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Lawyer Advocate Scrutinization of Judges & Magistrates Appointment




In Cameroon and in most of former French colonies, you would have to attend magistracy school as opposed to Law School if you wanted a career on the Bench.

Naturally, as with everything else; you need a certain disposition to be successful at any chosen career path.

I have interacted with and met judges in over 100 nations across all the continents and I can boldly say that a Nigerian Judge holds his own and stands out brilliantly amongst his peers.

However, we do have a serious issue in how we appoint judges and Magistrates in Nigeria. This problem has caused several setbacks in the development of law and precedence in Nigeria.

Recently, the Chairmen of respective branches of the NBA in Lagos received a letter from the State Judicial service commission regarding the appointment of Judges, giving them 24 hours to respond…. This is absolutely ridiculous and impracticable to say the least. Out of over 200 applicants, the Bar receives only 26 or so names to vet? You want to appoint judges from our ranks and you cannot even give us the full list? Who vetted and did the shortlist in the first place?

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I find it even more worrisome that our colleagues are required to write an exam when they apply to the Bench. Even more worrisome is that the result of these exams are not made public and worst still, the candidates don’t even get to know what they scored.

It’s only in Nigeria that the Bench feels that they are superior to the Bar or that it’s some kind of higher legal authority in this profession.

I ask this question, how has the bench impacted this nation since independence….? In the last decade, how has the 3rd arm of government faired in the development of law, equity and good governance?

My colleagues on the Bench should consider their role and not shy away from their oversight responsibilities. We know those that are corrupt, easily manipulated, lazy, no talent at all for the job and those who are there because of the prestige that comes with it but a Judge will be judged also, which ever position you hold, in the customary court up to the supreme court, you are all just mere men!

I have a few advice for Lagos State on appointment of Judges and Magistrates;

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1. I am a Lagosian but note that Lagos is a mix of all tribes and tongues so appoint judges and magistrates from all tribes and tongues..balance is key

2. Avoid political influences. Get the best, the boldest and the most talented for the job

3. Make the process transparent….we know ourselves already, all those appointed come from the Bar so no need for the coverups and secrecy

4. Respect the opinion of those in practice, we know more than you think we do about those seeking appointment to the bench.

5. The Bench is not the exclusive prerogative of a few families or others who think that they can control the justice system in Lagos or in Nigeria.

The failure of the legal profession and of Justice delivery in Nigeria lies squarely on all of us who are in the position to change things but refuse to.

These are my own opinions and I hold them innocently and with boldness. One who fears to say the truth as he sees it is but a coward and will suffer the decay that comes with living a lie!

Bayo Akinlade Esq

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Top Court News is a product of a dedicated Journalist, owner of I-Wahab Media The Publisher started his Journalism career with Murhi International TV, MiTV in 2003 before working with Radio Nigeria, Lagos Operation, as a Judicial Correspondent. He is presently the Vice Chairman of the National Association of Judicial Correspondent, NAJUC, Ikeja Branch and occupied same office with Nigeria Union of Journalist, NUJ, Radio Nigeria Chapel. is out to serve you with informative and educative News in the Judiciary sector. To put an end to the under reported activities of the sector among the three arms of government


Corruption In The Judiciary: Lawyers Should Stop Giving Bribe




I am completely disappointed at the rate at which Lawyers are damaging the image of the judiciary only to turn around and blame the judiciary for delays in justice and poor service delivery.

*Lawyers who give bribes willingly, submit to inducements and worst of all, give money to influence judicial outcomes are (in my opinion) an embarrassment to this profession* .

I hear words like: “I had no choice”, “my client’s case will suffer”, “my case will not move”, “it’s the way things are” etc….so because of your selfish clients and your selfish attitude of wanting to get paid that you will sacrifice our justice sector by corrupting it? Is it only you that has an urgent matter?, What’s the life or death situation that your client has that you are willing to kill and destroy the image and the integrity of the judiciary to satisfy your ungrateful clients.

_Why will a lawyer compromise to get an advantage over his colleague and in the process destroy the very fabric of the justice system._

It is unfortunate that the custodians of our legal profession are weak and ineffective otherwise we would have punished several lawyers for giving bribes.

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How can we continue to offer bribes in our courts and expect to get justice? How do you offer a bribe at the registry and expect court officials to respect you? How do you buy your way through getting justice and expect the court to have enough respect from the public enough for it’s judgements to be valued?

When a former JSC says there are RASCALS on the Bench his lordship is simply saying there are agberos in the Bar!

The same lawyers that are willing to give bribes will write petitions against a judge or magistrate and will report court officials when things don’t go their way.


A lawyer who cannot oppose a registrar who demands for a bribe is not fit to be called a Lawyer! You are no longer a *Minister* in the temple of Justice, you are below the rank of a cleaner in the temple of Justice.

*Bayo Akinlade Esq*

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Understanding Land Titles In Nigeria

Everything you need to know about land titles in Nigeria before purchasing and building so as to avoid fraudsters and land Grabbers





*A Gazette* is an Official record book where all special government details are spelt out, detailed & recorded.

A *gazette* will show the communities or villages that have been granted *excision* and the number of acres or hectares of land that the government has given to them.

It is within those *excised* acres or hectares that the traditional family is entitled to sell its lands to the public & not anything outside those hectares of land given or *excised* to them.

*Question:* Is excision as good as obtaining c of o?
Is a person having excision still mandated to obtain c of o?

*Answer:* After a land has been excised & Gazetted, then you can either process your C of O or Governor consent.

*Excision* does not expire while C of O expire after 99 years.
The only advantage C of O has over Excision is that, it can be use as collateral for getting loan in the bank


*Deed of Conveyance* or Registered Conveyance was the authentic evidence of ownership until 1978 Land use Act that introduced Certificate of Occupancy.

Deed of Conveyance is old legal document used in transferring the interest of the owner of a landed property interest to the person to another whom it is assigned, the assignee.
When ownership is transferred, the new legal document in use now is called deed of assignment.


A Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) issued by the Lagos State Government officially leased Lagos land to you, the applicant, for 99 yrs.
*All lands belong to the Government.*


A governor’s consent can only be processed on a land with either Gazette or an Existing Certificate of Occupancy (C of O).

If a person with land with C of O decides to sell his land, the only documents that can give the new buyer or every other subsequent buyers the right of occupancy or ownership is a governor’s consent.
The powers of the Governor to consent to such transactions can be found in Section 22 of the Land Use Act of 1978 which states thus:
*’It shall not be lawful for the holder of a statutory right of occupancy granted by the governor to alienate his right of occupancy or any part thereof by assignment, mortgage, transfer of possession, sublease or otherwise howsoever without the consent of the Governor first had and obtained”*
This simply means therefore that even when a buyer has secured a land with a Certificate of Occupancy, he shouldn’t stop there.
He needs to begin the process of obtaining a Governor’s consent to make that purchase legal in the eyes of the government & be rest assured his land is safe.

Read Also: Land Fraud: GM Kwara TV Remand in Prison


Most people have the title documents to their cars intact & in safe places but fail to ask for the Deed of assignment to their properties which is several times more valuable than cars

*A Deed of assignment* is one of the transactional document drawn up by a real estate attorney between the current title holder for a particular property & the new buyer.

In real property transactions, a deed of assignment is a legal document that transfers the interest of the owner of that interest to the person to whom it is assigned, *the assignee.*
When ownership is transferred, the deed of assignment shows the new legal owner of the property.

The deed contains very pertinent information for a real estate transaction. It spells out the date when the ownership of the property transfers from one owner to the other.
The deed also gives a specific description of the property that is included in the transfer of ownership.

Also Read: NBA wants IGP Monitoring Unit Probed Over Abetting Land Grabbers

It is very compulsory & mandatory for a Deed of Assignment document to be recorded at the appropriate land registry to show legal evidence as to the exchange of ownership in any land/landed property transaction in order to make the general public and government aware of such exchange or transaction.

*Question:* How long does it usually take on average for a land to be fully excised?

*Answer:* Excision is given by the Governor of the state & there is no specific time for issuance of Excision. Sometimes, excision can be delay due to political reason.

Once a C of O had been issued on a particular land, it’s takes 99 years before it can expire after which it can be renewed.
You can not process C of O on land that already has C of O.

C of O is C of O everywhere. When they said *Global,* it means the C of O in questions covers a very large expanse of land.

*Question:* How long does it usually take on average for a land to be fully excised?

*Answer:* Excision is given by the govenor of the state and there is no specific time for issuance of Excision. Sometimes excision can be delay due to political reason.

*Question:* Does this mean that *”Land has to at least be excised before it can be sold or transferred to someone else” ?*

*Answer:* You become rightful owner of the land once the government releases it to you via excision.

Though Governments recognise ancestral land ownership as excision is the right of the indigenous land owners,
Please feel free to direct enquiries to certified Legal practitioners in this Regard.
Thank you for your time.
Hope you benefited?

*From the stable of _Legal Panorama_ , a public enlightenment Unit of _Onyinye Chambers_


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1. I am always amused by the eagerness of young lawyers training to be litigation lawyers to appear in court on their own. Many times, i listen to complaints about “just sitting in the office, doing nothing”, “just being led by my Principal to court without being given the opportunity to appear on my own”. At other times, it may be the boast of another young lawyer bragging about “conducting a trial just two months after being called to Bar”. I do not think there is any advantage in beginning courtroom appearance very early in a lawyer’s career. The emphasis should be on how a young lawyer is prepared for courtroom appearance and not on how early he starts.

2. This is not to say there is a disadvantage in beginning early, but if I were to advise a young lawyer preparing for a career as a litigation lawyer, i would tell him that it is better to delay courtroom appearances until one is properly prepared for it.

3. I was called to the Nigerian Bar on 30th July, 1983. My first courtroom appearance was in September, 1984, the second in October and the third in January, 1985. I was posted to the Central Bank of Nigeria to undergo National Youth service from July,1983 till July 1984. I did not go near the courtroom throughout that year. At the end of the service year, i rejected an OFFER to be retained there as i had already made up my mind that i wanted to practise law. A very good friend of mine informed me of an job opportunity in Gani Fawehinmi’s Chambers and i resumed work on 1st August, 1984.

4. How did this decision prepare me? The salary i was offered at CBN which i rejected was THREE TIMES that which i got as a junior in Chief Gani’s Chambers. Some of my colleagues at CBN thought i made a mistake. The resolve to choose legal practice made me prepared for the rigours of work in a top law firm. That was all i had: RESOLVE. NOTHING MORE. If i had sat for a law test, it is very likely i would have failed it. But what Chief Gani wanted was not the law i had crammed. It was only RESOLVE.

5. I was employed with some of the best legal minds of my set into a very big project. We were to read ALL the judgments of the Supreme Court from 1956-1984, extract principles laid down in the cases and support the principles with dicta of the Justices. Five of us read over 3000 judgments from 1st August, 1984 till 31st December, 1984, a period of just 5 months. During that time we also extracted the principles and quoted the appropriate dicta. Without resolve, we could not have finished this massive project within such a short time.

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6. In the five months, our court appearances were very few. It is true we also appeared at a military tribunal twice or thrice, but none of us could boast of more than six appearances in total. When we finally hit the ground running in January, 1985, we had been well prepared. I desire to share this preparation with you as a young lawyer

7 a. The quickest and best way of growing as a lawyer is to read judgments of the courts, particularly the superior courts of records. In a judgment, a lawyer learns the errors of other lawyers so as to avoid them. He understands statutes as they are interpreted, which of them are voided as unconstitutional and which require amendment. In a judicial decision, a lawyer learns how to be a good draftsman, avoid the pitfall in copying “precedents” and can better advise parties to commercial transactions.

b. Read judgments of court as you read novels, or WhatsApp messages. I recommend that you read a judgment of the Supreme Court at least every other day, three every week. You can alternate with judgments of the highest courts in England, Canada and the US. They deepen your thoughts, sharpen your mind and expand your horizon.

c. A lawyer does not have a free time. When a young lawyer is in chambers and not engaged in treating any case, such ” free time” is actually the time of preparing for a brief. The Nigerian client usually does not consult a lawyer until litigation is imminent or has commenced. The time of studying a case and offering an opinion is therefore very short, sometimes not more than a day. The lawyer who is able to respond quickest, within that one day, is likely to retain the brief and the client. Rapid response can only occur through adequate preparation.

c. The I more one prepares before commencing courtroom appearances, the better one performs in the court room. Reading in chambers helps such preparation greatly: writing articles, case reviews, reading law reports, biographies of great lawyers, asking questions from seniors, watching proceedings of foreign courts online( thank God for technology) are some of the ways the time in chambers can be usefully spent.

8. Never rush to start appearing in court. He that makes haste in this way more often than not becomes a half-baked lawyer. I add this with deep regret: the courtroom is more and more becoming a place to learn how NOT to practise law. This is because many are in a rush to get there and having not been well prepared, they hinder instead of helping Judges. Don’t complicate procedure by lack of preparation. Prepare in chambers before venturing out to the ‘war-front’ of the court room. It is not during a football match that a player learns throw-in. A soldier who wants to learn how to shoot after arriving at the battlefield is not likely to return alive.


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