Life After Now

by Opeyemi Ajayi
covid19 world

In our very eyes, the world is changing without a prior notice.

Corona Virus that started as a local health challenge in China is now a global phenomenon.

Till date there is no vaccine, people are dying while only a few are recovering once the virus knocks on their door.

Around here, things are worse because of the stigma associated with the virus, lack of adequate medical facility coupled with an over burdened personnel.

As our manner is in times like this, we rely on faith rather than science; we must therefore continually pray that we do not witness the kind of community spread experienced in other climes. We do not have the capacity to withstand such carnage.

This is one disease that is here to alter the habits and behavioural patterns of the human race; things will definitely not be the same again, there will be “new normal” hereafter.

There will definitely be life after Covid 19 but we must begin to plan ahead, we must begin to understand how to deal with the disruptions that this disease came with.

Like many other countries, Nigeria responded to the threat of corona virus; our borders were shut, travelling is restricted and pockets of lock down here & there.

The Covid 19 health challenge has affected our economy, it will also affect lots of transactions. It is time to begin to speculate how life might be in the immediate aftermath of Covid 19.

As individuals and business people, we must begin to plan ahead to meet any eventuality.

There are indications that there may be job loses; this might create several labour disputes. The Nigerian Labour law allows employers to disengage staff on the premise of redundancy but there are principles to follow for this to happen.

Some employers might introduce pay cuts or suspension of benefits. There must be understanding of the times and seasons that we are in. Employers should not be arbitrary; employees should be reasonable.

While this scourge remains, lots of activities and transactions will be conducted online. Smart business people must tap into this.

Many commercial transactions will be affected by this pandemic, many businesses will be impinged; many transactions will be truncated, our borders are closed for business, commercial airline operations have been suspended.

Force Majeure is a term that Legal practitioners often use to describe circumstances when parties are relieved from non- performance of contractual obligations.

The term is said to be of French origin but recognised across Common Law jurisdictions. There are ground rules to a defence of this nature.

Generally, parties are bound by the terms of their contract once signed except there is an element of duress or fraud.

No one can confidently say how long this pandemic will last, even though there are speculations.

If community spread continues unabated across Nigeria, another lock down may be inevitable.

Basically, the effect of Force Majeure clause allows a party to escape liability by not fulfilling a term of a contract.

Usually, most contracts drafted by Legal practitioners have this clause.

There is a high likelihood that some parties might go to court seeking to enforce specific performance of some obligations while some others will seek shelter under force majeure.

There are Statutes of Limitations in our laws; this is a process that sets a particular time frame for when legal proceedings can be initiated in a particular issue. Most courts are shut down, will Statutes of Limitations remain effective?

This will be a good time to contact your Lawyers if you have any contract that is in force and begin to plan ahead for any eventuality.

As stated earlier, there will likely be a plethora of dispute post Covid 19. Our laws did not in any way forecast something as magnitude as we’re currently experiencing but our judicial system will definitely grease the system to keep working effectively post Covid 19.

There will definitely be life after Covid 19 but the earlier we begin to internalize how life will be hereafter the better for us because things will no longer be the same again.

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