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A Complete Guide on Call to Bar Screening for Nigerian Law School Graduates

 *STEP BY STEP GUIDE ON CALL TO BAR SCREENING @ NLS*


*STEP 1:

1. Go to Zenith Bank to get a deposit slip and fill it.


Name of account: *BODY OF BENCHERS*

Account number: *1015715697*

Bank name: *ZENITH BANK*


Complete your teller, make the N40,000 payment and keep your bank teller.


*STEP 2:* Make photocopies of the following: 


1.) Bank teller (1 copy). The original copy will be collected at the Benchers Office.

2.) Law School ID Card (4 copies)

3.) LLB certificate original (4 copies)

4.) Print out your Law School result from the NLS page and make 3 copies. You may choose to make more copies for your own personal records. 


*STEP 3:* Go to the NLS Abuja Campus. You will need to show your NLS ID card at the gate.


Head to the Benchers Office (it is the building opposite the Auditorium). 


Present the following:


1.) Original bank teller receipt and 1 photocopy.

2.) Print-out of your result from the NLS page and 1 photocopy.

3.) NLS original ID card and 1 photocopy.


The above documents will be collected from you and a Body of Benchers receipt will be issue to you with two Call to Bar Invitation Cards.


*Make a photocopy of the Benchers receipt. It will be needed for the next stage*. 


*STEP 4:

Go to the Admissions Building. It is the building opposite the Students Affairs building.


Arrange the documents below with the *original copy and photocopy*:


1.) Body of Benchers receipt

2.) Law school ID card

3.) LLB certificate

4.) Print-out of your result from the NLS page.


A Verification Clearance will be attached to your documents and all your original documents will be returned to you.


*STEP 6

Proceed to the Dinning Hall. Once you get there, head to the board where papers are posted.


Check for your name and the table you fall under. Ask the security for the location of your table.


Present the Verification Clearance issued to you at the Admissions Building to the person in charge of that table.


You will be handed your Qualifying Certificate and Testimonial. Then you will be given a book to sign with your name.


*STEP 7:* 

Take a Taxi to the Supreme Court. There are Taxicabs available, but you can split Taxify / Uber / Bolt fares (this way it will be cheaper considering all the expenses during this period).


*STEP 8:*

Enter the Supreme Court. The guards will give you directions. 


*DO NOT fill the Testimonial before you arrive at the Supreme Court especially if you don't have any one to guide you*.


When filling the Testimonial, write your name in the same order it is shown on your Certificate, but for the stamp your surname is put first. 


It will be stamped and you'll be asked to pay N50 for your Oath and your name will be enrolled in a “giant book”. Then you'll be directed to a person who will explain to you the next process and please pay close attention to what they say that is, the summary of what they said: for enrollment in the Supreme Court (apparently, there's a different enrollment). 


It may be necessary to carry all these documents below back to the Supreme Court immediatly after   the Call to Bar ceremony.


1.) Pay your Practicing Fee (N5,000) at Access Bank. Keep the teller and bring it back to the Supreme Court after the Call to Bar. 

2.) Photocopy your Qualifying Certificate. Bring it back to Supreme Court after Call To Bar.

3. Another Certificate will be given called Call to Bar Certificate. Bring it to the Supreme Court after the Call To Bar.

5. Bring a passport photograph.


*NOTE* 

After the Call to Bar, don't go home immediately. *You’ll need to return to the Supreme Court with all the above documents to enable you apply for your enrollment number*.


Note: you don't need to pay your Practicing Fee immediately, but you will need to pay before your Call date.


*STEP 9*

Go back to the NLS Abuja Campus. Photocopy your Testimonial and Qualifying Certificate (2 copies of each).


Head to the back of the Student Affairs building. Hand over the following documents:


1.) Original Testimonial

2.) Original Call to Bar certificate and copy of

3.) LLB certificate.


I hope this information helps us a bit. Much love always 🙏🏼💝

Judicial Institution: The Frame Work of Nigeria’s Legal System

The term Judicial Institution simply refers to the court and officers of the court. It originates from the concept of separation of powers which was established by Montesquien. Although Aristotle and John Locke had earlier stated its extension, the aim of Montesquien was to seek a set of constitutional framework of political liberty. According to him:
    “miserable indeed would be the case where the same man or the same body whether of the nobles or of the rave is (people) to exercise those three powers that of enacting laws, that of executing the public resolutions, and that of judging the crimes or differences of individuals”
It should be pointed however that the logic of this concept lies in its popularity rather than in strict classification. Constitutional mandate definitely allocates certain functions to each of the three arms of government. Be that as it may, it could be ascertained that the court as the last hope of man has an important role to play in the society hence the need to consider its role in the regulation of continuous conflicting societal interest.
Judicial Institution: The Frame Work of Nigeria’s Legal System


 
Roles and Duties of the Judiciary
That said, the roles and duties of the judiciary include
It is beyond that the aim of the judicial arm of government is the promotion of peace and order, this can only be achieved if each person is given his clues or if the basic tenements or principles of group existence are observed. It can be said therefore that the aim of the judiciary should be the promotion of justice. Hence, the court is called “The Temple of Justice”
Originally, the term “court” meant among other things, “a sovereign palace”. It has now acquired the meaning of the place where “justice is administered”.
The notion of justice is more often depicted by the portrait of Justice usually displayed in front of or the top of buildings of most superior courts of record in Nigeria. It stands erect, blindfolded by a piece of cloth or bandage. She holds a sword in the right hand and a perfectly balanced scale on the left.
“The personification of justice is a blindfolded woman robed in white and wearing a crown… she supports a pair of scales on her laps with one hand, her other hand holds a bare upright sword…”
1. She is robed in white for the judge must be without moral blemish which might impair judgment and obstruct true justice. She is blindfolded for nothing but pure reason not the often misleading evidence of the senses. To be used in making judgment, she is regally dressed for justice is the noblest and most splendid of concepts.
2. the scale is used to measure quantities and material things as a metaphor for justice which sees that each man receives that which is due him. No more and no less.
3. The sword represents the regal of justice which does not hesitate to punish
According to an unknown writer, he said:
“whoever created that effigy of justice as a sword wielding damsel with a blindfold deserves credit for considerable genius”
The image cast by that beautiful effigy is that of an all-powerful creature dispensing the carrot and stick with material equanimity and impartiality.

The Concept of Justice

The Oxford dictionary defines justice as “the quality of being morally just or righteous; the principles of just dealing or just conduct, integrity and rectitude”. Aristotle defined justice as an attitude of the mind that enables and inclines a man to do what is just and as a result of which he does and wants to do what is just.
Osborne dictionary defines justice as the upholding of right and the punishing of wrongs by law. It could be seen from the above that no single definition can be advised for the word justice could however be stated as ancient in origin. Justice is said to have its origin in the word “jus” or “justun” or “justician” which means to bind.
A. Justice as Religion
Another opinion asserts that the term justice when differently traced is inextricably connected with religion and in this respect, it has been taken to relate to issues like salvation, defense against evil, purification, daily prayers and so on. On the basis of this assertion of the quality of justice, it is ascribes to God himself to denote His infallibility. Justice is also to do the will of God, according to this consensus, the parties to justice should rotate to the obstructs of the divine will therefore to the religionist prayer, sacrifice and the keeping of Sabbath are duties of justice and to them, a just man is he who fulfills all his duties.
Any writer appear to make a distinction between human justice and divine justice.
Divine justice implies absolute dominion of the creator over things created. This is regarded as a perfect justice. Shakespeare in “Merchant of Vernice” alluded to this when he said “True Porti”, one of the characters when she was talking about justice and latin mercy. The attributes of awe and majesty, fear of kings and dread authority have mercy above them. It is enthroned in the attitude and scepter of the king as an attribute of God where mercy seasons Justice. Justice divides the productive instinct of human intellect even though justness and fairness could be regarded as universal qualities of justice. Whatever is just and fair will depend on the conclusion of each person and the community in issue.
B. Justice as Adjudication
To some, establishing judicial institution connotes justice. It restricts justice to adjudication, arbitration and mediation, (the judicial settlement of public disorder and private dispute). This group is satisfied with this method because it provides a civilized alternative for public disorder and private wrongs to be addressed by self-help.

C. Justice as Fair Trial
Disciples of this school take interest in proceedings before the court. To them, adjudication should be fair. They have the idea of “Justice should not only be done, but should be manifestly and undoubtedly seen to have been done” – See Rv Sussex Justice Exparte Mc Carthy 1924 1KB 25. In Metropolitan Properties Company v Lannon 1960, Lord Denning said:
“Justice must be rooted in confidence and confidence is destroyed when right minded people go away thinking that the judge is biased”
 

D. Justice as Natural Justice

To this group, justice is an inherent requirement and it is conceived as an absolute virtue. It is a state of human affairs in which men in their private social lives conform to a series of ascertainable precepts and principles which are universal, eternal and immutable. To them, justice is not only an issue relating to fair trial. It is the essence of adjudication. Justice as a natural phenomenon has been traced to the beginning of creation. Thus, it is usua; to refer to the time of Adam when the first dispute that took place between God and man was resolved i.e the disobedience of Adam and Eve to the commandment as touching the forbidden fruit.
Lord Fortescue had cause to refer to this incident in the case of R v. Chancellor of Cambridge. Exparte Bentley 1748 2LD LYM Pg 1334 says:

“The laws of God and man both gave the party an opportunity to make his defence if he has any. I remember to have had it observed by a very learned man upon such an occasion that even God himself did not pass sentence on Adam before he was called upon to make his defence. ‘Adam’, says God, ‘Where are thou? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I command that thou should not eat?’ And the same question was put to him”

E. Justice as Equality

According to this school, justice primarily means equality. This is referred to as formal justice. Formal justice calls for equality of treatment and that justice should be administered impartially to the rich, poor, strong and weak without fear or favour. This view has however been criticized. According to Honourable Justice Okputa,
“To treat unequals equally is unjust just as it is unjust to treat equals unequal”
This means that in societies where slavery thrives, what is due to a slave is different from what is due to a freeman and yet, the laws of such society would be said to attain formal justice. If all slaves are treated alike and justice is administered to them as such without partiality, then only can we call justice as equality.

F. Moral Justice

To advocates of moral justice, justice is an ethical issue involving an embodiment of moral values in legal parlance. The use of phrases like “whether the decision is just and fair, fair and reasonable, sound in accordance with common/good sense,” all of these depict importation of moral values to the decision of the court.

G. Social Justice

The social value of the decision of courts is used to determine whether justice has been done. The importation of phrases like public policy, public interest, expedience, social convenience or utility shows that some other issues are usually considered in doing justice.
In conclusion, there is no doubt that some of these divisions overlap but they come together to show the facets of justice.

The Role of the Judiciary in the Administration of Justice

The Questions here are:
1. what is the role of the judiciary independently of rule?
2. Judging human conduct, must justice be administered within the ambit of these rules?
3. is there anything in justice that is abstract? i.e not according to law?
The relationship between law (rule) and justice is necessary. Lord Wright in his book, “Interpretation of Modern Legal Philosophy”































Common, Mutual and Unilateral Mistakes in Contract

 Mutual Mistake
The mistake must result in a complete difference in substance or quality. The court in determining whether there is mutual mistake have brought the objective test. This involves a look into the conduct and statements of the parties and if it appears that a contract exists as alleged by one of the parties, the court will enforce thee contract. But when the parties are genuinely at opposites about the subject matter if the contract, the court will hold that the contract is vitiated by reason of mistake.

Common, Mutual and Unilateral Mistakes in Contract



Unilateral Mistake

This involves one party making a mistake whether the other party knows or not. A mistake is unilateral where only one party is mistaken or is presumed to be mistaken. The other party either knows or is presumed to know that the first party is indeed laboring under a mistake. The effect of such a mistake is to render the contract void. The test to determine whether a party has made a mistake is the subjective test. It is what the party has in mind or intended to=hat will be considered and not what a reasonable person would have thought. In a situation where the other party did not induce the mistake of the first party, he may be presumed to be aware of the mistake if it could have been obvious to a reasonable man in the circumstances (Ali Yusuf v Nigerian Tobacco Company - Unreported)

Mistake as to Identity

The _____  of unilateral mistake is mistake as to identity i.e if a party intends to _____ with a particular person as he believes and he believes he’s dealing with such person whereas, the person is an impostor, then there will be a unilateral mistake. The issue that arises here is: Out of the two innocent parties, which one should bear the loss?
The burden is on the party alleging mistake to establish that there was indeed, a mistake of identity. Thus, in order to succeed in voiding a contract on grounds of unilateral mistake as your identity, the plaintiff must fulfill the following conditions:

  • Intention to contract with some other persons.
  • The identity must  be of crucial importance

3. the intention to contract with persons other than the party must be established and known to the impostor



Vitiating Elements of Contracts
1. Mistake: A Misunderstanding/misapprehension of facts in a contract
- Lord Atkin in Bell v. Lever Bros (A buys B’s horse story)
Types of Mistake
⦁    Common Mistake: Both parties are mistaken about one thing
        Knight, Frank & Rutley v. A.G Kano State
        Lord Atkin’s Petrol station story (A and B story)
If the subject matter is res-extincta (not in existence), the contract is void by mistake
⦁    Mutual Mistake: Both parties are mistaken about different facts/things. Parties are not in consensus ad idem about facts. There is no correspondence in offer and acceptance.
⦁    A puts an advert for sale of a 1970 model Royce car. The printer prints the advert for a 1960 model Royce car. B calls to buy a 1950 model Royce car. A has the three models but intends to sell only the 1970 model. There is a mutual mistake on A and B’s parts. (Although the printer is an essential cause of the mistake)

⦁    Unilateral Mistake: Here, only one party is mistaken

Equitable intervention:         1 Refusal of specific performance     2. Rescission     3. Rectification






The Meaning, Evolution and Essence of Hire Purchase

Hire purchase is a contract of hire which is paid for by installment after which the hirer may become the owner of the goods if he completes payment of the hire purchase. A Hire purchase contract can also be defined as a contract where goods are delivered to a person who agrees to make periodical payments with an option to buy the goods after paying up the installments. The goods may be returned to the owner at any time before the full payment is exercised as stated in the contract, but until then, there is no express agreement to buy the goods.

The Meaning, Evolution and Essence of Hire Purchase

According to S20, Hire Purchase Act, hire purchase is the bailment of goods in pursuance of an agreement under which the bailed may buy the goods or under which the property in the goods will or may pass to the bailee. In Jajira v. Northern Brewery, it was held that even though the terms of an agreement are drafted as hire purchase, the court will not treat it as such if good evidence shows its as otherwise. The court will look at the reality not merely the legal formality.

Mr. Henry Moore, the Bishop Gate Piano maker claimed to have invented the hire purchase trading system in England in 1846. This trading system soon gained ground with the advent of the Sewing machine made by Singha Manufacturing Company which let out machine to its customers under a hire system containing an option to purchase. The hire purchase trading system was given Judicial approval in the case of Helbye v. Matthews (1859) A Cat pg.471.

The decision in the case undermined the provisions of S9, Factors Act 1889, and attempts were made to reverse the decision by a statute in 1912 but the attempts were not successful because of the persistent abuses of the system by the dealers and because of the little protection afforded the hirer by the system, demand for legislation regulating the hire purchase transactions increased and after several unsuccessful attempts, the Hire Purchase Act was passed in 1930 to regulate hire purchase transactions.

How does a Hire Purchase System Work?

In a hire purchase, the owner delivers the goods to the hirer on credit. The hirer makes a deposit and then takes custody of the goods. A hirer uses the goods and pays the rest of the price in instalments and the owner usually charges an interest over the amount unpaid for being deprived of the use of his capital. In some cases, instead of the owner parting with his goods on credit, a finance company may be brought in for the provision of money to finance the purchase. The finance company would want to satisfy itself of the financial standing of the hirer. If satisfied, it will enter into an agreement with the hirer for the hirer to take the goods on hire purchase. Also, sometimes where the dealer or finance company is not sure of the financial standing of the hirer, the hirer is asked to provide someone who will guarantee the payment of installment as at when due. If the hirer defaults, the guarantor may find himself personally liable to make the payment instead of the hirer.

The hire purchase trading system has been adopted in commercial practice to protect the owner's title to the goods if the hirer, in  breach of his undertaking sells the goods to a third party.

Distinction between Hire Purchase and Similar Transactions

  • Contract for Sale of goods: Here, the seller transfers or agrees to transfer the property in the goods to a buyer for a money consideration called "the price" - S1, Sale of Goods Act. In this case, the buyer is bound to buy the goods but in hire purchase, the hirer may or may not buy the goods.
  • Bill of Sale: This is a document by which the property in the goods is transferred by one person to another. It is designed for transactions in which the seller's or donors remain in possession of the goods after disposing off the property in them. Since the purchaser is not given immediate possession of the goods, it is necessary for his protection that he should have some documents proving his title in the goods.Hire purchase agreement is outside the scope of bill of sales incethe property in the goods is not vested in the hirer during the currency of the agreement and he cannot therefore be said to have any right of seizure over or make any assurance of disposition of the goods.
  • Conditional sale Agreement: Here, the goods are sold with an express provision preventing the property from passing to the buyer until he has paid his installment. Meanwhile, the buyer has immediate possession of the goods.At common law, if before completing his instalment under a conditional sale, the buyer sells the goods to a good faith purchaser, the later will get a good title - S9, Factors Act and S25, Sale of Goods Act. The hire purchase agreement does not involve the hirer in the legal obligation to buy the goods. If the hirer disposes off the goods before completing the instalment, the owner can recover the goods from the good faith purchaser.
  • Money Lending: Hire purchase is not an agreement for the loan of money. The hirer simply pays to use the goods and has the option to purchase them. In money lending, money passes from the lender to the borrower.
     

How to Form a Contract of Hire Purchase

Basic rules of contract apply at common law and as such, there are no formal or rigid requirement for law of hire purchase.Written and formal agreement are valid and binding.The parties must have capacity to enter into a hire purchase agreement. The terms of hire purchase must be stated precisely such that the court will be able either from express terms of the agreement or by reasonable implication and reference to identifiable documents ascertain the intention of the parties. Again, before creating a contract, there should be a consensus adidem between the parties, the acceptance must match the offer but there are cases when dispute may arise as to the facts contained in the hire purchase agreement at common law. This was always due to sharp practice on the path of the dealers. Sometimes also, there may be a misrepresentation as to the name of the document which the hirer had signed.In such situation, if the hirer believes that the document involved is essentially different from what he signed,the hirer may be able to set up a plea of non est factum and thereby escape liability. - Mushkan Financeco. Ltd v. Howard. Also, hire purchase from its inception is void abinitio and all monies paid under it are recoverable. This is known in the general principle of contract law as lex non cogit ad impossiblia.

In certain circumstances, a mistake by one or more of the parties to an agreement (as to the terms of the agreement or the identity of the other party) may render the agreement void. Also, the court will not enforce an illegal hire purchase agreement because it is an invalid contract - Pearce v. Brooks

Duties/Obligations of the Owner in Common Law

  • Title: The person letting out the goods has title to dispose the goods.  In Karflex Ltd v. Poole, the plaintiffs who were hire purchase dealers bought a car from the defendant with an option to purchase on payment of all installment.The defendant paid the deposit and took possession of the car but he defaulted on the first installment and the plaintiffs commenced proceedings against him. It transpired that the car seller had never been the owner of the car at all but the plaintiffs paid off the true owner and proceeded with their action against the defendant. It was held by a divisional court that the action must fail because the plaintiffs were in breach of an implied condition that they had a right to sell the goods at the date of delivery of the car, they had no such right. The defendant who had defaulted on payment of the first installment was entitled to repudiate the contract and recover all deposits despite the fact that he had not been evicted by the true owners and that by the time the case came up for trial, there was no possibility of eviction because the original owner had been paid off.
  • Correspondence with sample or description: Where goods are let on hire purchase by description, it is implied condition that the goods correspond with the description. Also, where the goods are let by reference to sample, it is an implied condition that the bulk must correspond with the sample and that the hirer will have a reasonable opportunity to compare the bulk with the sample and that the goods are free from any defect, rendering the goodsunmerchantablewhichwouldnotbe apparent on reasonable examination of the sample. The goods must correspond with the description, else, the hirer is entitled to reject them, even if the deviation is only minor and does not affect the value. Though, purely trivial may be ignored - Arcos Ltd v. E.A Rommasel & Sons 
  • Delivery: The owner must transfer possession of the goods from himself to the hirer. Hiring does not commence until the goods are delivered and the hirer is not obliged to accept them unless they appear as described in the contract. - Karsales (Arrow) Ltd v. Wallis. Unless it is agreed to the contrary, the place of delivery is the owner's place of business if he has one or if not his residence. If there is no stipulation as to time in the agreement,the owner must send the goods to the hirer within a reasonable time.When the owner is readyand willing to deliver the goods,and he requests the hirer to take delivery, the hirer is obliged to do so within a reasonable time or else he will be liable in damages for breach of contract. Delivery is normally effected by a physical transfer of possession of the goods from the owner to the hirer. However,the goods may also be delivered through other methods e.g, if constructive possession is given to the hirer.
  • Quiet Possession: An implied warranty where the owner, in addition to putting the hirer in possession of the goods must leave him in peaceful possession of them. The warranty is broken if the hirer’s enjoyment of possession is interfered with either by the owner or the lawful act of a third party. This obligation as to quiet possession is a mere warranty and its infringement entitles the hirer only to damages (it does not relieve him of his duty to perform his part of the agreement). However, where the interference with the hirer’s possession arises as a result of a defect in the owner’s title, it will be to the hirer’s advantage to base his claim on a breach of an implied term as to title since it is a condition that entitles the hirer to repudiate the contract if breached. If the owner wrongfully repossesses the goods in defiance of the hirer’s right, the fact that the term of quiet possession is only a warranty and not a condition is irrelevant. The owner has by conduct, wrongfully repudiated the agreement and the hirer is entitled if he so desires to treat that repudiation as discharging him of performance of his obligations under the contract.
  • Fitness for Purpose: There is a warranty where the hirer expressly or impliedly informs the owner (or his agent) of the particular purpose for hiring the goods. To show that he relied on the owner’s skill and judgment, there is an implied term that the goods are reasonably fit for that purpose. This term cannot be claimed by the hirer unless the particular purpose for which the goods were required was made known to the owner before or when making the agreement. Communication to the dealer is not sufficient since he is not the agent of the owner to receive and transmit to the owner such a communication. Also, what is required to attract the implication of this term as to fitness is the hirer’s reliance on the skill and judgment of the person letting the goods on hire purchase. In Bentworth Finance v. DeBank Transport (1968), the court confirmed that where the hirer makes known the purpose for which the goods are required so as to showthathe relies on the owner’s skill and judgment, it is implied that the goods are as fit and suitable for that purpose as reasonable care and skill can make them. However, in Anokav.SCOA*(1955-56) WRNLR113, the court said that the hirer cannot complain of any defect in the goods which could not have been discovered by due care and skill on the part of the owner.
  • Merchantable Quality: This was defined in Bristol Tramways Carriage Co Ltd v. Fiat Motors (1910) 2KB831 to mean quality such that a reasonable man acting reasonably would after full examination, accept the goods in the performance of his offer to buy them. This term, in absence of an agreement to the contrary, will be implied in favour of the hirer where the goods are let by description and where the owner is one who manufactures the goods or  the dealer of the goods of that description. If the hirer by himself, examines the goods before entering the agreement, the owner will not be liable for defects.
  • Accept Payment Offered: The owner is impliedly obliged not to refuse installments validly tendered by the hirer except for reasonable cause e.g. where the hirer is in breach of his duties.
  • Repairs: Unless the agreement provides, the owner has no duty to keep the goods in repair after delivery except if repairs are necessitated by breach of the implied condition of fitness. If there is no provision in the agreement requiring the owner to maintain goods after delivery and the hirer makes repairs, he is not entitled to reimbursement by the owner. If there is a provision intheagreementrequiringtheownertocarryoutrepairs andtheownerfailstodosoafter receiving reasonable notice fromt hehirer, the hirer can repudiate the agreement or make repairs and recover reasonable cost from the owner.
  • Insurance: In the absence of an agreement to the contrary, there is no duty imposed on the owner to insure the goods. Most hire purchase agreement impose an express obligation on the hirer to insure.
  • Maintenance of goods up to the time of delivery: There is an implied term that the owner shall deliver the goods in as good a state as they were at the time the agreement was made. If the hirer has examined the goods before the date of the agreementandmakesan application for hirepurchase,onthebasisofhisexamination,itistheowner’sresponsibilitytoseethat the goods are on the same condition as when first seen by the hirer. Karsales(Harrow)v. Wallis (supra). In the case, the defendant inspected a car owned by a car seller, founditin goodcondition,andwishedtotakeitonhirepurchase.The carsellerthereaftersoldit to the plaintiff who in turn resold it to a hire purchase company .The defendant made a contract with this company. The contract contained a term that‘ no condition or warranty that the vehicle is road worthy or astoitscondition of fitness for any purpose is given bythe owner or implied therein.’ One night , a ‘car’ was left outside the defendant’s premises.It looked like the car in question but it was a mere shell. The cylinder head was broken, all the valves were burnt, two pistons were broken and it was incapable of self propelling. The defendant refused to accept it or pay the hire purchase instalment and when sued for this, he pleaded the state of the car. The plaintiffs relied on this exclusion terms in their reply to the defendant’s case.The Appeal Court held that the item delivered was not the item contracted for so, the exclusion clause did not avail the plaintiff and judgment was given to the defendant.

Duties/Obligations of the Hirer in Common Law

  • Acceptance of the Delivery of Goods: The hirer is obliged to accept delivery of goods he agreed to take under the hire purchase agreement. If  he wrongfully refuses to accept delivery, the owner’s remedy is to claim damages for breach of contract. - National Cash Company v. Stanley (1921) - when the hirer failed to take delivery and the bailor sued for rent and arrears, the court held that the bailor was only entitled to damages for breach of contract.
  • Care of the goods: A strict duty of care is imposed on the hirer, rendering him liable for loss or damage to the goods irrespective of negligence. In the absence of a provision on the standard of care, the hirer is under implied obligation to take reasonable care of the goods during the currency of the hire purchase agreement. The hirer is liable for his negligent acts and those of his servants or agents acting within the scope of their authority. The hirer's duty to take good care of the goods is an independent promise and not a condition precedent to the owner’s obligation to leave the hirer in quiet possession of the goods during the agreement. Therefore, a breach by the hirer of his duty of care will not justify the owner in seizing the goods and terminating the agreement unless the agreement it self empowers him to do so or unless the hirer’s neglect is to indicate that he hirer is repudiating all his obligations e.g. where he willfully abandons the goods. In the absence of one of these grounds of termination, the owner’s remedy is to sue for damages either for a breach of contract or in tort for conversion.
  • Use of the goods in accordance with the terms of hire: The hirer is impliedly obliged not to do any act in relation to the goods contrary to the terms of hire. If he does, e.g selling the goods as in Whiteley Ltd. v. Hilt (1918) 2K B808 or pledging them as in Belsize Motor  Supply Company v . Cox (1914) 1K B2 44 or using the goods for a  purpose different from the stipulated as in Burnard v. Haggis (1863) 1 4C BS 45, the owner becomes entitled to have immediate possession of the goods and if may decide to terminate the whole agreement.
  • Repair: Apart from his duty of reasonable care, there is no implied duty on the part of the hirer to repair the goods hired. Where the agreement expressly provides that the hirer shall keep the goods in repair during the hiring, this amounts to an implied authority to the hirer to arrange for the execution of repair either by himself or by a third party as at when due.
  • Payment: The hirer has a duty to pay the sum stipulated in the agreement at a time and in a manner laid down in the agreement. Unless the agreement otherwise provides, the rules as to payment are those applicable to contracts generally. For the agreement to be enforceable at all, the time of payment must be stipulated with reasonable precision either in the agreement itself or in some other collateral agreement, verbal or otherwise. However, time of payment is not of the essence unless the agreement otherwise indicates that a mere delay in payment does not entitle the owner to treat the agreement as repudiated - S10 (1) of the Sale of Goods Act 1893. Where no place for payment is stipulated in the agreement, the hirer must seek the owner and pay him wherever he may be found. In practice, most agreements specify the ways payment should be made by the hirer.
  • Insurance: The hirer has no implied obligation to insure the goods but the agreement requires him to take a comprehensive policy on them.
  • Protection of Owner’s Title: The hirer has no obligation to give notice of an adverse claim to the person who supplied him with the goods on hire. He has prospective proprietary interest in the goods and he is entitled to rely on the implied condition as to title on the part of the person who has let the goods out to him on hire and to continue payment to such person under the hire purchase agreement notwithstanding that he knows of an adverse claim by a third party .- Warman v. Southern Counties Car Finance Corporation Ltd. (1949) 1A l l ER7 11. However, in bailment, the bailee is under a duty to protect his bailor’s title by informing the bail or as soon as it is reasonably practicable of any adverse claim to the goods bailed. 
  • Re-delivery: The hirer must re-deliver the goods at the end of the hire period if he does not exercise the option to purchase within the stipulated time. Where delivery becomes impossible through no fault of the hirer e.g. through accidental destruction of the goods, he will be discharged from his obligation to return the goods unless the terms of the agreement indicate that the risk of accidental destruction or loss is to be borne by the hirer and that the obligation to re-deliver is a strict liability independent of negligence.
  • Information and Document: Hire purchase requires the hirer to notify the owners of any change of address and to produce on request certain classes of documents which will enable the owner to see that the goods are covered by insurance and are not liable to be in jeopardy at the hands of a third party. Documents normally specified include receipt for insurance premium in respect of insurance on the goods and receipts for rent, rates and taxes payable in respect of the premises where the goods are kept. In agreements relating to motor vehicles, the hirer may also be required upon termination of the agreement or the hiring , to surrender to the owner the log book of the car and all licenses andi nsurance policies and certificates relating to the car.

Reception of Hire Purchase Agreement

There is no statute of general application for Hire Purchase in Nigeria. The first English statute on Hire Purchase was the Hire Purchase Act 1938 which formed the basis of the first Nigerian statute on the subject. Before 1965, the common law on Hire Purchase governed the subject in Nigeria, dealing with the formation of the agreement, information of what the parties have agreed and the general law of contract. The first Nigerian legislation on the subject was the Hire Purchase Act 1965 which was applicable in the Federal Capital Territory of Lagos alone. Its application was extended to the rest of the country by the Hire Purchase (Application) Decree No. 42 of 1966. The Hire Purchase system in Nigeria did not have immediate effect but came into force on 1st October 1968 by the Hire Purchase (Appointed Day) Order of 1968. The development of Hire Purchase in Nigeria has been slow and affected by similar factors as present when the system was developing in England. The expansion of the Hire Purchase system brought in abuse and injustice which were beyond the purview of the law of contract. Many were induced to enter into written agreements which they did not understand and suffered in consequence. The more unscrupulous Hire Purchase dealers deliberately encouraged their customers to incur commitments beyond their means with the object of allowing them fall into arrears towards the end of the hire period after most of the instalments had been paid so that the dealers would then exercise their power of possession commonl y called the snatch back and thus secure for themselves a considerable profit from the goods which they supplied without parting with the goods themselves. Matters were made worse with the rule laid down in Cramer v. Giles that the court would not intervene to protect the hirer in d e fault so that even if he has defaulted on the last instalment only having punctually paid all the previous installments, the owner will still been titled to terminate the agreement and repossess the goods immediately the default has arisen without having to return any part of the money hehad received. In Atere v. Dada Amoo (1957) WR N L R1 76,  the plaintiff took a lorry on hire purchase from the defendant and he completed repayment of 995 pounds out of hire purchase price of 1000 pounds. He then failed to pay the final instalment of 5 pounds when it was due. This breach of contract terminated the agreement and the owner was held entitled to recover possession of the lorry. Although repossession and resale of the vehicle enabled the owner to recover more than his actual loss of 5pounds,thecourtstill held that the owner was not obliged to account to the hirer for the excess recovered. This and other factors made the hire purchase system unattractive. The abuse and injustice of the hire purchase system in common law against the hirer include that:
    • The hirer had no right to redeem the hired goods after default in his instalmental payment.
    • If the hirer wrongfully returned the goods to the owner, before expiration of the hire period, he may remain liable to pay substantially the rent for the entire hired period. - J.O Lawrence v. Bentworth Finance Co Ltd (1966)NMLR87.
    • There was no transfer of property or property interest in the goods to the hirer until he has exercised his option to purchase the goods even though he may have made substantial sums of payment toward the agreement. - Dictum of Lord Macnaghten in Helby v Matthews (supra)
    • The Hirer has no legal interest in thegoodsrepossessedbytheownerdespitethefactthat Theirsubsequentsaleby the owner may yield substantial surplus over the hire purchase price.- Dictum of Butler Lloyd ACJ in D.O Williams v. U.A.C Ltd.
    • The hirer may become liable to pay excess under the minimum payment clause on termination of the agreement. - Amusan & anor v. Bentworth Finance(Nig) Ltd (1966 )NMLR 276.

Remedies of the Owner

  • Right  to bring an action for repossession S9(1 and 2), HPA: In common law, the owner has a right to reposses at default. However, under the Hire Purchase Act, the owner can only reposses if the hirer fails to pay up. This is exercisable when there are several defaults by the hirer. The right of the ownertoreposses is only enforceable by court action  - Civil Design Construction Nigeria Ltd v. SCOA Nigeria Ltd. Failure to institute a court action before exercise of the right of recovery of possession would determine the agreement. Upon the termination of the agreement, the hirer is released from all liability and he is entitled to recover in an action all sums paid under the agreement: and the guarantor is also liable to recover all sums in an action  for moneys had and received
  • Right of to interim possession: This is exercisable during dependency of an action to recover possession. In S9(5), HPA, this is exercisable in respect of motor vehicles where 3/5 of the hire purchase price has been paid and the Act allows the owner to remove such vehicle pending the determination of the court action for recovery of possession and the owner will be liable to the hirer for any damage caused by such removal. This right is exercisable when there is a pending action in court - Ebohime v. Nigeria Tech company
  • Damages for failure to take care of goods: S8(2), HPA provides that the owner may be entitled to damages where the hirer fails to take care of the goods.
  • Action in tort for trespass, detinue, conversion or adverse possession - S14 (1)  of the Act. The owner' s right to recovery can be exercised without court order where:
    • the hirer exercises his right to terminate
    • the substantial part or relevant proportion of the hire purchase price is unpaid
    • the hirer voluntarily consents to return the goods
    • the goods are in possession of any person other than the hirer
    • the goods are abandoned or may be reasonably inferred to be abandoned.
     

 Remedies of the Hirer

  • Exercise of Right to terminate: S8 of the Act provides that a hirer shall at any time before final payment as agreed be entitled to give a notice of termination in writing to any person entitled to recover any sums payable under the agreement - Incar Motors Nig. Ltd v. Elias Bus Transport Ltd, Amusan & Thomas v. Bentworth Finance Nig. Ltd, * Yeomancredit v. Apps. The conditionas stated for which the hirer may exercise his right to termination is said to be fundamental breach and the time is any time before final payment. When the hirer exercises this right, he must give a notice of termination to the owner or his authorised agent. He must have paid at least half the purchase price and other outstanding sums and must hand the goods back to the owner. The liability of the hirer after termination extends to all outstanding sums as well as any amount by which half of the hire purchase price exceeds the total sum paid and due immediately before termination or such less amount as specified in the agreement.

A hire purchase Agreement may be terminated by:

  • performance- when both parties have fulfilled their obligation in the contract.
  • subsequent agreement: the relationship of an owner and a hirer was initiated by an agreement and may also be ended by a fresh agreement. In the course of the first agreement, the parties may enter a fresh agreement to terminates the former, provided that the former is still executory. The consideration for the new agreement would consist in the covenant by both parties to release each other from their existing obligations under the former contract. In this case, it is said that the new arrangement has yielded the old for the new.- Abdulkareem v. Incar Nig.Ltd and Morris v. Baron & Co 
  • a notice to terminate - S8(1): In common law, the agreement may be terminated by a notice given by any party to the other expressing his intention to terminate. Under the Act, the hirer's statutory right to terminate requires that he gives a notice in writing to the owner or any person entitled or authorized to receive money payable under the agreement.
  • breach & repudiation from either parties: If a party renounces his obligation under the agreement or breaches any fundamental term in a way to show an intention to no longer be bound by the agreement, the other party is entitled to sue for such a Breach.Wherein the case of an owner, the hirer commits the fundamental breach, the owner is entitled to determine the agreement and claim his outstanding payment from the hirer
  • frustration. This occurs where the subject matter seizes to exist without fault on both parties.- Bentworth Finance Ltd v. Alhaji Sanni Bakore
  • the express terms of contract - where parties have inserted into the term of contract that it would be terminated on certain conditions.
  • judgement of a court of competent jurisdiction


CIF

This happenswhenthebuyeristoremitmoneyforcostofinsuranceandfreight

Duties of Parties under CIF Contract

Thedutiesofthesellerare:

  • to ship the goods attheportofshipmentascontainedinthecontract.
  • to procure on behalf of the buyer a contract of carriage
  • to arrange for insurance of the goods on terms which would benefit the buyer
  • to prepare an invoice of the goods in a form acceptable in the tradd
  • to tender all documents to the buyer in order to effect payment, obtain delivery or recover from the loss as the case may be.

 

FOB
Here, the selleragreestopaycostoffreight.
 

DUTIESOFPARTIESUNDERFOBCONTRACT
Thesellerhasdutiesof:

  • supplyingthegoodsinaccordancewiththecontract
  • deliveryofthegoodsbyplacingthemonboardthenominatedship
  • paying up cost up to the pointofdeliveryonboardtheship
  • obtaining export licence and bill of lading

5.Responsibilitytoproducethecommercialinvoiceandtendertothebuyer
The dutiesofthebuyerare:
1.Notifytothesellerthenominatedshipandportofshipment
2.Acceptdeliveryofgoods.
3.Paymentforgoodsandotherincidentalcharges

Insurance of FOB Contract

Generally, it is the seller's obligation to give notice to the buyer to insure the goods during transit.- S32(2), Sales of Goods Act. Where the seller fails to give such notice, the goods are deemed to be at his risk during transit. - Wimblesons & Co Ltd v.Rosenberg & Sons Ltd

Bill of Lading

The bill of lading serves three purposes as:

  • an evidence of a contractofcarriage
  • a receipt of the goods
  • a document of title



 

 


A Complete Guide on Dress Code in the Nigerian Law School

The Nigerian Law School is an institution of repute that awards the BL degree which formally authorizes an individual to practise law in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. After your graduation from any faculty, school or college of law in the university, it is necessary that you attend a one year programme at the Nigerian Law School and be called to the bar in order to practise professionally. With six current campuses and its headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria, students of the Nigerian law school have to adapt to certain dress codes amongst other rules and regulations in the course of their studies.

A Guide on Dress Code in the Nigerian Law School

There are many rules and regulations in every properly operating institution and the Nigerian law school is one. Since graduates of the Nigerian law school will be called into the bar in the long run, it is necessary that they begin to conduct themselves in a way that speaks well of the legal profession. As such, the rules and regulations at the Nigerian law school does not only talk about dressing in an educational sector but also talks about about how students should behave, conduct himself or herself,  and relate with other students among others. It is popularly said that where there is no law, there is no crime and so these regulations, rules and conducts which guides students in educational settings are not formulated to subject the students under a kind of rule of law or coerce them to do the bidding of an institution. Rather it is a laid down rule or regulation, that helps students become better people in the future. 

So, for an educational setting or for an educational institution to achieve certain goals and objectives, such an educational body has to implement these rules and regulations for students to follow at every particular point in time.

What is The Nigerian Law School Dress Code?

From the experience of senior colleagues who are now members of the bar, the different campuses of the Nigerian Law School have general standard rules as regards dressing. However, some campuses relax these rules due to weather conditions, nature of the environment and other reasons best known to them. On the other hand, other campuses may bring about penalties when these rules and regulations are trampled upon or are not adhered to subsequently.

These penalties are not put in place to trample on the human rights of any individual, rather it is a way of instilling discipline and orderliness in the lives of the students so as to become effective and efficient and proud members of the legal community in the future.

Whenever a child is taught at home, such a child brings to his or her environment, and whatever he or she learns in this same environment, is part of such a child for a lifetime. Every educational body or every educational system is jeered towards making the lives of its participants, or its students better in every ramification.

It does not matter if an educational system is strict in its policies, or in its objectives, the main point is that it is helping the citizens of the country to become better people, to themselves and to their society at large.

 
Many people who have gone through educational systems, have had to subject themselves to the rules and regulations governing such systems and one of the systems that will be talked about in this article is The Law school system. This is very different from a University that offers law as a course.

The Law school is where lawyers are reformed and molded, for the betterment of the country and this law school has rules and regulations for its participants to follow. A lawyer must be disciplined and have a sense of orderliness in order to function well in the society. The lawyer also is given the mandate to improve themselves, so that they can improve other people. The legal profession is highly regarded in the world today and many want to become lawyers. To do that, such individual must have an instilled sense of diligence in his or her attitudes and that includes dressing too. That said, here are the modes of dressing in the different Nigerian Law School Campuses.


1. Lagos Campus

The Nigerian Law School, Lagos Campus emphasizes the fact that all students must be well dressed at every point in time. Students who are not well dressed have to undergo the punishment for not following rules and regulations. In the Nigerian Law School Lagos Campus, ladies are allowed to put on a dark colored dress or a dark colored suit (which could be brown, black, dark blue or deep grey). The gown must not have any form of design on it or any pattern of another color. Ladies are also allowed to wear pure white blouses (not Tee shirts). There are allowed to wear black skirts that are below knee lengths. They are allowed to put on black covered shoes and not lace or palm sandals. They are allowed to wear a few pieces of jewelry, and nothing extraordinary.
 
Male students on the other hand are allowed to put on dark suits. They are also allowed to put on plain white shirts without any form of patterns. They are allowed to put on black ties, and not short or bow ties and are allowed to use white breast pockets handkerchief which is not compulsory in any way.

2. Agbani, Enugu Campus

The Nigerian Law School, Enugu school believes in orderliness and good conduct of students at all times and has a very strict policy on dressing for both male and female students. At the Enugu Campus of the Nigerian Law School, male students are allowed to wear black suits, black belts, black socks and black ties, all of which are compulsory. Also, they are to wear trousers that are long enough and touching their ankles and there is no room for any other color other than black. For female students,, black dresses are not allowed, except when the lady is pregnant. Female students are also not allowed to wear trousers of any colours. They are only allowed to wear black skirts and suits, accompanied with wear white shirts. Also, they are only allowed to wear black covered shoes

3. Bagauda, Kano Campus

In the Kano Campus of the Nigerian Law School, male students are allowed to wear pure white shirts attached with either black or dark blue trousers and suits. They must wear the same color of a waistcoat and the suit. They are also allowed to wear black shoes and dark color neckties (no bow ties) only. On the other hand, female students are allowed to wear black skirts which must be below the knee. They are allowed to wear plain white short or long white sleeves or camisoles without patterns. While black gowns and blacck covered shoes are compulsory, they are also allowed to wear dark blue gowns

4. Yenegoa, Bayelsa Campus

At the Bayelsa Campus of the Nigerian Law School, male students are allowed to wear dark coloured suits and trousers. They are allowed to wear dark coloured belts, dark coloured shoes, socks and dark coloured ties (no bow ties). The female students are allowed dark skirts or dark colored gowns and their shirts must be pure white shirts only. They are not allowed slits behind skirts, and it must not be too fitting. They are also allowed to wear only dark coloured covered shoes.

5. Yola, Adamawa Campus

Male students at the Yola Campus of the Nigerian Law School are only allowed black color suits and trousers. Long with their pure white coloured shirts, they are also allowed to wear only black coloured belts, ties, shoes and socks. On the other hand, the female students are allowed to wear black color skirt or gowns and black suits only. They are also allowed to wear mild accessories and must wear black covered shoes only.

6. Bwari Abuja Campus

MODE OF DRESSING FOR BOYS


   They are only allowed all black suits and trousers

   They are only allowed black shoes with black socks and laces

   They are only allowed pure white shirts and sometimes with patterns

   They are only allowed black ties, not bow ties

In the Abuja Campus of the Nigerian Law School, female students are allowed black skirts below the knee length. They are also allowed to wear white shirts with mild patterns and may have moderate slits at the back of their skirts. While black shoes are compulsory, they are allowed to carry any choice colour of the bag they want, whether black or not.

While these information was sourced from senior colleagues who are not practicing members of the bar, it is possible that there may be slight changes in the dressing codes for any of the campuses of the Nigerian Law School. This article is a guide  only and prospective students of the Nigerian law school should do well to check the updated handbook of the Nigerian Law School upon registration to stay updated as to any changes to the dress codes and other regulations. Also, these rules and regulations only prove that all law school campuses in Nigeria strive for both academic excellence, corporate, professional and physical diligence in their students at all times.

Biography of Olumide Akpata

Biography of NBA President, Olumide Akpata

Born on 7th October, 1972, Olumide A. Akpata is a non-partisan Nigerian and hails from Edo State. Olumide Akpata is a certified Nigerian Legal practitioner, having obtained a bachelor's degree in Law from University of Benin, Edo State in 1992. He attended the Nigerian Law School and was called to bar on 15th December, 1993. He served in the National Youth Service Corps in Kano State.

 

Akpata began his legal practice in Delta state under the tutelage of Dr. Mudiaga Odje, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, OFR, who was one of the most seasoned litigators of his time. In 1996, Olumide Akpata relocated to Lagos and teamed up with his cousin, Oghogho Akpata, who had just set up the law firm Templars the previous year. Akpata joined in the formation of Templars at the age of 23, and has grown the firm into what it is today, as one of the largest law firms in Nigeria with a workforce of about 100 lawyers, including two Senior Advocates of Nigeria, both of whom practice proficiently in diverse areas of Nigerian law.



Akpata is currently senior partner and Head of the Corporate & Commercial Practice Group of Templars. He has participated in some of the major groundbreaking transactions that have shaped commercial law practice in Nigeria and indeed the Nigerian economy. He was chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL).


On July 30, 2020, he was elected as the president of the Nigerian Bar Association after acquiring a total of 9,891 votes of the total 18,25 6 ballots cast, defeating his closest rival Babatunde Ajibade (SAN) who polled 4,328 votes, and Dele Adesina (SAN) who polled 3,982 votes.

Barrister Olumide Akpata became the first non - Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) president of the Nigerian Bar Association in July 2020. He is also the first NBA President to get married while in office as he walked down the aisle with his long time girlfriend, Osayamon Michelle May Ogbebor on May 14th, 2022.


While the traditional marriage is scheduled to hold in his spouse’s compound at Ekenwan Road, Benin, Edo State on May 14, 2022, the reception holds at Air Force Military Base, Airport Road, Benin, Edo State. Meanwhile, the couple will be joined in holy matrimony on October 2nd, 2022 in far-away Mauritius.

The bride hails from the influential Ogbebor Family of Bini Kingdom, Edo State, Michelle has a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from the Queen Mary University of London and a Bachelor of Laws degree (LL.B) from the University of Essex. She is currently a top executive and the Financial Markets Legal Adviser at the Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc, Nigeria’s Central Securities Depository (CSD), licenced to carry on the depository, clearing and settlement of all transactions in the Nigerian Capital Market.


The Subject of Affidavit in Law

An affidavit is a sworn testimony containing facts. It is a testimony usually sworn under an oath or in affirmation into the court. Before an affidavit is approved, it must have been sworn before a registry clerk or lawyer (a judge, officer and another person duly authorized to take affidavit). The commissioner for oath’s presence is also needed to witness the swearing of the affidavit. Though the commissioner for oath is the only person before whom an affidavit can be deposed to, in practice, it is the commissioner for oath that regulates and conducts oath-taking.

The word “affidavit” means a written statement of facts voluntarily made by an affiant (otherwise known as “deponent”) under an oath or affirmation administered by a person authorized to do so by law. Thus, an affidavit is a written document signed by a deponent stating certain relevant facts within the direct or circumstantial knowledge of the deponent. An affidavit could be sworn in a court or within the office of a notary public authorized to administer oath on behalf of the public. Where the affidavit is done in a court, it must be signed and sealed by the commissioner for oath of the court. Further rules and practice procedure governing affidavit evidence generally can be found under the Evidence Act 2011.

In Nigeria, there are many instances where an affidavit is necessary and should be done by the deponent. For instance, where a deponent need to provides evidence of his or her age in the absence of certificate of birth, an affidavit of declaration of age becomes indispensable.

An affidavit can be done in respect of the underlisted situations:

  • Change of name; affidavit of service by sheriffs;
  • Change of ownership (especially in motor vehicles)
  • Affidavit of means; Affidavit in lieu of tenement rate
  • Trustees; Administrators; Executors’ affidavit.
  • Affidavit of Guardianship;
  • Proof of ownership;
  • Authorization cases
  • Power of Attorney
  • Lost Items/Documents of title;
  • Loss of Sim Card/Replacement
  • Affidavits used in general practice litigation such as witness statement on oaths, affidavit in support of motions, affidavit required through official papers, MOUs, commercial documents requiring notarization or oath, among other areas.

In Maraya Plastics Industries Ltd & Anor v. Inland Bank of Nigeria Plc, the court of appeal per Omage JCA, stated thus, an affidavit is averments contained in a paper which are sworn before the commissioner for oaths. The affidavit has to be filed in the court registry. It is the swearing that makes the document an affidavit. Where the document is not sworn to, it is only a piece of paper, not an affidavit. Without oath, therefore there is no affidavit. The above is a general rule and there are exceptions provided for in the Evidence Act. Hence, an affidavit may not be sworn to on:

  • Religious grounds
  • Age – immaturity.

The above must be indicated by the officer taking the oath. The person deposing to an affidavit becomes the deponent.

Structure of an Affidavit

The relevant fact must be contained in the body of the affidavit. An affidavit is best kept succinct before deciding necessary contents which would be used in its coating. Same principles also apply in sentences and paragraphs. In the process of summarising the affidavit, important notes should not be unlocked while ensuring it’s sentences are limited to 10 words as that would be the main interest of the legal practitioner. An affidavit is complete where it obeys the S.O.S(simple, organised and short)principle.

  • Style of Proceeding: This usually surfaces on the initial section of all legal files. It states who issues and gives also the file number. The style of proceeding appears constant throughout the life of the court case unless the legal leader drifts in plans. It also enables the court registry staff to put the document in the right document. 3 points must be outlined at the top right corner of the style of proceeding:
    • Total number of the affidavit done(might have been past one)
    • Name of deponent (your name)
    • Actual date of the drafted affidavit
  • Deponent’s Statement: An affidavit is made by deponent as such, you have to identify yourself as the person swearing to the stated facts in the affidavit. Example: I, TomJones, of 132 Main Street, in the City of Vancouver, Province of British Columbia, electrician, MAKE OATH AND SAY THAT:

This statement made by the deponent comes at the beginning of each identified affidavit. It is detailed and projects everything concerning the occupation of the deponent.

  • Knowledge Statement: This clearly records two things:
    • Owning to you being a plaintiff, defendant, petitioner, or respondent
    • Owning to having personal knowledge of the information penned in the affidavit.
  • Body of the Affidavit: This is the most important part.
  • Ending of the Affidavit
  • Exhibits

Format of an affidavit

Affidavit is meant to state the material facts and allow the court to draw the conclusion. Commissioner for Agriculture, the Court of Appeal stated that an affidavit is a statement of fact which the maker or deponent has personal knowledge or which are based on information which he believes to be true.

No legal argument, conclusion or other extraneous matter must be included. When an illiterate or a blind person deposes an affidavit, the fact that such person is unschooled shall be stated there and there must be a notice. Also, the language in which the affidavit was deposed should be attached to that translated into the language of the court (English language).

Note that a legal practitioner handling the action on behalf of the applicant can depose to an affidavit as no law provides otherwise. However, where there are affidavit and counter-affidavit which are held to be contradictory, there would be need for the court to call oral evidence. When the legal practitioner is then called as a witness, problem would arise as to who will examine and re-examine.

By virtue of the Evidence Act, the following are what an affidavit should contain.
Statements of facts

The source of statement of facts which could be personal knowledge or otherwise
An affidavit is not to contain extraneous matter by way of objection, prayer, legal argument or conclusion. When fact is from another person, the particulars of the person shall be stated and the time, place and circumstances of the information shall also be stated.
TYPES OF AFFIDAVIT

    Affidavit in support of application
    Affidavit of urgency
    Affidavit of service
    Counter-affidavit
    Further and better affidavit
    Further, further and better affidavit
    Affidavit for the record.

CONFLICTS IN AFFIDAVITS

Where there are conflicts in affidavits, the court may do any or all of the following
Call for oral evidence to resolve the conflict.

Resolve the conflict from the documentary evidence attached to the affidavits were available and sufficient to do so.
Affidavit is needed in the following application:

Originating motion/application, summons, petition excluding election petition. NOTE THAT IN ELECTION PETITION, NO NEED TO FILE AFFIDAVIT



Legislation

The relevant section of Nigeria's 2011 Evidence Act that deals with affidavits is Articles 107-120. Articles 108-111 of the Act state that:

108. Before an affidavit is used in the Court for any purpose, the original shall be filed in the court and the original or an office copy shall alone be recognised for any purpose in the court.
109. Any affidavit sworn before any judge, officer or other person duly authorised to take affidavits in Nigeria may be used in the court in all cases where affidavits are admissible.
110. Any affidavit sworn in any country other than Nigeria before (a) a judge or magistrate, being authenticated by the official seal of the court to which he is attached, or by a notary public; (b) the duly authorised officer in the Nigerian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate in that country may be used in the court in all cases where affidavits are admissible.
111. The fact that an affidavit purports to have been sworn in the manner prescribed in the preceding sections shall be prima facie evidence of: the seal or signature, as the case may be, of any such court, judge, magistrate or other officer or person mentioned in, or appended or subscribed to, any such affidavit; and the authority of such court, judge, magistrate or other officer or person to administer oaths. (Nigeria 2011)


Article 10(1) of Nigeria's federal Oaths Act provides that:

10. (1) It shall be lawful for the Chief Justice of Nigeria, a Justice of the Supreme Court, The President and Justices of the Court of Appeal, and any judge of the Federal High Court, a notary public, and any commissioner for oaths, to administer any lawful oath or to take any lawful affirmation or affidavit which may be required to be taken or made for the purpose of complying with the requirements of any law for the time being in force throughout Nigeria or elsewhere, except where such procedure is expressly or by necessary implication manifestly excluded by the terms of such law as aforesaid and the presumption shall be against any such exclusion. (Nigeria 2003)

Types of Affidavits

Sources indicate that there are two categories of affidavits: those used in court proceedings and those used in non-court proceedings (Babalakin & Co. 15 Oct. 2014; Notary Public 16 Oct. 2014; NBA 20 Oct. 2014). In correspondence with the Research Directorate, a representative of Babalakin & Co., a Nigerian law firm specializing in commercial litigation and arbitration (Babalakin & Co. n.d.a), and whose partners include two Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) [1] (ibid. n.d.b), indicated that the most common types of affidavits available in Nigeria include:


Written statements "which accompany processes used to initiate court proceedings in court in proof of a party's case before the court" (Babalakin & Co. 15 Oct. 2014);

Affidavits of facts "in support of applications filed in court which by the Rules of the court(s) must accompany all motions" (ibid.);

Affidavits of facts "which are generally filed to bring facts to the attention of a court" (ibid.);

Affidavits "verifying the loss of documents or other property" (ibid.);

Affidavits for a change of name;

Sworn declaration of age in lieu of a birth certificate; and

Affidavits "of good conduct" (ibid.).

In correspondence with the Research Directorate, a Deputy Chief Registrar of the Ogun State Judiciary noted the following two types of available affidavits:

Statement of facts "in support of cases in Court" (Ogun State 14 Oct. 2014). This is a "written deposition on oath in support of cases in Court, pursuant to High Court Procedure Rules" (ibid.).

"Loss of vital documents," for example "birth certificate, death certificate, shares certificate, drivers license, vehicle particulars, Identity cards, etc" (ibid).

3. Authorities Who Can Issue and Swear Affidavits

The Babalakin & Co. representative, affidavit indicated that, pursuant to Article 10 of the federal Oaths Act, the following persons are authorized to administer oaths and therefore issue affidavits under federal law in Nigeria:

Chief Justice of Nigeria;

Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria;

President and Justices of the Court of Appeal;

Judges of the Federal High Court;

Notaries Public; and

Commissioners for Oaths. (Babalakin & Co.15 Oct. 2014, 3)

Commissioners for Oaths are officers of the court designated to administer oaths (Ondo State n.d.; Notary Public 16 Oct. 2014). According to the Deputy Chief Registrar, any court registrar "not less than grade level 7" could act as a Commissioner for Oaths (Ogun State 20 Oct. 2014).

The Babalakin & Co. representative further explained that at the state level, pursuant to "oaths laws of the various states" (ibid.), affidavits are issued by the following categories of persons:

The Chief Judge of the State;

Judges of the High Court [of the state];

Magistrates;

Notaries Public; and

Commissioners for Oaths. (ibid.)

The same source indicated that "the rules, procedures, and persons before whom affidavits and oaths may be deposed are generally uniform in all states" (15 Oct. 2014, 5).

3.1 Affidavits for Court Proceedings

Article 109 of the 2011 Evidence Act provides that:

109. Any affidavit sworn before any judge, officer or other person duly authorised to take affidavits in Nigeria may be used in the court in all cases where affidavits are admissible. (Nigeria 2011)

However, sources state that for matters of court proceedings, affidavits are sworn by a Commissioner for Oaths (Ondo State n.d.; NBA 20 Oct. 2014; Notary Public 16 Oct. 2014). In correspondence with the Research Directorate, a Notary Public based in Lagos state said that it is a "matter of practice" and "revenue drive" that affidavits used in court proceedings are "limited" to being issued by a Commissioner for Oaths (16 Oct. 2014). Similarly, an article published in the Nigerian newspaper the Punch reports that "[t]he basis for the practice (that a deponent must appear before the Commissioner for [O]aths to complete the process of an affidavit) [for court proceedings] seems to lie in practice directions issued to registrars and court officers" (The Punch 3 Mar. 2014). The Notary Public indicated that magistrates can also swear affidavits for use in court proceedings (16 Oct. 2014). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

In correspondence with the Research Directorate, the Deputy Chief Registrar of the Ogun State Judiciary explained that affidavits sworn before the Commissioner for Oaths can be commissioned in the customary courts, magistrate courts, or the state's High Court of Justice; however, "written deposition on oaths which is in the form of statements of facts filed in court could only be done at the High Court" (Ogun State 14 Oct. 2014).

3.2 Affidavits for Non-Court Proceedings ('Private' or 'Personal' Affidavits)

According to sources, a Commissioner for Oaths and a Notary Public can both swear and issue private affidavits [affidavits used in non-court proceedings] (Nigeria 20 Oct. 2014; NBA 20 Oct. 2014; Notary Public 16 Oct. 2014). The Notary Public noted that notaries "mainly deal with private affidavits, not one[s] for use in judicial proceedings" (16 Oct. 2014).

4. Procedures to Obtain an Affidavit

Article 117(4) of the 2011 Evidence Act provides that

117(4). An affidavit when sworn shall be signed by the deponent or if he cannot write or is blind, marked by him personally with his mark, in the presence of the person before whom it is taken. (Nigeria 2011)

Similarly, sources report that deponents to an affidavit must appear in person before a Commissioner for Oaths (AllAfrica 14 Mar. 2011; NBA 20 Oct. 2014) or a Notary Public (ibid.).

Articles 108, 115 and 117-119 of the 2011 Evidence Act describe the procedural requirements for obtaining an affidavit and are attached to this Response, including Article 117(1)(b) which provides that deponents are required to state their full name, trade, profession, residence, and nationality (Nigeria 2011). In a telephone interview with the Research Directorate, a representative of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) explained that the procedure to obtain a sworn affidavit is as follows:

The deponent "will approach either a Commissioner for Oaths at the court, or a notary public," noting that affidavits for court proceedings are sworn by a Commissioner for Oaths (NBA 20 Oct. 2014).

The deponent "will pay the requisite fee and be issued a receipt," noting that a receipt will be given if the affidavit is done in a court.

The identity of the deponent "will be verified,". Notaries do this by checking a passport or national ID card". Also, the Commissioner for Oaths or Notary will verify "the facts of the deponent's statement by asking questions and requesting the deponent to present any evidence, as needed, to ascertain the facts".

The deponent "will swear to the information and sign the affidavit" and then the Commissioner for Oaths or Notary "will sign and seal the affidavit".

Affidavits are obtained by simply deposing to the contents before/in the presence of the designated officer/person(s) authorized to administer oaths/affidavits" (Babalakin & Co. 15 Oct. 2014). In correspondence with the Research Directorate, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who is also a Professor of Law at Ebonyi University, said that the procedure to obtain an affidavit either involves the person preparing the affidavit in advance, going to the court registry and swearing to the affidavit before the Commissioner for Oaths, or, if he has not prepared the affidavit in advance, he can have one typed out at the registry, which is then sworn before the Commissioner for Oaths (16 Oct. 2014). According to the SAN, people who are illiterate or do not have assistance to prepare their affidavits will use this method (ibid.). Article 119 of the 2011 Evidence Act provides that affidavits sworn by illiterate or blind persons must include a jurat that states that the contents of the affidavit have been read to, and understood by, the deponent (Nigeria 2011).

Examples of State-Specific Procedures to Obtain a Court-Issued Affidavit 

Ondo State Judiciary: The Ondo State Judiciary website provides information about how to obtain a sworn affidavit and indicates that an affidavit is sworn "by presentation of the document to the officer [Commissioner for Oaths] after payment of prescribed fees. It is important that a receipt is presented before the deponent".

Ogun State Judiciary: According to the Deputy Chief Registrar in Ogun state, the procedure to obtain an affidavit is as follows:

The person will state in a written form, his name, which must be in full not the initials.

His sex, tribe, address, religion and nationality.

The applicant will depose to the information that he wants to state, which must be facts and not law. It must be duly signed before the Registrar or Commissioner [for Oaths].

The Registrar must identify the person who is swearing to the oath. The identification of the deponent is very important; it must be ascertained before the affidavit is commissioned. (Ogun State 14 Oct. 2014)

The same source explains that the deponent is identified through personal identification documents such as a "National Identity Card, National Driver's Licence, International Passport, Voters Registration Card, Passport photographs, etc." (Ogun State 20 Oct. 2014). Once the deponent is identified by the Registrar, the Registrar obtains the requisite fees, and

issues a receipt, stamps the affidavit with the official stamp, he writes the receipt number on the stamp on the affidavit. The deponent is put on Oath and his document is later commissioned. The serial number of the receipt is quoted on the affidavit. (Ogun State 14 Oct. 2014)

According to the same source, there is no standard form to be used for a Statement of Facts used in court, but a passport photograph is displayed on this type of affidavit.

Provision of Identity Documents and Passport Photographs in the Issuance of Affidavits

6.1 Federal High Court Practices

According to an article published by AllAfrica, at the Federal High Courts throughout the country, the deponent to an affidavit must appear in person before the Commissioner for Oaths and attach two copies of their passport-sized photograph to the affidavit, before the Commissioner for Oaths signs the affidavit (AllAfrica 14 Mar. 2011). Similarly, the SAN indicated that in the Federal High Court the person must appear in person, and attach a passport photograph to the affidavit (SAN 16 Oct. 2014).

The Notary Public indicated that the Federal High Court in Abuja asks deponents for identification and that this is "strictly enforced" (Notary Public 16 Oct. 2014).

6.2 State and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Court Practices

AllAfrica reports that the Federal High Court practice [of appearing in person and attaching passport photos to the affidavit] does not extend to state level high courts and magistrate courts (AllAfrica 14 Mar. 2011). Similarly, according to the SAN, "in the different jurisdictions of Nigeria ... some of the State High Courts do not require the deponent to appear. Anybody can appear with an affidavit and it can be sworn. The Commissioner for Oaths has no way of knowing who the deponent is" (SAN 16 Oct. 2014). Likewise, according to the Notary Public, "provision of deponent's identity is a necessary requirement but it is often not enforced by many court registries in Nigeria" such as Magistrate and High Courts in various states (Notary Public 16 Oct. 2014).

An Assistant Superintendent with the Nigeria Police Special Fraud Unit in Lagos, noted that in the FCT in Abuja, Commissioners for Oaths ask for identification from a deponent (Nigeria 18 Oct. 2014). The SAN indicated that in the FCT High Court in Abuja, the person must appear in person, and attach a passport photograph to the affidavit (SAN 16 Oct. 2014).

According to the NBA representative, the practice of asking the deponent for identification "does not happen in the court issued affidavits by Commissioners for Oaths, unless it's for court proceedings" (20 Oct. 2014).

According to the Assistant Superintendent, in Lagos and "other states," it is not a requirement that the Commissioner for Oaths ask for identification from the deponent, however, a passport photograph of the deponent is "usually required," (Nigeria 18 Oct. 2014). The Notary Public indicated that Lagos, Ogun, and Delta states require a passport photo be affixed to the affidavit prior to it being sworn to (16 Oct. 2014).

6.3 Notary Public Practices

According to the Notary Public, Notaries Public "strictly" enforce the requirement that a deponent provides identification (16 Oct. 2014). The NBA representative indicated that Notaries Public check identity documents such as the deponent's passport or identity card (16 Oct. 2014). In contrast, the Assistant Superintendent stated that notaries "do not ask for identification from the deponent" prior to swearing an affidavit (Nigeria 20 Oct. 2014). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

7. Affidavit Fees and Issuance of Receipt

7.1 Court-Issued Affidavits

According to an article posted by AllAfrica, "the official fee for obtaining an affidavit in most magistrates and State High Courts is 250 Naira" [approximately C$1.70] (14 Mar. 2011). According to the Babalakin & Co. representative, affidavit fees vary depending on the court and the purpose of the affidavit (15 Oct. 2014). According to the SAN, a receipt is issued to the deponent and the court registry also keeps a copy of the receipt (SAN 16 October 2014). The Assistant Superintendent indicated that a fee will be paid and "revenue receipts are usually issued" (Nigeria 14 Oct. 2014).

7.2 Notary Public-Issued Affidavits

According to the NBA representative, notaries "do not usually issue receipts. They will mark on the affidavit that a fee has been paid and will sign it" (20 Oct. 2014). Similarly, according to the Assistant Superintendent, "it is not a common practice by the Notary Public to issue a receipt because the amount of money they do charge is not uniform" (Nigeria 20 Oct. 2014).
 

Verification of Affidavits: According to the Assistant Superintendent, the Police Special Fraud Unit relies on the "issuing authority to verify all documents," including affidavits (Nigeria 14 Oct. 2014). Similarly, the Notary Public indicated that for affidavits sworn in the courts, the Assistant Chief Registrar of the court is "usually the authority to confirm genuineness of any purported affidavit" and that for affidavits sworn by notaries, the Notary Public who issued the affidavit can be contacted for confirmation of the genuineness of the document (16 Oct. 2014).

Security Features on Court-Issued Affidavits: There are no security features on an affidavit (NBA 20 Oct. 2014; Nigeria 20 Oct. 2014; ibid. 14 Oct. 2014). According to the Assistant Superintendent, it is "almost impossible" to determine the authencity of a document by an "[on the] spot assessment" (ibid.) According to the NBA representative, an affidavit will carry "the signature of the deponent, the signature of the Commissioner for Oaths/Notary that swore the document, and the seal/stamp of the court/Notary" (NBA 20 Oct. 2014). For court-issued affidavits, the SAN indicated that every court has its own rubber or plastic seal, and the Commissioner for Oaths will affix the seal of the court to the affidavit, and sign his name at the bottom of the affidavit (16 Oct. 2014).


Notary Public-issued affidavits will carry the stamp of the notary that issued the affidavit (NBA 20 Oct. 2014; Nigeria 20 Oct. 2014) and "sometimes a seal and the name of the Notary Public" (ibid.). According to the Notary Public, a notary will "usually put his seal bearing his name and Supreme Court enrolment number" (16 Oct. 2014).

8.2 Receipts and Court Registry Verification of Court-Issued Affidavits

The representative of Babalakin & Co. indicated that judicial officers and other court officials are required to keep a record/copy of affidavits deposed before them, and the authenticity of an affidavit is verified by checking the records of the authority that administered the affidavit (15 Oct. 2014, 6). The Assistant Superintendent stated that "genuinely issued affidavits are usually properly documented" and can be "verified" as the Commissioner for Oaths "usually keeps a copy with the court registry," noting further that "the only way the court can determine the authenticity of an affidavit is to consult their records" (Nigeria 14 Oct. 2014.). The Deputy Chief Registrar of Ogun State indicated that in order to determine if an affidavit is genuine, the receipt number is confirmed in the court records, and the signature of the Commissioner of Oaths and the stamp on the receipt are verified (Ogun State 14 Oct. 2014).

8.3 Availability of Fraudulent and Irregularly-Issued Affidavits in Nigeria

According to the Babalakin & Co. representative, it is "difficult to empirically ascertain the prevalence of inauthentic affidavits. However, it is safe to say that a significant number of affidavits are procured on behalf of others" (Babalakin & Co. 15 Oct. 2014). The NBA representative stated that fraudulent affidavits are "widely available" (20 Oct. 2014). AllAfrica indicates that "touts" [2] and "court officials" procure affidavits for those who need them by charging "exorbitant fees" (14 Mar. 2011). The source reports that

[t]ypists hanging around the court premises with [makeshift] table and chairs alongside manual typewriters, charge each prospective declarant between N1,200 and N3,000 depending on the purpose of the affidavit, after which they ask their clients to wait around for them. They dash in, get the affidavit prepared, signed, sealed and ready to deliver. (ibid.)

The Assistant Superintendent noted that "the seal does not establish [an affidavit's] authenticity as all fake ones also do carry [the] seal" and that court staff involved in fraud will "pocket" a deponent's money, forge the signatures of the Commissioner for Oaths and return the affidavit with "signatures and seal" (18 Oct. 2014). The Notary Public noted that the official stamp and signature of the Commissioner for Oaths can "easily be forged" (16 Oct. 2014).

The Assistant Superintendent stated that court officials are involved in the procurement of affidavits for the purpose of private monetary gain (14 Oct. 2014). AllAfrica similarly reports that some court officials circumvent proper procedures in order to obtain money from applicants, noting that the practice of court officials procuring fraudulent affidavits occurs "openly" (AllAfrica 14 Nov. 2011). Likewise, the Babalakin & Co. representative indicated that it is "not unusual for persons to arrange to obtain affidavits by proxy without being physically present" and that "non-judicial staff of the courts have been known to arrange and procure affidavits for fees" (Babalakin & Co. 15 Oct. 2014, 6). The Assistant Superintendent stated that "the majority" of deponents do not "always" get to see the Commissioner for Oaths (Nigeria 18 Oct. 2014).

An article published by AllAfrica found that at the Ikeja High Court in Lagos, affidavits were obtained "by proxy" after the payment of a bribe to court clerks and office assistants (AllAfrica 14 Mar. 2011). The same article found that the practice also occurs:

At the magistrate court in Sabo-Yaba in Lagos state;

In the Bodija district in Ibadan state;

In Benue state at state and area courts within Makurdi, Otukpo, Ugbokpo, Gwer, Gboko and Katsina-Allah; and

In Kogi state (ibid.).

According to the Notary Public, affidavits are "rampantly forged" in Nigeria, particularly in the states of Lagos, Oyo, Delta, Ogun, and Osun (16 Oct. 2014). Similarly, the Assistant Superintendent notes the "massive procurement of fake documents, including affidavits," in the same states, as well as in Ondo state (Nigeria 18 Oct. 2014). The same source notes that the states of Ekiti and Kwara are also "known for irregular documents" (ibid.).

According to an article on the Nigerian media website Daily Newswatch, touts are visibly present outside the High Court in Lagos (Daily Newswatch 26 Oct. 2013). According to the article,

[f]or any customer that wants to purchase a sworn affidavit, the fee is N1,500, maybe as low as N750, depending on the customer's bargaining power. ... After agreeing on the fee, and providing the necessary information, the customer is made to wait under a tree or somewhere outside the court premises while the affidavit is 'manufactured' at a nearby kiosk with an unofficial stamp bearing the High Court seal. (ibid.)

The Nigerian newspaper the Punch reports that in Lagos, sworn affidavits, including "sureties, certificates of occupancy, tax clearance certificates" and documents for meeting bail conditions, can be obtained from touts on "very short notice" (The Punch 8 Dec. 2012).

9. Access to Genuine Affidavits

According to AllAfrica, some people obtain an affidavit from touts because they are not aware of the proper procedure to obtain an affidavit, while others wish to "avoid the perceived bureaucracy in the courts" (14 Mar. 2011). The Assistant Superintendent similarly indicated that when applying to obtain an affidavit, a person will sometimes approach the source with the intention of obtaining the affidavit genuinely; however, "because of [the] endemic nature of corruption in the system, the applicant can be given an affidavit that does not come from the right source and he or she will innocently collect it" due to the lack of security features on the affidavit (Nigeria 14 Oct. 2014).

According to the Assistant Superintendent, persons living in rural areas may not know how to obtain a sworn affidavit and "can fall victim [to] a document vendor" (Nigeria 18 Oct. 2014). The Babalakin & Co. representative indicated that persons in rural areas where there are few or no courts can face challenges in obtaining affidavits as there is a lack of availability of persons authorized to administer oaths (15 Oct. 2014).

10. Efforts by Authorities to Prevent Production of Fraudulent Affidavits

The Punch reports that, according to the Chief Registrar of the Ikeja High Court in Lagos, the court has posted public notices against the use of touts and has called in the police to remove them, but as the court is a "public place," there is a limit to what can be done (The Punch 8 Dec. 2012). AllAfrica reported on a 2011 interview with a High Court judge in Lagos who stated that the fraudulent practices at the court involve touts, court clerks and top court officials, and that state efforts to "check" the practice have "not yielded result[s]" (AllAfrica 14 Mar. 2011). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

According to an article by the Daily Times newspaper in Nigeria, the FCT High Court fired six workers in 2011 for their involvement in forging affidavits and declaration of age documents (Daily Times 12 Oct. 2011). The same article reports that, according to the Registrar of the FCT High Court, in an effort to stop the use of "fake forms," the Chief Judge of the High Court had arranged for the printing of "special affidavit forms" with "security markings" which were reportedly "rolled out for all the courts'" (ibid.). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.



 

 

 

 

 

 How to Get an Affidavit in Nigeria  

An affidavit is a written or printed document that declares or states facts, voluntarily provided by the party and taken before a person authorized by law to administer such an oath or confirmation. Facts in an affidavit are confirmed by the oath.

Process of Affidavits
Before an affidavit is used in any Nigerian court for any purpose, the original document must be filed in the court. Only the original or office copy can be recognized for any purposes. Any affidavit sworn before any judge, officer or other authorized persons can be used in the court in all cases where an affidavit is needed. An affidavit must be signed under the authority of a court judge, magistrate or any other officer authorized to administer oaths.

Any affidavit sworn in any other country before an authorized person such as:

⦁    a judge or magistrate, and authenticated by the official seal of the notary public or court,
⦁    a duly authorized officer in the Nigerian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate in that country, can be used in court in all cases where affidavits are admissible.

As long as an affidavit has the seal or signature of a court, judge, magistrate or another officer, it is considered authentic and can be presented in any court.

TYPES OF AFFIDAVITS
⦁    Affidavits of facts: This is an affidavit filed to bring facts to the attention of a court for authorization
⦁    Affidavits that verify the loss of documents or other property
⦁    Affidavits for a change of name: This is used to declare a change of name
⦁    Affidavit showing declaration of age in place of a birth certificate
⦁    Affidavits that verify good conduct
⦁    Affidavit which state facts in support of cases in court: This is a written deposition on oath in support of cases in court
⦁    Affidavits to verify the loss of vital documents such as birth certificate, death certificate, shares certificate, drivers’ license, vehicle particulars, Identity cards, etc.

AUTHORIZED PERSONS TO ISSUE AND SWEAR AFFIDAVITS
Below is a list of people authorized to issue and swear affidavits in Nigeria:
⦁    Chief Justice of Nigeria
⦁    Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria
⦁    President and Justices of the Court of Appeal
⦁    Judges of the Federal High Court
⦁    Notaries Public
⦁    Commissioners for Oaths: These are court officials (court registrars) who are not below grade 7 and designated to administer oaths.

At the state levels in Nigeria, affidavits used for court proceedings can be issued by the
⦁    The Chief Judge of the State
⦁    Judges of the High Court (of the state)
⦁    Magistrates
⦁    Notaries Public
⦁    Commissioners for Oaths (Court officials)

The rules and procedures as well as the authorized officials before whom affidavits and oaths may be received are uniform in all Nigerian states.

AFFIDAVITS FOR NON-COURT PROCEEDINGS, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS PRIVATE OR PERSONAL AFFIDAVITS
Private or personal affidavits are those affidavits that are not used in judicial proceedings. A Commissioner for Oaths and a Notary Public are authorized to swear and issue private affidavits (used in non-court proceedings)

HOW TO GET AN AFFIDAVIT IN NIGERIA          
According to the Nigerian constitution, below are requirements to obtain an Affidavit:

An affidavit must be signed by the deponent when sworn. If he or she cannot write or is blind, it must be marked by him personally in the presence of the Commissioner for Oaths.

Deponents to an affidavit must appear in person before a Commissioner for Oaths

Deponents to an affidavit are required to state their full name, trade, profession, residence, and nationality

THE PROCEDURE TO OBTAIN A SWORN AFFIDAVIT IS AS FOLLOWS:
The deponent (person who wants to swear an affidavit) will approach either a Commissioner for Oaths at the court or a notary public. Note: Affidavits for court proceedings are sworn by a Commissioner for Oaths.

The deponent is required to pay the requisite fee and is issued a receipt. Note: An affidavit sworn at a court will always be given a receipt.

The notary or Commissioner for Oath must verify the identity of the deponent by checking a passport or national ID card

The Commissioner for Oaths or Notary must verify the facts of the deponent’s statement by asking questions and requesting the deponent to present any other evidence to ascertain the facts

The deponent will then swear to the information and sign the affidavit

The Commissioner for Oaths or Notary is required to sign and seal the affidavit

In summary, affidavits are obtained by simply affirming the contents in the presence of the authorized officials. The deponent goes to the court registry for swearing.

SECURITY FEATURES ON COURT-ISSUED AFFIDAVITS
Although there are no security features on an affidavit and it is almost impossible to determine the authenticity of a document right on the spot, there are certain elements that you can check on an affidavit to know if it is genuine or not.

An affidavit will include the following:

⦁    The signature of the deponent
⦁    The signature of the Commissioner for Oaths/Notary that swore the document
⦁    The seal/stamp of the court/Notary

Every court has its own rubber or plastic seal used on court-issued affidavits. The Commissioner for Oaths will affix the seal of the court to the affidavit, and sign his name at its bottom.

Notary Public-issued affidavits include the following:

⦁    The stamp of the notary that issued the affidavit
⦁    A seal and the name of the Notary Public
⦁    Supreme Court enrolment number


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