Drama of ACT OF GOD (Force Majeure)

(Mr. Mellow sits inside Barr. Ojulari’s office, both of them are eating the last pieces of Suya that Mr. Mellow bought along on his way to Barr. Ojulari’s office, Barr. Ojulari drinks from the cup in his hand as he belch loudly.)

MR. MELLOW: (Feels irritating) Why don’t you use some table manners? See as you belched like a layman! Smeh!

BARR. OJULARI: (Speaking pidgin) You too wise! Abeg! No cone trouble me for my office jare

MR. MELLOW: (replies with pidgin Na because she you dey your office make you dey do as you like abi? You overwise.

(Both of them burst into laughter)

BARR. OJULARI: How did you adopt Mr. Mellow as your nickname that people do call you?

MR. MELLOW: I and other colleagues of mine were late to arrive at the exam hall one day when I was in school due to heavy rainfall, only students that had cars were able to get to school before the commencement of the exam, it was a tough day!

BARR. OJULARI: How did the name come up then?

MR. MELLOW: We begged the head invigilator and told him our excuses, he did not allow us to sit the exam, I was so much serious when I was pleading with him, I did not know when I said, “oga please mellow your principle for us”, Guess what the lecturer said immediately after I said so!

BARR. OJULARI: What?

MR. MELLOW: He said, “ Mr Mellow”, get out of my sight and come back to do this exam next year!

BARR. OJULARI: Was that how everybody started calling you “Mr. Mellow”.

MR. MELLOW: Yes! In fact, I like that name!

BARR. OJULARI: There was a rainfall, you were late to the exam hall due to rainfall, and you were not allowed to sit exam! What an uninteresting story!

MR. MELLOW: We were all sad, we all had to sit that exam at the following year.

BARR. OJULARI: That is why your story is not interesting, under the law, what happened to you guys is called FORCE MAJEURE, it means AN ACT OF GOD.

MR. MELLOW: Huh! D-law!! What is the meaning of that legal jargon?

BARR. OJULARI: Force Majeure is an event or effect that can neither be anticipaed nor controlled. It includes both natural and human acts [1]

MR. MELLOW: Okay!

BARR. OJULARI: It is a French word which means super force or greater force. It is something that happens, which is beyond our control, we can neither forsee that it will happen nor prevent it from happening.

MR. MELLOW: That is right! Though we all had time table for the exam, but we could not know that their would be rainfall, and when the rain was falling, there was nothing that we could do to stop it.

BARR. OJULARI: Good! This is the first time that you will agree with me outrightly. I think you have understood my stance. What those invigilators should do was to reschedule the exam to a later day. What they did was not legal and they were not just.

MR. MELLOW: Had it been that I have known this then, I would drag it with them bitterly!

BARR. OJULARI: I trust you!

MR. MELLOW: This reminds of an incident that occurred in my area, we are still settling the matter up till now.

BARR. OJULARI: What is that?

MR. MELLOW: There was an heavy storm as the rain was falling in my area last week, the storm took-off Mr. Home’s roof and dropped the roof on Mr. G-boy’s car, the car was completely destroyed. Mr. G-boy has been troubling Mr. Home to repair his car for him.

BARR. OJULARI: (Laughs hysterically) What is the model of that car?

MR. MELLOW: It is a Tesla 2022 model electric car.

BARR. OJULARI: Is that not Tesla 2022 Model S Plaid Car?

MR. MELLOW: Yes it is. That car is highly expensive. It costs over 53 billion naira. That man is in a mess now. Everyone has been begging him but he insists that Mr. Home must repair his car for him.

BARR. OJULARI: That man should stop begging Mr. G-boy for his destroyed car, and he must not give him a dime anymore.

MR. MELLOW: Ah! Why?

BARR. OJULARI: Because, the law says, “Actus Dei Nemini Facit Injuria”, it means that, “ An act of God does not cause injury to anyone”. A storm is an act of God and no one would have thought that it would take off someone’s roof and drop it on another person’s car.

MR. MELLOW: So, that man is not liable to pay for what the storm used his property to damage?

BARR. OJULARI: Yes! Once something can not be prevented by the exercise of prudence, diligence, and care [2] the principle of Act of God shall be applied and it will stand as a defence to one who is being accused.

MR. MELLOW: Huh! You always have something to say!

BARR. OJULARI: You are funny! The only issue that may make that man to be liable to pay any amount is that if the fault is in the hand of that Mr. Home, who is the owner of the house.

MR. MELLOW: Fault like what!

BARR. OJULARI: Negligence of course! If it can be proven that the owner should have done something to prevent something of such, and he omitted to do it, then he would be responsible for the damage that his property has caused.[3]

MR. MELLOW: That is good! I will inform both of them, I will even advise Mr. Home to come and see you. That man has been brooding since the occurrence of that incident, now he will be given a good news that he won’t have to pay a dime for the damage anymore.

BARR. OJULARI: No problem, you can tell him to come and see me, law office is always open for everybody.

Light fades

REFERENCES:
[1]. C.G.G (Nig) Ltd. V. Augustine & Ors (2010) LPELR 8592 CA ; Black’s Law Dictionary 8th Ed.

[2]. Pacific Vegetable Oil Corp. V. C.S.T. Ltd. (1946) 29 Cal.2d 228, 238

[3]. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Force_majeure accessed on 27th of October

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ABDULRAUF Abdullahi Adebayo, is a Law student, a Certified Teacher and a Writer. He can be reached via the following platforms;

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