Following the official launch and public presentation of the first and indigenous textbook on the subject matter of Construction Law in Nigeria written by Ewuwuni Onnoghen-Theophilus (MRS) an event which took place at Merit House FCT Abuja on the 16th Day June 2022. The author grants interview over her debut publication and stated that her book is the first indigenous textbook on this area of law in Nigera. She also highlighted what stood out on the Second Edition which she launched recently.
(1)May we meet you ma?
Hello, I’m Mrs. Ewuwuni Onnoghen-Theophilus. I’m a construction lawyer, a certified Arbitrator, an accredited Mediator, Notary Public, and an author.
(2)You recently published the second edition of your groundbreaking book entitled “Construction Law In Nigeria” what was your motivation to publish this book?
My book is the first and only indigenous legal text on construction law. It was published to fill the lacuna in our jurisprudence since there was no book that interrogates and highlights Nigeria’s laws that govern activities in our construction sector.
(3)Can you tell us more about the book “Construction Law In Nigeria”?
The book discusses in detail the laws you would encounter from the beginning to the end of any construction project. In my book, I reviewed 4 standard forms of construction contracts that are currently used in Nigeria. The book provides clarity on the complex interplay of legal, engineering, and commercial nuances embedded in modern-day construction projects.
(4) Is there any specific gap in knowledge that your groundbreaking publication fills which has not been addressed by several other publications in the area of Construction Law. What are the changes in the second edition of your book that stands out?
Yes, there is. As mentioned earlier, up until the publication of my book, there was no book on the laws that govern the Nigerian construction sector. Mine is the first and only book in this area of law. It, therefore, provides, inter alia, guidance, and insight into how the Nigerian courts and arbitrators would interpret construction contracts executed in Nigeria where disputes arise.
(5)What are the changes in the second edition of your book that stands out from the first edition?
In the Second Edition, I have reviewed Nigerian laws which were enacted between 2016 (when the 1st Edition was published) and 2022. The JCT standard form of contract was amended in 2016 and the FIDIC Red Book was amended in 2017. These amended versions are reviewed in the second edition. The second edition also has two (2) new chapters – (1) the law of torts and the construction process and (2) the Digital construction and the law in Nigeria.
(6)Coming up with this groundbreaking book must have been demanding considering that you are the Lead Counsel of the Law firm Theophilus-Onnoghen, how were you able to manage your research, work, and personal life?
I give all the glory to God who is my strength. I also had the unflinching support of my husband, parents, and siblings.
HER EXPERIENCE AS A LEGAL PRACTITIONER AND ADVISE TO YOUNG LAWYERS
(6)What has your experience been in legal practice been like and what advice do you have to young and upcoming lawyers in choosing their career paths?
My experience has been a good one. I had my father to guide me. It was my dad that advised me to get a Masters of Law(LL.M) in construction law and when I got back, he told me to write a book. I have been blessed to have had great lawyers like Asiwaju A. S. Awomolo (SAN) and his dear wife, Chief (Mrs) Victoria Awomolo, SAN guide me. Chief Bayo Ojo, CON, SAN, FCIArb and his amiable wife, Hon. Justice Folashade Ojo has been pivotal in my career as an arbitrator and my mentor, Mrs Mfon Ekong Usoro always provides the push I need to reach for more.
So, young lawyers need to get mentors. They should identify a unique area of law and carve a niche for themselves. They should, however, not rush into any area of law without doing proper research and ensuring that they have a passion for what they are going for.
I wish them the very best in their career choices.
Thanks for having me!