Nigeria

Lawyers in Nigeria (II); Land of Opportunities, Desert of Legislations

With the existence of several corporations in Nigeria, there will be expatriates in the picture. With 1.3 million international migrants & expatriates in Nigeria, being an immigration lawyer is an important job in the community.

The most necessary document of permit to be obtained in Nigeria is the Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC), which is regarded as Nigerian Residence Permit & also Temporary Work Permit (TWP). Furthermore, authentic Expatriate Quota (EQ) approvals issued by the Federal Ministry of Interior (FMI) are required for expats. 

EQ is granted approval to corporations active in this country for employment both local & expats & training for Nigerian understudies to grab skills needed in the field of work both nationally & internationally. Most married relocating to Nigeria are accompanied by their spouses. A residence permit with a no-work clause will be issued for accompanying spouses.

Why Immigration Lawyer is needed in Nigeria

Aside from all the approvals mentioned above, an immigration lawyer should assist the corporation with FMI criteria to avoid approved EQ withdrawal & familiarizing corporations with the conditions upon which the approvals would be revoked. 

In some cases, a fine of 3-year imprisonment or NGN 500,000 ($1204.08) will be imposed on expats who failed to obtain permission on time & should be taken up by lawyers for appeal. These cases include refusal to Regularization of Stay (ROS), business renewal & TWP, and CERPAC renewal.

Aside from all the issues stated above, dealing with Nigeria Free Trade Zone (FTZ) is a completely different story for corporations or businesses establishments. Generally, each FTZ has its legislations & regulations for both employers & employees. For two primary legislations, NEPZ Act and OGEFZA, an immigration lawyer is necessary alongside business lawyers.

To read Part 1, read the article below:

Lawyers in Nigeria (I); Discovering No Man’s Land.

Nigeria
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Lawyer Diversity in Nigeria

It is of great surprise that in a country with existence of 53.5% Muslim, 45.9% Christian & 0.6% other, in the ranking of top 10 Nigerian lawyers, there are two female lawyers of which one is at the top of the ranking.

Abimbola Akeredolu is considered the best lawyer in the Country graduated from University of Lagos & Universita Per Stranieri, Perugia, Italy.

She practices Litigation, Arbitration, Corporate & Commercial Law. Funke Adekoya, another female lawyer in Nigeria, is 8th in the ranking running her full-service legal agency with offices in Lagos, Port-Harcourt & Abuja.

Divorce Lawyer in Nigeria: How to Process divorce in Nigeria?

Dissolution of marriage in Nigeria is pretty difficult since the only way one can get a divorce in Lagos, or any other major city is that the marriage has broken down irreparably.

However, to process divorce here is another story. The petitioner should prove the facts with established grounds such as the respondent’s adultery, misdemeanor, deserting for at least a year, living separately for at least two years & non-compliance with conjugal rights.

Divorce in Nigeria

Is divorce legal in Nigeria?

Though divorce is legal in Nigeria, successfully proving the above-mentioned facts makes the divorce process a mission impossible for a divorce lawyer in Lagos or other major cities. There is a valid question in place in these cases: How long does a divorce take in Nigeria?

With the final court order in favor of the petitioner for divorce, the order becomes absolute within three months if there is no appeal in place from the affected party.

With these tight laws, it is worth mentioning that based on 2016 National Bureau of Statistics data, only 0.2% of men and 0.3% of women had legally dissolved their marriage.

Though, the number set a record in 2018 with a 14 percent increase in total. There is no updated figure on the same up-to-date though it shows a decrease per the authorities. 

How to pay a divorce lawyer in Nigeria?

There is another side to the story, too which could justify the small ratio per capita of divorce cases in this country. A good divorce Lawyer in Nigeria will charge 500,000 NGN ($1205) onwards, whereas a typical Nigerian earns 339,000 NGN ($817) per month.

It is worth mentioning that salaries in the mentioned country range from 85,700 NGN ($207) the lowest average to 1,510,000 NGN ($3,637) the highest average. This makes divorce a very expensive act of law in the country.

Land of Opportunities, Desert of Legislations

Although being a lawyer in the country of Naija is a well-reputed, classy field of work, it should be stated that the Nigerian Legal system has many issues & bottlenecks which make the profession challenging, old-fashioned & in some cases corrupt. Lack of intellectualism to deal with simple legal tasks being added to defrauding clients, bribing judicial officers, and embezzlement of funds in their custody make the Nigerian Legal System shaky & under question.

Due to a lack of honesty & integrity in its legal system, hiring a lawyer in Nigeria is undoubtedly a great clog in Nigeria’s legal wheel. Numerous small law firms emerging with the buzz of a start-up in Nigeria make the selection of competent firms dire & troublesome.
These are high-end, top-of-the-mind issues that could be mentioned on the Clients’ legislative side.

Court Issue; unresolvable yet obliged

On the other hand, the unprecedented, excessive delays in Nigerian courts make legal cases be it divorce, immigration, business, or criminal complicated & time-consuming. Due to these delays, lawyers do not have the required time to defend their cases in the courtroom since the judge is always in a hurry to usher them off the court stage.

Another court-related issue is Interlocutory Appeals. These appeals are against an interlocutory decision of a trial court or against the interlocutory decision of the Court of Appeal, which could take up to years for reaching a conclusion since the interlocutory appeal is concluded at the Supreme Court.

With Nigeria’s life expectancy of 49, sometimes witnesses, clients, charged, delegated, entitled or appointed figures could die, not considering the documents getting lost in the system!

The aforementioned data could be added to the lack of technological approach in the judicial system. While technology is a trend worldwide (in the United Kingdom, most offices are 80% “paperless” and the majority of the research is done online), judges in Nigeria still have to write down all that is said, unlike judges in developed countries where stenographers are used.

Consequently, the whole above mentioned points could be summarized in a single sentence: “While being a lawyer is a classy job there, one should be aware of the stereotypes & clichés ruling the judicial system of the country to become successful.”

Courts in Nigeria
Federal High Court Lagos

Epilogue

As said in these two articles, the pros and cons of this country are being understood. But with knowledge and advice from professionals in that area, you can make the bests from working and investing there.

So either you’re an investor who wants to invest in there or a citizen there, you might have different needs there, like any other place. Considering the different practice areas and different needs that an individual or an entity may bump into, you might be puzzled about how to manage all these things!
Here in LegaMart, we have the whole package 0-100 for your every legal need, and on the bright side, we offer you a free Consultancy.

Whether you’re seeking an immigration lawyer or investing opportunities in Nigeria, we in LegaMart can serve you all.

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