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FCIArb., FIoD.


1.1 Your Excellencies; my Lords,
spiritual and judicial; distinguished learned gentlemen; very distinguished,
educated yet unlearned ladies and gentlemen; all other protocols observed.


2.1 Permit me to start this
review on a note of commendation to the 15 (fifteen) contributors of the
seventeen chapters contained in this book. By the depth of knowledge, vast
experience and well-reasoned arguments offered in the papers published, the
reader will certainly become more knowledgeable and intellectually stimulated
to cause required positive change in the nation and in the development of law
and legal practice in Nigeria. As Shumpa Lahiri once described “…that’s the
thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.”

2.2 Ladies and gentlemen,
considering the eminence and highbrow profile of the contributors of the
chapters in this book, I was deeply humbled when Mr. Mike Igbokwe, SAN informed
me of his desire for me to review the book. I must say that my task in the
review of this book was rather herculean however the manner in which the
erudite and cerebral contributors articulated their ideas and thoughts made the
task rather easy.

2.3 On a lighter note, it is
interesting that some people consider lawyers to be very materialistic and less
generous to the extent that someone once joked about his lawyer as follows:

My lawyer is very generous; he makes large donations to every possible charity.
And prove that he doesn’t do it for the glory, he makes the gifts
anonymously–he won’t even sign the cheques!”

2.4 But that is not the case with
the egghead and bluestocking contributors of the chapters of this book who have
not held back their knowledge and wealth of experience but have lavishly and
passionately articulated their thoughts for the development of law and legal
practice in general. I salute them.
2.5 A book review has been
variously held to be adequate if it consists of at least 50 to 100 words which
I believe I have already exceeded. I am in the circumstance tempted to stop at
this juncture but as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria the need to extend oneself
and do the utmost at all times I shall instead proceed to the nitty-gritty of
my task.

3.01 This book is no doubt a
product of the knowledge and wealth of experience gathered by the contributors
most of whom are learned silks for more than a decade. The topics considered by
the different contributors in the seventeen chapters of the book further
highlights its uniqueness. Topics bordering on Finance and Business (Chapters 1
and 9), Legal Practice/Dispute Resolution (Chapters 2, 4, 5 and 17), Electoral
Law and Practice (Chapters 3 and 7), Criminal Law (Chapter 6), Maritime Law and
Practice (Chapters 11 to 16) and Legal Education (Chapter 10) were all
considered in the book. It is therefore not surprising that the book is called
Dynamism of Law and Practice in Nigeria.

3.02 In the preface, Mr. Mike
Igbokwe, SAN prepares the mind of the reader for what to expect when in stating
that the book was a product of divine coincidence enthused further that
“…when read, these papers were not only instructive but were found to be such
that would be useful to the courts, lawyers, law students and non-lawyers

3.03 Taking off on the
intellectual journey in the book, my learned brother, Osaro Eghobamien, SAN
proffered a solution to the problem of infrastructural deficit in the country
in his insightful paper titled “The Interface between Law and Finance and its
Impact on Infrastructure Development”. After extensively identifying the nature
and level of infrastructural deficit in the country, he opined that the problem
could be solved through the mechanism of securitization which entails raising
funds for infrastructural projects through the capital market and private

Using Nigeria’s 2017 budget as a case study, he exposed the problems
associated with the current traditional method of funding the country’s budget
which creates a funding gap and hinders the ability of the government to solve
the problem of infrastructural deficit. In his view, the funding gap created by
the traditional way of budget funding can be closed by securitization. I think
government officials and policy makers should deeply consider this chapter and
the option of securitization suggested in same. 

3.04 The wealth of knowledge made
available in this book continues with the inspiring paper by another learned
silk, Dorothy Udeme Ufot, SAN, FCIArb(UK) in Chapter Two titled “How to Become
An Arbitrator: Tips for the Aspiring Young Arbitrator“. In the chapter, the
whole process of arbitration is broken down with a view to stimulate interest
in building/making a career in arbitration. Useful tips for anyone seeking to
pursue a career in arbitration were also offered in the well-researched paper
by the distinguished Fellow of the Institute of Arbitrators.

3.05 In Chapter Three, my brother
Chris Uche, SAN brought his experience in electoral law and practice to bear in
the chapter dedicated to “Electoral Litigation in the Sustenance of
Constitutional Democracy”. He identified the various laws governing election
petitions generally in Nigeria and proceeded to consider whether a level
playing field is available to all parties in an election petition. He
demonstrated that by the timelines prescribed in the adjudication process of election
petitions, constitution of the necessary parties to the petition, the
presumption of regularity accorded to the results declared by INEC and the
doctrine of substantial compliance, the petitioner has not been afforded a
level playing field. 

He made vital suggestions on how a level playing field can
be afforded to all parties in an election petition notable amongst which is
that the burden of proof should be placed on INEC to prove the correctness of
the result of an election challenged by a petition. I think that particular
suggestion may need to be reconsidered by the learned silk as casting the
burden of proof on INEC will lead to a situation whereby rather than restrict
itself to the position of an electoral umpire, INEC will descend into the arena
of conflict and fight to defend the declared result at all cost. This will in
fact defeat the purpose of the learned silk’s further suggestion that INEC
should not ordinarily be a party to the election petition proceedings. I would
however commend the chapter to my audience for consideration in great detail.

3.06 The amiable and eminent
learned silk, Yusuf Ali, SAN in Chapter Four of the book shared his knowledge
and over a decade experience on “the Business of Managing Law Firm to meet
Current Political and Economic World Orders”. He emphasized the importance of
effective management of a law firm to its sustenance and productiveness and
shared his thoughts on how to manage law firms to meet current political and
economic world orders. He concluded with an incisive statement that every law
firm should aspire to be the best in substance, worth and service delivery.

3.07 In chapter five, the learned
silk and distinguished fellow of the Institute of Arbitrators, Funke Adekoya,
SAN, FCIArb extrapolates the ICC perspective on dealing with the issue of conflict
of interest by arbitrators. She examined the provisions made under the ICSID
and the IBA Guidelines on the issue of conflict of interest by arbitrators and
then proceeded to consider the ICC Guidance Note on Conflict of Interest by
Arbitrators issued by the ICC International Court of Arbitration on the 12th of
February, 2016 which she opined is the first arbitral institution to issue a
Guidance Note on disclosure of conflict of interest by Arbitrators. She
concludes by opining that as African law firms become larger and practice
expands into other parts of the continent, conflicts of interest issues will
become a front burner issue for African arbitrators.

3.08 The distinguished learned
silk, Chief Wole Olanipekun, OFR, SAN in his thought provoking paper contained
in chapter six queried the jurisprudence behind section 396 of the
Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 (ACJA) which prescribes inter alia
number of adjournments to be granted at the instance of any party in a criminal
trial and contended that the said section infringes the provisions of the
constitution and constitutes a legislative judgment. 

He further highlighted the
impracticability of the provisions of the said section and contended that
confusion has been created by the section. He concludes by contending that
section 396 of the ACJA “…is a knee-jerk legislation which is not working and
cannot work”. I must say that I agree with the learned silk on this point as
the said provisions of the ACJA tacitly fetters the discretion of the Court in
the exercise of its inherent powers to regulate its own proceedings vide
section 6(6) (b) of the 1999 Constitution (as Amended). I think the National
Assembly should reconsider and amend those provisions of the ACJA failing which
the courts should employ judicial activism in declaring those provisions

3.09 In chapter seven, Onyechi
Ikpeazu, OON, SAN, FCIArb shares his robust experience in electoral litigation
in comprehensively discussing the concept of electronic voting and how same can
help ensure that elections reflects the will of the people. In doing this, he
x-rays the current position of the law in Nigeria in respect of electronic
voting and the proposed amendments to the Electoral Act. He then proceeds to
highlight the benefits of e-voting and the associated challenges. 

In his
conclusion, he expressed the view that that commencement of electronic voting
will accommodate and give way to further reforms which will ensure the credibility
of elections to reflect the will of the people. We will all agree, that the
current expensive non-electronic manner of voting employed in the country has
not helped us in any way. I agree with the learned silk that we should adopt
e-voting for our general elections it will as opined by the learned silk save
cost and allow for a more transparent process which reflects the will of the

3.10 In Chapter Eight, the
learned silk, P.O Jimoh-Lasisi, SAN exhibited his mastery of the law in respect
of claims for recovery of land by examining the issue of title and possession
in relation to a claim for recovery of land. He explained the concept of
relativity of title in respect of a claim for recovery of land and highlighted
the provision of the Lagos State Lands Registration Law which prescribes that
once an entry of title is made in favour of a person in the register of title,
that entry in the register constitutes conclusive proof that the person is the
owner of the land.

 He explained what constitutes adverse possession as distinct
from permissive possession and contended that knowledge of adverse possession
is not a condition precedent to the activation of the limitation law to an
action for recovery of land.

3.11 Chapter Nine is a case
review of the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of A.G Federation v A.G
of Lagos by Francis Chuka Agbu, SAN, FCIArb (UK). In his exposition of the
case, the learned silk started by stating the facts and decision of the Supreme
Court to wit; that the power to regulate tourist traffic as contained in item
60(d) of the exclusive legislative list does not extend to regulation of the
hospitality industry and that the provisions of section 4(2) (c) & (d) of
the NTDC Act is unconstitutional and unlawful. He highlighted the implications
of the decision to include poor funding due to the absence of the involvement
of the Federal Government in that industry. He concludes by making
recommendations for a thriving tourism sector in the country.

3.12 In chapter Ten, the need for
Legal education in Nigeria to conform with recent technological developments,
economic realities and be more practical than theoretical was advocated and
considered by esteemed Professor Fabian Ajogwu, SAN. He highlighted the
declining nature of the Nigerian Legal System which he opined is largely
premised on theoretical aspects of law and not good enough for the 21 st
century lawyer. He proffered possible solutions to solve the issue of declining
standards which includes increased emphasis on research and concludes by
emphasizing the impact of legal education to the legal profession.

3.13 In chapter eleven, Sir
Adolphus Nwachukwu in his inspiring paper titled “The Maritime Perspective of
the Africa Continental Free Trade (AfCFTA)” explained the relationship and the
benefit to be derived by the Nigerian maritime sector of the economy from the
AfCFTA being one of the largest single trade blocs in the world as it relates
to reduction of trade barriers, import quotas and tariffs. It highlighted
further the importance of the free trade agreement which doesn’t just remove
and eliminate tariff and quotas, but addresses behind the border barriers that
impedes the flow of goods and services between nations. 

In addressing the fears
as regards infant industries, he opined that the AfCFTA has provided some
measures of protectionism in respect infant industries and against making
Nigeria a dumping ground for unwanted goods. This he explained by examining the
provisions of Article 19 and 24 of the AfCFTA. He concluded by recommending the
rectification of the AfCFTA by the National Assembly so that it can have the
force of law. He further advocated the need for the private sector to take
central role in driving the AfCFTA project.

3.14 In his brilliant and
well-articulated paper in chapter twelve, Mr. Mike Igbokwe, SAN, FCIArb, FBR
brings his wealth of experience and knowledge in maritime law to bear on the
controversy as to which Court between the National Industrial Court and the
Federal High Court is invested with exclusive jurisdiction over maritime
labour, wages and other incidental matter. 

He starts by first x-raying the
provisions of the Constitution in relation to the exclusive jurisdiction of
both Courts in respect of maritime labour an seaman wages and proceeded to
consider the divergent views previously offered by Babajide Koku, SAN and Mr
Loius Mbanefo SAN and submits that the seeming controversy can be resolved
through application of the canons of interpretation of statutes which is to
give effect to the intention of the law makers. 

He then posits that one section
of the Constitution cannot derogate from or override that of another section
and if that be the case, the Federal High Court to which the Constitution has
conferred exclusive jurisdiction over seamen wages and admiralty matters will
have jurisdiction over same to the exclusion of the NIC. He suggests that
though an amendment is desirable to clear the grey areas on the issue but by a
proper interpretation by the Courts, an amendment of the Constitution may not
be necessary.

3.15 In the paper titled “the
Liability of Air Carrier in Carriage by Air” contained in Chapter Thirteen of
the book, Allen Ikumawonyi examined the liabilities of air carriers for injury
and death of passengers; delay of passengers and baggage; loss, destruction,
damage of cargo and baggage. 

Using the Montreal Convention as domesticated in
Nigeria as well as the Modification to the Unification of Certain Rules
Relating to International Carriage by Air (MUCRICA) as a guide, the extent of
the liability of air carriers and compensation to be paid as well as the
negligence of passengers as a means of exonerating the carrier was considered
in the paper. He concludes by highlighting the doctrine of exclusivity in
opining that the liability of an air carrier being limited, a plaintiff has the
duty of proving that his case falls within the exceptions created by the
Convention to entitle him to damages.

3.16 In chapter fourteen,
Kamal-Deen Ali, Phd, explores the subject of Piracy and Armed Robbery at Sea in
his paper titled “Piracy and Armed Robbery at Sea: Issues of Legal
Interpretation and Judicial Application”. He examined the complex issues of
legal interpretation and judicial application of the law of piracy and armed
robbery at sea. The legal definition of piracy as contained in the United
Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea was then examined with the associated
problems highlighted. 

He considered the general issues and challenges
surrounding the prosecution and incarceration of pirates which include
inadequate domestic laws, lack of funds to prosecute pirates and difficulty in
collecting and preservation of evidence vis-a-vis procuring witnesses. He also
considered the legal complexities in the setting of the gulf of guinea which affects
the prosecution of pirates. He concludes by submitting that addressing the
loopholes and shortcomings of legal definition of piracy and other identified
issues will help to combat the crime.

3.17 Chapter fifteen is a
commentary by Mr Mike Igbokwe, SAN on the paper of Kamal-Deen Ali, Phd on
Piracy and Armed Robbery at Sea. Whilst agreeing with most of the submissions
of Kamal-Deen Ali, Mike Igbokwe SAN in his commentary differed on the issue of
including assault, injury or damage to property as acts of piracy. He further
comments on the issue of cooperation amongst States in prosecuting pirates that
cooperation can be easily facilitated by the regional and international
treaties and arrangements on cooperation between these States on arrest,
detention and extradition of offenders. He concludes by making a case for the
adoption of international treaties on piracy by countries in the Gulf of Guinea
in order to effectively combat piracy.

3.18 The learned silk, Mike
Igbokwe, SAN further displays his depth of knowledge and expansive experience
in maritime law by examining the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime
Offences Act, 2019 which he originally prepared in chapter sixteen of this
book. He explained salient provisions of the said Act and its implications.

3.19 In Chapter Seventeen, I
offered my thoughts and wealth of experience on how to be become a Courtroom
General in the paper titled “Litigation; Becoming A Court Room General”. In the
paper I examined every aspect of litigation and how a lawyer should conduct
himself through the process to achieve the objectives of his client’s
instructions. Today, in my capacity as the book reviewer, the notable point
from the paper which I will highlight here and which has been my guiding mantra
is that “lawyers should take every day in court as a date with destiny.”

3.20 No doubt, this book is not
only intellectually stimulating but thought provoking and solution oriented.
The reader is encouraged to not just glance through the book but deeply study
its contents which will be indeed rewarding.

4.1 David Bailey, a famous and
renowned British photographer once said of himself that:

 “The best advice I ever got was that knowledge
is power and to keep reading” 4.2 My best advice to my audience today is to get
a copy of this book and not just read but study its content. In this regard,
permit me to adopt the words of my learned brother silk, Okey Wali, SAN, DSSRS,
Life Bencher in his captivating foreword where he stated thus;

“I commend my friend and brother
Mike Igbokwe, for conceiving the idea of publishing a book like this, that will
enhance the legal profession, the practitioners as well as contribute to the
development of the country, I urge all; lawyers and non-lawyers, to please get
a copy of this enriching and enlightening book, and read same.”

4.2 It has been my pleasure and
privilege to review the well-researched combustion of scholarly papers
contained in this book and I thank you all for your kind attention.

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