FACTORS THAT MAKE YOUR "IN-LAWS TO BE" DIFFICULT TO DEAL WITH




Chinecherem Ubaka

As a young lady in a relationship willing to take the bold step with your partner, you might want to check out the nature of the family you are about to get into alongside the personality traits of your partner's family members. Nevertheless, there are some factors that might make it difficult for you to relate with them. 

Social Class: If your in-laws to be are on a higher social-economic pedestal, they might be difficult to deal with. This is because you might be termed as a "gold-digger" which is quite sad. Sometimes, these set of individuals prefer their sons to get married to women whose families are on the same social-economic pedestal. Those who can bring fame, investments and connection. So naturally, if you don't meet this standard, relating with your in-laws to be might be an herculean task.

Family Traditions and Cultures: Your partner's family traditions and culture might be a shock to you. For instance, if it's a family where the youngest wife serves the senior wives in the family; you will left with two choices; to blend in or to get out. 

Your Personality: If your personality is toxic in nature, you will obviously find it difficult to relate with your in-laws to be. If you have a false nature or you live a fake life, you might enter the bad books of your would be in-laws.

Religion: If you do not belong to their religious group, there might be problem. For instance, if his family is a Methodist and you attend the Elevation Church, it is naturally expected that you would join them in Methodist Church. If you refuse, they will start looking at you one kind.

Your Career: Some in-laws will insist that you quit you career for a "time-being" in other to learn how to be a wife and mother. If you have a good paying job, they might force you to quit. The moment you resist, the relationship between you and them becomes sour. 


SO WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
1. Earn their respect by getting them to respect  you. Do not dim your light or withdraw into your she'll in other to satisfy their terms. 
2. Be assertive. This does not give you licence to be rude. When you are not comfortable with something...say it. Don't suffer in silence.
3. Have a good support system. You need them baby gurl. Sometimes, you just need to hear your convictions from a third party before you can act on them.
4. You self try. Have basic ettiquettes. Have a moral standing. Be responsible. You don't expect your would be in laws to accept a lousy  and mannerless woman into their family.
5. Comport yourself properly and dress nicely. Don't look shabby. Even you don't the billion dollars, you can still dress elegantly without breaking the bank.

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THE REALITIES IN THE NIGERIAN LAW SCHOOL (NLS)

Chinecherem Ubaka


No philosophical quotes here. Let's get real with the adventures in the Nigerian Law School(NLS).

Reality no 1: ANYBODY CAN  FAIL BAR-FINALS; ANYBODY CAN PASS BAR-FINALS.
This is very true. Nobody cares about your academic history. This is another clean slate offered to you. You either pass or you fail. To be honest, it's not by reading everyday or drafting all the draftables. It is not also by answering all the questions in class or asking all the intelligent or dull questions. It is not by reading all the blah blah notes...your class notes might just be what you need. To some, writing legibly and fast is the problem while for others it is comprehending the question. To do well in Law School, you have to be smart, observant and play the game strategically. 

Reality No. 2: LAW SCHOOL IS MENTAL TORTURE:  The NLS curriculum is voluminous and so it's natural to be mentally stressed along the  way. However, some students choke themselves with many materials because "senior this" told them "that" and she got a first. See, times change, law is dynamic. For instance, sec 13 of the ISA provides for the functions of the Securities and  Exchange Commission (SEC). One of them is the supervision and monitoring of the mergers and acquisitions of companies. The foregoing  is no longer within the purview of  SEC. Currently the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has been empowered to supervise mergers, acquisitions, takeovers between companies by virtue of the FCCCPA. So, You need to find your formula. If you are the textbook person; stick with it and stop looking for those notes and materials that might get you confused. If you are the materials person; stick with one source. Don't go frolicking about.

Reality No.3: LAW SCHOOL IS A POSTGRADUATE STUDY: This means that there is no need for unhealthy competition. However, you will find this in campus. You will realize that your colleagues are hoarding materials, past questions, notes etc. You will see law graduates from  a particular school forming a closed network and portraying themselves to be better than others. You will witness different personalities; the annoying, intimidating and sweet ones. Nevertheless, law school is another platform to mingle and network. Don't let this pass you by.

Reality No. 4: YOUR HEALTH WILL DETERIORATE: This is as a result of many factors. The water you drink, the food you eat in public places, the physical and mental stress you are passing through, the environment, the public toilet facilities and all that. So, be prepared. You might want to get your multi-vitamins and antibiotics ready. For the special students like asthmatic and pregnant students....take charge of your health. The truth is that whether you break down or not...classes will go on and you will be left behind. 

Reality No. 5: YOU WILL GET TIRED: Yes you will. Most times, when BAR-FINALS is fast approaching, you become physically and mentally exhausted. You just want everything to end. At some point fear sets in and you might go crazy. This is the  reality. You can try to take walks, watch a movie or do something to clear  your head. Whether you want a first class or pass, try your best in the exams. You definitely do not want to go over this reality show a second time.


Reality No.6: YOU NEED PLENTY MONEY: Yeah you do. You will spend a lot in law school on accommodation, feeding, clothing, books, personal care, transportation to and from law school and many other things. You need to eat well to survive and be healthy. 

Reality No. 7: PERSONAL STUDY WON'T BE EFFECTIVE: You can't do well by reading alone. You need to share, branch out and read with others. Even if you think you know it, a friend might be in need. Share your knowledge. Don't read alone. Who knows...you might be reading the wrong thing. Sometimes, it's people's reaction to some questions during group study that helps  you remember some points in BAR-FINALS. So don't shoot yourself in the foot by becoming a lone-ranger.

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CAN I USE MY LAW DEGREE WITHOUT CALL TO BAR IN NIGERIA?





Chinecherem Ubaka

The Covid-19 pandemic has stalled the academic progress of many students and no one is happy about it. Some cannot come to the reality that after all the night class and overnight reading, they will be stuck at home due to deadly virus. Some are even beginning to loose touch with reality. Some have ditched the law degree  and have gone into modelling, fashion design, make-up artistry, events management etc which is fine as well. So you are a law graduate and you are wondering if you can enter the labour market with your law degree in Nigeria?  



Quick answer:  YES you can.  However, you will have no access to the Exclusive rights and privileges of Lawyers who have been called to the Nigerian bar. Some of the rights include: 
1. Right to be appointed as a Magistrate, a Judge, an Attorney-General, Commissioner for Justice amongst many others.
2. Right to appear before any court of law in Nigeria as an advocate.
3. Right to Frank any legal agreement.
4. Right to be appointed as an SAN
5. Right to practice law anywhere in Nigeria as a Barrister and Solicitor.

As a law graduate, you are a graduate and as such it is expected that you are exposed and knowledgeable. You can conquer even beyond our court of study. So you need to have an open and versatile  mindset. 

So What and What can you do as a Law graduate?


You can apply for Graduate Trainee Programs and Internships in many companies, banks and organisations. Hopefully, you will get an offer. Most companies  administer numerical reasoning test, verbal and apptitude tests. Generally, Graduate Trainee Programs are very competitive.  So you need to work smart and hard.

There are so many NGO'S  in Nigeria. You can volunteer with any of them to be their Research Assistants, Team Assistant or a Grant Specialist. You need to be able to write good reports timely and effectively. You need to be versatile as well. You can also be a part of the Monitoring and Evaluation team especially where the NGO in question is a national one.

If you have extra certifications in Arbitration or mediation, that's a whoopie. You can join law-firms with ADR departments as a legal intern and a Mediation Associate. To mediate effectively, you need real and practical experiences. To get these experiences, you need to get out of your house, attach yourself to an experienced mediator and ADR professional and learn. Who knows soon, you might get a mediation brief!

You can also be a Virtual Legal Research Assistant(VLRA). You can volunteer to be a VLRA to senior lawyers you know and/or in-house counsel for a stipend. The role will keep you commercially aware and productive. 

Legal Content Creation: Everything is online these days. You can go into content creation for media houses, radio stations, blogs and vlogs. 

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HOW TO DEAL WITH BODY SHAMERS

By Chinecherem Ubaka

Many boys and girls; men and women have had their fair share of body shaming. The act of body shaming basically makes you feel incomplete and unwanted due to the peculiarity of your body size, stature, colour and posture.

How Do You Deal with Bodyshamers?
For those who have undergone this terrible experience, I apologise on behalf of the bodyshamers. They were ignorant. I am certain you must have had a low self-esteem, you must have cried a lot, you must have withdrawn into hiding, you must have cursed yourself and your body. 

I am telling you today to stop. 

Let me share with you two stories. In East Africa, in a country called Uganda, there is a woman. She got married and had about four kids. However, she put on weight as a result of the hormonal and physical changes that her body passed through. Her husband thrashed her because of her body and in the end left the marriage because she no longer looked good. Expectedly, this woman became downcast. She was so sad especially as the body-shaming came from the bone of her bone and the flesh of her flesh. You know what? Her turning point came by and she grabbed the opportunity. She decided to contest for Miss Curvy, Uganda. She decided to put on a pair of trousers after ten(10) years and she said that 'she felt good'. She didn't wallow in her emotional pain. This woman became  the 2nd Runner Up, Miss Curvy Uganda.  You know what she said to us on the day she was crowned, 
"Do not listen to the bodyshamers". This woman is Mariam Namukasa.

                -Photo by matooke republic

Let's go fictional. You remember our favorite series "Game of Thrones(GOT)". You remember Lady Brienne of Tarth?  She experienced body shaming of all sorts. Notable amongst them was when her father wanted to match her with a suitable partner. She was insulted and made a joke by her father's guests in her father's house. She cried and tried to run away. However, Lord Renly held her, danced with her and told her " don't let them see your tears; the nasty little shits ain't worth crying over".
    -photo by game of thrones.fandom.com

Let's not forget Lord Tyrion, the dwarf...he Rose above his physical peculiarity to being a very smart and intelligent politician; 
                       -photo by IMDb

Samwell Tarly too...called fat, weak several times. He had to shed the limiting attributes and rose up to be one of the finest commanders of the Night Watch.


So you see? 
1. You need to quit being hysterical about the peculiarities of your body. 
2. Stop listening to them! 
3.Be yourself. 
4. Know that it's not your fault; accept your body.
5.Whenever someone bodyshames you, shun the person immediately. Let the person know that you love yourself and your body.
6. Love yourself and love your body.

All body times are beautiful and might be of great advantage to you. 

To the body shamers, stop making people a joke. You have no power to create a human being. The least you can do is to be quiet about a person's physical trait. Nobody in this world has the perfect figure. Whether you do it consciously or consciously; stop it. You are killing people emotionally. Let's respect each other's differences and everyone will be happy.



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SOME HABITS NIGERIAN PARENTS SHOULD QUIT





By Chinecherem Ubaka

Every parent desires that their kids grow up healthy. When we say healthy, we mean physically and psychologically. More often than not, we succeed in raising healthy children physically while their psychological well-being remain messed up. The major reason for unhealthy children psychology wise is the almost non-existent emotional bond between parents and their children. Where it is in existence, it is on the low. So what are the habits we need to stop?

1. Stopping your children from playing by instilling fear: This is not right. I understand that the foregoing is to prevent them from injuring themselves and "spoiling" their skin. However, children learn how to interact with people when they play with their friends and folks. The learn social behaviours; the healthy and the unhealthy ones. By so doing, they also learn how to deal or cope with certain actions of others. Put simply, they learn the art of survival.

2. Blaming the elder child for a wrong committed by the younger Child: Please stop! Every child should be taught to be responsible for his/her actions. If child A does something wrong, he should be disciplined for it and not Child B, the elder one or the both of them. Where you feel that the elder child could have stopped the act of the younger child, please scold him separately and outside the earshot of the younger child. This preserved the self - esteem of the elder child and instills respect for the elder child in the younger child.

3. Fretting over everything: A little cough from your child makes you hysterical or a little fall from the toddler makes you run mad. Please learn the virtue of calmness when dealing with children. In life there are risks, our prayer should be that God should help us with the risks that we cannot bear alone.

4. Comparing your a child with another child or someone else: This is a NO NO. Why do you do such? Every child is different and every child has his or own time. When you compare your child with another child or someone else, you deplete his/her self-respect and ego. They begin to see themselves as inferior. I understand that the motive for such comparison is to "force" the child to improve. No, it won't work. There are times when a child might not be doing very well in a particular area for instance in his/her academics. Help that child instead. Converse with him or her. You might not know that the child is going through a terrible experience like bullying, assault etc.

5. Discipline shouldn't be for negative actions alone: Most times, we percieve the word "discipline" to be for bad deeds alone or to be synonymous with punishment. When a child does something good, don't be silent about your approval. Commend him or her with the same energy you would have used in reprimanding the child.

6. Tormenting their kids repeatedly over a single mistake: Aaah! Why do we do this? You keep tormenting a child for mistakes done two or three months ago; sometimes many years ago. This is not fair. Love keeps no record of wrongs. Let the child be. As long as you have corrected the child over the wrongdoing, let the matter rest. Raising the issue repeatedly kills the child spirit and teaches him or her to be unforgiving.


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THE NIGERIAN LEGAL POSITION ON "MY NEXT OF KIN"





It is very usual for forms and bio-data to ask for your next of kin especially for formal reasons. Generally, a person's next of kin is his/her closest blood relative who is alive. Your Next of Kin should be someone who has the power or legal right to make decisions on your behalf. For instance, if you are involved in an accident, your next of kin can decide that a surgical procedure be carried out on you where he or she is convinced that it is a necessary step to take. Therefore, he signs the consent for on your behalf.

It follows then the major reason for the concept of next of kin is for contact purposes especially in emergency cases. It has nothing to do with succession. 

I repeat, the concept of "next of kin" does not relate or apply to the principles of succession and inheritance. In Nigeria, our legal system is pluralistic in nature and succession is governed by three different systems of law; the common law, statutory law, customary law. 

Furthermore, where there is a will, the Wills Act of 1837 and the Wills Amendment Act of 1852 is applicable in the Eastern and Northern parts of Nigeria. The Western part is governed by the Wills Law of Western Nigeria, 1959. Each state also have their various Administration of Estate Laws.  The Nigerian Constitution particularly, sec 42(2) is usually invoked to help resolve issues relating to gender and legitimacy in the area of succession in Nigeria.

One thing is common amongst these various laws I have listed. It is the fact that none of these systems grants the "next of kin" inheritance rights to a person's movable and immovable properties. Infact, the forgoing position was reinforced by the court in Abiodun Joseph v. Fajemilehim and Another(2012) LPELR-9849 (CA) per Fasanmi, JCA 
"A person so named as your next of kin does not necessarily possess a right of inheritance over your property upon your demise". This is the Nigerian legal position on the concept of "next of kin". 

The farthest a next of kin can go when it comes to sucession and inheritance is hat he can go ahead and apply for letters of administration where the deceased failed or refused to make a will.

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E-LEARNING PLATFORMS: AN ASSESSMENT OF RIGHTS OF SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN TO EDUCATION IN NIGERIA





The United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) was opened for ratification on the 30th March, 2007 and it came into force on the 3rd day of May, 2008.  Nigeria ratified  the Convention in 2007 alongside it's Optional Protocol in 2010. 

However, it took the Nigerian government eight(8) years to sign the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Protection) Act, 2018

The essence of the above act is to ensure full intergration of persons with disabilities into the society. The Act established the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) and the Commission is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that persons living with disabiility in Nigeria have unfettered access to education, healthcare, social, economic and civil rights. 

Specifically, Sec 17 of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Protection) Act,  provides that a person with disabiility have an unfettered right to education without discrimination or segregation in any form. They are entitled to free education up to secondly school level. Furthermore, it mandated the Commission to provide the educational assistive devices needed.

Sec 18 of the Act, provides for the principle of "inclusiveness". All public schools must have special facilities for the effective education of persons with disabiility. Also, a trained personnel must be employed to cater for the educational development of persons with Disabilities.

Sec 20 of the Act, specifically mandates the government to ensure that the education of persons with disabilities, particularly children who are blind, deaf and with multiple disabilities is delivered in the most appropriate language mode and means of communication and in environments which maximizes academic and social development.

Sadly, the provisions of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Protection) Act, 2018 is yet to be fully enforced in Nigeria particularly with reference to the unfettered right to access education. Also, it is worthy to note that the specific commission mandated under the Act to ensure  that Persons living with disabilities enjoy these rights is yet to established by the Federal government in practical and physical terms. 

In order to ensure that the United Nations mantra  "Education for All"  i.e. SDG'S  no. 4 is achieved, the Federal Government is hereby urged to take speedy steps towards ensuring that the National Commission for Persons with Disabiility is established. Pending the forgoing, governments at all levels, NGO'S, Media Organizations are encouraged to ensure that Children living with disabiilities are carried along in the various e-learning programmes and platforms in place to keep the children busy.

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TAKE HIM TO YOUR PARENTS IF


by Chinecherem Ubaka

As a lady, you attract many admirers. Some of them will claim to love you while some will actually show you love. Most times your heart knows who "the one" is amongst many of them. Nevertheless, we open our mind to doubts and allow our friends confuse us. 

Take him to your parents if; 

a. He listens to you: When I say listen, I mean active listening. This means that he takes note of most if not all of what you say. For instance, when he makes reference to a previous conversation between the both of you and you can't even remember that you mentioned it to him. It shows that he actually listens to you. 

b. He is your best friend: I really don't get it when a girl says "John is my boyfriend however James is my best friend". If you are in this position, your relationship cannot work. Relationship in the first place is good and sweet friendship with perks of romance and commitment. Therefore, the guy you are seeing must be your best friend.

c. He is matured and responsible: A guy who is responsible and matured is one who can own up to his actions. He is one you can actually lean on as well as look up to him. He talks about issues as opposed to ignoring you or pushing them under the carpet. A matured and responsible guy has a steady source of income and is not overwhelmed with an unpalatable event.

d. He has submitted himself to God: There is nothing like having a guy who worships God in spirit and in truth beside you. He will be guided by the Holy Spirit in whatever decision he is going to make with you. He gives you a sense of security, trust and you won't have to worry about anything. Be sure that he is a true worshipper before taking him to your parents.

e. He loves you: Love is a verb. I am sure you have heard this several times. His love confession should be seen in his actions. You can see and feel that he respects you, supports your dreams and helps you grow in all ramifications. If he loves you, he will respect your values and help you keep them. Any guy that makes you go against your values and moral codes so as to prove your love to him does not love you. 

f. He is compatible with you:  If he is spiritually , medically and  professionally compatible with you, take him to your parents. You wouldn't want to be with someone who has the goal of becoming the best football player in England and you want to be the President of Nigeria. It can't work especially if you are not interested in football. Make sure your likes are compatible or that you are ready to compromise.

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WHAT IS A GAG ORDER?



There are times when a nation will be faced with a highly controversial and high profile case. Cases of this nature have the tendency of sparking public outrage and media trial. In the foregoing circumstance, a judge presiding over such a case may impose a Gag Order on the counsel to prevent any of the counsel from discussing the case subject under any platform except in court and with their respective clients. 

A Gag Order is a protective one especially for the accused person and  is most times ordered "suo motu" by the courts. Basically, a gag order is a rule forbidding the discussion of a case  subject beyond the allowable forum. It usually comes with stringent punishment where there is a case of default. A default of a gag order amounts to a contempt of court.

JUSTIFICATION FOR A GAG ORDER

1. To prevent media trial.

2. To preserve the fair trial rights of litigants.

3. To preserve public welfare, peace and security.

4. To prevent public prejudice during the trial process.

 5. To preserve the mental health and psychological well-being of accused persons.

6. To prevent unscrupulous media stunts.

The Gag Order can also be imposed on the press and media houses to bar them from publishing certain informations.

The major ARGUMENT AGAINST THE GAG ORDER is that contravenes an individual's right to freedom of speech and expression.
In the case of Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart 427 US. 539,532-69,  the Supreme Court created a test for the evaluation of the constitutionality of a gag order. They are as follows;
(a). Whether the publicity that would harm the defendant's right to a fair trial.
(b). If it would be effective.
(c). If it is the least restrictive means possible to ensure fairness 

The Gag Order is prominently used by Courts in the United States. I can't say that the "Gag Order" is a prerogative order in Nigeria courts. Nevertheless, under the Rules of Professional Conduct(RPC) of 2007, Rule 33 states  that ;
"A Lawyer or a law-firm engaged in or associated with the Prosecution and defense of a criminal matter or associated with a civil action shall not, while litigation is anticipated or pending in the matter, make or participate in making any extra-judicial statement that is calculated to prejudice or interfere with or reasonably capable of prejudicing or interfering with the fair trial of the matter or judgement sentence"

The forgoing qualifies as a "Gag Order" alongside the hallowed principle of attorney-client privilege as provided for in rule 19 of the RPC. Furthermore, there are instances where the law  permits  trials to be held behind close doors in Nigeria. For instance, juvenile trials so long as the juvenile in question is not being accused of a capital offence or accused with an adult offender for an offence; court martial proceedings, child custody proceedings amongst others.


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WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR FOLKTALES? (VIDEO)





By Chinecherem Ubaka


"When we were young, our fathers told us tales under the trees in the evenings after we are done with the days chores."


"I usually rush my evening meal so that I can get to Mama Nnekwu's spot early for the evening ilo."

These and many more do we grow up hearing from our parents and elder ones. In those days, folk tales and folklores were amongst the prominent tools for teaching the younger generation native wisdom and wise nuggets for life. 'Ilo' time was also used to strengthen family bonding. Parents and grandparents had the opportunity to bond with their children and grandchildren respectively. Children and youths  had the opportunity to learn about the culture of their people as well as the 'Why' of many customs from reliable sources. Stories had a way of making children feel good. Furthermore, it affects moral judgement in a subtle manner.






So What happened to our folklores and folktales?

1. Migration: The children who listened and learned from these folklores and folktales sought greener pastures in the city and urban areas. Gradually, they began to loose touch with native tales and consequently couldn't pass same to their own kids.

2. Career: The direct beneficiaries of the tales had jobs and careers that demanded most of their time and energy. "Family time" became almost non-existent due to economic pressure, job expectations and physical health of mind and body.

3. Village People turned Evil people: The children who migrated to the cities and urban areas settled there and refused to return back to their hometowns. Suddenly, the village is no longer safe and so there is no need travelling back. When they do, it is each family to themselves. Every person have become suspicious of their fellow extended family members. 

4. Television Came, Cartoons and Video Games landed: Due to the fact that "family time" in most families are non-existent. Parents use the television, cartoons and video games to keep their children busy and entertained. Consequently, gathering around an elderly person for native stories became outdated and archaic. "Who still does that?" have become a cliche.

5. Children have lost touch of their Mother Tongues : City and urban parents fail or neglect to teach their kids their native languages. Thus, even where the elder ones are willing to tell the tales, the kids cannot grasp because they do not understand the local language. Folklores and folktales are better expressed in local languages.

6. We now have the adulterated version: The efforts of media organizations towards bringing back out folklores and folktales are laudable. However, tales are taught in local languages and not in English. Nevertheless, we acknowledge that the adulterated tales are impactful. However, we want our local tales in local languages back. We want our 'Ilo' time back.

N.B: The above 'ilo' session is delivered in Igbo language. This language is prominent amongst the South Easterners in Nigeria.

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THINKING OF FLOATING A PRIVATE LEGAL PRACTICE IN NIGERIA?


By Chinecherem Ubaka

Fresh from law school, you are a very young professional bustling with so much energy and dreams. Each lawyer now to his/her path. Just in case you have chosen the path of floating a private legal practice, it is very much possible and should be encouraged. This also suggests that you have the  wherewithal to do so. However, let me warn you IT IS NOT GOING TO BE EASY. I mean it isn't easy for any young professional just starting out his/her career. Nevertheless, the path to Independence and a rewarding career is a journey filled with roses and bullets.

Firstly, be competent. You need to know your onion. Regardless of the sector you seek to specialize on, you must demonstrate a high knowledge of the way and manner the sector operates and develops. This is to ensure optimum service delivery to your clients.

Secondly, you have to be brave. You need to be courageous and firm. Sinenhlanhla Passcara Mthembu, the 25-yr old lawyer who recently floated her private legal practice; Passcara and Partners Incorporated, noted that " I had to be brave. I took it as a challenge upon myself to do it. No matter what people say, I'm going to do this". Deciding to start your own law firm is a bold decision. Therefore, you have to remain true to the goal and be intentional towards achieving it.

Thirdly, personal branding. Whether or not you are floating a law firm, your personal brand is very important. There are avenues people go to in order to have an inkling into your personality. One of them is social media. Please, be careful of what you like and post on such platforms especially LinkedIn. As a professional, people look up to you as an authority. Hence,  you need to increase your  professional visibility. The truth is that nobody wants to do business with someone that doesn't not  have an online presence in today's world. Furthermore, you have to learn how to leverage on the networking tool. This is very important otherwise, where will your clients come from? To network properly and effectively, your personal brand matters a lot. Please do not neglect your horizontal network i.e. your call mates, classmates etc. They can make or mar you in future. 
When marketing your brand and legal practice, be careful so you don't run foul of the Rules of Professional Conduct (2007).

Fourth, understand the business environment, for instance, legal practice today is not the same with legal practice two or three years before. Prominent amongst the new Norm is digital law practice. You need to be proactive and churn out practice modes that make you stand out amongst many of your competitors. Think about your business plan, ask questions where confused. 

Lastly, respect. Respect is one of the foundation of the legal profession. Respect the senior colleagues, respect your colleagues, respect the court, respect yourself and respect your junior colleagues as well.

May your endeavors be successful.


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CAN A PARTY ENFORCE A CONTRACT HE FAILED TO SIGN IN NIGERIA?



It is natural and logical that only parties who have signed a contractual agreement should take steps to enforce such a contract. By signing the said agreement, they have proclaimed themselves to be the recognized parties to the contract.  However, what happens in the event that a 3rd party seeks to enforce a contract he did not sign and is consequently not a party to? 

Generally, an unsigned document has no judicial value. In fact, it has been described as a worthless piece of paper which cannot benefit anybody that seeks to rely on such documents as explained in the case of Lawrence v. Olugbemi & ors (2018) LPELR 45966 (CA). An unsigned document cannot generate or initiate an action. In law, an unsigned document has no weight attached evidentially.  Thus, it is incapable of being used by a court to resolve facts that are disputed in an action between the parties. The cases of Mbang v. Guardian Newspapers Limited & anor 2010 LPELR-CA/C/100/2008; Garuba v. Kwara Investment Co. (2005) 5 NWLR (Pt. 917) are explanatory.

On whether a party who did not sign a contract can go ahead to enforce such a contract, this largely depends on the circumstances of the case. If after due consideration of the surrounding circumstances, there is in existence, the basic elements of a contract, i.e. offer, acceptance and consideration, then an implied contract can be said to be in place. 

However, we must on the forget one of the hallowed principle of the Law of Contract. i.e.  the principle of “privity of contract”, a party who fails to sign an agreement cannot rely on such an agreement neither can he enforce it because he will be regarded as a stranger to that agreement.In the case of Coast Oil Limited v. Tuboscope Vetco International & anor (2019) LPELR -46450 (CA), the court noted  that “It is an elementary principle of law that the doctrine of privity of contract is to the effect that a person who intends to enforce a contract must show, not only that he gave consideration but also that he is a party to that contract. In law, a contract exists only between parties to it.”

Furthermore, in the case of Reichie v. NBCI (2016) LPELR (40051) 1 at 25, it was noted that a stranger cannot acquire rights or incur obligations arising from a contract to which he is not a party.

By Chinecherem Ubaka & Inyiama Ezinne.

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CAN SMART ANIMALS GIVE EVIDENCE IN COURT?


                              




Imagine that a woman who lives alone was assaulted. She has been called upon to give her oral testimony. However, she seeks to also bring in her most cherished companion, "kwin" a parrot to corroborate her testimony.

How do Parrots talk?
I would want to note that animals are generally smart. At least, they have survival instincts. However, there are smart animals who are special and one of a kind. These animals like dogs, cats, parrots etc falls within the category of pets. Parrots are one of the few animals that are noted to be vocal learners. Irene Pepperberg, a research associate and lecturer at Havard noted that parrots use their vocal prowess to share important information and fit in with the flock. She further noted that when you bring a parrot into a human household, it will try to integrate itself into the situation as though the people were it's flock members. Parrots can learn to speak and because they are social creatures, they learn the language of their owner.

Extent Animals could go in the Legal Profession today.
In law, there are human persons and artificial persons like a company. I do not think that animals would qualify as a person even though we have animal rights and animal activism. However,  trial courts in the United States have the discretionary authority to allow use of dog to provide comfort and support. The cases of California v. Spence and Washington v. Dye are quite illustrative.  In Washington v. Dye(SC. No.87929-0), the main issue before this case was whether court may allow a witness to be accompanied by a comfort animal in this case a dog, when testifying during trial. The court affirmed the decision of the trial court. It stated as follows "the trial court within it's board discretion when it determined that Ellie, the facility dog provided by the prosecutor's office to the victim, Douglas Lare, was needed in light of Lare's severe developmental disabilities in order for Late to testify adequately". Douglas Lare in this case suffered from developmental disabilities including cerebral palsy, mild mental retardation. During the testimony he was asked questions like;
"Q: ...who is this your friend there with you?
A: This is Ellie. (Ellie is a dog)
Q: And why is Ellie there with you?
A: Ellie is to help me and make it easier to help me and to make it easier for me. And I have threats here."

This suggests that in the United States, the well being of victims of sexual abuse and child witnesses are taken into consideration. This is to the extent that they would allow the presence of animals which act as "comforters" to these witnesses to be present during the criminal proceedings provided that they do not interefere with the proceedings of the court. Furthermore, animals cannot testify in court cases in the United States.

In South Africa, animals are not allowed into the courtrooms neither are they allowed to testify. However, organizations like Top dogs and Teddy Bear Foundation help children who have suffered sexual abuse through the use of therapy dogs to help them prepare to testify in court. The dogs are used to simulate court processes to help victims understand how the court process works.

In Nigeria, our justice system is yet to attain the level where psychology will be regarded as an essential tool in ensuring adequate dispensation of justice. Our Laws especially the the Evidence Act, do not envisage that an animal could be brought to court to give evidence. I imagine a hillarious response to such initiative. A witness must be competent before his/her testimony will be considered relevant and admissible. While it is explainable that a victim currently undergoing a rehabilitation or therapy would need a facility dog in other to be able to give evidence in court; it is quite an Herculean task to come to terms with the fact that a parrot will be brought to corroborate a woman's testimony in court. This is something we should look out for as the legal profession continues to emerge and develop.




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SO YOU LOST YOUR BABY? HERE IS WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

                           -Photo by Kombini
By Chinecherem Ubaka

It is an excruciating pain to undergo still birth. It is very painful. It is normal to ask unending questions about what went wrong? It is very okay for you to mourn and weep. It is fine if you are downcast. It is alright if you are not ready to talk about it yet.

1. YOUR PARTNER IS GRIEVING AS WELL
It takes two to tango. It follows that when something goes wrong, it affects the other person too.This isn't the time for blames. Please don't shut your partner out of your grief. The both of you need to be united more than ever before. By so doing, you come out strong. 

2. DON'T BE TOO HARD ON YOURSELF
Yes, the baby is gone. Please do not worry yourself to death. Cry it out, breathe in and breathe out. Go on a vacation if you can, go somewhere else. You need to be okay mentally. Allow yourself to be consoled.

3. TALK TO YOUR GYNECOLOGIST
God forbid that there will be a re-occurrence.  Nevertheless, you need to take precautions. To do this properly, it is fitting that  you know where the problem came from. It is also necessary that you ask the right questions. 

4. EAT! AND SLEEP
Baby girl, your body has gone through a lot! You need food to revitalize your body. When I say food, I mean healthy food and not junk. Increase your intake of vitamin-enriched foods and supplements especially fruits  and vegetables. Sleep is very necessary for your overall well-being.

5. YOU CAN STILL HAVE AS MANY KIDS AS YOU WANT
Yes you can. Do not give up hope. As long as you follow the foregoing steps, you will be fit enough to have more kids. Smile at the children around you and be nice to them. Soon, they will get to meet and play with your children.
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HELP! I AM FALLING APART!

By Chinecherem Ubaka

I used to be a bubbling young lady. People around me have the perception that my life is perfect. I know my life is a piece of shit, a very messed up one. My emotions run deep inside me. To stop myself from bursting out I use "Coke". It gives me safe landing and gives the morale to do the shitty things I do.  Now, my gengs are scattered, ms. Corona snatched two of my best buddies from me. I am scared and alone. My Coke is tearing me up and my head is twirling around. Does the word  future still exists? I do not see a reason to keep pushing. Help! I think am falling apart. I think am dying.


Many young individuals are going through tumoils, anxiety disorders. Some have become paranoid. Some are getting depressed. We are gradually loosing some of them. 

Reach out to people around you. Some people just need someone to talk to. Someone to give them a reassuring smile. Someone to hug them without any strings attached. You might be all they have got. 
The pandemic has brought to fore the mental health challenges people are going through. Some individuals who cover up their pain from domestic violence, childlessness, unattentive spouses, rebellious kids, etc, with their jobs feel trapped. They have lost their coping strategies. 

Ditch the toxicity in you. Please, we need you to be supportive to every person out there. Spread love and positivity. As we take measures to stay safe, let's help one another stay sane.

I know that it is difficult to share and open up. Please, if you know that you need help, GET HELP.

You can also read:HOW IS YOUR MENTAL HEALTH?

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WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE COMFORTABLE IN YOUR OWN SKIN?



By Chinecherem Ubaka


Whenever, you hear the phrase  "learn to be comfortable in your skin" what exactly does this mean?
1. Lovelies, it means accepting the things you can't change about yourself especially your physique and being willing to improve on your inner well-being.

2. It means accepting your dark skin colour and make it pop without bleaching. It means accepting your light skin colour and glowing in it. It means accepting your chocolate and Milo skin colour without grudges. It means shunning any act of body-shaming and declaring to yourself that you do not need anyone's validation.

3. It means adopting the self care routines that suits you without being a copy cat. It means acknowledging the fact that you are you and not anyone else. It means that you do not try to fit into someone else's ideal of "beautiful", "smart", "lovely", "handsome", "cute".

4. It means recognizing your abilities and making efforts to groom them. It means recognizing your flaws and making conscious efforts to improve without being mentally lazy and giving excuses.

5. It means recognizing that it's fine if you don't want to "work out" even though you should. It means respecting your personal preference, beliefs and convictions as well as that of others. It means that you have a mind of your own.

6.It means that you are confident in yourself. You believe in your abilities and trust that you can smash your goals.

7. It means to be yourself.


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SIDE HUSTLES YOU CAN VENTURE INTO IN THIS COVID-19 PERIOD

                         -photo from shutterstock.com

You are going broke?
Your job is at risk?
Have you lost your job?

I have a compiled a list of side hustles or businesses you can go into. They are

1. Logistics: This period have made delivery service industry boom because passenger travels has been curtailed by the social distancing measures. You can decide to deliver foodstuffs, cooked meals, essential household items like pads, drinking water, cleaning agents, baby foods etc.  
How: 
(a.)  Get a website where people can order for what they want. Contact your web designer for details. 
(b.) Go into bulk buying of essential goods. 
(c.) start with your close pals and friends. You will roughly need about N150,000-N200,000 as your startup capital.

2. Vlogging: You can either teach people the how to do things or entertain them on YouTube. If you are a Nurse for example, you might want to provide online anti-natal classes for pregnant women. Whichever you want to do, make sure your contents are original. You don't want to run foul of YouTube's policies. The number of your subscribers goes a long way in determining how much hits your account every month.
How: You need a camera, a set-up in your home for creating your videos.
You need video-editing skills. 
You need digital marketing skills.
You need data too.
You will roughly need about N120,000 - N150,000 for start-up.

3. Content Creation: You can be a digital content creator for companies, bloogers, magazines and media companies. Your pay depends on your negotiating skills. 
How: Read, be observant and creative. Make sure your content suits your intended market.
You can start with nothing as long as you have a smartphone.

4. Research Analyst: You can be an analyst for companies and startups. People are interested in knowing the future of certain sectors of the economy. This means that you have to be detailed in your analysis. You can also go into online coaching and teaching.
How: Get your LinkedIn profile updated.
Start researching and publishing. You might get hired.

5. Farming: You can go into agriculture. In this industry nothing is a waste. There are different aspects of agriculture business. Crops, cattle rearing, piggery, snail farming, fish farming etc. Plant, eat some  and sell your produce. 
How: Look for an uncultivated land for sale or for lease.
If you are going into crop planting, you will obviously need seedlings, fingerlings for fish etc.
Get basic knowledge on agric buisness.
You will need about N70,000- N100,000 as a start-up capital.

6. Web-design: Yeah. Most people are taking their business online. They obviously need the services of a front end back end web-developer. Market your skills and set the ball rolling.
How: You need a laptop, data bundle and a set-up(Table, Chair and writing pad basically).
If you have a laptop, you need about N30,000 - N50,000 to begin. No laptop, you need about N100,000-N120,000.

7. Volunteering: You can go into volunteering. Most people are not fine mentally. You can decide to volunteer to feed the hungry, coach the school kids, help pregnant women understand their condition and the importance of hygiene. You can venture into Community Development Services and help in the actualisation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

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YOU MIGHT NOT BE WORSHIPPING GOD FOR THE RIGHT REASON

                           -photo by crosswalk.com

Post By Chinecherem Ubaka

Why exactly are you a believer?
Why are you a Christian?
Why do you worship and praise God?

Many of us worship God for the wrong reasons.  We do business and negotiate with God on the what He should do for us because we are worshipping Him. Some go to Church because they are looking for life partners, power, wealth, fruits of the womb, prosperity, admission, job amongst others. It is even wrong to worship God because you want to go to heaven. Heaven and eternal life is the reward God grants to true worshippers.

The next thing we do is to compare. We say things like "God, why don't I have children, I have worshipped you all my life. Even Kuchi, the wayward girl has a child, God when?" ; " God I read well, I studied hard and I prayed to you, why are my grades not excellent?. My friends that are not even Christains are doing better than me". Consequently, we loose hope in God and begin to step into wrong places looking for a solution.

Please let's stop. God blesses all and sundry. He causes the rain to fall on all and the sun to shine on all. He died for all and give mankind salvation and redemption. He didn't do the forgoing for any particular race, tribe or person. The funny thing is that He does not force Himself on anyone. Even if we decide not to worship Him, He would raise up stones to praise and worship Him. Therefore, You worship Him because you have decided to worship Him. 

This means that we should worship God for being God. We should worship him in appreciation for what He has done for us and not for what He would do for us. We should worship because he loves us more than we can ever imagine. 

When we worship God for the right reasons, every other thing will be added unto us. He will bless us with everything we need because He is all-sufficient. When we praise and worship him in faith and in truth without any expectation and nagging, He will surprise us. 

Have you ever noticed that most of the things you seek come to you when you have stopped worrying yourself and almost forgotten about them? God is a faithful God. He never fails. Let us try to be true worshippers of God.

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CORONAVIRUS: VIRTUAL SCHOOLING OR PHYSICAL SCHOOLING?


Who else missed school? 
What is schooling without a campus?
What is schooling without physical interactions?

The conventional schooling system which is 75-100% physical is in danger. Infact, some schools have already gone virtual and most organization that offer student Industrial training and internships have also gone virtual. In other words, virtual learning and internship is the in thing. Imagine if education around the world becomes entirely virtual? There will be a big problem. This is because it has an overwhelming ability to quash the "Education for All" campaign  by UNICEF. The conventional physical schooling system is yet to ensure that every child in the world has access to education despite governmental, NGO's and some international institutions policies and efforts. Thus, it would seem like the virtual education system is for the 'Haves' in the society.

Schooling isn't simply about reading and writing. There is a famous saying that "when you enroll into a school; make sure that the school passes through you and vice versa". 

The Virtual schooling system has a very low impact rate because of the following reasons:
a. Learning Abilities
Different children have different learning abilities. For most kids in basic and secondary schools, their attention level is still developing and so they would require constant monitoring and guidance to perform well in school. The virtual schooling process makes it difficult to monitor and guide the children.
b. Network Issues
Most areas in remote parts of the word are yet to come to the realization that the virtual world is in existence. There is no network infrastructures whatsover in place for them. In the urban towns and cities, network providers are sometimes unstable with their services. Furthermore, it is expensive to fund virtual schooling especially for parents who are still struggling to feed their children three-square meals daily.
c. Social Interaction is limited
Man by nature is a social animal and we learn a lot when we interact with others. Children enjoy meeting and playing with their fellow kids. From there, they learn social ettiquettes, moral ethics, how to interact with people as well as public speaking.
d. It is not suitable for science-inclined subjects
No it isn't. Subjects like Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Food and Nutrition, Electrical/Electronics, Technical drawing etc. are better understood and learnt in the four walls of the class-room.
e. It is difficult to measure feedback
The only evidence to show that you have  actually taught is when the student can teach what he or she has learnt. The virtual platform gives room for a fake positive feedback or no feedback at all.
f. Poverty
Most Nigerians do not have access to smart phones and laptops. In the same vein, the information technology literacy level in Nigeria is very low. Furthermore, most cannot afford data bills especially during this period of pandemic. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the education of all children around the world in no small measure. In a bid to cope with the current situation, schools, government and organisations have launched audio lessons, radio lessons, tele-lessons, e-learning platforms to keep our children busy. However, there is limited access to learning on these platforms as a result of in adequate power supply and poverty. The foregoing is prevalent in Nigeria. Hence, we need to put infrastructures in place, train adhoc and permanent school teachers on ensuring purposeful and impactful teaching. Policies aimed at reforming the school curriculum to cover contemporary issues like public health and hygiene, artificial intelligence etc should be made. Government should also create an enabling environment for balanced schooling i.e both physical and virtual schooling should be incorporated. Furthermore, we need to be more intentional in ensuring that goal no. 4 of the United Nations sustainable development goals is achieved particularly with reference to access to education.
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FIVE WAYS TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM VILLAGE PEOPLE


By Chinecherem Ubaka

Many people are used to ascribing their misfortunes and demonic attacks to the "Village People" irrespective of whether or not they are innocent. Some even refuse to travel back to their villages. 

How do you protect yourself from Village People?
1. Don't believe in them: There is something about belief, what you believe in has a way of affecting your lifestyle, thoughts and actions. Well, if your hands are clean, no weapon fashioned against you will ever prosper. This means that whatever misfortune you pass through,you take responsibility for the mistakes that led to them and correct them.
2. Be careful about broadcasting your goals: Keep your goals to yourself and silently work towards them. Some people are just naturally jealous! and will not hesitate to be a stumbling block. Some can can come in form of bodyshamers so as to make you loose confidence and self-esteem. Take charge of the security of your personal data and information.
3. Don't show-off unnecessarily:  Keep personal things personal especially for security sake. For instance, I don't see any reason why you give us updates on your whereabouts on social media, you are endangering yourself. Now, don't get me wrong...there are times you need to inform people about certain things to get information and for security as well. Showing off means you are being too extra. Imagine attending a friend's wedding in your wedding gown? Let's try to be modest please.
4. Be Prayerful: This cannot be over-emphasized. You need to be prayerful. Spiritual attacks should be battled by praying until something happens as well as living a life in the Spirit.
5. Be Proactive: There are some people you know that have no good intentions generally, avoid them! Don't do things that are hurtful to people. Some people take care of people who hurt them via the orthodox manner because that is what they believe in.  Be careful of foods you eat, wines you drink and places you go to. Be careful of the people you call friends. Some of them are green snakes. In all, pray for wisdom and act accordingly.

You can also read: TAKE HIM TO YOUR PARENTS IF...

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