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By Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN

 

Increasingly but alarmingly, it is gaining ground that Nigerians now believe that justice is for sale.

 

This position seems to be gaining ground increasingly. Is it possible to buy justice? Is it true that some politicians have all manners of mobile injunctions already typed and prepared, stocked in their portfolios and they just bring them out to suit any occasion? Can it be true that some judges have been earmarked for such jobs as issuing out any order, injunction or judgment? Can it ever be said that parties before a court of law can know their fate even before the case starts?

 

I am worried and worried. Not long ago, Chief Robert Clarke, SAN, warned about the dangerous dimensions of the influence of politics on justice administration generally. ‘So, one disadvantage in Nigeria today, which we have to look into, is how to curb the excesses of these politicians. They have ruined the judiciary. I feel sorry for them’, says Chief Clarke. I have also heard speculatively, that hardly is there any judgment from any election tribunal that is not a product of ‘transactions’.

 

My personal view is that most judges are incorrigible, above board and they decide cases according to law and their conscience, but the things that I hear are very troubling. They are spoken in hushed tones amongst the senior lawyers, they are posted with style on restricted WhatsApp platforms and they are ripe with the clients themselves. The question then is this: what is Transactional Justice? It is one in which the decision of the court on a case pending before it is procured or influenced by extraneous considerations other than the merit of the case. Such influence can be financial, tribal, religious or even social. At times it can be relational, such as when family members of a judge are recruited to put pressure on him to bend the scale of justice. The sphere is almost endless.

 

In Transactional Justice, there are lawyers involved as couriers of monetary offers to judicial officers and it is prevalent mostly in election petition cases. The politicians have become so desperate that they will do just anything to cling to power, by all means necessary. The ugly side of this is that once it is possible to influence a judge in a particular judicial transaction, then the door is open permanently for other subsequent influences, for instance, once you can sway a judge to tilt the even scale of justice in an election petition, then that judge becomes a permanent customer even in other regular cases, whenever the need arises. This is how it goes. The litigant hires the very best lawyers in the field of his case, pays them well to handle all legal issues in the open court and then turns around to hire other lawyers or individuals in the background, purely for networking. These latter set of people have no business in the preparation of the case on merit, they are not involved in the settlement of pleadings or briefs of arguments and they care less about the knowledge and erudition of counsel on record, but to work to secure victory for the paying litigant at all cost. They know the text of the judgment well ahead of time.

 

There are other aspects of Transactional Justice, I’m told. Some lawyers have perfected the style of always getting their cases assigned to a particular judge and God save you if you have to appear against them in any case, because you are doomed to always lose any point of law, no matter how brilliant you are and even if that point of law has been settled up to the Supreme Court. I don’t know how this works but it is said to be very common, especially amongst a few senior lawyers. It will surely take the connivance of court officials and the judge himself for this to happen, because once a judge has noticed the trend that a particular counsel is always appearing before him, almost on a daily basis, then that should raise the flag if there is no collusion.

 

Then there are the professional litigants, who have no personal court cases of their own but have been recruited to help monitor the progress of some cases and to help secure victory ultimately. You see them in the courtroom, sitting prominently, for the judge’s attention and recognition. The court registrars know them, to always reserve vintage positions for them in the courtroom. In some very bizarre cases, they exude such irritating arrogance as to even sit by the entrance of the judge’s chambers, on each day that The cases come up so that even the opponent would feel the pressure of the unofficial lobby. These are in the categories of family members, classmates, religious associates, and social partners, either in the club or in the cult. The other side of this is that it gets so bad that even the registrars of the judges at times do complain openly.

 

How does it sound that judgment is no longer based on law or precedents? That law has become totally unpredictable, even for the same set of facts. We are unable to properly advise clients who approach us for legal counsel, as we now have different decisions, even of the Supreme Court, in the same set of facts and circumstances. Whereas this can be due to human error precipitated by the workload of judicial officers based on the volume of cases that they handle daily, it is also said that it can be the result of Transactional Justice. Good enough I have not had cause to be involved in any form of Transactional Justice, even for my own personal cases, all of which I believe I have won or lost purely due to the facts of the cases and the application of law thereto. But I do not doubt that there is a high possibility that Transactional Justice is real.

 

Part of the Judicial Oath goes thus: ‘… I will discharge my duties and perform my functions honestly, to the best of my ability and faithfully in accordance with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the law; that I will not allow my personal interest to influence my official conduct or my official decisions.’ Transactional Justice is allowing personal, family, social or financial benefits to influence judicial decisions. But we all call it the ‘High Court of Justice’, as it is described in the Constitution.

 

According to the learned authors of the very persuasive Black’s Dictionary of Law, the notion of justice is ‘the fair and proper administration of laws’, meaning that it must be balanced, be equitable, be fair and just and it must substantially conform with known principles and standards of law. In human affairs, the judge is next to God, which is why they have earned the title ‘My Lord’. In the same way that the words of God become established to man without question, so also are we all enjoined to obey all decisions of courts in order to guarantee peace and orderliness in the society. But then, how do you go about obeying Transactional Judgments, procured through fraud and other extraneous influences?

 

This has raised a great challenge for the judiciary and the Nigerian Bar Association, to tackle as a matter of national emergency, or else we should all just close down our chambers and leave legal practice for Transactional Lawyers. Why on earth should I bother myself to prepare for a court case that I know I will win or lose, as the case may be, and one in which the outcome is already predetermined? Now the trouble in all of these is that the rich and affluent, the ones so very well-connected and powerful, will always get the upper hand in situations of Transactional Justice, which will be a game for the highest bidder. The poor man and his lawyer, the weak litigant and the lowly members of society stand to lose in all cases where Transactional Justice is at play, as they simply cannot match the stakes.

 

The negative consequence of Transactional Justice is that impunity, lawlessness and wickedness will continue to plague society if the wicked and lawless oppressor cannot even be called to order by the court. When they breach your rights, they then turn around and taunt you to go to court, if you feel sufficiently aggrieved. ‘We will meet in court’, is what you get when you dare challenge impunity. It has gotten to the point that there are now individuals and even corporate entities whose names evoke fear, such that once you mention their names, people just throw up their hands in the air in total submission, meaning that you waste your time challenging any of their actions in court.

 

But this should not be at all. We must not drive people to the point of frustration that will lead them to take the law into their hands. If the courts cease to be the last hope of the common man, then the consequences can be very dire indeed. The rule of might, the power of money and the influence of man should not determine the ends of justice.

 

I believe in my heart as most lawyers do that judges are human and they can err at times, but all cases of Transactional Justice should be met with open resistance and humiliation by all lovers of justice, lest we all become helpless victims of injustice, because when judgment is procured by any means whatsoever and howsoever, it ceases to wear the noble garment of justice.

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Business

Baba Adinni and Iya Adinni: Harmony Gardens Chairman and Wife Inducted into Spiritual Roles

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In a momentous occasion of spiritual significance and community recognition, the Chairman of Harmony Gardens and Estates Development LTD, Hon. Dr. Saheed Audullahi Mosadoluwa, popularly known as Mr. Ibile, and his wife, Hadjia Aishat Adebimpe, were recently installed with revered titles at an event hosted by the Al-Irshad Islamic Foundation.

 

Hon Saheed Mosadoluwa Ibile inaugurated a multi-billion naira ultra-modern Central Mosque at Ibeju-Lekki immidiately after he got recognized by the West Africa Islamic Council as the AL Mujaddid in Rabbat, Morocco.

 

According to popular Muslim tradition, the term refers to an individual who emerges at the turn of each century in the Islamic calendar to rejuvenate Islam, purging it of extraneous elements and restoring it to its original purity. In contemporary times, a mujaddid is regarded as the preeminent Muslim figure of a century.

 

The concept of Mujaddid is based on a hadith (a saying of Islamic prophet Muhammad), recorded by Abu Dawood, narrated by Abu Hurairah who mentioned that Muhammad said:

 

Allah will raise Mujaddid for this community at the end of every 100 years the one who will renovate its religion for it.

 

Recall that in a grand ceremony attended by distinguished personalities and spiritual leaders, Hon Saheed Audullahi Mosadoluwa, Chairman and CEO of Harmony Gardens and Estates Development LTD, officially commissioned and handed over a state-of-the-art central mosque in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos State, on Friday, January 19th, 2024.

 

The auspicious event witnessed the presence of esteemed religious leaders, including Sheik Semiu .A. Opeloyeru, The Grand Chief Imam and General President of the League of Imam and Alfa in Ibeju-Lekki L.G.A. The ceremony commenced with the arrival of Sheik Semiu .A. Opeloyeru, setting the tone for a day of spiritual significance and community celebration.

 

Representing the executive governor of Lagos State, His Excellency Babajide Sanwoolu, was Hon. Ahmed Abdulai Jembe, the Special Adviser on Islamic Affairs to the governor, graced the ceremony. The Onibeju in attendance emphasizing the significance of the event in the cultural and traditional context.

 

The event saw the attendance of various traditional rulers, highlighting the communal and inclusive nature of the mosque inauguration. Notably, the newly appointed Lagos NURTW Chairman, Mustapha Sego, drew attention as his presence added an extra layer of recognition to the occasion.

 

However, the prestigious ceremony, held at Monarch Hall in Osapa London Lekki, Lagos State, saw Hon. Dr. Saheed Audullahi Mosadoluwa bestowed with the title of Baba Adinni, signifying a revered position within the religious community. His wife, Hadjia Aishat Adebimpe, was similarly honored as Iya Adinni, a title of great respect and responsibility.

 

The Al-Irshad Islamic Foundation, under the guidance of its founder Sheik Rasheed Adeleke, who is also the owner of Al-Irshad Travel and Tours, organized the event as a Pre-Ramadan lecture, award ceremony, and Turbaning ceremony. The atmosphere was filled with spiritual fervor and communal joy as community members gathered to witness the momentous occasion.

 

Notably, Abu Abel and other prominent figures, was also present at the event, adding to the significance of the gathering. The ceremony, held on Sunday, February 25th, 2024, brought together individuals from diverse backgrounds to celebrate the exemplary contributions of Hon. Dr. Saheed Audullahi Mosadoluwa and his wife to both the community and the Islamic faith.

 

The Turbaning ceremony, a traditional rite of passage within the Islamic community, symbolizes a deep connection with cultural heritage and spiritual leadership. The titles of Baba Adinni and Iya Adinni carry great responsibilities, signifying the honorees’ commitment to serving the community and upholding the values of the Islamic faith.

 

As the community celebrates this significant event, the installation of Hon. Dr. Saheed Audullahi Mosadoluwa and Hadjia Aishat Adebimpe as Baba Adinni and Iya Adinni reflects their exemplary leadership and commitment to the principles of Harmony Gardens and Estate Development LTD. The event serves as a beacon of unity, spirituality, and communal recognition within the Osapa London in Lekki community.

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Business

Squad Powers OmniPay’s Trade Business to Simplify Payments for FMCG Industry

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In a strategic move aimed at furthering its mission to empower African traders with the necessary payment solutions for thriving in the digital era, Squad, a fintech subsidiary of Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc (GTCO), offering comprehensive payment and e-commerce solutions for businesses, has entered a partnership with OmniPay, a subsidiary of OmniRetail Inc.

 

This collaboration has currently benefited more than 65,000 stakeholders, which include retailers, distributors, and manufacturers through improved payment and collection methods using Squad’s Virtual Bank Account without incurring any charges. Additionally, they have gained more accessible and affordable working capital to procure goods on credit for their businesses, contributing to the daily transaction volume exceeding N3 billion, and this figure continues to grow.

 

Adeyemi Atanda, the Chief Marketing Officer, Squad, shared insights on the partnership’s significance, emphasizing, “At Squad, our mission revolves around providing African businesses with the right solutions for effortless payment processes, available at their convenience. We understand the pivotal role small businesses play in our economy. Through strategic alliances like this, we aim to empower even more merchants by granting them access to rapid, user-friendly, and dependable payment solutions that optimize their business operations and, in turn, boost their revenue.”

 

Deepankar Rustagi, CEO of OmniRetail stated, “As we join forces with Squad, we are driven by our shared vision of transforming the digital payment landscape for African businesses. With OmniPay, businesses will gain improved payment methods with zero transfer fees, while retailers and distributors will have easier access to OmniPay’s BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) solution. This partnership aims to empower businesses, streamline payment processes, and enhance record-keeping accuracy through automated reconciliation for orders. This partnership reinforces OmniRetail’s commitment to innovation and financial inclusion.”

 

About Squad

 

Squad is a complete payment solution that is reliable, secure, and affordable, making receiving in-person and online payments simple and convenient.

 

Our goal is to support SMEs, micro-merchants, large corporations, and other fintechs (Tech Stars) with the tools they need to thrive in an evolving digital economy and expand beyond their current market reach.

 

Squad’s current products and service offerings include SquadPOS, Squad Payment Links, Squad Virtual Accounts, USSD, and E-Commerce Storefront.

 

Find out more at www.squadco.com.

 

About OmniPay

 

OmniPay, a subsidiary of OmniRetail Inc., is a company with a mission to simplify payments in Nigeria and provide working capital to trade businesses. OmniPay provides an API-based wallet built to simplify trade payments.

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