Heads of court must prevent politicians from abuse of court process.


PDP v. Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff & Ors. [2017] 15 NWLR (Pt. 1588) 219 at 279-280, paras. F-B, per Rhodes-Vivour, JSC:

“The 1st respondent and his allies filed over ten suits. The Court of Appeal had this to say. The 1st appellant (i.e. 1st respondent) I agree displayed an infantile desperation to cling to office at all costs. I agree with the observation of the Court of Appeal. The 1st respondent was always driven by the implacable desire to remain in office as chairman at all cost. That desire was explored relentlessly by filing over ten suits within one year to perpetrate himself in office. Most of those suits have been abandoned. They shall forever gather dust in judicial archives and remain dusty reminders of how not to seek judicial remedy. The stakes are very high in political matters. So, if allowed, political office seekers would not hesitate to file multiplicity of suits on the same subject matter, hoping to get a favourable judgment from one court or the other. Their quest for this includes forum shopping. Heads of court must by now be aware of this trend and stop this annoying practice of assigning cases on the same subject matter to different judges, who very likely would render conflicting decisions, ending up making the judiciary a laughing stock. Trial judges must also be on the lookout, and refrain from proceeding with any case when aware that his brother judge is handling a similar matter.”

Ali Modu Sheriff

Blogger’s Note:

The facts of the above case touching on the tussle for the leadership position (National Chairman) of the Appellant party, PDP, are very much in the public domain. We will not bother with that here save to mention that after much controversy, the Supreme Court ousted the 1st Respondent from the position of the National Chairman. Continue reading Heads of court must prevent politicians from abuse of court process.

Judges must refrain from wearing their pride on their sleeves.


P.J.N. Azubuike Esq. v. The State, (2017) LPELR-42485(CA) p. 17, per Agbo, JCA:

“Judges must refrain from wearing their pride on their sleeves. They must show self-restraint even when they are uncomfortable with the language deployed by counsel or litigants appearing before them. It is however incumbent on them to uphold the dignity and authority of the court. In the instant case, there was nothing before the court to activate its jurisdiction to summarily convict for contempt.”

Blogger’s Note:

The facts of the above case are quite interesting. They present us with one of those unfortunate instances where a Judge like Hon. Justice A.O.H. Ukachukwu (Rtd.) is found abusing judicial powers thoughtlessly, bearing in mind that there would hardly be any consequence other than perhaps, a criticism by an appellate court. Continue reading Judges must refrain from wearing their pride on their sleeves.

NSE Training Seminar: Legal and Risk Aspects of Derivatives and Central Counterparty Clearing (CCP) Transactions.


The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) proudly presents a Training Seminar on:

Legal and Risk Aspects of Derivatives and Central Counterparty Clearing (CCP) Transactions.

Date: Monday 20th to Tuesday 21st of November 2017.​

Time: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm daily.

Venue: Civic Centre, Ozumba Mbadiwe, Victoria Island, Lagos.


  • Mich​ael Voisin and Mark Drury, Partners, Linklaters LLP, UK;​
  • Prof. Fidelis Oditah QC, SAN, Principal Partner Fidelis Oditah & Co;
  • Marilyn Ramplin, Hedge Fund Academy (Specialist, Derivatives Training Providers of the Johnannesbourg Stock Exchange)​​;
  • Terence Saayman, Head, Risk, Johannesburg Stock Exchange;
  • John Oriogun, Oriogun PLLC, NY, USA.


  • Understanding the concepts of Derivatives (exchange-traded derivates (ETDs) & over-the-counter derivatives (OTCs));
  • Understanding the concept of a central counterparty (CCP) and the use/ application of same in Derivatives transactions;
  • Fundamentals and mechanics of Derivatives and CCP transactions (in-depth and complex nature of both transactions);
  • The legal framework and legal documentation for Derivatives and CCP transactions;
  • The role of the respective lawyers of the different participants in Derivatives and CCP transactions;
  • The various risks associated with Derivatives and CCP transactions (including counterparty risk, market risk, legal and regulatory risks, leverage risk and volatility, etc.) and the appropriate risk management measures; and
  • Dispute resolution mechanism for Derivatives and CCP transactions.


  • Educate participants on the concept of Derivatives (ETDs and OTCs) and CCPs in preparation for the imminent launch of the ETDs by The Exchange and the CCP market wide infrastructure by the relevant stakeholders in the Nigerian capital market.
  • Equip participants with the requisite knowledge of the legal framework, legal documentation and transactional skills necessary for the success of Derivatives and CCP transactions.
  • Explain the dispute resolution mechanism for Derivatives and CCP transactions.
  • Expound on the role of lawyers and in-house counsel in Derivatives and CCP transactions from the perspective of the regulators, the Exchange, the trading members, the clearing members, the CCP entity, the transaction advisors, or the investing public as a whole.


  • The Course is certified by The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA): Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credits/points will be awarded by the NBA to participants (Lawyers only) upon conclusion of the training.​
  • The Course is endorsed by The Risk Managers Association of Nigeria (RIMAN), and will generate Mandatory Continuing Professional Development (MCPD) points upon conclusion of the training.​​​


  • All risk management officers in relevant organizations;
  • All lawyers in law firms who advise on capital market transactions;
  • Lawyers who will be involved in dispute resolutions for Derivatives and CCP Transactions;
  • In-house counsel/compliance officers of Dealing Member firms, Banks, Investment Banks, Issuing Houses, Exchanges, PFAs, Regulatory Bodies, Listed Companies, Oil Companies, Telecommunications Companies, Insurance Companies, etc.

NSE Training


N150,000.00 (One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) only.

Early Bird Registration Fee: N120,000 (Closes November 1, 2017).

Payments should be made using the following Account Details:

  • A/C Name: Nigerian Stock Exchange
  • A/C No.: 2000920988
  • Bank: First Bank.


Click here to register now and for more information.

If you need any assistance from Stephen Legal Blog, kindly contact us.


A letter meant for the court to take note and act upon must be properly filed.


The Registered Trustees of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria v. Etim [2017] 13 NWLR (Pt 1581) 1 at 41 , paras. E-H, per I. T. Muhammad, JSC:

“It is important to point out as well, that if a document is meant for the court to take note and act thereon, rules of court have made provisions for formal filing of such a document or documents with the registry of the court, for which a nominal fee is payable upon assessment by the registry staff, who authenticate the filing of that document and proceed to file same for the court’s attention. All other ways or methods such as writing letters or petitions informing the Chief Judge/Chief Justice/Head of Court and or Chief Registrar (including his subordinate registrars) are purely administrative and have no force of law…”

Blogger’s Note:

A few things need to be clarified as it relates to the above statement of the law. Firstly, it is not every document presented for filing that requires the payment of any fee, nominal or otherwise. The process of filing a document for the purpose of making it a court process properly so called begins with the initialling or endorsement of such document by the authorised staff in the court registry. Initialling or endorsement simply involves making a mark or signature (including sometimes the name or initials of the initialling officer) and importantly, date. Some documents like a letter (e.g. for adjournment) addressed to the registrar of a court for the court’s attention need only to be initialled. No fee is usually required to be paid. Therefore, in order to meet the minimum requirement of filing, the letter must be presented to the registry for initialling without more and then presented to the court registrar. There are however other letters (such as application for payment of default fees or for search) which, like originating processes, motions, etc, require not only to be initialled, but the initialling officer may minute upon it and nominal fee subsequently paid based on assessment. Secondly, letters or petitions informing the Chief Judge/Chief Justice/Head of Court and or Chief Registrar (including his subordinate registrars) of certain issues may be purely administrative but can have the force of law in certain circumstances such as where copies of such letters duly acknowledged are subsequently filed along other processes in a court action. In that case, they enjoy the force of law. In other words, at the point of delivering the said letters or petitions, no formal filing is required before the receiving office can act on same administratively.

Letter must be properly filedWhat happened in the case at hand was that the Appellant filed a suit and also filed a Motion ex parte for interlocutory injunction. The trial Court refused to hear the Motion ex parte but directed that the Respondent be put on notice. The Appellant complied. The Respondent filed a Memorandum of Appearance only without filing any response to the application for injunction. On the date slated for hearing, i.e., 19/12/2000, the Respondent was absent. The trial Court proceeded with the hearing and granted the application. The Respondent appealed contending that he had written a letter for adjournment dated 19/12/2000, the day the application was heard. Although there was no proof that the letter was brought to the attention of the trial Court or that same was served on the Appellant, the Court of Appeal reversed the decision of the trial Court. The Appellant’s appeal to the Supreme Court was rightly allowed. The apex Court held that the purported letter ought to be discountenanced even if placed before the trial Court as same was not properly filed. (See page 42 of the report). The Court also frowned at the fact that the letter was not served on the Appellant and same was written the same date the case came up for hearing of the application. The Court further held that the Respondent ought to have filed a counter-affidavit to the Motion as a mere Memorandum of Appearance did not suffice. (See page 33 of the report).  The apex Court was not persuaded by the holding of the Court of Appeal to the effect that the trial Court ought to adjourn the matter since the application came up for the first time for hearing. (See page 37 of the report).

The Court further took the position that, the Respondent, having been duly served with the application, the trial Court was right to proceed with the hearing. In rendering the opinion of the Supreme Court on this, I. T. Muhammad, JSC said: “My Lords, service of process in a trial, is what the spinal cord is, to a human being.” (See page 31 of the report). This stresses the significance of service. Above all, the Supreme Court emphasised the trite principle that the grant of an application for adjournment is purely discretionary.

Lack of electricity delays judgment.


Dike v. Kay-Kay Construction Ltd [2017] 14 NWLR (Pt. 1584) 1 at 74, paras. A-B, per Tur, JCA:

“Many a times there would be no power supply in Enugu Division in my house. Even if there was, the generator would often become dysfunctional, hence the delay in rendering my opinion in this appeal.”

Blogger’s Note:

The experience of the learned Justice of the Court of Appeal is the experience of many of our Judges today in Nigeria. The President has often decried the slow judicial process. (Although recent reform appears to be more targeted at speedy conclusion of criminal cases, especially corruption cases, we must however note that slow judicial process is affecting cases touching on businesses and investment in Nigeria generally). The Federal Government must now see that lack of constant power is a huge factor clogging the wheel of the judiciary.

Nigeria needs light

Aside the judiciary, lack of constant power supply has crippled several sectors and is constantly making life difficult. Many are dying on daily basis at our hospitals. I have always wondered why the resolution of the electricity problems in Nigeria has remained a mystery. I had questioned why we are yet to begin to witness the tremendous change promised by the Minister of Power, Mr. B. R. Fashola, SAN, but I was told to neglect his promises as same was a pure political propaganda. I am particularly troubled because I have enormous respect for the learned Silk and I believe he is one man always ready to make a significant change. The kind of change Nigerians desire in the power sector is not the type well-articulated in written form or written analyses. The desired change is like the one in the telecommunication sector where, today, you find beggars on the streets owning GSM handsets and making wireless calls (notwithstanding the poor service delivery).

Nigeria needs constant light to move forward, away from darkness…