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Legal Alert Lagos State Consumption Tax Law
 
In this Issue:
1. Legal Alert for September, 2009 – Lagos State Consumption Tax Law
2. Subscribe & Unsubscribe to Legal Alerts.
3. Disclaimer Notice.
Legal Alert for September, 2009 – Lagos State Consumption Tax Law
Declining oil revenues with declining infrastructural facilities that are unable to match an over-populated State, etc has led to the Lagos State Government passing into Law the Lagos State Hotel Occupancy, Restaurants and Events Centres Consumption Tax Law, 2009 (the Lagos State Consumption Tax). This Law imposes a five per cent (5%) tax on all goods and services consumed in Hotels, Restaurants and Events Centres' situated within the territory of Lagos State.
Despite the five per cent (5%) charge being excluded from being charged on the existing five per cent (5%) Value Added Tax charge (and service charge), establishments in the Hospitality, Tourism and entertainment industries are opposed to this tax on legal and cost-of-doing business grounds.
This Alert considers what the Consumption Tax provides for, with the grounds of the opposition to it. This will keep you informed on how it affects you, the final consumer.
The Consumption Tax
The five per cent (5%) consumption tax, which excludes the existing charge on VAT and service charge, is charged on the consumer of goods and services in hotels, restaurants and events centres which operate within the territory of Lagos State. The Owner, Manager or Controller of these kinds of business establishments are mandated to collect this tax on behalf of the Lagos State Government and remit the tax collected to the Lagos State Inland Revenue Service (LIRS).
All Hotels, Restaurants and Events Centres affected by this Law must within a period of thirty (30) days of the commencement of this Law or the commencement of the business of the operators of such an establishment, register with LIRS for the application of the provisions of this Law.
All consumption tax collected must be reported and remitted to LIRS on or before the 20th day of each calendar month. Failure to make a return or effect a remittance, or where a return or a remittance are not substantiated by the record of the business establishment concerned, LIRS may use its best of judgement to estimate the amount of the consumption tax payable for the relevant period, and the estimate must be paid by the collecting owner/agent within twenty-one (21) days of the service of the order on the collecting owner/agent.
Any Consumption Tax that is not remitted within the prescribed period shall in addition to other penalties prescribed by the Consumption Tax Law bear interest at the rate of five per cent (5%) per annum above the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) minimum rediscount rate as is determined by the CBN at the time of the actual remittance. A collecting owner/manager/agent who in addition fails to file a report and remit the consumption tax collected within the time required is in addition liable to pay a further penalty of ten per cent (10%) of the amount due. A Director, Manager, Officer, Agent or employee who fails to comply with this Law is equally guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a penalty of six (6) months imprisonment or a fine of N2,000,000 (Two Million Naira) or to both the term of imprisonment and the fine.
Any owner, manager, controller or collecting agent has a right to appeal in the first instance to the Chairman of LIRS within seven (7) days of his receipt of a consumption tax assessment requesting the revenue service to review, amend or reverse the assessment. Where the appeal fails, the Owner or the collecting agent has the right of further appeal against such a decision to the Lagos State High Court.
The Lagos State Sales Tax Law is exempted from applying to the premises to which the Lagos State Consumption Tax Law already applies; i.e. Hotels, Restaurants and Events Centres'.
VAT vs. Lagos State Consumption Tax Law
To prevent multiple taxation and the anarchy associated with it, the old Sales Tax Act was abrogated and in its place, Value Added Tax (VAT) was introduced for application to the entire federation (and states) of Nigeria. VAT, which is also a consumption tax, is charged and paid on the supply of all goods and services other than such goods and services which are expressly exempted under the VAT Act.
VAT, like the Lagos State Consumption Tax, is charged at the flat rate of five per cent (5%) of the goods or services enjoyed by the ultimate consumer. Unlike the Lagos State Consumption Tax which is solely for the benefit of the Lagos State Government, VAT is administered by the Federal Government of Nigeria Agency, the Federal Board of Inland Revenue (FBIR), with the proceeds of VAT being distributed under an agreed formular by the 36 States of the Federation of Nigeria. It has been contended that firstly, VAT as presently administered, is against the principle of federalism and secondly that its distribution formula is extremely inequitable in the light of the fact that a large percentage of VAT collected in Nigeria is from businesses situated in Lagos State.
The Taxes and Levies (Approved List for Collection) Act, 1998 also does not accommodate State Governments enacting for their own States, a separate Consumption Tax. The Supreme Court decision in Attorney General of Ogun State v. Alhaja Ayinke Aberuagba (1997) 1 NRLR (part 1) 51 @ 60 held that a State Law on consumption tax might be void on the ground of covering the field where identical legislations, without any inconsistency on the same subject matter, were made by a State and by the Federal Government. In such a situation, the State Law must give way to the Federal legislation. However, the Ogun State Sales Tax Law was declared null and void by the Supreme Court in this case because the Law imposed a tax on goods and services brought into the State which was a matter of inter-state trade and commerce which is within the exclusive legislative power of the Federal Government.
The Taxes and Levies (Approved List for Collection) Act, 1998 was not applicable at the time the Aberuagba matter was decided by the Supreme Court. Equally instructive on this matter are the provisions of the 1999 Construction of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2nd Schedule (part II) paragraphs 9, 18 and 19, which authorises a State House of Assembly to make laws for the collection of any tax, fee or rate, or to make laws for the industrial, commercial or agricultural development of a State. Section 4 (7) of the 1999 Constitution also empowers a State House of Assembly to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the State in respect of any matter that is not included in the exclusive legislative list, or any matter included in the concurrent list or any other matter with respect to which it is empowered to make laws by the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.
Conclusion
It is arguably the case that Nigeria is one of the countries in the world that is perceived to have some of the highest cost of doing business as a result of the lack of basic infrastructural facilities and multiple taxation. The co-existence of VAT with the Lagos State Consumption Tax will only exacerbate these perceptions to the further peril of all the economies, State or Federal, in the Federation of Nigeria. The inability to equitably restructure the distribution of VAT proceeds, or to increase its charging rate while reducing the tax rates for personal and corporate taxes makes a strong case for the transfer of its administration to each individual State in the Federation of Nigeria for VAT to be charged on goods and services distributed within that State while the Federal Government administers VAT on goods and services within its direct jurisdiction, i.e. matters on the exclusive legislative list.
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DISCLAIMER NOTICE. This Legal Alert is a free educational material, for your general information and enlightenment purposes ONLY. This Alert, by itself, does not create a Client/Attorney relationship between yourself and our Law Firm.
Recipients are therefore advised to seek professional legal counselling to their specific situations when they do arise. Questions, comments, criticisms, suggestions, new ideas, contributions, etc are always welcomed with many thanks.
This Legal Alert is protected by Intellectual Property Law and Regulations. It may however be shared with other parties provided that our Authorship is always acknowledged and this Disclaimer Notice is attached.
Legal Alert Stamp Duties Law & Enforcement
 
In this Issue:
1. Legal Alert for August, 2009 – Stamp Duties Law & Enforcement in Nigeria.
2. Subscribe & Unsubscribe to Legal Alerts.
3. Disclaimer Notice.
Legal Alert for August, 2009 – Stamp Duties Law & Enforcement in Nigeria
The recent economic down-turn and governments' need to expand their revenue base brought about the resuscitation of the legal requirement that all written instruments in Nigeria, of a contractual nature, must be stamped. This development has led to some disquiet in the business community where many practitioners are curious to know the legal basis for this "new tax" requirement.
Stamp duties payment is one of the oldest imposed tax. It is true that stamp duties is the least recognised and enforced of all the taxes and duties in Nigeria. However, in modern times, the legal requirement that all written documents must be stamped obviously affects everyone's day-to-day business life.
Stamp duties payment matters are governed by the Stamp Duties Act, cap 411, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990. This legal alert gives you a synopsis of what the Stamp Duties Act regulates.
Stamp Duties Act
Stamp duties, unlike other forms of taxes or duties, are taxes on written documents as opposed to taxes directly imposed on individuals or their transactions.
The care for and the management of stamp duties in Nigeria is imposed on the Commissioner for Stamp Duties. The Federal Government of Nigeria is the only competent authority allowed to impose, charge and collect stamp duties on written instruments between one incorporated company and another incorporated company or individual. The converse is the case that State Governments impose, charge and collect stamp duties on written instruments that are executed between individuals only.
Unlike other taxes, the decision not to stamp a written document does not attract a criminal penalty as it only bars such a written document from being admitted in evidence in a civil judicial proceeding. Thus, until a written document is stamped at the Stamp Duties office by the payment of the applicable stamp duties on the document, such a document will remain inadmissible. See Section 22 (4) of the Stamp Duties Act.
Generally, stamp duties is charged at the rate of 75k on every N50 of the consideration of a conveyance. For other kinds of written documents, various rates of charge are imposed as stamp duties.
In the term of implementation, a written document is stamped by the affixing of adhesive stamps on it or the affixing of what is known as a die to the material or written instrument.
Every written instrument which is required to be stamped with an adhesive stamp must be stamped on or before its execution. In practice however, a grace period of forty days from when the written instrument is executed is allowed before a penalty accrues on the document for late presentation for stamping.
Any person presenting a written document for stamping after the date of its first execution must pay a penalty which includes (i) the unpaid stamp duty; (ii) a penalty of N20 or such sum as is charged by the stamp duty office; (iii) interest on such duty at the rate of ten per cent (10%) per annum from the day when the instrument was first executed up to the time when the unpaid duty is paid.
Conclusion
Barring any special reason, it is always recommended that sensitive business documents should be stamped before or immediately they are executed. There are stamp duties offices all over the federation of Nigeria who are always willing to provide applicants with information and assessment of what it will costs them to stamp their documents. This is a preferred option to none stamping of your written documents.
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This Alert and others produced by us are provided without any charge to you. You can always subscribe to it, on behalf of other interested persons from whom you have their permission, by sending to us a one line e-mail with the words "Subscribe – Legal Alerts" followed by the desired email address.
You are equally permitted to terminate your subscription by sending to us a one line email with the words "Unsubscribe - Legal Alerts" and your electronic address would be removed from our list. In the future, you can return to our mailing list by visiting our web site www.oseroghoassociates.com to subscribe for the Legal Alerts.
DISCLAIMER NOTICE. This Legal Alert is a free educational material, for your general information and enlightenment purposes ONLY. This Alert, by itself, does not create a Client/Attorney relationship between yourself and our Law Firm.
Recipients are therefore advised to seek professional legal counselling to their specific situations when they do arise. Questions, comments, criticisms, suggestions, new ideas, contributions, etc are always welcomed with many thanks.
This Legal Alert is protected by Intellectual Property Law and Regulations. It may however be shared with other parties provided that our Authorship is always acknowledged and this Disclaimer Notice is attached.
Legal Alert Dormant Companies – Legal & Tax Implications
 
In this Issue:
1. Legal Alert for July, 2009 – Dormant Companies in Nigeria – Legal & Tax Implications.
2. Subscribe & Unsubscribe to Legal Alerts.
3. Disclaimer Notice.
Legal Alert for July 2009 – Dormant Companies in Nigeria – Legal & Tax Implications
There is no statutory description, in Nigeria, of what a dormant company is, or what a dormant company means. In practice however, a dormant company is one that is not carrying on business or trading, for whatever reason. In jurisdictions where legislative provision is made for regulating dormant companies, a dormant company is described as one that has not had any significant accounting transaction during the relevant financial year.
Shareholders of dormant companies in Nigeria have over the years being under the impression that there were no statutory reporting and compliance requirements for them under Nigerian Law. Efforts by the Corporate Affairs Commission ("CAC") to de-list some dormant companies in Nigeria have also not served as a deterrent for these companies to meet the minimum regulatory requirements.
This Alert reviews the minimum legal and tax compliance requirements for all incorporated companies in Nigeria, whether they are dormant or active.
Legal Compliance Requirements
All incorporated companies in Nigeria are regulated by the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990 ("CAMA"). It is a mandatory provision of CAMA that every company in Nigeria must hold its first Annual General Meeting ("AGM") within eighteen months of its incorporation. Subsequent AGMs must be held at least once in a year by shareholders of each and every company in Nigeria.
The failure to hold any of these statutory shareholders meetings renders the incorporated company and every officer of it liable, on conviction, to a fine of N50 (Fifty Naira) for every day for which the offence continues unabated. In some instances, the failure to hold an AGM and file the appropriate Annual Returns ("AR") could be a ground for winding up a company. See Sections 211, 212 and 408 of CAMA.
A key item for consideration at every shareholders meeting is the review and approval of the audited accounts of the company. Once the audited accounts of a company are approved by its shareholders, the annual returns for the company with the accompanying audited accounts must be filed at the CAC within 42 days after the date of the holding of the AGM. The annual returns of every Nigerian incorporated company must disclose the situation of the register of the members/shareholders of the company with the list of its debenture holders, the particulars of the current directors, shareholders and secretary of the company, it's authorised issued and paid up capital, turnover and debts, etc.
Tax Compliance Requirements
Every company that is incorporated/registered in Nigeria is required to file a tax return, preferably a self-assessment tax return, at least once in a year. Accompanying the tax return must be the audited accounts of the company or a statement of its affairs indicating that it has not been engaged in material financial activity. A one percent bonus is usually credited to companies that file their tax returns and pay their taxes within the statutorily stipulated period.
A minimum tax is payable where a company declares that it has not made any profit in the relevant tax year. The minimum tax provision is however not applicable if at least 25% of the equity holding of the company is held by a foreign investor or the company is engaged in agricultural business or it is within the first four (4) years of its carrying on its business.
The penalty for late filing or non-filing of a tax return is N25,000 for the first month in which the failure occurred, and N5,000 for each subsequent month in which the failure continues. Where the offence of late filing or non-filing is established to have been committed with the knowledge or consent or connivance of a director or manager or secretary of the company, such a company official shall be liable on conviction to a fine of N10,000 or to imprisonment for a term of two years or to both the fine and the term of imprisonment. See Section 41 of the Companies Income Tax Act ("CITA").
Conclusion
Legal and tax commentators have criticised the lack of adequate regulation of dormant companies in Nigeria. In addition to their existence being a loss of revenue to the government, it is argued that they deprive other entrepreneurs the opportunity to utilise the business names of such dormant companies particularly where the shareholders of the dormant company have abandoned any intention of continuing to carry on business under such a name in the future.
The minimum legal and tax requirements for all corporations in Nigeria, whether dormant or not, are higher when compared to jurisdiction like the United Kingdom where the reporting requirements for a dormant company are enumerated in the UK Companies Act, and are minimal. Present attempts to amend the provisions of CAMA will do well to recognise the short-term benefits on the one hand or disadvantages on the other that a dormant company may have to the Nigerian economy, and regulate its practice accordingly.
Until CAMA and CITA legislations are amended, dormant companies in Nigerian will be advised to comply with the existing statutory requirements.
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This Alert and others produced by us are provided without any charge to you. You can always subscribe to it, on behalf of other interested persons from whom you have their permission, by sending to us a one line e-mail with the words "Subscribe – Legal Alerts" followed by the desired email address.
You are equally permitted to terminate your subscription by sending to us a one line email with the words "Unsubscribe - Legal Alerts" and your electronic address would be removed from our list. In the future, you can return to our mailing list by visiting our web site www.oseroghoassociates.com to subscribe for the Legal Alerts.
DISCLAIMER NOTICE. This Legal Alert is a free educational material, for your general information and enlightenment purposes ONLY. This Alert, by itself, does not create a Client/Attorney relationship between yourself and our Law Firm.
Recipients are therefore advised to seek professional legal counselling to their specific situations when they do arise. Questions, comments, criticisms, suggestions, new ideas, contributions, etc are always welcomed with many thanks.
This Legal Alert is protected by Intellectual Property Law and Regulations. It may however be shared with other parties provided that our Authorship is always acknowledged and this Disclaimer Notice is attached.
Legal Alert Land Ownership & Land Certificates in Nigeria Probative Value
 
In this Issue:
1. Legal News – Lagos State Consumption Tax Law
2. Legal Alert for June, 2009 – The probative value of land certificates to land ownership in Nigeria.
3. Subscribe & Unsubscribe to Legal Alerts.
4. Disclaimer Notice.
Legal News: Lagos State Consumption Tax Law
The Lagos State Government has signed into Law a Consumption Tax Law on goods and services consumed in Hotels, Restaurants and Event Centres. A flat 5% tax will now be charged at all such venues to the exclusion of the already existing VAT tax.
Legal Alert for June 2009 – Land Ownership & Land Certificates in Nigeria – Probative Value of?
Land has remained an invaluable asset to mankind. The failure to secure the legal title to land by registration or by obtaining the approval/consent of the appropriate government authority usually leads to conflicts and expensive litigation. This Alert is meant to provide you with some information on the recognised methods of establishing title to land in Nigeria, the probative legal value of a certificate or right of occupancy - which is the most common form of land document in Nigeria - and the need to register all titles to land in Nigeria.
Methods of Establishing Land Title in Nigeria
The legal responsibility of establishing ownership to land in Nigeria is placed on the party who alleges that such a piece of property belongs to him or her. Five different methods are recognised for discharging this responsibility and they are:-
(a) Proof of ownership to land by traditional evidence, i.e., ancestral possession and inheritance.
(b) Production of land title document that is duly authenticated.
(c) Numerous positive acts of ownership over a sufficient length of time to warrant the reasonable inference of ownership.
(d) Acts of long undisturbed possession and enjoyment of land.
(e) Possession of adjacent land could raise the presumption of ownership of the land in question.
Certificate of Occupancy – Probative Value
A Certificate of Occupancy is the land title document that is delivered to the owner of a piece of land by the government attesting to the owner's title to the land which ownership is in accordance with the applicable law. Over time, users of land and financial institutions have elevated this type of land document to be conclusive evidence of the ownership of the land described in it, to the exclusion of any other party claiming title to the same piece of land.
Judicial decisions in Nigeria however indicate that a Certificate of Occupancy is merely a prima facie - first sight - evidence of an owner's title to the exact piece of land that is described in the Certificate of Occupancy. A Certificate of Occupancy is therefore not a conclusive proof of title to land neither does it validate spurious or fraudulent instruments of title to land which are in law fatally invalid.
Governor's Consent & Registration of Title
The Land Use Act extinguished the unlimited rights and interests to land that Nigerians had prior to the enactment of the Land Use Act. In place of the prior unexhausted rights to land, the Land Use Act vested all land in the territory of a state solely on the Governor of the State, who holds all land in that State in trust for the use and common benefit of all Nigerians. The Land Use Act also introduced a rigid regime of controls on the use or otherwise of all land in Nigeria.
One of the key controls introduced by the Land Use Act is the requirement that any transaction or instrument which confers or vests or transfers or limits or charges or extinguishes any interest or right in land on another party must first be approved by the Governor of the State where the land is situated. Where the prior approval or consent of the Governor is not first sought and obtained, such alienation or transfer is deemed in law to be null and void, and of no effect whatsoever. See, SAVANNAH BANK v. AJILO (1989) 1 SC (PT. 11) 90 @ 92
The argument that the failure to obtain Governor's consent only makes the transaction inchoate and not void has been rejected by the Supreme Court of Nigeria particularly where the application for Governor's consent was not made before the dispute was submitted for judicial adjudication, and where the application for consent is made and granted, the consent of the Governor must be pleaded and exhibited before final judgment is delivered. See, CALABAR CO-OP V. EKPO (2008) 1-2 SC 229 @ 285.
Registration of Land Instruments
The Land Instruments Registration Law of Lagos State requires that any document affecting land in Lagos State, in whatever manner, must be registered at the Lands Registry. Failure to register such a document implies that the document is void. Equally significant is the legal principle that a void document cannot be pleaded or held admissible by a Court of Law. The Registration of Titles Law of Lagos State also compulsorily requires all Instruments relating to land to be registered.
CONCLUSION
The clamour for appropriate amendments and in some instances outright abolition of the existing land legislations in Nigeria, at the federal and state levels, has been heightened in the present financial year. Without the necessary amendments, land transactions in Nigeria will not be business-friendly for meaningful development to take place.
Pending the time when the expected amendments to our land legislations are made, you will do well to ensure compliance with existing laws regulating ownership and control of land in Nigeria.
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This Alert and others produced by us are provided without any charge to you. You can always subscribe to it, on behalf of other interested persons from whom you have their permission, by sending to us a one line e-mail with the words "Subscribe – Legal Alerts" followed by the desired email address.
You are equally permitted to terminate your subscription by sending to us a one line email with the words "Unsubscribe - Legal Alerts" and your electronic address would be removed from our list. In the future, you can return to our mailing list by visiting our web site www.oseroghoassociates.com to subscribe for the Legal Alerts.
DISCLAIMER NOTICE. This Legal Alert is a free educational material, for your general information and enlightenment purposes ONLY. This Alert, by itself, does not create a Client/Attorney relationship between yourself and our Law Firm.
Recipients are therefore advised to seek professional legal counselling to their specific situations when they do arise. Questions, comments, criticisms, suggestions, new ideas, contributions, etc are always welcomed with many thanks.
This Legal Alert is protected by Intellectual Property Law and Regulations. It may however be shared with other parties provided that our Authorship is always acknowledged and this Disclaimer Notice is attached.
Legal Alert - Wills and Survivorships
In this Issue:
1. Legal Alert for May, 2009 – Wills and Survivorships.
2. Subscribe & Unsubscribe to Legal Alerts.
3. Disclaimer Notice.
Legal Alert for May 2009 – Wills and Survivorships.
In our Legal Alert for March 2003, we highlighted various aspects of Inheritance, Succession, Wills and Private Trust Laws in Nigeria. You can find this March 2003 Legal Alert on our website www.oseroghoassociates.com
It is observed that advancements in enlightenment, continues to reinforce the necessity for writing Wills. However, all manner of legal challenges, arising from disputes between the survivors of the beneficiaries of a Will, appear to be outpacing the traditional legal challenges to the authenticity of a Will, which are usually raised by the direct beneficiaries to the Will.
This Alert serves to remind you of what a Will is, the advantages of writing a Will, and the common law rules of survivorship in contrast to the customary law rules on the same subject.
What is a Will?
A working description of a Will is that it is a testamentary declaration contained in a deed, voluntarily made and executed according to Law by a Testator who is of sound mind and body, distributing his assets and giving such directives as he may wish to be carried out upon his death.
The instructions in a Will only take effect after the demise of its maker, i.e. the Testator. A Testator cannot however generally distribute a property which he inherited under native customary law.
What is a Codicil?
A Testator can always effect changes or amendments, or insert additional devises or bequests to his Will, while he is still alive, by making a Codicil. A Codicil is a supplementary deed to a Will which is made for the purpose of adding to or varying or revoking the provisions of an existing Will.
Advantages of a Will
(1) A Will excludes the rules of inheritance under native law and custom.
(2) A Will excludes the statutory rules of inheritance.
(3) A Will affords the Testator the opportunity to choose his executors, administrators and Guardians if the Testator's children are minors on his death.
(4) A Will avoids the extravagant bureaucratic costs, effort and time expended in applying for letters of administration.
(5) A Will allows the last surviving executor to complete the winding up of the administration of the estate without applying to the Probate Registry for the grant of fresh letters of administration.
(6) A Will allows the executors to it, to act as from the death of the Testator pending when final Probate is granted. E.g. follow burial rites instructions, act as Guardian of minor, if any, etc.
Wills and Survivorship
There are two kinds of survivorship. The first and more common one in Nigeria is known as Joint Tenancy. This is where two or more people jointly own a property. In the event of any of the owners pre-deceasing the other owner(s), the deceased owner's share of the property passes to the surviving beneficiaries of such a property to the exclusion of the estate of the deceased co-owner.
The other kind of survivorship is known as Tenancy-in-common. Here, in contrast to joint tenancy, the deceased owner's share of a property forms a part of his estate, to be inherited according to the terms of his or her Will - if there is any - or according to such Law that governed the deceased affairs during his life time.
Whether a devise or a bequest under a Will, to two or more beneficiaries, will be regulated by the rules of Joint Tenancy or Tenancy-in-common will depend on the interpretation of the wording of the Will.
Joint Tenancy and Tenancy-in-common
The rules regulating Joint Tenancies and Tenancies-in-common are common law rules which are not applicable to customary law modes of inheritance.
Where no specific words of severance are used in devolving a property, which words of severance indicate separate partitions or interest of the same property devolving to two or more beneficiaries, or to two or more people, the law assumes that a joint tenancy has been created with the result that the estate of any of the deceased co-owner cannot assume the place of the deceased in the enjoyment of such a property.
A Joint Tenancy is therefore implied where there is a unity of title, unity of interest, unity of time, and unity of possession.
Tenancy-in-common:
The presence of any of the following words in a Will creates a Tenancy-in-common: - "in equal shares"; "share and share alike"; "to be distributed between"; "to be distributed among them in joint and equal proportion"; "equally"; "among"; "respectively".
In the case of Chinweze v. Mazi (1989) 1 SC (part 11) 33 @ 46 for example, the Nigerian Supreme Court held that by operation of Law, Joint Tenancy leads to the doctrine of survivorship by which if one joint tenant dies without having obtained a separate share of the property for him or herself, during his or her life time, his or her interest will not pass to his or her estate but such interest will accrue to the other surviving joint tenants. The Nigerian Supreme Court also held that on the facts in this suit, the legal assignment it considered did not contain words of severance and therefore, the half brothers to the 2nd Defendant's sister could not take any benefit in the contested property due to the applicability of the rules of joint tenancy to the disputed property. The case of Sonekan v. Smith (1964) ANLR 161 is also recommended in the event that you intend to undertake further research on this subject.
Conclusion
In order for the intentions of a Testator or a benefactor to be achieved, it is recommended that utmost care and precision are exercised when drafting a Will or bequeathing a property. This caution or precision will truncate an avoidable litigation or dispute in the future.
Acknowledgements
We acknowledge the assistance of Mr. Babatola Apata, Barrister & Solicitor, and the Nigerian Law School "Course Handbook on Legal Drafting and Conveyancing", in preparing this Alert.
Subscribe & Unsubscribe to Legal Alerts
This Alert and others produced by us are provided without any charge to you. You can always subscribe to it, on behalf of other interested persons from whom you have their permission, by sending to us a one line e-mail with the words "Subscribe – Legal Alerts" followed by the desired email address.
You are equally permitted to terminate your subscription by sending to us a one line email with the words "Unsubscribe - Legal Alerts" and your electronic address would be removed from our list. In the future, you can return to our mailing list by visiting our web site www.oseroghoassociates.com to subscribe for the Legal Alerts.
DISCLAIMER NOTICE. This Legal Alert is a free educational material, for your general information and enlightenment purposes ONLY. This Alert, by itself, does not create a Client/Attorney relationship between yourself and our Law Firm.
Recipients are therefore advised to seek professional legal counselling to their specific situations when they do arise. Questions, comments, criticisms, suggestions, new ideas, contributions, etc are always welcomed with many thanks.
This Legal Alert is protected by Intellectual Property Law and Regulations. It may however be shared with other parties provided that our Authorship is always acknowledged and this Disclaimer Notice is attached.