Diary of a Lagos Rookie Lawyer (12): Me, My Affidavit and the Rest!

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Hey guys, last week I left without notice and I was told how much I was missed. It was humbling to know that my absence was noticed. It is nothing serious o, just that I am running an LLM program and we had several seminar papers to present and working as a team means, subjecting your own convenience to the decision of the majority. So I got too busy. I am sorry!

My diary this week was particularly difficult to pick because I had so many events but all seemed disjointed. I wanted to tell you all about an interesting Execution of Judgment I witnessed. It was about the sweetest action movie I have witnessed in the profession so far, but there are still stuffs I have not really asked questions on. So, on my next diary, if nothing more exciting happen, I will tell you how fascinated I was watching the court levy execution at our instance.

Back to the present. So, yours truly diligently prepared an affidavit  in support of a motion and the only thing it did was go viral in the office and they made jest of me for three days back to back. Just because I told the truth of what exactly happened! Why do I have to lie in an affidavit really?  I mean, love this profession but there are a few things that I find rather too strange and conflicting. Sometimes it makes no point trying to even process it. I mean, how do you explain this thing called affidavit for instance?

I was instructed to prepare an application to relist a matter in court. Guys in case you are wondering like I did a couple of months back and for the benefit of my learning friends and novices, an application to relist a matter in court becomes necessary when, you fail to prosecute your case diligently and force the judge to strike out your case. When he does, you would need an application to have the case relisted on his cause list. You all know I am a brilliant student. That was the exact word used by MO then to explain the concept.

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So, I started preparing the application o. I asked why the matter was struck out and I was told that there used to be a Miss Debby who worked in the office. She got married and became pregnant and was always sick and grumpy. She was handling the case that was struck out and for some reasons she lost track of the adjourned date and matter came up three times and was struck out. Debby left the country to deliver her baby and did not return to the office.

With the above information, I was told to prepare the application to relist the matter. They were also kind enough to give me a precedent.  By the way, it was the first time I was going to do an application from beginning to the end! Before, I was either given already prepared court processes to read and critic, check for errors and stuffs like that. I did the Motion first then the Affidavit in Support of the Motion and the Written Address. I read the reasons given by the deponent on the precedent but it was not the same as the reason that I was given for the instant case. So, I told exactly the story of Debby and her pregnancy on the affidavit. When I submitted it to SK, he read through for about 3 minutes, then he made a facial expression and went into a hysteric laughter. It didn’t take 5 seconds for everyone to join in the laughter. I was confused. What did I do wrong? I was beginning to feel embarrassed.

They all read the affidavit and passed it from one desk to the other until it got to the ground floor and made its way into uncle Shiny the accountant’s office. Can you imagine? Lunch was so much fun for them at my instance. Not even the fact that I was close to tears could deter them. It was a miserable way to learn that I needed to have lied. MO said it was not lying but telling a convincing story. Another person I cannot readily remember now, said it was getting your client’s case progressed in court. Whatever they tag it, I cannot be fooled into believing that making your story believable to the judge by saying what is not is not lying. This really worries me. I don’t like affidavits. I don’t want to say I was told what I know I conjectured from my head. And then those boring “I was told by XYZ in  our office at ABC and co and I verily believe it to be true” when in truth, they didn’t come to tell us anything.  No wonder they sometimes say we are liars! I am still very angry and embarrassed sha. But first please join me and read my trendy Affidavit and tell me what I did wrong:

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I, …….Male, Christian, Nigerian citizen of ………… , Lagos, do hereby make Oath and state as follows that:

  1. I am the Litigation Manager in the firm of ……….., counsel to the Claimants I have the authority and consent of my firm and that of the Claimants to depose to this affidavit.
  2. On Friday, 1st June, 2018, Cecelia Eyisi informed me at our office at ……., Lagos at about 1pm and I verily believe her that: 
    • We used to have an employee known as Debby who was pregnant and very irritable. She was personally handling the file according to the policy of the office. The last time she came to court, the case was adjourned to 10th of January but because of her condition, she failed/neglected/was unable to endorse the office register. This was how we lost track of the case.
    • Debby travelled abroad to have her baby without informing anybody about the case. After she finished having her baby she refused to return to the office to continue with her work. Including the file of the instant case.
    • We are constrained to file a relisting application because the matter was struck out by you as a result of her errors and neglect not ours.
  3. I depose to this affidavit conscientiously and in good faith believing same to be true, correct and in accordance with the Oaths Law.     

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