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Strikes and Rumors of Strike

Strikes and Rumors of Strike: A case to expand the powers and duties of a Notary Public as a tool for Consumer Governance.

Strikes and Rumors of Strike: A Case to Expand the Powers and Duties of a Notary Public as a Tool for Consumer Governance.

By Muyiwa Ayojimi

The history of strike in Nigeria is endless. The strike could be labour (NLC) in nature, education (ASUU), medical (Doctors/Nurses), academic (academic/non- academic) From the initial occurrence which took place in June 1945, to the Enugu Coal Miners’ strike of 1949, the frequency of strikes in Nigeria has continued abated.

The rumour of another strike and the forefront agitation of the judicial workers to support the strike has brought to the fore the need by the Supreme Court of Nigeria to consider the expansion of the duties of a Notary Public particularly on legal or quasi-legal assignments for actions of an administrative nature, recognition of affidavits/attestations and Infact, interim reliefs, pending the intervention or submission of cases to a judicial process.

In the heat of strike actions in the past, like the JUSUN strike, there were pockets of matters requiring simple conciliatory declaration or administrative approvals/reliefs that were kept in abeyance and conscripted to a decay of injustice within the said period. There was a case of a certain boy aged 15years, who absconded from his guardian having carted away a substantial amount of money and went on a spending spree with his friends. He was arrested and was in Police custody for days because investigation was ongoing. No one came forward for his bail and hence was kept in continuous custody. The welfare department who was contacted had requested an order of court to commit the boy to a remand home pending a determination of the issues. Another case was the display of arbitrariness by some airport authority officials who seized a small quantity of articles meant for a marriage ceremony from a man when he arrived the Country.
How about documents deserving of institutional/agency attestations needed by persons overseas or documents of a commercial/contracting nature in the maritime, banking sector or even ancillary to immigration issues. The list of scenarios is unceasing.

The list of several trampled rights, consumer advancements and suspended justice that occur within a strike period is endless. Unfortunately, we can not quantify with reasonable certainty, the loss the strikes cost the Country, or loss to commerce and consumers generally.

This is a case to consider the expansion of the duties of a Notary Public to include the issuance of status quo orders, execute bail conditions, administer intervening jurats and carry out any other ethical relief to parties in disputes pending the ability of such parties to issue appropriate writs.

The question is- why can’t a person who is adjudged as fit and proper person, authorized by The Chief Justice of Nigeria to carry out certain legal formalities/activities and endowed with the strongest presumption of veracity not worthy of additional responsibilities to serve and support the cause of justice. A Notary Public should be able to perform certain administrative duties like a magistrate who is also a Notary Ex-Officio.

In some States in the United States, a Notary Public records proof/evidence in criminal or civil trials and automatically perform the function of an arbitrator, counselor, or mediator. In some parts of Europe and America, Notaries issue subpoenas of witnesses.

The Institution of Notary Publics which has its roots in ancient Rome, serves as the longest-standing institution in the legal space and operates worldwide. Primarily in most jurisdictions, this office of a Notary is occupied by a legal practitioner.

A Notary Public is a public officer whose function it is to administer oaths; to attest and certify, by his hand and official seal, certain classes of documents, in order to give them credit and authenticity for local and foreign jurisdictions; to take acknowledgments of deeds and other conveyances and certify same; and to perform certain official acts, chiefly in commercial matters, such as the protesting of notes on ships and bills of exchange, the noting of foreign drafts, and marine protests in cases of loss or damage. Other functions include administering oaths for the giving of evidence, certification of documents, obtaining authentication from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, prepare Notarial Certificates of Law & Good Standing, helps with verification of Company documents, verifies identity and/or signature, witness execution of local and international documents such as Sale and Purchase Agreements, Transfers of Land, Assignments of Intellectual Property, Powers of Attorney, Deeds, Security Documentation, Mortgages, Company Resolutions, Minutes and Reports.
Section 7 and 8 of the Notaries Public Act, 2004 provides for revocation and suspension of Notaries hence the fear of arbitrariness if duties are expanded should not be entertained. The Notary Public stands the risks of his name being struck out of the register as well as other disciplinary measures of the legal.

Strikes in Nigeria underscores the need for the legal profession to re appraise and revamp some of the judicial structures and make them more efficient and dynamic in legal service delivery. In addition to expanding the duties of the Notary Public, the rules of court can be amended to enable magistrates and judges to hear certain matters in chambers without given to the formalities of registry processes under a prescribed process worthy of such matters. Cases can be heard under certain circumstances and can be filed directly to the Chambers of the judge/magistrate in such circumstances with Notarized documents.
The wheel of justice already grinds slowly, a strike or a variant situation that brings about a further sludge can be much more frustrating not only to commercial activities in Nigeria but also to the Nigerian consumer.

About the Author

Mr. Muyiwa Ayojimi is a tested and trusted Legal Practitioner with hands-on experience in Company Secretarial/Governance Practice, Commercial Law and Arbitration. He is the leading authority on Notary Public practice in Nigeria and the current Executive Secretary/Co- founder of the Society for Notaries Public.
He is an Associate of both the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Nigeria. He is a member of the Society for Corporate Governance Nigeria, a Member of the Institute of Management.


This work is published under the free legal awareness project of Sabi Law Foundation ( funded by the law firm of Bezaleel Chambers International ( The writer was not paid or charged any publishing fee. You too can support the legal awareness projects and programs of Sabi Law Foundation by donating to us. Donate here and get our unique appreciation certificate or memento.


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