
(Tip 36)

A landlord is not expected to repay a tenant for repairs made by the tenant unless the landlord authorised the tenant in WRITING. So oral agreement between landlord and tenant over repairs to be done by tenant is not allowed in our laws. See section 15 of Recovery of Premises Act and its equivalent Laws in other states.


#DailyLawTips
#LearnNigerianLaws
#SabiLaw

Powered by www.LearnNigerianLaws.com

DAILY LAW TIPS 

            by Onyekachi Umah, Esq.

                  (Tip 38)

Yes, the Pension Reform Act (PENCOM) applies to all Public servants, Private Sector Employers with 15 or more employees.

See Section 2(1) and (2) of Pension Reform Act.

#DailyLawTips

#LearnNigerianLaws

#SabiLaw

To receive our Daily Law Tips for free follow our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram via “LearnNigerianLaws”

Powered by www.LearnNigerianLaws.com

DAILY LAW TIPS 
            by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.
                  (Tip 37)
 
Case of divorce or dissolution of marriage can only be filed and heard in a State High Court while a case for custody of a child can be filed and heard in a Magistrate Court or a State High Court. See section 2 of Matrimonial Causes Act and section 150 of Child’s Rights Act.
 
#DailyLawTips
#LearnNigerianLaws
#SabiLaw
 
To receive our Daily Law Tips for free follow our Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram via “LearnNigerianLaws”
 

DAILY LAW TIPS 

            by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.

                  (Tip 35)

 

Only the state high courts across Nigeria can entertain land dispute cases and land compensation cases. See section 39 of LandUse Act. 

 

#DailyLawTips

#LearnNigerianLaws

#SabiLaw

 

Follow and subscribe for FREE to our Daily Law Tips via our FACEBOOK PAGE, INSTAGRAM AND TWITTER; @ Learn Nigerian Laws

Powered by www.LearnNigerianLaws.com

DAILY LAW TIPS 

            by Onyekachi Umah,Esq.

                  (Tip 34)

 

It is a criminal offence punishable with Life Imprisonment for any person to deal, package, hawk, sell or trade on Petroleum or petroleum products without license.  See section 1(17) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act.

#DailyLawTips

#LearnNigerianLaws

#SabiLaw

 

Follow and subscribe for FREE to our Daily Law Tips via our FACEBOOK PAGE, INSTAGRAM AND TWITTER; @ Learn Nigerian Laws

Powered by www.LearnNigerianLaws.com

Hello, am glad to have your eyes on this page. On last edition I wrote on “Safest Means of Purchasing rural Land” which dwelt on the purchase of land under customary law which often occurs in our villages. I highlighted the legal requirements and steps to a successful land transaction under such law. Now is time for us to take a deep dive into land transaction under our statutory law. It is for land transactions in our towns and cities. I urge you to learn as much as you can and save yourself embarrassment.  

In our traditional Nigerian banking system, cheque books are only offered to current account owners who are in turn charged on transaction. The present advancement in banking has invoked the offering of savings account with cheque books and quasi-cheque books with limited features and acceptability. As one of the most common negotiable instruments in Nigeria, a cheque is a bill of exchange drawn on a banker payable on demand as defined in SECTIONS 73 of the BILL OF EXCHANGE ACT, CAP; B3 LFN 2004, VOL.2.  The use of cheques invokes lots of rights and duties on banks/banks, account-holder/owners and payee (persons whose favour cheques are written) which is actionable in both civil and criminal law. This writing will broaden your mind to your rights and duties either as an accountholder, payee or a bank/banker.

A cheque by use and convention is an unconditional order in writing addressed by an accountholder (an owner and user of an account, also known as the DRAWER) to a bank (the bank that created, manages and administers the account and issued the cheque booklet also known as the DRAWEE) signed by the “drawer”, requiring the banker (the DRAWEE) to pay on demand a sum certain in money or to the order of a specified person or bearer (also known as the PAYEE). This bill of exchange is mostly used in Nigeria as either an OPEN CHEQUE also known as uncrossed cheque or a CROSSED CHEQUE. The open cheque can easily be paid to the bearer over the bank counter while crossed cheques are limited.

The relationship between a bank and an accountholder is that of a “debtor and creditor” and at times it is also that of a “principal and agent”. When an account holder deposits money with his bank, a “debtor and creditor relationship” has been created. The account-holder is the creditor while the bank is the debtor. The bank is under a duty to pay back what the account-holder has given to it under their existing terms and conditions. Where an accountholder issues a cheque to his bank instructing his bank to pay the bearer/payee, then the relationship between the bank and the accountholder is that of agency “principal and agent”. The accountholder is the principal on whose instructions the agent (bank) would pay whom the accountholder so desires. In every relationship there are rights and duties; which one of them in the prevailing banker-customer relationship is to safeguard deposited money and pay same out on instructions of the owner. One of the major means of payment is by cheques and other bank notes. Bank cheques invoke a web of rights and duties; from the bank to the accountholder and from the accountholder to the payee (person in whose favour cheque has been issued).


 

PAYMENT OF CHEQUE AND RIGHTFUL DISHONOUR OF CHEQUES

A cheque is not money until it is presented to a bank and paid to the payee by the bank. When a properly issued cheque is presented before a bank, the bank is obliged to pay the payee according to the mandate of the customer (drawer). But the bank’s obligation can only exist when and where the customer (drawer) has sufficient amount in his account to cover the proposed sum. Where the drawer has no sufficient money in his account but has an understanding with the bank and has been granted credits or over-draft by the bank,  his cheque offering more than he has in his account will be accepted and honoured by the bank. Therefore with sufficient funds in a customer’s account the bank is under an “obligato civilic” (obligation to serve) to honour his cheque and pay the payee so far as there is no legal impediments. Albeit, the said cheque must be regular; it must satisfy all necessary requirements as to date, amount, drawers signature, payees name and timely presented to the concerned bank. A fundamental error in the above required information may cause a dishonour and return of cheque; such is a rightful dishonour of cheque.   

A bank’s obligation to honour and pay a validly drawn cheque can be legally revoked by a “Notice of Debt”, “Bankruptcy” or “Mental Incapacitation” of the customer and irregularity in a customer’s mandate and authorities relating to his account. Where there is a regularly and validly drawn cheque with sufficient fund, the banks will still refuse the honour of the cheque on the COUNTERMAND ORDER OF PAYMENT of the drawer of the cheque. Note that the countermand order must come before the presentment and payment of a concerned cheque else it would be useless and not binding on the bank. Where a countermand order comes on time the bank is precluded from paying the cheque, if it acts otherwise, the liability of such payment lies wholly on her. The courts will not hesitate to give justice to the customer, since the bank acted contrary to its principal/master’s instructions.  With our technological advancement, banks often confirm through phones or emails before paying cheques and countermands orders can equally be sent to banks through same means.

Note that a customer must draw his cheques with reasonable care and in a way not facilitate forgery since a banker can reject the cheque on the grounds of forgery. A bank that accepts and pays out forged cheque is liable to the last coin of the payment; let bank workers be guided.


 

WRONGFUL DISHONOUR OF CHEQUES

Where there is sufficient fund in an account and all requirements to a cheque are present without a countermand order but a bank goes on to dishonour a cheque; such is a wrongful dishonour. Most often the bankers’ inexperience, negligence or laziness often cause their wrongful dishonour of cheques and a resultant breach of their obligation to honour and pay a customer’s cheque. It’s a breach of agreement between a bank and  accountholder, to honour accountholder’s cheque at all times when all requirements are met.

On opening of account with a bank, an accountholder enters into a legally enforceable contract with a bank; creating a duty on the bank to honour valid and regular cheques when there is sufficient fund, inter alia. Note, that all bankers, bank workers and  bank staff (by whatever title or appellation) in the bank are also bound by the contract you have with their employer (the bank) and their actions and inactions are considered to be that of the bank. Whatever a bank worker does in discharge of his bank work is deemed to have been done by the bank itself for the workers and staff of a bank is hands and legs of a bank (an incorporated and legal person);  because “quic facit per aleum facit per se” (he who acts through another acts through himself). Consequently, when bank staff breaches a bank-customer relationship by the wrongful dishonour of a cheque, the accountholder can seek for remedy in court for it raises contractual and criminal implications.

The wrongful dishonour of cheque by a bank prompts a lot of legal remedies to an  account owner (cheque drawer), since he can sue and claim damages for the negligence, breach of contract and for libel in civil. With libel as a criminal offence too, negligence, and criminal breach of trust, banks should be careful and diligent since all available legal options can be assessed by affected customers. Claims for damages for wrongful dishonour of cheque, are liquidated damages and that consists of the amount of money on the cheque, the interest thereon from the time of presentment for payment and expenses of noting and protest. With the above granted, that the accountholder would have been restore to his position before the wrongful dishonour; restitutio integram.

The dishonour of cheque is the dishonour of trust and a defamation by conduct which communicates to the payee and the drawer’s other business associates, colleagues and partners that the drawer is a liar, bankrupt, fraudster, cheat, common thief and no mean person that reaps where he didn’t sow and should not be associated with. Such a defamatory conduct goes a long way to affect the business and trade of the customer (drawer). Normally in law, defamation is not actionable per se in prove of special damages; meaning that any one that sues for defamation must prove actual and special damages occasioned by such defamation. But it is now well established in plethora of recent Supreme Court judgements; that an action for a breach of contract against a bank, for wrongful dishonour of a Trader’s cheque, is actionable per se and as such he is entitled to recover substantial and reasonable damages for injury to his commercial credit, without the necessity of alleging and proving actual damage. The term “Trader” has also been held to include a lot of unimaginable professionals, skilled and unskilled labourers, so that this line of damage is a protection and blessing to all banks’ customers and accountholders.    

 


CRIME IN “BOUNCED”/ “DUD” CHEQUES.

A DUD (worthless) CHEQUE popularly known in Nigeria as “bounced cheque” is a cheque issued by a bank customer whose account is in debit or whose credit balance is lower than the amount indicated on the cheque.  It is an empty cheque that has no monetary value as no money can pass through it. Therefore a dud cheque paid into a bank account is not only an embarrassment to the payee and bank but also a crime. A bank that is not vigilant can get itself involved in serious accounting and financial problems where it honours dud cheques.

The law cannot be partial, so it has spread protection nets over banks and payee against fraudulent customers (drawers) that offer dud (worthless) cheques. Just the way a bank is obliged to honour valid and regular cheque, so is a drawer duty bound to reasonably draw his cheque with care to avoid aiding forgery. Even an affected payee has a lot of remedies to avoid losing his money and goods for which such dud cheque had been drawn.

DISHONOURED CHEQUES (OFFENCES) ACT, 1977 has remedied the ugly situation, which even Section 149 of the CRIMINAL CODE couldn’t efficiently cripple, due to the limiting diction of the draftsman contrary to the futuristic nature of cheques. Section 1(a) (b) of Dishonoured Cheques Offences Act, 1977 defines the act of offering dud cheques for credit, goods and services as an offence. The definition in the law seems limiting and too narrow. By the definition it is arguable that it is not an offence under Dishonoured Cheques Offences Act, 1977 to issue dud cheque as gift, charity or for goods and services that are yet to be delivered.

On conviction under Dishonoured Cheques Offences Act, 1977; an individual shall be sentenced to imprisonment for 2 years without an option of fine while in the case of a body corporate (Companies, Business and Non-Government Organisations, etc) it shall be sentenced to a fine of not less than N5, 000. A company involved in issuance of dud cheque is liable as a corporate body while its owners and staff by whatever title or description that consented, connived or was negligent in duty is punishable and liable individually.    

To successfully prove a dishonoured cheque, there must be a delivery of credit, goods or/and services in favour of a drawer (accountholder) or his agents, a presentation to bank, a communication/marking made by bank on the cheque or on any means showing that there is insufficient fund in accountholder’s account and often times, bank may be summoned to show account statement to establish account deficit on the date of presentation of cheque. In practise, I have noticed that most bank refuse to write on cheques, stamp cheques or even communicate in writing their reason for dishonouring cheques. Often banks may make marks on cheques interpreted as “Drawer’s Attention Is Required” instead of expressly stating that drawer does not have sufficient fund.

Issuance of a dishonoured cheque will not be an offence where the drawer (accountholder) sends a letter/Countermand Order of payment to bank instructing bank not to honour and pay a given cheque before such cheque is presented to the bank. It is also safer to also send a copy of such letter to the beneficiary of the cheque to avoid presentation of such cheque.

An accountholder who issued a dishonoured cheque may not be liable if he can prove to the satisfaction of court that at the time of issuance of the dishonoured cheque that he had reasonable ground to believe and that he did believe that the cheque will be honoured. See, Section 1(3), Dishonoured Cheques Offences Act, 1977. Such reasonable ground may be a reliable expectation of money to cover the value of cheque he issued at the time of issuance of such cheque. The expectation of money must be established for it to clear a criminal likelihood that the accountholder intentionally issued a dud cheque.    

Offence of issuance of dishonoured cheque is triable summarily by Sate High Courts across the 36 States of Nigeria and the High Court of Federal Capital Territory. State High Courts have exclusive jurisdiction. See section 3, Dishonoured Cheques Offences Act, 1977. This means that Magistrate Courts and Federal High Courts cannot entertain cases of dishonoured cheque not minding the amount of money involved and status of parties (company or individual).

Now you can make good of your wrongfully dishonoured cheques; relate better with your bankers and deal severely with cheats that offered you dud cheques.

Thank you.  

 

Office Address

1 Durban Street,

off Ademola Adetokunbo Wuse 2, Abuja.

P: +234 803766 5878

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

On Map