VP Osinbajo and CJN to Deliver Keynote Addresses at Virtual LegalTech Conference

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Yemi Osinbajo

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to ravage economies all around the world, there has been an increased pivot in the use and adoption of technology across several industries, where hitherto technology was a mere tool and not a driver of day-to-day operations. The world as we knew it, has changed forever and it is imperative that this paradigm shift is accentuated by current realities of how individuals, organisations, institutions and governments work and interact.

The realisation that the operation of businesses and delivery of services cannot go back to the pre-Covid-19 ways of providing goods and services, has motivated putting together the first Legal Technologies Virtual Conference, by Nigeria’s foremost LegalTech company, LawPavilion Business Solutions Limited, in conjunction with Telnet Group, Nigeria’s leading digital transformation company, to be held on August 13-14, 2020.

The conference which will be available to participants from all around the world through the Zoom video conferencing app, features a line-up of erudite Judges and legal practitioners, in both the public and private sectors. The Keynote Address will be delivered by His Excellency, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Other dignitaries expected at the virtual conference include His Lordship, Hon. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman, National Judicial Council; the Senate President, Hon. Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila; the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, and other captains of industry and legal luminaries.

Briefing the press in Lagos, the Managing Director of LawPavilion Business Solutions, Mr. Ope Olugasa, remarked that for almost two decades, LawPavilion has been at the forefront of providing and improving access to digital tools for the legal services industry. It has become imperative to leverage technology, to accelerate access to justice for Nigerians and organisations interested in doing business in Nigeria.

Speaking further, Olugasa stated that while the general public tends to think of the Judiciary as the least visible or important arm of government, the role of the Judiciary comprising of Judges, Lawyers, Arbitrators, Mediators and legal institutions in economic growth and development is so critical, that where the justice system is fraught with inefficiencies and inadequacies, economic growth is stunted. He pointed out that, for example, in today’s global market, true wealth is no longer in only expansive real estate or tangible cash, but in holding intangible intellectual property. Thus, economies that do not accord enough recognition and protection of law to intellectual property, stand a genuine risk of not being at par with other economies.

The conference, which will span over two days comprises of a keynote lecture and panel discussions on the role of an efficient justice system in driving the wheel of innovation and economic growth, with panelists such as Hon Justice Olukayode Ariwoola (JSC), Hon Justice Amina Augie (JSC), Dr Babatunde Ajibade, SAN, Mr. Wale Fapohunda, AG Ekiti State, Mr. Folorunsho Aliu, Group MD of Telnet Nigeria Ltd and Mr. Gbenga Sesan, CEO Paradigm Initiatives. There will also be breakout sessions focusing on seamless court integration, as well as tools and resources to run an efficient law firm post Covid-19, using technology.

Accordingly, the legal services industry is also ripe and well primed for such technological transformation, and the virtual Legal Technologies Conference being hosted by LawPavilion in conjunction with Telnet Group, will showcase the unveiling of an enterprise solution for the Judiciary, LawRights App (for the general citizenry), Lagos State Laws in e-book version integrated into LawPavilion’s award-winning legal research software, all of which constitute parts of a new ecosystem, seeking to institutionalise legal-technology in Nigeria’s justice sector.

Group Tasks NBA over its Docility on National Issues
Some members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) who are unhappy with the present state of affairs in the country and within the Bar, have called on the leadership of the NBA to fight for social justice by challenging misrule in all levels of Government.

The group, under the aegis of the Radical Agenda Movement in the Nigerian Bar Association (RAMINBA), said only a radical NBA can join hands with other civil society organisations, to ensure that Government provides responsible leadership in the country, adding that the body has been too docile and comatose.

Expressing displeasure over the conduct of the aspirants during the electioneering campaigns, the group declared that the three presidential candidates do not have the capacity to retool the NBA to become a vehicle for the socio-political transformation of the country.

RAMINBA Chairman who was an aspirant to the NBA Presidency, Mr. Adesina Ogunlana, said he was unjustly disqualified by “the Electoral Committee of the NBA that is toothless and hypocritical”, because they feared that he would bring the desired change, and vowed to challenge the court decision that validated his disqualification.

“We call on the NBA to keep alive the words of the first Nigerian Lawyer, Sapara Williams, who stated that the Nigerian Lawyer must live for the direction of its people. The NBA must move beyond elitist and mercantilist lawyering, into patriotic and radical lawyering with interventions on the drifting ship of the Nigerian State.
“We call on the NBA to utterly reject the debarment of Lawyers by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), from its premises. This is another grand attack on a means of survival of Lawyers, during this current period of lockdown of the courts. We also call on the NBA to join the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) in rejecting the six per cent Stamp Duty on Tenancy Agreements, which amounts to over-taxation by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) during the current Covid-19 crisis, with most people forced into further impoverishment”, the group said yesterday in a media interaction in Lagos.

They charged the NBA to make known its positions on the revelations during the probe of the financial activities of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), wherein humongous amounts of money were allegedly spent on “scholarships” and “palliatives” during the Covid-19 lockdown period. According to them, indicted persons should be prosecuted.

“We also call on the NBA to make its voice heard, on the ongoing killings in Southern Kaduna. We are quick to say that if the killings in Southern Kaduna go unabated, it poses a great danger to the peace and co-existence of our dear nation.” They demanded and urged the national leadership of the NBA to call for a day of mass demonstrations by all Branches, for the release of a detained Lawyer, Emperor Ogbonna.

Court of Appeal Unanimously Upholds Conviction of Former Supervisor of Chrisland School

A three-man panel led by Justice Mohammad Garba, JCA, unanimously affirmed the judgement of the lower court and held that the appeal of Adegboyega Adenekan, a former Supervisor of the Chrisland School convicted of defiling a two-year and 11-month old pupil of the school, lacked merit.
Delivering the lead judgement, Justice Mohammad Garba affirmed the judgment of the lower court and upheld the 60-year imprisonment sentence delivered by Justice Sybil Nwaka of the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court Ikeja, Lagos.

Mr. Olatunde Adejuyigbe, SAN, the defence counsel, had filed the appeal on the basis that the entire judgement delivered by the lower court was false, and that the prosecuting counsel Mr Jide Boye didn’t prove his case.
Justice Nwaka on October 24, 2019 stated that Adenekan abused the trust of the children in his care, as well as the trust of their parents.

“This Defendant is conscienceless, wicked, an animal and is not fit to walk the streets. I hereby sentence Adegboyega Adenekan to 60 years in prison; this is the sentence of the court”, she held

Purveyors of Substandard, Counterfeit Products to be Prosecuted Aggressively
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria has vowed to intensify the battle against substandard products, through enforcement. It said it will not relent on its mandate, to rid the country of counterfeit and dangerous products.

To this end, SON has charged several suspects for various acts of counterfeiting and production/importation of substandard products and has secured several convictions.

The agency recently also secured the conviction of Mr. Shodipo Olujimi and another, who were charged with the offence of forgery. The court also ordered that Olujimi’s company, be wound up.
It recently charged an Indian and two others, for forging SON receipts. Chucks Okeke, Omkar Shinde, Shittu Adedeji and a company, Everchem Paints Nigeria Limited, were arraigned before Justice Saliu Saidu of the Federal High Court in Lagos, on a three-count charge of forgery.

Senior State Counsel Olofindare Adeleke, alleged that Okeke and Shinde, an Indian, and Everchem Paints, forged 15 SON receipts on February 12, 2020, at Close 6, House 4 Satellite Town, Lagos, and at 110/114 Oshodi Apapa Expressway, Isolo. He said the Defendants committed the alleged offence “with intent to use the false documents as genuine”. The Prosecution said it was with the “intention of causing the forged documents to be believed to have been issued by SON, and use same as genuine”. The Defendants pleaded not guilty.
SON also charged a businessman, Ifeanyi Okoli, who allegedly imported 120,000 brands of substandard electric cables in 13 containers.

In yet another case by SON, the Federal High Court in Lagos remanded two businessmen, Emmanuel Anthony Nnan and John Paul Ejike in prison custody, over alleged importation and sale of substandard gas cylinders. The duo were remanded after their arraignment alongside their company – Star Master Electrical Co. Ltd, by the SON.

As at last year, SON seized fake and substandard products worth over N300 billion.SON Director-General, Osita Aboloma, a Lawyer, said top on the list of seizures were adulterated lubricants, electric cables and cylinders. Aboloma said the SON Act was a revolutionary document, which the agency was deploying towards ridding the country of unwholesome products.