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Much Ado About Will Making

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Often we hear pathetic stories of widows and children forcefully dispossessed of their inheritance after the death of their breadwinner. Unfortunately, the general attitude towards such incidents is that it will never be “our portion”. Apart from a few non-governmental organisations, nothing much is done to stem this evil. But the truth is that we all have a role to play towards putting an end to this malaise by simply making a will.

Regrettably, it has been entrenched in our psyche that a person making a will is courting death or anticipating it. Some are even afraid that if their heirs get to know what they have been bequeathed or devised, they may do something to hasten their death. But this is not always the case as the business of will making is couched in secrecy and confidentiality.

In a society like ours where patriarchy looms large, it will not be a misdescription to tag a person who refuses to make a will as callous and “careless”. Life is precarious and we do not know when ours will terminate. If those people we claim to love so much and labour for still end up being at the mercy of some greedy family members then our whole effort will be futile. We should bear in mind that the resonance of subjugation is the archetype of intestacy, that is, dying without a will. The essential end of this scenario is scores of litigation and attritions between members of the family.

A simple act of will making would have saved most families from protracted legal battles. Some even go to the extent of engaging in nefarious and unprintable acts all in the desperate quest to lay hands on the property of the deceased. Our society is replete with unsavoury examples.

It is time for us to have a re-think and discard this obsolete belief that will making is naturally followed by death. Every person can make a will, whether male or female so long as the person is of age and possesses a sound disposing mind, setting out their final wishes and review it regularly. A will is ambulatory and so can be amended by the testator as many times as he wishes in his life time. If your circumstances change, such as getting married, the birth or adoption of children or if you get divorced, your last will and testament should be updated as soon as possible.

Without sounding pedantic, it is important to point out that making a will is the only definite way to confirm your wishes over how your property should be dealt with after your exit. It is essential if you want your possession or property divided amongst your immediate family, relations, friends, or charities and to ensure they all benefit in the proportions you want. The law will not respect mere verbal agreement between you and those you want to benefit, so get it all down on paper as a legally valid document.

If you made a will before you got married and never updated it, automatically it becomes invalid. Do not assume that your spouse will get everything, relatives may lay a claim. If you are living as a couple but not legally married, you may be treated as a single person or your estate dealt with by native law and custom. In the circumstance, the surviving partner may get nothing at all. One thing becomes certain-there will be dispute at a time when the family should be coping with the loss of a loved one.

In addition, a will affords the testator the opportunity of appointing trusted guardians for his children if they are young rather than leave them at the mercy of some pretentious friends or relations. A valid will nominating guardians is invaluable especially in the case of one parent families. There is need to set out who to look after the young children on the event of death.

If you made a will many years ago, it probably needs updating to include additional children, grand-children or deletion of persons who may have died or who you no longer feel you wish to leave anything to. In order to maintain the legal power of your last will and testament it is essential that it continues to reflect your current wishes. Therefore, you should review the terms of your will on a regular basis and, if necessary, consider revising it.

Apart from the benefits already enumerated, it is important to also state that it is cheaper to secure probate than Letter of Administration. Another attraction to making a will is that the executors can act from the date of the testator’s death, even before the grant of probate unlike an administrator under intestate succession who must wait for the grant of Letters of Administration before he can exercise any control over the property constituting the deceased’s estate. Also, a will can be used to address other post-humous matters like how the testator desires his remains to be disposed.

In all, wouldn’t we rather engender peace rather than ignite fire in our families after our exit. Most of the problems arising from intestacy can be avoided by the harmless act of making a will.

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Law/Judiciary

Travel Agent Charged With N1.3m Visa Fraud

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A 40-year-old travel agent, Eze Sunday, was on Monday arraigned at a Yaba Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos for allegedly obtaining N1.3 million from a client on the pretext of procuring a Turkey visa for her.
Sunday is facing a three-count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing and obtaining by false pretences.
The defendant, who resides in Yaba, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The Prosecutor, Mr J.I. Eboseremen, told the court that the defendant committed the offences sometime in January on Association Avenue in Igando, Lagos.
He said that the defendant stole the N1.3 million from the complainant, Miss Charity Obeta, which she gave him through a United Bank of Africa electronic transfer, for her travel logistics.
According to him, the defendant promised to procure a Turkey visa, get a return flight ticket and hotel reservation for Obeta, but failed.
Eboseremen alleged that the defendant absconded with the money and refused to take the complainant’s calls.
“My lord, the complainant’s intended travel date was drawing close but she could not contact the defendant.
“His colleagues at workplace told her that the defendant travelled and did not intend to return to the office.
Obeta reported the case to the police, and the defendant was tracked and arrested,” the prosecutor said.
He said that the alleged offences contravened Sections 411, 314 and 287 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015 (Revised).
The Chief Magistrate, Mrs Oluwatoyin Oghere, released the defendant on bail in the sum of N2 million with two sureties each in like sum.
Oghere said that one of the sureties must be a blood relation of the defendant and reside within the court’s jurisdiction.
She ordered that the sureties must be gainfully employed and show evidence of three years’ tax payment to Lagos State Government.
Oghere adjourned the case until September 11 for trial.

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Law/Judiciary

Remove Nwosu’s Name As Guber Candidate, Court Orders INEC

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The Federal High Court, Abuja, last Monday, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to remove the name of Uche Nwosu as a governorship candidate in the last election held in Imo State.
Justice Inyang Ekwo voided Nwosu’s candidacy on the grounds of double nomination by two political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Action Alliance (AA), in violation of section 37 of the Electoral Act.
The ruling came as Nwosu, a son-in-law to the immediate-past Governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha, is currently pursuing an election petition at the state’s Governorship Election Petition Tribunal as the candidate of AA, challenging the victory of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Emeka Ihedioha, in the March 11 poll.
In his judgment on Monday, Justice Ekwo upheld the case of the plaintiffs, the Action People’s Party (APP) and its Deputy National Chairman, Mr Uche Nnadi, to the effect that Nwosu’s governorship candidature was null and void on the grounds of multiplicity of nominations as a governorship candidate of both the APC and AA.
According to him, the nomination of Nwosu by AA as a governorship candidate is invalid, null and void, having been made at the pendency of similar nomination of the 2nd defendant (Nwosu) by the All Progressives Congress for the same position.
The judge noted that Nwosu affirmed to be the APC’s governorship candidate in his statement on oath sworn before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory.
The judge similarly declared that Nwosu “has not been validly nominated by the 3rd defendant (AA) as its governorship candidate for the state governorship election having been made at the pendency of the order of Justice Valentine Ashi of the Abuja High Court recognising the 2nd defendant as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress for the Imo 2019 governorship election.”
He noted that Nwosu participated in the APC’s primaries held on October 6, 2018 and was subsequently nominated as the party’s governorship candidate.
While laying claim to the APC’s governorship ticket, amidst stiff opposition from members of the party, he was said to have on October 9, 2018, obtained an order of Justice Valentine Ashi (now deceased) of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, recognising him as the valid candidate of the party.
In the midst of this, Nwosu was also offered the ticket of the AA.
In his judgment, Justice Ekwo said, “There is no controversy that, on October 6, 2018, the 2nd defendant (Nwosu) had himself nominated as the governorship candidate of the APC.

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Law/Judiciary

Enugu Police Nab Suspected Armed Robbers, Recover Pistol

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The Enugu State Police Command has nabbed two suspected armed robbers terrorising Abakpa Community in the outskirts of Enugu metropolis.
The police also recovered one locally made Beretta pistol from the suspects.
The Command’s Public Relations Officer, SP Ebere Amaraizu, said this in a statement made available to newsmen yesterday in Enugu.
Amaraizu said that the suspects were arrested on August 16 by Anti-Cult Unit of the command after a raid on a black spot in the community.
He said: “Following an attack on Abakpa Police Division operatives by hoodlums, the Anti-Cultism Unit of Command went on raid at Umuchigbo axis of Abakpa Community.
“The operatives arrested one Chekwube Igwe and one Teddy Otti both of Vikings confraternity, who have been terrorising Abakpa Community and its environs.
“The police operatives also recovered a local pistol from them.’’
The police spokesman said that the suspects had been helping police operatives in their investigation on their nefarious activities.
“They will be charged to court as soon as investigation is over,’’ he said.

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