Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The Unconstitutionality of KAI Brigade's Mandate Over Market Vendors & Street Hawkers in Lagos State

Iya Sadiatu was a vegetable seller under the Oshodi Bridge until the Lagos State Government raided the environment arresting some market vendors and depriving them of their day’s sale. While the development was welcomed by most Lagosians; at least because it led to a free flow of traffic along that route, it made many like Iya Sadiatu who could not afford the ultra modern market built in place of their roadside sheds to become deserted and jobless thereby directly altering the source of their livelihood.
A market woman displaying tomatoes and onions for sale.
Market vendors constitute one of the most vulnerable sections of the Lagos populace, and a threat to their livelihood is a threat to their right to life. As a matter of fact, it will be sheer pedantry to exclude the right to livelihood from the context of right to life because income is the foundation to enjoy many fundamental rights and when work is the source of income, the right to a living will become as much a fundamental right. (See Delhi Dev. Horticulture Employees’ Union v Delhi Administration, Delhi AIR 1992 S.C. 789). The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 asserts among other things that everyone has the right to work, to the free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work, & to protection against unemployment. This is replicated in the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights 1966 which refers to the right of everyone to have the opportunity to gain his living by work which he freely chooses or accepts (See Article 6 (1). Bearing in mind those provisions, the Lagos State Government must wear a human face by appreciating the intersection between poverty, the desperation of market vendors to trade their goods, and the dynamics of the interplay in the negation of the fundamental rights of the traders. This is more pertinent because a government that seeks to advance human rights must view things from the perspective of the most marginalised and disposed group for its policies to be meaningful.

Like Iya Sadiatu, many vendors have suffered the loss of livelihood as a result of their inability to meet up with Lagos State Government’s conditions and standards for trading in Lagos. Some have been brutalised by government officials particularly the KAI Brigade; they’ve had their goods seized and sometimes destroyed. A private findings from one of the Heads of the Market Vendors revealed that some senior staff in the KAI Brigade have a monthly take home “ex gratia” in the form of royalty for allowing them to display their goods to the public.
Men of KAI Brigade in operation.

While we may note some of the issues already raised as mere asides, we can also question the legality of thr exercise of authority by KAI Brigade over market vendors. Section 7 (5) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria provides that:

“The functions to be conferred by Law upon local government councils shall include those set out in the Fourth Schedule to this Constitution”

The Constitution then provides among other things in Paragraph 1 (e) and K (iii) of the 4th Schedule that the Local Government shall have the function of establishing, maintaining, and regulating markets… control and regulation of shops and kiosks.

The provisions of Section 7 (5) and that of Paragraph 1 (e) and K (iii) of the 4th Schedule are clear and unambiguous. If it were intended that the Lagos State Government should share concurrent powers over market vendors and the choice of where they display their goods, it would have been expressly stated because the rule is “Expressio Unius Est Exclusio Alterius Legal”, that means the clear expression of one thing is the exclusion of the other. By that rule, it is also meant that where certain terms have been expressly set forth in a statute, that statute may be interpreted not to apply to terms that have been excluded from the statute. By all known rules of interpretation, it is the duty of each Local Government in Lagos State to manage market structures and its subjects (i.e. market vendors, kiosk owners, road side vendors, and street hawkers). As the Lagos State Government does not have power to establish, maintain, or regulate markets, it has no power to delimit domestic trade zones, neither does it possess a concurrent power with the Local Government Councils in respect of the functions set out in the 4th Schedule and must therefore desist from acts tantamount to an incursion of Local Governments’ functions. To the extent already explained therefore, the KAI Brigade being an agent of the Lagos State Government does not have the necessary constitutional backing to regulate market vendors. KAI Brigade’s enabling statutes including some of the provisions in the Street Trading and Illegal Markets (Prohibition) Law, Environmental Sanitation Enforcement Agency Law, and the Special Offences Court Law of Lagos State must be declared void to the extent of their inconsistency with Section 7 (5) and Paragraph 1 (e) and K (iii) of the 4th Schedule to the 1999 Constitution which is the supreme law. 

It is quite interesting that the National Assembly has granted full financial and administrative autonomy to Local Government Councils in Nigeria by amending Section 124 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, this will definitely go a long way to expose some of the State Governments’ incursion into the residual duties of Local Government Councils particularly the unconstitutionality of KAI Brigade’s mandate over market vendors and street hawkers in Lagos State.     

* EYITAYO OGUNYEMI is an Associate at Falana & Falana’s Chambers. He is the initiator of “The People’s Parliament”- a forum committed to imparting the society with the knowledge of their constitutional rights and duties. Eyitayo is passionate about instilling legal knowledge in the masses and is a core Advocate for a knowledge based society. Questions may be directed to (+234-806-0623-454) or asked directly in the comment box below.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Review of the People's Parliament Held on October 1, 2014 In Lagos, Nigeria

Eyitayo Ogunyemi addressing participants at
 the event.
The People’s Parliament is a social forum instituted to impart Nigerians particularly core grassroots people with the knowledge of their constitutional duties and rights under the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The first of its kind was held at Onigbongbo Community Hall, Maryland, Lagos, and attracted over two hundred participants (notwithstanding the unfavourable weather). We had many community leaders in attendance including the community development association leaders, the head of all market women in that area (Iyaoloja of Onigbongbo), the Chief Imam of the Area, Pastors, a representative of the King of the area, security personnel, and a representative of the local government chairman among others. A large number of the participants were typical local people with little or no understanding of English language. This necessitated that we adopt a flexible approach in our medium of communication; the PowerPoint slides which had earlier been prepared was done away with, and we had to switch to Yoruba language instead of English language which we were ordinarily comfortable with. The lead presentation delivered by Eyitayo Ogunyemi titled “You, The Police, & Your Right to Liberty” lasted for about thirty three minutes, after which the floor was opened for participants to discuss their understanding of the law “in their own words”, and also share their ideas and sentiments about governmental institutions particularly the Nigeria Police. We were touched by a number of stories including that of the experience of the Iyaoloja in the hands of men of the Nigeria Police.
The Iyaoloja of Onigbongbo narrating her experience in
the hands of men of the Nigeria Police
According to her, she was arrested alongside other community leaders and held in police custody for four (4) days without any charge. Another participant mentioned that there was a time some men of the Police came looking for someone but ended up arresting another person in lieu of the person they came looking for. A participant also observed that there has been incessant killing of innocent people by men of the Nigeria police without the government calling them to order or anybody fighting the course of justice on behalf of such people’s families. The issue of incessant killing of Suspects by the Police has been of immense concern to us as an organisation because the law is still unsettled in the area of whether a deceased person who was unlawfully murdered can enforce his/her right to life. In the case of Nosiru Bello & Ors. Vs. Attorney-General of Oyo State (1986) 5 NWLR (PT 45) 828, it was stated that the only right exercisable by the deceased family is that of an action in Tort and not fundamental rights, but there are reasons to believe that this can no longer represent the position of the law in the light of Paragraph E of the preamble to the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedures) Rules 2009 which enjoins courts to encourage and welcome public interest litigations in the human rights field. Another participant raised the issue of instability in Laws. He pointed out that “the Constitution” is usually altered by the government to suit its ambitions. In reacting to the foregoing issue, we pointed out that the constitution births the government and not otherwise, and that it is only the people acting through themselves or through their representatives that can make, or alter the constitution.

Other issues that cropped up during the discussion are: illicit/ mass arrest through police raid of local areas, monetary demands by police as a prerequisite for the grant of administrative bail, unfair collaboration of some lawyers with Police in order to rip off financial gains from victims of police arrest and detention etc.

At the end of the programme, participants agreed that it was necessary to have legal advisers for their communities, host more enlightenment programmes, and also enrol as a community volunteer in order to create awareness campaign for the rights of citizens and other persons in the society.

We also had our own resolution which howbeit was not said loud; looking at the passion with which the participants listened, their zeal for knowledge and their experiences in the hands of security agents, the only resolution on our mind is to embark on more awareness campaign at the grassroots level with a people that are apparently “unlearned” so that the rule of law, and accountability can be established through the knowledge of the Nigeria Constitution.  Questions may be directed to (+234-806-0623-454) or asked directly in the comment box below.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Systemic Violation of the Fundamental Rights of Persons Awaiting Trial and the Evils of the Holding Charge Doctrine Under Nigerian Laws.

Like other accused persons, those who are held in prison custody while awaiting their trial are presumed innocent until the contrary is proved. By virtue of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As amended), awaiting trial persons (ATPs) are entitled to enjoy other fundamental rights apart from the rights to personal liberty and freedom of movement. Since awaiting trial persons are usually not allowed the same level of freedom and care accorded to a convict within the walls of the prison, they usually face a “necessary evil” while they await the hearing and conclusion of their trial. One of the roots of the evil is well captured in a statement credited to Mr. Chuks Afujie, the Assistant Comptroller General in charge of Social Welfare who purportedly stated during an interview that “awaiting trial persons are not seen as the prison service’s responsibility [thus] they are not usually allowed to participate in training programmes”. We cannot therefore deny the fact that the act of locking persons awaiting trial behind the bar is a systemic violation of their rights.

Some of the statutory rights and duties of prison inmates are spelt out in the Nigerian Prisons and Correctional Service Act and recent records attest to the fact that the prisons in Nigeria are getting better in terms of reformation through skill acquisition programmes, flexible education for inmates, and provision of recreational facilities. Unfortunately, the position of awaiting trial persons is not well clarified in the Act. This is in contradiction with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Inmates (particularly the rules dealing with awaiting trial persons- see subheading “C” under Part II)

Having not been tried or convicted, awaiting trial persons are not supposed to be kept with convicted prisoners. It is perhaps in appreciation of this fact that the Administration of Justice Commission Act established the Administration of Justice Commission to among other functions … make sure that persons awaiting trial are as far as possible, not detained in prison custody. The reality is however otherwise as they are sometimes kept in the same compartment or at close range with convicts.

It has also been established that awaiting trial persons constitute the majority population in the Nigeria prisons. During a recent visit to Kirikiri maximum prison in Lagos, it was revealed that some of the inmates are still awaiting DPP’s advice and have practically been forgotten in closed bar; they cannot participate in activities which a convict partakes in and have little or no entitlement to the welfare packages (especially food) in the prison. Another case study is Kuje Prison in Abuja where some of the awaiting trial persons include Boko Haram suspects who are still awaiting their trial since 2012. It may therefore be inferred that Government’s desire to restrict the movement of suspects during investigation, plus the statutory audacity conferred on Magistrate/ Area courts to commit accused persons who have been charged with capital offences to prison pending their trial are the root causes of the population menace. 

The latter reason stated above has actually birth a new form of injustice known as “Holding charge doctrine” by which awaiting trial persons are kept in prison pending the final determination of police investigation and DPP’s advice, or arraignment before a court of competent jurisdiction. The former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Dahiru Musdapher (Rtd.) must have observed in quietness the plight of some of the victims of holding charges in his address at the opening ceremony of the fifth annual general conference of the Nigerian Bar Association when he said “as often, in the case when he (awaiting trial person) is set free because he has no case, he goes home in shame, a damaged man, without apology, (and) without compensation”. Does it end at the point? I do not think so because Magistrates being unmindful that such persons need a rehabilitation plan to fit back into the society usually fail to make a consequential order on their rehabilitation, which is one of the reasons for the increase in the rate of crimes in the society.

The doctrine of “holding charge” emanated in a bid to evade Section 34 (4) of the 1999 Constitution which provides inter alia that “Any person who is arrested or detained… shall be brought before a court of law within a reasonable time” 

The constitution goes further to provide in subsection 5 that “… the expression “a reasonable time” means-… in the case of an arrest or detention in any place where there is a court of competent jurisdiction within a radius of forty kilometres, a period of one day; and … in any other case, a period of two days or such longer period as in circumstances may be considered by the court to be reasonable.”

Arising from the above constitutional provision, and due to the fact that magistrate courts are courts of summary trials, such suspects are paraded before the Magistrate who does not have the jurisdiction to try or grant bail to the suspects charged for felony, but assumes the jurisdiction to hold that the suspects be remanded pending the conclusion of police investigation, D.P.P’s advice, or proper arraignment before a court of competent jurisdiction.

The evil that holding charge portrays is enormous, and with the greatest sense of humility to their Lordships, it is so disheartening that the Supreme Court has upheld the validity of the holding charge practice in the case of Lufadeju & Anor. V. Johnson (2007) 3 S.C. (Pt. 11) 134. In that case, their Lordships pronounced on the holding charge as practiced under section 236 (6) of the Lagos state Criminal Procedure Rules as being legal and complementary to the provisions of section 32 0f the 1979 constitution (now Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution). Although there are other cases where the practice of holding charge has been declared illegal (for instance Ogor & anor. v Kolawole (1983) 1 NCR 342, Akokhia v COP Lagos (1984) 5 NCLR 836), the decision in Lufadeju’s case seems to be the present law in Nigeria on this subject matter. We may therefore not be able to shy away from the need for a reform in our criminal jurisprudence so as to remedy the blatant disregard for the fundamental rights of awaiting trial persons in Nigerian prisons.

In an unassuming manner, and with the greatest sense of respect to their Lordships, the practice by which accused persons are put behind bars when on the face of the charge, there is nothing connecting them with the offence amounts to injustice. What does the Magistrate do when a holding charge is brought before him/her? He/she merely ascertains whether a charge has been drawn or not. At the Magistrate’s discretion, he/she may or may not even look into the substance of the charge, neither may the Magistrate deem it appropriate to find out what the nexus is between the suspect and the alleged crime- not because he/she does not want to know, but because it will amount to a futile exercise to commence the journey of advocacy which is destined to capsize due to lack of jurisdiction. One may therefore ask- if a law (as in this case) empowers an authority to suspend a person’s right to liberty, does it not by necessity impose an additional burden on that authority to follow up on its order (s) so that the right to fair hearing is not denied the remanded person? To this extent, it is only plausible that where a court assumes jurisdiction to remand an accused person, it should of necessity have a consequential and an inherent jurisdiction to follow up on the progress of police investigation so that its order is not subject to abuse to do injustice and trample on the rights of persons.

The plight of awaiting trial persons is a global one, except that it features at different levels in different countries depending on the level of development and the crimes rate.

At the Eighth UN Congress on the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for Non-custodial Measures (The Tokyo Rules), the congress adopted some rules in a bid to remedy the plights of awaiting trial persons in detention.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides that it shall not be the general rule that persons awaiting trial shall be detained in custody, but that their release may be subject to guarantees to appear for trial.

Consequent on the above, many countries have strived to put in place mechanisms in line with the U.N’s standard. Examples include the introduction of paralegals in Malawi prisons, the overriding fundamental right approach in South Africa, and the Uttar Pradesh, India approach, which resulted in the release of about 13,000 ATPs. 

The plights of awaiting trial persons demand urgent intervention not only to safe the government the cost of accommodating them in detention through tax payers money, but more importantly because the protection of their fundamental freedoms most especially that of liberty is important inasmuch as they are still presumed innocent until found guilty. To this end, we must come to terms with the fact that awaiting trial detention affects in one way or the other all members of the society, and it is therefore important to review our criminal jurisprudence to plaster the gaps in our walls. 

* EYITAYO OGUNYEMI is an Associate at Falana & Falana's Chambers. He is the President of D'Paralegal Academy- a consultancy institution which also teaches elementary principles of law to the public. He is the initiator of "The People's Parliament"- a forum committed to imparting the society with the knowledge of their constitutional rights and duties.  Questions may be directed to (+234-806-0623-454) or asked directly in the comment box below.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014


Last week (9/11), the world remembered again the date it stood still as an extremist group hijacked four airlines and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. For the United States, it was the history of “the day when the foundation of their biggest buildings were shaken”- but not the very heart of the people. For the rest of the world, it was the history of the date when International human rights took on a new shape and men from different creeds of the earth together with one voice said “NO” to the scourge of terrorism and its baggage. 
The 9/11 attacks more than being a shocker was also an eye opener to the world that terrorism is taking on a new shape and the strategies for fighting it ought to be fine-tuned. It brought to bare questions relating to the protection of people’s rights in the face of terrorism, and also exposed the inadequacies of the United Nations’ Charter particularly the fact that it is unrealistic to subject the provision which allows “the use of armed forces in the common interest” to an objective test.
In the United States, the situation of detainees in the U.S. Military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba became of immense concern. According to Amnesty International, “a few Guantanamo detainees face trial under a military commission system that does not meet international fair trial standards”. In China, a source revealed that a number of extremists were executed for crimes ranging from setting up a terrorist outfit and illegally making explosives to attacking police officers and killing government officials. Until the abduction of some girls in Chibok, Nigeria, there were series of allegations of abuse of human rights by foreign government against Nigeria and its treatment of Boko Haram insurgence; In the year Two Thousand and Twelve, the Nigeria Armed Force was alleged to have opened attack on residents of communities where Boko Haram members operated most, and allegedly held many in detention without charge or trial.
The fight against terrorism has also become a cloak under which stronger countries and their allies invade and topple “undemocratic” governments in other sovereign Nations. A major example is the U.S. led invasion of Iraq which was allegedly tainted with a lot of human rights abuses. Describing the aftermath of the invasion, Kofi Annan (former U.N’s Secretary General) recorded in his memoir that: in the course of the decade following the invasion an estimated 115,000 Iraqi civilians died in the ensuing anarchy and civil war; more than 10,000 coalition soldiers were killed or wounded; and some 4 million people were made refugees or were internally displaced. (See Pg. 318 “Interventions”).
Amidst all these concerns, have we exhaustively answered the questions that demand answers? Who is a terrorist? What kind of attack qualifies as “terrorism”? What about the question of “motive” and “intention”, do they count in adjudging a person as a terrorist? And the last question I will turn to is that of whether or not terrorists have an entitlement to rights which are due to other humans?
9/11 attacks have happened, what we make of it is what matters. For those who hold so fervently to their beliefs and therefore feel that they must use every means to make others live as they do, 9/11 may to them be a heroic display of some extremists, but for Zak Ebrahim; who happens to be the son of a terrorist, “the son does not have to follow the ways of his father because he is not his father”, for the rest of the world, the message of peace must be preached, and the road to it is personal decision and deliberate campaign rooted in diplomacy and non violence.

* Eyitayo Ogunyemi is an Associate at FALANA & FALANA'S CHAMBERS. He is the president of D'Paralegal Academy- A consultancy institution which also teaches elementary principles of law to the public. He is the initiator of "The People's Parliament"- a forum committed to imparting the society with the knowledge of their constitutional rights and duties.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014


Does every wrong give birth to a violation of one’s fundamental right?

A client once shared the story of how his mother refused to disclose who his father is, and he concluded “I want to enforce my Right to know my father!” In this sense, he has a Right, but is it fundamental? This is why it is essential for every layman to understand first that not every wrong will amount to a violation of one’s Rights, and not all Rights are fundamental and therefore enforceable.

There are debates on the issue of whether it will not amount to a misnomer to classify certain rights as being “fundamental” while others are simply regarded as “human rights” (but we can leave the debate to lawyers). However, it seems to be well established that those rights that are expressly permitted by the law of a nation and declared to be enforceable are the Rights that qualify as being “fundamental”.

For a Right to be enforceable therefore, the first thing to find out is whether the Right is expressly provided for or incorporated and declared to be enforceable as a fundamental right. To this extent, everybody is obliged to have a copy each of the 1999 Constitution, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedures) Rules 2009; these are the principal documents that will give every person a basic understanding of their enforceable rights and how to go about the enforcement of those rights.

Where an act tantamount to a violation of one’s fundamental right is being, has being, or is likely to be contravened, a person may apply to a High Court in that State for Judicial redress. Sometimes, the violation may spread across different States, in that situation, the person may choose to apply to Court in any of the States through his or her Legal Attorney. The documents to be filed in Court and the specific Court to approach whether Federal High Court or a State High Court ought to be sorted out by the Legal Attorney, but a person applying for the protection of his or her fundamental right may concern him or herself with jotting the facts of the infringement, keeping records that may serve as evidence in the course of judicial proceedings (e.g. pictures), and narrating the story in details to a Legal Attorney so as to receive professional guide and advice on the competence of the alleged infringement. A person may initiate an action (as the Applicant) for the enforcement of his/her fundamental right or that of another person. When approaching the court on behalf of another person, the guiding principle is that the Applicant is either acting in his own interest; on behalf of another person; as a member of, or in the interest of a group or class of persons; in the public interest, and/or as an Association acting in the interest of its members or other individuals or groups.

Certain Rights are applicable to citizens alone (under the 1999 Constitution). They are: right to privacy and family life, right to freedom of movement, right to freedom from discrimination, and right to acquire and own immovable property anywhere in Nigeria. Non citizens are not totally shut out by the provisions, but may enjoy some of the provisions not as a right, but as a matter of privilege upon the fulfilment of necessary conditions. Having incorporated the African Charter, it is evident that non citizens can enforce the above stated citizens’ rights under the Charter without any recourse to the 1999 Constitution; however, non citizens can only enjoy the provisions within the context, and scope of the Charter.

Upon hearing the Application and apart from the prayers sought by an Applicant, the Judge may make such order or orders as may be just and expedient in the circumstance.

Questions may be directed to (+234-806-0623-454) or asked directly in the comment box below.

This article has been prepared by Eyitayo Ogunyemi for information purposes only and does not and is not in any way to be substituted for a legal advice,

Friday, 25 July 2014


Dear Bamidele Aturu,

Your name has been mentioned, and spoken of in volumes, and the history of the growth of public interest advocacy in Nigeria will not be complete without the mention of that name. Your story may form a few lines to some, but to me, you represent more than a chapter.

While pursuing my aspirations and gaining experience in the field of Public International Law, I innocently drifted towards what you have built on. In much similar ways, apart from being a Human Rights Activist, you were also a labour expert of high ranking…. And that path is where my foot has brought me into. I promise that I will take those disciplines to some notches further than you left it and also groom runners that we can trust since the job is never complete in a lifetime.

You were such a complete gentleman, a pro-democrat, and a true friend to those that you pitched your tent with- While others showered encomium on my boss (Mr. Femi Falana S.A.N.) in one of the dinners hosted to mark the conferment of the rank of a “Senior Advocate” on him, you told him before everybody that you will openly criticize him if he ever relaxed in the struggle for a better Nigeria.

Today, you will be laid to rest in your home town and we won’t see again for a very long time, but your ideas and ideals will forever abide with me.

I went to bed with grieve on the night of the day that your demise was announced. I was scared for the future of the field which you have passionately represented through the years, but I woke up in the morning with an unusual rest- an assurance that many are being enlisted to carry on by reason of your life and death.

On the 1st day of October, 2014, “The People’s Parliament” will be launched in Lagos, we will teach participants on how to make the government to become more responsive to the needs of the public, most importantly, we will recommit ourselves to the values that you upheld in your life time. This is my pledge, and my bond. This is the way that I know you will love to be remembered- in the heart of the people, not on pages of newspapers.

Good night my learned senior colleague
Requiescat in Pace


Eyitayo Ogunyemi is an Associate at FALANA & FALANA’S CHAMBERS, and is also the President of D’PARALEGAL ACADEMY an institution which imparts elementary principles of law to the public.


"Safety and health at work is not only a sound economic policy - it is a basic human right”
Kofi Annan, Former UN Secretary General

As a Legal Practitioner, I have attended to a good number of victims of work place accident; some understood their rights under the law to a large extent, while some did not have a grab of it at all. Many were concerned about the fact that they were mere “casual workers”, “extern”, “contract staff”, “apprentice”, “domestic worker”, and the list goes on. They thought they had a very limited right and privilege by reason of their kind of contract. Out of a deep sense of concern, I have decided to pen down answers to some of the questions that may crop up in the minds of such victims and their dependants. I hope that it addresses the rights, duties, and obligations of the victims and dependants in the simplest way. Questions, queries, and further contributions may be addressed to, or you can reach me on +234-806-062-3454.

What is a Work Place Accident? It is an occurrence arising out of or in the course of work which results in fatal or non-fatal occupational injury.

What are the benefits that may be claimed? The benefit that may be claimed depends on the kind of industrial accident/ disability. It includes: monetary compensation, health care benefit, and disability support.

Can temporary workers, Apprentices, Part time workers, domestic servants, casual workers etc also make claims? Yes, they can as they are covered.

Who may be exempted from making claims? Any member of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (other than those employed in civilian capacity).

How do I make a compensation claim?
Notify the employer or other appropriate representative(s) of the employer about the disability, disease, or injury. The notification should be in writing (preferably) stating the name of the victim, time and place of occurrence, nature and cause of disease/ injury if known, and must be done immediately or as soon as possible.

The victim or victim’s dependant must address an application for compensation to the nearest office of the National Social Insurance Trust Fund Management Board. The application must be made within the shortest possible time after the date of death, injury, or disability arising from the occupational accident or disease. If you are not sure whether your employer complied with the law in this regard, you may request for your account details or that of the deceased worker with the National Social Insurance Trust Fund Management Board.

Must accident occur within office premises? No, what is essential is that it occurred in the course of work (you may contact your legal attorney or a labour expert for a better understanding of this).

What if the worker has entered an agreement with the employer to waive or forego his right to compensation? Such agreement is void. The worker will therefore still be entitled to compensation.
In practice, many employers are still in breach of the laws regulating Employees’ Compensation for workplace accidents. Some employers that have registered their account with the National Social Insurance Trust Fund Management Board do not render true or up to date account of the names, and number of staff in their employment. Many employers do not even know this aspect of the law and do not border to consult their legal attorney (if you are an employer of labour, please check my article titled WHAT EVERY EMPLOYER MUST KNOW ABOUT EMPLOYEES COMPENSATION). The questions addressed here are not exhaustive; other questions may be addressed to me via my e-mail, you may also reach me on +234-806-062-3454.