Latest updates

New oil producing states following discovery of deposits
Streamsowers & Köhn
  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Nigeria
  • June 18 2018

The House of Representatives recently considered a motion to declare Kogi, Enugu and Anambra oil producing states following the discovery of oil and gas deposits in commercial quantities. It subsequently urged the federal government to hold bids for oil prospecting and mining of the discoveries and declare the states oil producing states.

Aviation security and safety standards
George Etomi & Partners
  • Aviation
  • Nigeria
  • May 30 2018

It is important that the safety and security standards adopted in the Nigerian aviation sector be given proper attention to ensure the protection and safeguarding of all stakeholders against acts of unlawful interference or other threats. However, aviation security in Nigeria is fraught with challenges and this has brought about recent deliberations from the government, regulators, the aviation industry and the public.

Ship detention gone rogue
Akabogu & Associates
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Nigeria
  • May 23 2018

The chief of naval staff has claimed that the recently promulgated Harmonised Standard Operating Procedures on Arrest, Detention and Prosecution of Vessels and Persons in Nigeria's Maritime Environment 2016 (HSOPs) will provide consolidated guidance for the harmonious management of the arrest, detention and prosecution of vessels and suspects, as well as seizure and forfeiture. However, despite the fanfare that accompanied their launch, the HSOPs have no legal potency or operational clarity.

Plans in motion to re-establish national airline: issues arising
George Etomi & Partners
  • Aviation
  • Nigeria
  • May 23 2018

In May 2017 the Federal Executive Council approved the allocation of N1.52 billion for the financing of preparatory steps towards, among other things, the reintroduction of a national airline. While this is commendable, the need for a national carrier cannot serve as the conclusive basis for a decision that will have adverse effects on national and economic planning. As such, the government must carefully consider and address the concerns regarding the re-establishment of a national airline.

Proposed oil spill amendment bill will significantly affect oil and gas industry
Streamsowers & Köhn
  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Nigeria
  • May 21 2018

The National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency Act (Amendment) Bill 2018 recently underwent its second reading. If passed in its existing form, the bill will have a significant effect on the operations of the oil and gas industry. For example, the bill makes it mandatory for oil industry operators in Nigeria to subscribe to and be bona fide members of Clean Nigeria Associates and imposes a levy on oil companies calculated at 0.5% of their operations funds.

Proper service of processes in admiralty action in rem
Akabogu & Associates
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Nigeria
  • May 02 2018

Various questions can arise regarding the service of processes in admiralty proceedings. For example, what happens if a ship (X) is named as the first defendant in a writ of summons, along with a second defendant which is merely referred to as the "owner of X"? Does the action cease to be one in rem? Further, where X is a foreign ship, is leave of court required to effect service on the second defendant? Although a recent Court of Appeal decision is instructive in this regard, it was arguably reached per incuriam.

Attorney general in hot water following allegations of misconduct in recovery of frozen monies
Sofunde Osakwe Ogundipe & Belgore
  • White Collar Crime
  • Nigeria
  • April 30 2018

In 2014 $321 million which had been amassed in Luxembourg by Nigeria's former head of state was frozen. Although the government did not need to enlist external counsel to recover the money, the federal attorney general engaged local lawyers, whose only qualifications were alleged to have been that they had both worked with the attorney general while he was legal adviser to President Buhari's political party. This is just one in a series of embarrassing situations involving Buhari's government.

Don't let your maritime claim expire
Akabogu & Associates
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Nigeria
  • April 25 2018

Maritime claims arise in relation to the ownership, possession, mortgage and general operation of a ship and are primarily enforced by an admiralty action in rem or in personam. Admiralty actions do not last forever; rather, they have prescribed limitation periods, which often vary depending on the type of claim. Thus, if a claim is not brought within the time prescribed by the relevant law or contract, a party with an otherwise valid claim will generally lose its right of action on that claim.

Conversion claims based on unauthorised creation of lien on cargo
Akabogu & Associates
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Nigeria
  • April 04 2018

Where a bill of lading holder fails to take delivery within a reasonable time, the carrier may be entitled to land and store the goods at the cost of the bill of lading holder. This common-sense position accords perfectly with the Bill of Lading Act 1856. Although conversion claims based on the creation of unauthorised liens on cargo are maintainable against carriers, cargo holders should remember that this is the case only in specific circumstances.

Status of progressive storage charges
  • Litigation
  • Nigeria
  • March 27 2018

In a recent Court of Appeal case, the appellant terminal operators challenged the Nigerian Shippers' Council's powers to review local storage charges unilaterally. The judgment gives further judicial impetus to the government's policy intent, particularly with regard to storage operations at the nation's ports. However, it conflicts with an earlier decision by the same court concerning the Nigerian Shippers' Council's role as the economic regulator of the Nigerian ports.

Status of progressive storage charges
Akabogu & Associates
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Nigeria
  • March 21 2018

In a recent Court of Appeal case, the appellant terminal operators challenged the Nigerian Shippers' Council's powers to review local storage charges unilaterally. The judgment gives further judicial impetus to the government's policy intent, particularly with regard to storage operations at the nation's ports. However, it conflicts with an earlier decision by the same court concerning the Nigerian Shippers' Council's role as the economic regulator of the Nigerian ports.

Will requirement for use of NIN in arbitration proceedings affect validity of arbitration?
ǼLEX
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Nigeria
  • March 01 2018

The National Identity Management Commission recently issued the Mandatory Use of the National Identification Number Regulations 2017, under which "the filing and registration of criminal and civil actions in courts or other arbitration processes" is now included in the list of transactions that require the use of a national identity number. Although this requirement is legitimate, how it will be enforced in private transactions and the effects of non-compliance on such transactions remain unclear.

Is enough being done to tackle judicial corruption?
Sofunde Osakwe Ogundipe & Belgore
  • White Collar Crime
  • Nigeria
  • February 26 2018

Although corruption in the ranks of Nigerian judicial officers has long been considered an issue, the authorities have been accused of lacking any genuine desire to address the problem. Although the National Judicial Council occasionally penalised judges, no judges were prosecuted. All that changed in 2016, when a number of Nigerian judges were arrested on suspicion of corruption. More recently, the Court of Appeal dismissed corruption charges against another Federal High Court judge.

Laytime and demurrage in wet cargo trade
Akabogu & Associates
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Nigeria
  • February 07 2018

While delay can be expensive for a shipowner which suffers loss where a charterer delays the loading and discharge operation, a charterer should not be made to pay demurrage for such delay where it can be proven that it was not at fault. It is imperative to ensure that, before executing the contract of carriage, both parties are clear on the laytime and clauses regarding where a charterer is relieved of its obligation to pay demurrage.

Whistleblower initiative faces challenges
Sofunde Osakwe Ogundipe & Belgore
  • White Collar Crime
  • Nigeria
  • January 08 2018

When the Federal Ministry of Finance's new whistleblowing programme was announced, an issue was identified with regard to the lack of clarity around how rewards will be calculated. Following this, there has recently been significant controversy surrounding a reward which may have been paid to an informant following the recovery of approximately $43 million under the programme. If the matter proceeds to litigation, it may provide some indication as to how the programme is actually being implemented.

Arbitrator's reformulation of issues agreed by parties does not constitute misconduct
ǼLEX
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Nigeria
  • December 21 2017

The Federal High Court recently dismissed an application to set aside an arbitral tribunal's final award on the grounds that the tribunal had misconducted itself by reformulating the issues agreed by the parties to include a preliminary issue which was capable of removing the need to determine all of the issues presented by the parties. The court held that although a jurisdictional error is a variant of misconduct, it is only where a tribunal has acted without jurisdiction that its decision is liable to be set aside.

Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission under pressure
Sofunde Osakwe Ogundipe & Belgore
  • White Collar Crime
  • Nigeria
  • December 18 2017

Following media reports accusing the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission director general and two other senior officials of serious financial impropriety, the Federal Ministry of Finance recently announced the suspension of the accused officials pending investigations into the accusations. Regardless of whether the allegations are true, the commission has come under pressure in the past two years due to an increase in the number of market crises, which critics have attributed to failures in oversight.

Maritime security – who's in charge?
Akabogu & Associates
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Nigeria
  • November 22 2017

There appears to be some level of cooperation across the relevant agencies in Nigeria in ensuring that the country's waters are kept safe. However, the lines are blurred with regard to the delineation of these agencies' maritime security functions. As several international instruments to which Nigeria is legally bound call for the preservation of maritime security, it is imperative to understand which agencies should be held accountable for protecting its waters.

Making Nigeria a travel hub
George Etomi & Partners
  • Aviation
  • Nigeria
  • November 22 2017

The Nigerian aviation industry has the potential to contribute in excess of 5% to the nation's gross domestic product and support over 1 million jobs. Nigeria's recent achievements and Level 3 rating in the state safety programme implementation process have positioned the country to become a travel hub. However, the inherent challenges facing the industry must be addressed before this status can be achieved.

Court of Appeal confirms Tax Appeal Tribunal's jurisdiction to determine tax disputes
ǼLEX
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Nigeria
  • November 16 2017

The Court of Appeal recently held that the Tax Appeal Tribunal has jurisdiction to adjudicate tax-related disputes. The appellants in the case successfully argued that the tribunal's jurisdiction to determine tax disputes does not encroach on the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, as bringing tax appeals before the tribunal is merely a condition precedent to approaching the court. Further, the tribunal's decisions can be reviewed and quashed by the court.