Thursday, 2 July 2020


The relationship between a tenant and his landlord is one duly protected by their agreement and the law and as such nothing can be done between them outside their agreement and the law as that will lead to either of them being guilty of an offence and liable to punishment. The Ignorance of law is not an excuse and as such this paper will focus on the Tenancy Law of Lagos State, applicable in Lagos[1] and the Recovery of Premise Act, applicable in Abuja to define who a tenant and a landlord is, the types of tenancy agreement we have and how such agreement can be legally terminated, the length of the notices needed for such agreement to be legally terminated and how such notices can be duly served.


A tenant is any person who holds, uses or occupies another person’s property temporarily for a term certain or fixed duration by an agreement, whether on payment of rent or otherwise or by operation of law. A tenant does not include any persons unlawfully occupying any premises under a bona fide claim to be the owner.[2] The Supreme Court stated that when a person occupied premises lawfully he becomes a protected tenant and it does not matter whether he pays regular rent, subsidised rent or indeed no rent. What is necessary to come within the Law is lawful occupation[3]. It was held in Okedare v. Hanid[4] that a tenant includes a sub tenant (sub tenant to the landlord, tenant to the initial tenant).


A landlord is the person entitled to title and ownership right on the property and the immediate reversion of the premises, this includes: The attorney, solicitor, agent or caretaker of the landlord, any person receiving rent or who has a right to receive rent, a former landlord where the context so requires, any person who has the title and ownership rights on property.[5]


A TENANT AT WILL: This is a tenancy relationship created where the landlord permits the tenant to occupy the premises with no definite time. Thus, importantly the tenant occupies the premises with landlord’s consent but no definite time to remain there. The following are the instance that it can arise:

·         When the tenant whose lease expires holds over possession of the property after expiration of the tenancy agreement

·         Where the person holds property before entering into a formal tenancy agreement.

·         Where a person is allowed to occupy premises for an indefinite period rent free. Odutola V. Papersack Nig. Ltd.[6]

TENANCY BY ESTOPPEL: Estoppel on the part of the Landlord from denying the existence of a tenancy. In the same vein, once a tenant enters into lawful occupation, he cannot deny the existence of the tenancy. Ude V Nwara[7]

LICENSEE: A person is permitted to use premises without having any estate or exclusive possession of the premises. It arises out of privilege to use the premises by another who is the owner/lawful person in possession of the premises. A licensee does not have an estate in the premises. Also, the licensee does not have exclusive possession of the premises.

PERIODIC TENANCY: Example is weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly. It goes on from period to period until a notice to quit is issued on the tenant. The tenancy Agreement must evidence the nature of the tenancy. Where the agreement is silent on the nature, reference will be made to the mode of payment or when rent is usually demanded.[8] It is pertinent to note that a tenant can change from a periodic tenant to a fixed term tenancy and such person does not need a notice to quit. It carries with it an automatic renewal clause for the same period created commencing from the anniversary of the tenancy and so on until determination by a valid notice to quit.

TENANCY FOR A FIXED PERIOD: This is otherwise known as tenancy for a term certain. They have definite commencement date and the duration is certain. It does not have a renewal clause unlike periodic tenancy. It terminates automatically by effluxion of time.


Before the landlord decide to terminate the agreement between himself and the tenant the tenancy law of Lagos state and the Nigerian courts have provided for the grounds on which such agreement can be terminated;

1.      When the tenant is in Arrears of rent[9], the landlord can terminate the tenancy agreement; In the case of a monthly tenancy, where the tenant is in arrears of rent for six (6) months, the tenancy shall lapse and the Court shall make an order for possession and arrears of rent upon proof of the arrears by the landlord[10]. In the case of a quarterly or half-yearly tenancy, where the tenant is in arrears of one (1) year rent, the tenancy shall lapse and the Court shall make an order for possession and arrears of rent upon proof of the arrears by the landlord[11].

2.      Where the tenant has committed a breach of an express term of the agreement or has breached any of his obligations as provided by law[12]

3.      Where the premises is required for a purpose which is in public interest Olaoye V. Mandilas[13].

4.      Where the premise is required by the landlord for his personal use[14], or children over 18 years or his parents.[15]

5.      Where the premises requires substantial repairs[16]

6.      Where the tenant is using the premise for immoral or illegal purposes[17] or is guilty of committing nuisance or conducts that is inimical to interest or annoyance of the landlord or other neighbors.

7.      Where the premise has been abandoned by the tenant[18]

8.      Premise is unsafe and unsound and is dangerous to human life or property[19]

9.      Where the tenant or any person residing or lodging with him or being his sub-tenant constitutes by conduct, an act of intolerable nuisance or induces a breach of a tenancy agreement[20]


The length of the notice to be given to the tenant is judged solely on the agreement between the parties this is because as a general rule landlord and tenant relationship is based on contract. However where the parties do not have an agreement to the length of notice then the provision of the statutes will take effect as follows;

Tenant at will or weekly tenant: A Week’s Notice

Monthly Tenancy: A Month’s Notice

Quarterly Tenancy: A Quarter’s Notice (3 Months’ Notice)

Half-yearly Tenancy: 3 MONTH’S NOTICE[21]

Yearly Tenancy: Half a year’s notice (6 MONTHS NOTICE)[22]

The significant date is the day of service of notice and not date on the notice to quit. It helps to determine whether the proper length of notice to quit has been given[23]. For example, a Notice to Quit written on the 1 of January but served on the 7 of January is taken to be served on the 7 of January.

Service of these notices differs in Abuja and Lagos;

In Abuja it is by personal service on the tenant. However where the tenant is evading service or cannot be found, there can be substituted service by pasting on some conspicuous part of the premises.[24]

In Lagos, proper service means any manner of service that will ensure that the person to be served will have knowledge of the notices to be served[25]. Proper service of notices on a Tenant of residential premises shall be personal service and will include but not limited to all the manners stated in Section 18 of the Tenancy Law of Lagos;

a.      Service on the person

b.      Delivering it to an ADULT residing at the premises to be recovered

c.       By courier where the tenant cannot be found, by delivering same to the premises sought to be recovered, and the courier must show proof of delivery

d.      Affixing the notice on the prominent part of the premises sought to be recovered and providing corroborative proof of evidence.

Proper service of notices on a tenant of a business premises is as stated in S 19 Tenancy Law of Lagos. The manner includes:

a.      Delivering it to a person at the business premises sought to be recovered.

b.      Affixing the notice on the prominent part of the premises sought to be recovered and providing corroborative proof of evidence

Note that before substituted service can be valid, the server must establish that he made several efforts at personal service without any success. Service can be effected by landlord, his agent or legal practitioner, a Bailiff is not Necessary[26].


It is safe to state that the landlord and the tenant are bound by their agreement and the provisions of the law. It should be pointed out here that the expiration of the notice those not terminate the tenancy agreement, the landlord or his agent will further issue a notice to tenant of owners intention to apply to recover possession; otherwise known as “7 Days’ Notice” afterwards the landlord will go to court where the tenant still fails to deliver up possession. The procedure for recovery of premises must be strictly complied with or else the process will be a nullity[27]. A landlord cannot resort to forceful eviction of tenant or use of self-help he must apply for a warrant of possession, in Ihenancho V Uzochukwu[28], the Supreme Court held that where a landlord takes over his property forcefully from a tenant without an order of court, he will be deemed to have resorted to self-help and therefore, the landlord will be liable for damages in trespass. There is penalty in Lagos for any person who attempts to or forcibly ejects or molests a tenant or wilfully damages any premises. He will be liable to a fine of N 250,000.00 or imprisonment of 6 Month[29] while in Abuja, he will be liable to pay for Special Damages[30].

[1] This Law is not applicable in Ikeja GRA, Apapa, Ikoyi and Victoria Island. S. 1(3) of Tenancy Law of Lagos State

[2] S. 47 of Tenancy Law of Lagos State; S. 2 of Recovery of Premises Act

[3] Oduye V. Nig. Airways Ltd. (1987) 2 NWLR (PT. 55) 126

[4] (1995) 15 WACA 17

[5] S 2 Recovery of Premises Act 1990; S 47 Tenancy Law of Lagos State


[6] (2006) 18 NWLR (PT. 1012) 470

[7] (1993) 2 NWLR (PT. 278) 638

[8] S. 13(6) Tenancy Law of Lagos State; S. 8(3) Recovery of Premises Act.

[9] S. 25(1)(a) Tenancy Law of Lagos State

[10] S. 13(2) Tenancy Law of Lagos State

[11] S. 13(3) Tenancy Law of Lagos State

[12] S. 25(1)(b) Tenancy Law of Lagos State

[13] (1949) 19 NLR 59

[14] S. 25(1)(c) Tenancy Law of Lagos State

[15] Coker V Adetayo (1992) 6 NWLR (PT. 249) 612

[16] S. 25(1)(d) Tenancy Law of Lagos State

[17] S. 25(2)(a) Tenancy Law of Lagos State

[18] S. 25(2)(b) Tenancy Law of Lagos State

[19] S. 25(2)(c) Tenancy Law of Lagos State

[20] S. 25(2)(d) Tenancy Law of Lagos State

[21] No provision for this in Abuja except Lagos S. 13(1)(d) Tenancy Law of Lagos

[22] S. 8(1) Recovery of Premises Act, S 13(1) (e) Tenancy Law of Lagos

[23] Nnadozie V Oluoma (1963) ENLR 77;

[24] Section 28 Recovery of Premises Act, Chiwete V Amissah (1957) LLR 104

[25] Section 17 Tenancy Law of Lagos State

[26] Chiwete V Amissah (Supra)

[27] Awe V Said 3PLR/ 24/ 1967

[28] (1997) 2 NWLR (PT 487) 257

[29] S 44(1) Tenancy Law of  Lagos

[30] S. 29 (1) Recovery of Premise Act

Tuesday, 19 May 2020


contronyms: 1.

1. Apology: A statement of contrition for an action, or a defense of one

2. Aught: All, or nothing

3. Bill: A payment, or an invoice for payment

4. Bolt: To secure, or to flee

5. Bound: Heading to a destination, or restrained from movement

6. Buckle: To connect, or to break or collapse

7. Cleave: To adhere, or to separate

8. Clip: To fasten, or detach

9. Consult: To offer advice, or to obtain it

10. Continue: To keep doing an action, or to
 suspend an action

11. Custom: A common practice, or a special treatment

12. Dike: A wall to prevent flooding, or a ditch

13. Discursive: Moving in an orderly fashion among topics, or proceeding aimlessly in a discussion

14. Dollop: A large amount (British English), or a small amount

15. Dust: To add fine particles, or to remove them

16. Enjoin: To impose, or to prohibit

17. Fast: Quick, or stuck or made stable

18. Fine: Excellent, or acceptable or good enough

19. Finished: Completed, or ended or destroyed

20. First degree: Most severe in the case of a murder charge, or least severe in reference to a burn

21. Fix: To repair, or to castrate

22. Flog: To promote persistently, or to criticize or beat

23. Garnish: To furnish, as with food preparation, or to take away, as with wages

24. Give out: To provide, or to stop because of a lack of supply

25. Go: To proceed or succeed, or to weaken or fail

26. Grade: A degree of slope, or a horizontal line or position

27. Handicap: An advantage provided to ensure equality, or a disadvantage that prevents equal achievement

28. Help: To assist, or to prevent or (in negative constructions) restrain

29. Hold up: To support, or to impede

30. Lease: To offer property for rent, or to hold such property

Friday, 1 May 2020




Copyright as the name implies, simply means the right to copy. It can be defined as the exclusive right and protection given to a creator of a creative work exclusively to protect his work. Copyright helps you prevent others from using your work without your permission. The consent rights conferred to a creator includes: (a)Right to reproduce the work (b) Distribute copies of the work (c)Perform the work publicly (d) Make a derivative work. Thus, a third party cannot exercise any of the above rights in regards a work without the consent of the creator or the copyright holder.  Various countries have enacted their individual Copy right Act to protect creatives within their jurisdiction and also works that were published within their jurisdiction. Under these copyright enactments, the common features include: (i) The definition of what entails copyright infringement (ii) The penalties for this Copyright infringement (iii) The right of the copyright holder to an action in court for enforcement.
However, there has been a lot of uncertainties in regard the importance of a certificate of registration to instituting copyright infringement cases. The common practice in copyright infringement suits in all jurisdictions is the ability of the plaintiff to prove two basic elements, (a) That the work is an original composition of the creator (b) And that it was presented in a tangible form through a medium that is generally known to the society.
Traditionally, for an aggrieved party to bring an action for copyright infringement in the United States, the basic practice was that he needs to prove certain elements and they include:
  • ·         That the work was copyright-able. To be classified as such, the work has to be an original work and not copied from another composition. This test is subjective and is decided on a case to case basis. Rentmeester v. Nike, Inc, 883 F.3d 1111 (2018).
  • ·         It must be in a tangible form.
  •       The plaintiff must be able to prove striking similarities between his work and that of the defendant. In most cases, the court contracts the service of a musicologists to determine this.
  • ·         Failure to prove this striking similarities means the plaintiff is required to prove substantial similarities. And this element requires proving that the defendant has access to your work. And in this technological era, it is not difficult to prove this again.

Previously, the importance of certificate of registration of copyright was not clearly stated. While some legal scholars states that there is a need to register the copyright with the Copyright office before filing such suit.  Some scholars posed a different opinion, they claim that certificate of registration is not substantial for a copyright holder to bring a suit for infringement. The rationale behind their opinion is that copyright comes with every work provided the two basic ingredients are proven, original composition and tangible form. This opinion was supported by the decision of the Supreme Court in Reed Elsevier, Inc v, Muchnick, 559 U.S. 154 (2010). Where the court held that failure to register a copyright under section 411(a) of the United States Copyright Act does not limit a Federal Court’s jurisdiction over claims of infringement regarding unregistered works. Section 411(a) of the Copyright Act provides that: “no civil action for infringement of the copyright in any United States work shall be instituted until preregistration or registration of the copyright claim has been made in accordance with this title”. Thus, an aggrieved party can bring an action of copyright without prior registration or certificate of registration.  

Recently, this controversy has been laid to rest by the Supreme Court decision in Fourth Estate Public Benefits Corp. v. 17 U.S.C 411(a) 2019, where the court asserted that certificate of registration of copyright is fundamental to all copyright suit and that copyright holders should register their copyright with the U.S Copyright Office before instituting the action, mere application for registration will not suffice. The exceptions to this decision includes: ‘moral right suits’ and ‘foreign works’. In these two cases, a copyright holder of such work can institute the action even though the copyright has not been registered. The court further defined ‘registration’ of copyright as "the effective date of registration, once the registration is actually processed by the Copyright Office and not when the application is filed with the Copyright Office". This means that though an artiste does not need money on copyrighting his work, as creative works enjoy automatic copyright protection, if he plans to sue someone or enforce such copyright, there will be a need to register the work with U.S Copyright office and have a certificate of registration. Note that the originality requirement and the fact that it must be put in a fixed or tangible medium of expression was also considered in this case.

 Just like in other jurisdictions, the works that are subject to copyright protection includes: (a) musical works (b) literary works (c) cinematographic works (d) artistic works (e) broadcasts (f)sound recordings.  However, section 1(2) of the Nigeria Copyright Act states that for an artistic, literary or musical work to be eligible for copyright protection, it must contain two basic elements (a) It must be an original composition (b) It must be in tangible medium from which it can be perceived or reproduced. From the provision, this entails that for other works like cinematography, broadcasts and sound recordings, there is no need to prove whether the work is an original composition or in tangible form. This a provision that needs to be resolved to state clear the actual requirements.

The relevance of certificate of registration in the institution of a suit is not stated nor mentioned. However, the Act makes provision for a presumption that copyright subsists in any work which is an alleged subject of infringement and that the plaintiff is deemed to be the owner of the copyright work (section 35[a, b]).
While the legal framework of the United States has made it clear in regards the relevance of a certificate of registration to a copyright infringement suit, hence, putting to death the earlier controversy that existed. Nigeria Copyright Act did not make any reference to certificate of registration as seen in Section 411 of the Copyright Act of the United States nor did it state what role such document plays in a copyright infringement suit. Hence, there are lot of lessons that Nigeria jurisdiction needs to learn from the United States procedural structure when it comes to relevance of certificate of registration in a copyright suit.
In the writers’ opinion, although registering a work in the copyright office isn’t a prerequisite to enjoy copyright protection, the advantages of registering a work are numerous; so it is advised that a person seeking to enforce his rights either now or in the future should take the required steps to get the work copyrighted. This also mean that the Copyright Act of Nigeria should be amended to state categorically the duties, importance and value attached to a certificate of registration especially as it relates to copyright infringement suits.

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Nigeria, as a democratic society, is built and run on the values of civil rights and democratic principles. Consequent upon this, fundamental rights which are codified in numerous international treaties, are accepted as inalienable to every human. These rights are enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which is the grundnorm of the land.

Among these fundamental human rights are; rights to life, personal liberty, freedom from degrading and inhuman treatment,  private and family life, privacy, right to acquire and own property, freedom of movement, freedom of religion, etc. These rights are held sacred and inviolable except on clearly defined occasions as provided for, by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.Thus, the courts in Nigeria, on numerous occasions, have struck down Acts of Parliament and legislation, including executive orders of government, which do violence to any of the fundamental rights provided for in the constitution.

With the above understanding, and looking at the contents and provisions of this proposed Bill, one wonders whether our lawmakers or indeed the sponsor of the said Bill, who swore to protect and uphold the constitution of Nigeria, are interested in keeping the pledge they made. A critical assessment of this Bill and the timing of it’s tabling before the green Chambers, makes one wonder what the true intention of the promoters of this Bill, and what they are truly after. Certainly, the promoters of this Bill are not interested in any sincere control or prohibition of infectious diseases in Nigeria.

The world is presently battling a virus that has devastated several nations with no officially announced cure yet. Palpable fear has been stirred up in the minds of people across the globe, by the media, about the destructive effect of this disease. It is this fear that the agents of darkness who are behind this Bill wanted to ride on, in their celerity to pass this Bill into a law. After all, it ought to be a highly sellable proposition, to present the Bill as a legal instrument that will help Nigeria fight and defeat the COVID 19 pandemic. Behind this seemingly laudable objective, is the sinister objective to subjugate Nigerians by this instrument, to forceful vaccination in respect of a disease which has no known cure yet. Why the rush in passing a bill in the middle of a pandemic which has no known cure? Why make provisions for the forceful injection of unknown vaccinations for unknown diseases in the Bill?


In the first place, apart from the first 3 sections of the Bill, which made mention of declaration by the president of Nigeria, of public health emergency, like the Covid 19, all the other over 77 sections of the Bill talk about matters and or issues that are not of any urgent public importance now. It is therefore shocking that the elected members of the  National Assembly, would break the lockdown order, with the attendant risks to themselves and their immediate family members and their various communities at large, to gather in Abuja, to surreptitiously pass the law without any input by public health workers and other stakeholders in Nigeria.


1. Section 3(8) of the Bill which empowers the DG of NCDC by himself or any officer under him or a police officer on his direction, to enter into any premises or gathering of people in an area declared by the president as  a public health restricted zone, without a warrant is clearly in breach of the right of Nigerians to freedom of assembly, right to liberty, etc. This kind of power in the hands of an overzealous police officer or NCDC official can cause serious civil unrest.

2. Section 5(3) of the Bill empowers the DG to compel any person SUSPECTED by him, of having an infectious disease, to take medical examination or test he(DG) prescribes and allow the DG to take blood or other samples from the person for purposes of public health surveillance. This, of course, is in breach of the constitutional right of every Nigerian to his privacy and right to respect of the dignity of his human person. It must be noted that this section, like the other provisions of this Bill, has nothing to do with whether there is a public health emergency or not. It is meant to be the permanent provision of the law exercisable at any time at the whims of the DG, even the minister of health. A person who refuses to allow the DG to take his samples or do the prescribed test is guilty of an offence. Sect 6 also has a similar provision. This is dangerous. Even in the developed world, testing for COVID 19 is voluntary despite the ravaging effect of the deadly virus on the health and lives of people. These Developed nations, which are by far, worst affected by this pandemic, are yet to pass any such devilish legislation as now being introduced by our own lawmakers in Nigeria.

3. Section 8 makes it obligatory for health personnel treating anybody to release to the DG, his client’s medical details and records, without any regards to the age-long norm and professional code of confidentiality between a doctor and his patient. It is a crime to refuse to release the information requested. This is against the ethics of medical practice and an infringement upon the fundamental rights of Nigerians and must also be resisted.

4. Section 13 EMPOWERS THE DG UPON MERE SUSPICION, NOT INFORMATION, that a person is infected with an infectious disease and or recovered from an infectious disease, to arrest the person and detain him for as long as he deems necessary without a warrant or court order at any isolation centre of his choice. It is an offence to resist the DG. Again this section infringes on the fundamental rights of Nigerians.

5. Section 15 of the Bill,  empowers the Minister of Health, to declare any premises whether public or private as an isolation centre and the moment this declaration is made, nobody is allowed to enter or leave the premises without the authorization of the minister. The right to property of Nigerians is thereby taken away without compensation as required by the constitution. This provision too is in conflict with constitutional provisions.

6. By section 16 of the Bill, the DG can declare any building or gathering as overcrowded and without any court order or warrant, enter the premises using such force as he deems necessary to disperse the group and may also close the building. A similar provision is in section 17. This section gives the DG unlimited powers to make such declarations any time it wills. These unlimited powers are prone to gross abuse.

7. SECT 19 empowers the DG to close any meeting or public gathering or event he considers to likely increase the spread of infectious disease without any court order.

8. Section 23 of the Bill authorizes the DG or an enforcement officer of his agency or police, to seize anybody walking on the street whom he SUSPECTS of having an infectious disease without any warrant. This also portends danger to the fundamental rights of Nigerians.

9. Section 30 of the Bill makes vaccination, for no known specific disease, compulsory if you are either leaving or arriving in Nigeria.

10. Section 47 of the Bill Empowers the DG to direct compulsory vaccination in an outbreak or a suspected outbreak.


1. Throughout the different sections of the Bill, any failure to comply with the directives of the DG of NCDC is a criminal offence. THE ESSENCE OF THIS IS THAT THE BILL SEEKS TO TURN THE AVERAGE NIGERIAN into a Criminal on a sensitive issue of health.

2. The Bill, specifically in section 9, will make the donation of blood a very difficult issue in future,  as it criminalizes blood donation tainted with so-called misinformation or misleading information. This section is notwithstanding the fact that any blood donated by donors, is subjected to screening.

3. The Bill gave so much power to the NCDC Director -General with the attendant risk of gross abuse by the occupier of that position and the officers of NCDC.

4. The Bill fails to take into consideration the federal status of the country with the overbearing powers given to NCDC DIRECTOR -GENERAL and the Minister of Health on all issues without any form of control or checks by either the legislature or the judiciary.

5. The Power to take over the PRIVATE PROPERTY OF NIGERIANS and turn into ISOLATION CENTER in Section 15 of the Bill  at the instance of the DG and the Minister of Health in any part of the Federation is a banana peel and potential abuse of the rights of Nigerians to property and also an abuse of the powers of states government and Local Government as guaranteed under the constitution.