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News and information concerning LearnNigerianLaws.com, Onyekachi Umah, Esq., or our brands/projects.

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!

18TH SABI LAW LECTURE SERIES COMES ON MONDAY 29 OCTOBER, 2018.

THE 18TH SABI LAW LECTURE SERIES IS titled "THE LAWYER IN EQUITY & THE JOURNEY TO THE BAR; LEVERAGING THE RIGHT MIND SET AND SKILL SET FOR A CONSTANTLY EVOLVING PROFESSION". It will be delivered by Onyekachi Umah, Esq. LL.M, ACIArb(UK) on WhatsApp platform of The Law Student's Development Initiative by 10:00am on 29th October, 2018. You can participate in the event by sending your Name to the following WhatsApp numbers; 09085314216 or 09097468533.

Lecture Material will be available for free downloads from this website under the Lecture Series Page.

Upon hearing the application of Onyekachi Umah, Esq. LLM., ACIArb(UK) on behalf of the judgment creditor in the case of MRS. FINE ALUKO V. DIAMOND BANK PLC (Suit No: FCT/HC/CV/1419/2009), the court sitting in Apo ordered contempt proceedings against the directors of the judgment debtor (Diamond Bank PlC).

The court granted the leave sought by the Abuja based lawyer for Form 48 and Form 49 of the Judgment (Enforcement) Rules to be served on the judgement debtor’s directors, Mr. Uzoma Dozie (Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer), Mr. Oluseyi Bickersteth (Chairman, Board of Directors) and Caroline Anyanwu (Deputy Managing Director), all of Diamond Bank Plc for the continued disobedience of the order contained in the judgment of the court delivered since 25th June 2013.

 Onyekachi Umah, Esq., brought his application pursuant to Order 4 Rules 8, Order 4 Rules 9, Order 9 Rules 5 and 13 of the Judgment (Enforcement) Rules, Section 72 of the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act, Order 43 Rules 1, of the FCT High Court Civil Procedure Rules 2018 and under the inherent jurisdiction of the honourable court.

The application was granted on 8th day of August 2018.

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Onyekachi Umah, Esq. has received a "Special Award" in recognition of his contribution to the growth of young lawyers in the Corps legal Aid Scheme and Nigeria in general. Mr. Umah was awarded along side Prof. Ernest Ojukwu, SAN and other distinguished senior lawyers by the Corps Legal Aid Group of Federal Capital Territory, at an event at the Abuja Film Village Theatre, Cyprian Ekwensi Centre for Arts and Culture, Area 10, Abuja on Monday 24 September 2018. The award recipients were chosen after a rigorous selection process anchored on integrity and transparency. Speaking at the event, Kenechukwu Agwu, Esq (President of the Corps Legal Aid Group), commended Mr. Umah for his immense support in training, mentoring and inspiring young lawyers as well as increasing access to free legal information for young lawyers in the scheme and across Nigeria.

It is recorded that Mr. Onyekachi Umah had delivered two powerful lectures to lawyers of the Corps Legal Aid Group within this year, as part of his free  Sabi law lecture Series (#SabiLawLectureSeries). His lectures covered emerging areas of law, like electricity law, with paper titled "Electricity Law Practise In Nigeria; Role of Young Lawyers" and then on Lawyers Bill with paper titled "Effective and Realistic Billing System for Nigerian Lawyers".    

 

 

   

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.

 

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