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OAU Is Africa’s Best - The Nation by ABDamola(m): 10:34am On Jun 27, 2015
Law students of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in Ile-Ife, Osun State, did Nigeria proud when they beat their counterparts from the University of Pretoria to win the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Competition, a regional contest held at the Pretoria High Court in South Africa. CALEB ADEBAYO (Graduating law student) reports.

You could cut through the tension in the Palace of Justice of the Pretoria High Court in South Africa that day with a knife. The courtroom was filled with people who came to watch legal fireworks by the opposing counsel. The outcome of the case was not to jail anyone; it was all part of the thrills and frills at the grand finale of the regional Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Contest held in Pretoria.

Students of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in Ile-Ife, Osun State, thrilled members of the audience with their knowledge of the law when they met their counterparts from the University of Pretoria at the final  of the competition. OAU students won.

The Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Competition is a yearly contest where law students worldwide show their litigation proficiency in proceedings based on international space law disputes. The contest imitates proceedings at the International Court of Justice.

This year’s edition was hosted by the South African Council for Space Affairs (SACSA), a space science regulatory body affiliated to South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry, in collaboration with the Aerospace Industry Support Initiative.

The argument centred on dispute between two hypothetical countries – SPIDR and URA. It was to present issues relating to the response to a threat posed by the risk of collision of the earth with Near Earth Objects (NEOs). Counsel from each school addressed the utilisation of natural resources and liability for damages occasioned by the NEOs.

Six African universities, including OAU, University of Pretoria, Niger Delta University also from Nigeria, Makerere University in Uganda, University of Juba in South Sudan, and Mount Kenya University, participated in the competition.

The OAU counsel comprised John Odey, Peace Onashile and Toheeb Amuda, the team’s researcher. All of them are 400-Level students. Their lecturer, Dr Oduola Orifowomo, was their coach.

For three days, the teams argued their cases on the legality of outer space science. The OAU team beat the University of Pretoria and Niger Delta University at the preliminary stages.

Phethole Sekhula, a South African lawyer, Icho Kealetswe, an advocate of the High Court of Botswana and Christopher Okegbe, a solicitor from Nigeria presided over the final.

The grand finale was a show of forensic advocacy and oratorical skills as the counsel came up with their arguments. For every principle of law cited by the South African team, the OAU counsel had an answer.

It was be the fourth time OAU would be winning the regional contest. It won it in 2011, 2012 and 2014. The team also won the   Best Written Brief of Argument award.

The OAU students described the feat as “hard-won”, saying they faced many hurdles to win the contest. They praised their coach, whose expertise in space law, they said, helped them to come up with valid arguments.

Peace said: “The competition gave us the opportunity to engage our peers in other parts of Africa in an area of law which is seemingly unregulated. We matched our advocacy acuity with oratorical skills to win the contest.”

Asked about the team’s winning secret, John, the lead speaker, said: “From the onset, we were confronted with vague terms on the field of law that we were not familiar with. It was our task to break it down to understand the meaning of the terms to present our cases in Space Law. The team was conscious of the responsibility placed upon it and we moved faster to argue our points. The victory was not easy to come by; we fought hard and came out successful at the end.”

Dr Orifowomo hailed the students for the feat, saying his team proved to be formidable with its grasp of the fundamentals of space law as exhibited by the  members. He dedicated the victory to the moot and mock group of its OAU’s Faculty of Law, hailing its commitment to the knowledge of space law.

Dr Orifowomo also praised the OAU Vice-Chancellor, Prof Bamitale Omole, and the Dean of Law, Prof M.O. Adediran, for their support.

The OAU students will represent Africa in the international edition of the contest in Israel in October. It will be held during the 66th International Astronautical Congress.

Re: OAU Is Africa’s Best - The Nation by Bola4boy(m): 10:43am On Jun 27, 2015
So, I should now remove my pants? What of All the competitions where you were disgraced and beaten hands down.
Re: OAU Is Africa’s Best - The Nation by kadas01(m): 10:54am On Jun 27, 2015
No doubt, Nigeria is a country filled with super intellectuals!

Unfortunately, with all the human resources available, we're not making meaningful progress as a Nation!

LORD help us!
Re: OAU Is Africa’s Best - The Nation by jessejagga(m): 11:53am On Jun 27, 2015
So, I should now remove my pants? What of All the competitions where you were disgraced and beaten hands down.
yeah remove ur pants

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