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Nigerian Lawyer Files Further Statement Against Oxford Over Wrong Dictionary Definitions4 minutes read

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A Nigerian lawyer has continued his two-year legal battle with Oxford University and Oxford University Press over wrong definition in its dictionaries by filing a further statement on oath before a court in Lagos, the commercial centre of Nigeria.

The Lagos-based lawyer, Mr Ogedi Ogu, the counsel representing a claimant, Mr Emmanuel Ofoegbu, had filed the suit in 2018, urging the court to direct Oxford University Press to ensure that all dictionaries published by them, include a caveat which states that:

“The dictionaries are made available as a reference tool only, and that anyone who relies on definition of words in their dictionaries as an alternative to seeking independent legal advice, does so at his own risk.”

Joined in the suit as the first defendant is the University of Oxford while Oxford University Press is sued as the second defendant.

In his statement of claim, the claimant had told the court that he purchased the Oxford Mini Reference Dictionary, and the Oxford English Mini Dictionary, and had relied on the dictionaries in advising his client on the words “Mortgagee” and “Mortgagor”,

He said that in the dictionaries, the word “Mortgagee’’ is defined as the Borrower in a Mortgage transaction, while “Mortgagor’’ is defined as the Lender.

According to him, his professional colleagues subsequently drew his attention to the correct position in many other dictionaries apart from Oxford, which defines the word “Mortgagee” to be the Lender and “Mortgagor” to be the borrower.

He said that he was thoroughly embarrassed and has since then suffered damages including loss of his professional esteem, as his colleagues had stopped asking for his opinion or advice on any legal issue.

But, Oxford in its statement of defence, deposed to by one Hannah Turner, averred that the Oxford Mini dictionaries are published as general reference tools and not designed or held out as dictionaries for legal terms for use by legal practitioners.

Besides, Oxford averred that its dictionaries undergo updates, adding that the edition which the claimant alleged it relied on, had already been through several updates resulting in new editions like sixth, seventh and eighth editions published in 2004, 2007 and 2013 respectively.

It said that in all these editions of the Oxford Mini dictionaries listed, the definition of the word “Mortgagor” is the borrower in a Mortgage, while the “Mortgagee” is the lender.

Meanwhile, in his further statement on oath in response to the defence, the claimant avers that he had relied on the definitions of the words in the two oxford dictionaries he purchased, and had already suffered damages before he received a letter on Nov. 30, 2016, stating that the Oxford dictionaries were only reference tools.

He avers that prior to this letter, he was not aware or put on notice by any means whatsoever, that the dictionaries were for reference tools only, adding that their letter was a reply to his solicitor’s letter informing Oxford of the damage he had suffered in relying on their dictionaries

He avers that the words Mortgagee and Mortgagor are both English words and do not have distinct legal meanings different from their ordinary meaning, adding that in Nigeria, persons learned in law do rely on dictionaries for a definition of words and also rely on such definitions even in judicial proceedings.

Claimant avers that the defendant was negligent and did not exercise due care and diligence in the definition of words.

He avers that the defendant has now admitted in paragraph 17(9) of its statement of defence, that the words Mortgagee and Mortgagor have been defined differently in subsequent editions of its dictionaries.

The claimant insists that the defendant owes a duty of care to him because users of dictionaries are not bound or required to be purchasing every edition of the dictionary.

He said that the words in the front and back covers of the dictionaries, holding them out as being authoritative sources of English, was what influenced him and weighed heavily in his mind to consult and use them.

The claimant, therefore, avers that the definition of the words Mortgagee and Mortgagor as defined in the Oxford Mini reference dictionary fifth edition published in 1999, are not their definitions in the sixth, seventh, and eighth editions.

The suit was originally pending before Justice Ibironke Harrison who has now been transferred from the civil to the criminal division of the court.

A new date is yet to be fixed for the case. 

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140 Migrants Drown Off Senegal’s Coast, Says IOM

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The United Nation’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) has said no fewer than 140 migrants bound for Europe drowned off the coast of Senegal when their boat sank.

The boat was said to be carrying around 200 people at the time of the incident last weekend.

The boat caught fire and capsized on Saturday, shortly after leaving the town of Mbour, the agency said.

About 60 people were rescued, according to reports.

It is believed the migrants were attempting to reach mainland Europe via Spain’s Canary Islands.

This route from West Africa has grown in popularity since 2018.

Saturday’s incident was the deadliest of its kind anywhere in the world this year, the UN said.

“We call for unity between governments, partners and the international community to dismantle trafficking and smuggling networks that take advantage of desperate youth,” said Bakary Doumbia, IOM’s representative in Senegal.

According to the Spanish government, more than 11,000 arrivals have been recorded in the Canary Islands this year compared with 2,557 during the same period last year.

A previous peak, in 2006, saw 35,000 migrants arrive in the archipelago, the UN said.

At least 414 people are known to have died along this route so far this year according to the IOM. A total of 210 fatalities were recorded on the same stretch in the whole of 2019.

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22 Boko Haram Fighters Killed In Failed Bid To Raid Nigerian Army Camp

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The Nigerian Army killed no fewer than 22 Boko Haram members when the terrorist group attempted to raid a military camp in Damboa, Borno State.

According to a statement by the Coordinator Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, the Boko Haram fighters attacked Army Super Camp but were subdued by the superior firepower of the troops.

“Troops of Operation FIRE BALL under Operation LAFIYA DOLE has continued to decimate members of the Boko Haram/ Islamic State of West Province in order clear the remnants of the terrorists from the theatre,” the statement read.

“Consequently, on 25 October 2020 in what could appear to be a suicide journey the BokoHaram/Islamic State of West African Province attacked the well fortified Army Super Camp Damboa under 25 Bde in Sector 2.

“The terrorists met their waterloo as they were pounded with superior fire power and additional fire support from the Air Task Force. The criminals withdrew in rout as they could not withstand the well organised and determined soldiers during the encounter”.

The statement added that “the Boko Haram terrorists suffered severe casualties as 22 terrorists were neutralized others escaped with varying degrees of gunshot wounds, 2 Gun trucks destroyed, One NSV Anti Aircraft Gun, 2 Rocket Propelled Grenade Tubes, 4 PKT Machine guns, One General Purpose Machine Gun, One Browning Machine Gun, 12Ak 47 Rifles, One AK 74 Rifle were recovered.


Others were, “one RPG 7 bomb, 116 Rounds of 7.62mm NATO and 2 Hand grenades were recovered from the terrorists.

“Few of own soldiers were wounded in action and have since been evacuated and receiving medical treatment”.

“The troops of Operation Fire Ball under operation LAFIYA DOLE are hereby commended for the resilience, doggednes and commitment exhibited since the beginning of Operation FIRE BALL. They are equally encouraged not to rest on their oars but build on the successes recorded.

“The entire populace of the North East are hereby assured of the Nigerian military high command determination to finally rout the remnants the BHT/ISWAP criminals from their enclaves in this zone.”

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Central Africa News

Militants Kill 18 In DR Congo

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At least 18 people have died when Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militants attacked Bayeti village, Mamove locality in Beni territory of the eastern Nord Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The attack and killings is the latest incident in a region where the army and UN forces are fighting several armed groups.

The ADF victims, most of them in their homes, were killed by gunshots and knives.

The attackers also set fire to several homes, churches, and businesses at 19:00 local time on Wednesday, they said.

The head of a civil society group in Mamove, Kinos Katuho, said locals had spotted the attackers earlier in the day.

“The residents had seen the enemy [attackers] from midday. We had gone to report to the FARDC [army] elements based in Bayeti, but they were unable to prevent the attack and protect the population,” he is quoted as saying by the Actualité website.

At least 42 people have been killed by the ADF in Mamove since 3 October, Mr Katuho said.

The ADF, whose origin is Uganda, has been blamed for many attacks in eastern DR Congo in the past few years. Many other armed groups also operate in the region.

In the past year, the Islamic State group (IS) has claimed responsibility for several attacks blamed on the ADF.

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