Impersonation is the act of pretending to be someone else. Section 484 of the Criminal Code Act provides that “Any person who, with intent to defrauds any person, falsely represents himself to be some other person, living or dead is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for three years. Also in Section 487 the Act provides that, any person whom a document has been given to certify him for some certain privileges and proceeds to give such document to another with the intention that the other person presents himself as qualified to bear such document is guilty of a felony and liable to imprisonment for three years. For instance a lawyer who gives his stamp to another person to use in impersonating the lawyer is guilty of the above offence. Also any person who lends out their certificates to others for the use of impersonation is also not excluded from punishment, as such person is guilty of a misdemeanor and is liable to imprisonment for three years.
As seen in the above sections of the Criminal Code Act, the law criminalizes and punishes all forms of impersonation done with intent to defraud. The Legal Practitioners Act in Section 22 provides that; subject to the provisions if this section, if any person other than a legal practitioner
a) practices or holds himself out to practice, as a legal practitioner or
b) takes or uses the title legal practitioner or
c) willfully takes or uses any name, title, addition or description falsely implying or otherwise pretends that he is a legal practitioner or is qualified or recognized by law to act as a legal practitioner, or
d) prepares for or in expectation of reward for any instrument relating to immovable property, or relating to or with a view to granting of probate or letters or administration, or relating to or with a view to proceedings in any court or record in Nigeria, he is guilty or an offence and under paragraph (a) of this section subsection or a second or subsequent offence under paragraph (d) of this subsection to a fine of an amount not exceeding N200 or imprisonment or a term not exceeding two years or both, such fine and imprisonment and in any other case to a fine of an amount not exceeding N100.
Case file, with charge number M1/425c/2017, accused one Emmanuel Ojo of two counts of conspiracy and impersonation. The prosecutor told the court that the accused on March 27 2017 announced himself as a counsel while also holding brief in a case with charge number M1/1543c/2016, but was later found out to be an impersonator. The he said offence contravenes Section 516 and 484 of the Criminal Code Cap 38 Vol II laws of Oyo State of Nigeria 2000. Ojo was asked to be sent to prison for 30 months without an option of fine. Impersonation of lawyers is on the increase despite the different measures by the Nigeria Bar Association to curb the menace. I am of the opinion that one of the reasons for this is because the penalty attached to it has not been reviewed over the years. The fine attached to this offence is not enough to deter one who has set out to impersonate as a legal practitioner.
Nkechi Bright Ewere
Corroboration Of Evidence
There is no law where provision is made for the number of witnesses that must testify before a plaintiff or the persecution will succeed in his case. A court can convict on a single witness. A case is not decided by the number of witnesses, single credible convincing evidence is enough to convict. But there are exceptions, such exceptions are circumstances where corroboration is required before a judge can decide his case.
Corroboration is the ground for the amenability of certain evidence for the purpose of conviction and if the corroborating evidence is not the same with the existing evidence an accused cannot be convicted upon such existing evidence. Corroboration simply means confirmation, support. In Ogumbayo V. State (2007) 8 NWLR (Pt 1035) P. 157, the Supreme Court holds per Ogbuagu JSC that “corroboration is not technical term of art and means no more than evidence tending to confirm, support and strengthen other evidence sought to be corroborated”.
Hence corroborative evidence is an independent testimony implicating the accused to the charge and supportive of the testimony requiring corroboration. This corroborative evidence may be the testimony of another witness, or in a piece of real evidence tendered or in the conduct of the accused himself or from what the accused said. Corroboration therefore implies the existence of more than one piece of evidence, in which the corroborative evidence comes in to confirm, ratify, verify or validate the existing evidence coming from another independent witness or witnesses.
Corroboration of evidence is not required exception where the law demands it. Oputa JSC in Onafowakan V. The State (1987) 7 SCNJ @ 233 holds that. “It is trite that the evidence of one solitary credible witness can establish a case beyond reasonable doubt and that it is said that truth is not discovered by a majority vote”. Although a court of law need not take the fact of the number of witnesses per se into account in deciding which side that would succeed, yet the Evidence Act creates some exceptions in relation thereto.
Some of the exceptions are treason and treasonable offence, perjury, an unsworn evidence of a child witness and Breach of Promise to marry. Breach of Promise to marry is perhaps the only instance of civil cause in which corroboration is required as a matter of law for a plaintiff to recover a verdict. Section 197 of the Evidence Act 2011 provides that “no plaintiff in any action for breach of Promise of marriage can recover a verdict, unless his or her testimony is corroborated by some other material evidence in support of such promises….”
Corroboration is an exception created by law and judicial practio, the general rule being that one qualitative evidence is enough to found a conviction.
By: Nkechi Bright-Ewere
Rivers Judiciary Workers’ Welfare Tops Union’s Agenda
Workers’ welfare and other social benefits were to top on the agenda of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), Rivers State branch, following its election last Friday in Port Harcourt.
The hint came from the electoral committee chairman, Ken Agi as he gave charge to the newly elected executive of the union in River state.
Agi said union leaders must learn how to put the interest of members top, if they must do well as leaders.
He explained that JUSUN was a group made of talented people who are determined to evoke change in the system.
About the peaceful atmosphere witnessed during the election, he said that it was the making of the Chief Justice of the state, Hon Justice Iyayi Lamiankara.
The union’s eleco boss, hinted that the CJ, was interested in workers’ welfare, hence her insistence on quality electoral process devoid of rancour.
The returning officer of the the election, Comrade Marwan Adamu, who corroborated Agi’s views, said workers’ welfare package must top the agenda of any good executive.
Adamu, the National President of the union, further tasked the new leadership of the union in the state to shun what he described as divide and rule system.
Declaring the nine -man committee returned as elected, he swore them in for immediate action.
In his victory speech, the chairman of the union, Comrade Anthony Nwachukwu, assured workers of all inclusive government.
Nwachukwu, stressed that for the sake of the union, there was no victor or vanquished at the poll, and added that the victory belonged to the entire workers.
He therefore, called on his members to be up and doing in order to promote the interest of the union.
JUSUN is the umbrella body of judiciary workers in the country.
Human Rights Day: NHRC Urges Youths To Shun Criminality
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has appealed to youths to stay off crimes, but defend their rights for the development of the nation.
The commission made the appeal yesterday in Lagos as Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the 2019 International Day for Human Rights.
The South-West Commander, NHRC, Mr Lucas Koyejo, speaking with The Tide source said that many youths were into various crimes.
He urged them to be more active and vocal in promoting whatever concerns the nation saying that no one would step down for them to occupy leadership.
The commander speaking on the theme of this year said that the UN picked it to draw the attention of the youth to their responsibilities and the need for others to support them.
The Tide reports that the UN had set aside Dec.10 of every year as the International Day for Human Rights.
This year’s theme is: “Youth Standing Up for Human Rights.’’
Koyejo said, “The UN knows that the youth are the future leaders of the world.
”Unfortunately, some youths in present day Nigeria are not as proactive as youths of old.
”A lot of our youths are not interested in their rights or government policies that will affect their future.
”The youth need to be interested in governance. That is the difference. Nobody will be discriminated against, because the future belongs to them.
”They must stand up for their rights,” he said.
Also, a human rights lawyer and a Civil Society leader, Mr Malachy Ugwummadu, spoke on the role of the youth in promoting human rights and peace.
He said that Nigerian youths have the population to make the needed positive changes.
Ugwummadu, who described the youth population in Nigeria as a “critical mass” for a change, called on them to be knowledgeable about their rights and the laws of the country.
”We have a law: ‘Not too young to run’. They must know about it and other laws concerning them.
”One major challenge is the division among the youth. They must be united if they want to bring about any positive change.
”They must network across all ages and genders. They should improve on themselves, and collectively take up national issues,’’ he said.
Similarly, Mr Duke Amaliechi, the National Coordinator of Youth for Human Rights International, said that youths had a great responsibility before them.
He said that was why the UN was advising them to stand up for their fundamental human rights.
Amaliechi said that there were lots of injustices going on in the society.
He said that the youth should speak out against perceived injustices in the society and participate in governance.
He advised them not to become tools of crisis or destabilisation in the hands of politicians.
He said that only those with poor mindsets would collect money from people to kill fellow human beings or cause crises.
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