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BusinessDay 12 Apr 2018

22 BUSINESS DAY

22 BUSINESS DAY C002D5556 Thursday 12 April 2018

Thursday 12 April 2018 C002D5556 BUSINESS DAY 23 BDLegalBusiness Business Law Industry Report Practice Intelligence Partnerships Legal500 hails Banwo & Ighodalo THEODORA KIO-LAWSON Global leaders in legal research, ratings and rankings, LEGAL500 on Tuesday took to its twitter handle to give shout-outs to leading global law firms on its Legal 500 EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) 2018 ratings and rankings. Its shout-out went to top Nigerian law firm, Banwo & Ighodalo (B&I), hailing it as the firm with the highest number of leading individuals and next generation lawyers (combined) in Nigeria. Other felicitations went to Allen & Overy as the firm with the most leading individuals and next generation lawyers (combined) in the Netherlands and for also taking the highest number of top tier rankings in Slovakia; to Corpus Legal Practitioners and Musa Dudhia & Company for the highest number of leading individuals and next generation lawyers (combined) in Zambia; to Baker Mckenzie for the highest number of top tier rankings in Russia; and to Al Tamimi & Co. for the highest number of top tier rankings in the United Arab Emirates. The Legal500 research is conducted annually and covers 81 countries, over 2,700 ranked law firms. Its EMEA guide provides an assessment of various factors including work conducted by law firms over 12 months. This includes experience and depth of teams; specialisation and expertise, ancillary services; as well as the opinions of law firms’ clients. Rankings are based on feedback from 250, 000 in-house peers and access to law firm deals and confidential matters, assessed by the organisation’s researchers. Civil rights lawyer, Emeka Nwadioke has advised the Lagos State House of Assembly to “urgently repeal” the controversial Land Use Charge Law 2018. In a statement at the weekend, Nwadioke described the LUC law as “unconstitutional,” noting that the law is in breach of the 1999 Constitution. “The Land Use Charge Law 2018 as presently enacted is in clear breach of Article 1 (j) of the Fourth Schedule to the 1999 Constitution,” said Nwadioke who is also a member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Criminal Justice Reform Committee. “The schedule, pursuant to Section 7 (5) of the Constitution, unequivocally vests the assessment of privately owned houses or tenements for the purpose of levying PIGB: Why the President must expedite action to give assent to this Bill On Wednesday March 28, 2018, the much-awaited reform of the Nigerian Oil & Gas Sector may have finally commenced, with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (‘PIGB’). This reform is not unusual as most of the countries with established National Oil Companies (‘NOCs’); as Nigeria has done, have developed their respective legal and regulatory frameworks, to benefit potential investors – but more importantly, her citizens. Comparatively over the last five years, countries like Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Ghana, have passed their respective petroleum sector bills in 2012, 2016, 2015 and 2016 respectively. The PIGB as passed, is a revolutionary step towards creating a more efficient, transparent, competitive, local content driven Nigerian oil & gas market. It is the first of a series of laws, to restructure the industry to drive increased investor participation in exploration and production. After about two decades, and in what appears to be an elongated and tortuous exercise, a fragmented version of the original Petroleum Industry Bill (‘PIB’) is now to hand with Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari GCFR for his presidential assent. The Philosophy The Bill seeks to establish efficient and effective governing institutions, with clear and separate roles for the petroleum industry. It will also establish a framework, for the creation of commercially oriented and profit driven petroleum entities, that ensure value addition and internationalization of the petroleum industry, as well as promote transparency and accountability in the administration of petroleum resources in Nigeria. The law (when assented to), will foster a conducive business environment for petroleum industry operations. Unbundling and Consolidation of Functions of Agencies The PIGB provides three-pronged solutions to: the bureaucratic bottlenecks and regulatory inefficiency in the oil and gas industry, harsh Lawyer asks Lagos assembly to repeal LUC law rates on the local government.” “While we have taken notice of the remark by the honourable Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly that ‘the (LUC) law was all about increasing the revenue generation of the state,’” said the activist lawyer, “it is unthinkable and highly worrisome that a duly constituted group of lawmakers sworn on the Constitution would contemplate such brazen undermining of the same Constitution merely in a quest to shore up internally generated revenue.” According to Nwadioke, “All lovers of democracy and rule of law must rise in defence of the Nigerian Constitution from this latest onslaught. The cavalier manner in which the lawmakers have treated the Nigerian Constitution is unacceptable. No amount of legislative business environment for investment in the industry, and default in meeting the financial obligations of the government, on its investment in the industry. The unique approach offered by the Bill is the establishment of three institutions to pilot the change in the general operations of the oil and gas industry. They are: Nigeria Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NPRC); National Petroleum Asset Management Company (NPAMC); and National Petroleum Company (NPC). Following Presidential assent, Continues on page 25 L-R Emeka Chinwuba, Kieran Whyte, Jen Stolp & Calvin Walke at the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL) Banking, Finance & Insolvency Committee 2nd Quarter Members’ Forum. gymnastics can alter the right exclusively vested by the Constitution in the local government to levy tenement rates. “It is heart-warming that the Nigerian Supreme Court had in Knight Frank Rutley Nigeria v Attorney General of Kano State (1998) 4 SC 251 upheld this unambiguous provision of the Constitution. The same is true of the Rivers State High Court in Grinaker LTA Limited v Board of Internal Revenue (Suit PHC/2842/2010). We are confident that when the opportunity again presents itself, the High Court of Lagos State will align itself with these clear-cut decisions.” Continuing, the former NBA Lagos Branch Publicity Secretary advised the lawmakers to instead “take immediate steps to empower the local government administration by vesting it with the power to levy and collect tenement rate among others, rather than engage in measures that further emasculate that all-important tier of government. This will enable it discharge its uniquely equipped roles as obtains in other jurisdictions.” It is recalled that the Lagos State House of Assembly had in an unprecedented move enacted that Lagos LGAs “may delegate to the State” the power to collect tenement rate.

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