Suru Worldwide Ventures Nigeria has over the years develop luxury residential properties and low cost housing in choice locations in Nigeria as well as chains of function halls throughout Nigeria. The company has expanded its scope of operations by launching serviced apartments for letting.
With the vision to be the most preferred and proactive real estate company in Africa offering exceptional products and services to our customers, Suru Worldwide has recruited bests hands to handle its operations across the state from media and publicity to marketing, business development and legal department.
Despite recent challenge with Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON, Suru has remained dogged and active in the real estate and property business, providing affordable homes for high, medium and low income earners in Lagos.
City People’s Online Editor, JOSEPH SEUN and General Manager Production WAHAB BASHIR had a brief chat with the Company’s Secretary who also doubles as a Legal practictioner, Anomneze Obianuju Peace, who shed more light on how Suru Worldeide Ventures Nigeria Limted have been able to remain afloat of business despite the consistent intimidation by AMCON..
How long have you been in the department handling legal activities?
For seven years. I came in as a lawyer, legal officer, deputy company secretary and then the company secretary. Ive been working here since March 2011. So I’m very conversant with the matter.
So how has it been, on the job issues and challenges?
It’s very interesting. It has exposed me to so many legal issues and now I can comfortable write a book on real estate. I’m actually writing a book already; Real Estate in Nigeria; Investors’ Guide.. it’s not ready ready but once its ready, it will be published.
Before taking up appointment here, what have you been doing?
Okay, I worked with Bamidele Aturu as junior counsel from, I worked with a law firm that has an NGO, I worked with them as counsel and program advisor because of the ngo aspect of the law firm. So from there, I moved to this place. I worked with Bamidele Aturu from 2008 to to 2009 and the ngo from 2009 to 2011, and from 2011 till date im in Suru.
What is your role as legal adviser and other offices?
Of course, there is always legal issue in every department of the company, there is always one legal issue or the other and as a lawyer they will always seek for your advise what what do you think, when something like this happened they what is your advise?. One thing with Suru is; Suru is a company that will never take any stap without a legal advise and legal implication. So have also passed down to all the departments to also uphold those tenets of law to all departments and staff. So we can never go outside what the law expected us to do.
Do you think Nigeria as a country is law abiding?
Well, to some extent I will not say that we are following the due process holistically because in several cases of matters pending before in court and the people acting in contravention of the law.. The law states that if a matter is pending before the courts and parties have been asked to maintain status quo. It will be a contempt of court for you to go ahead not minding that a court has given either a direction or an injunction in respect to the application before it. There have been several cases in Nigeria that I know that they have worked outside the law.
And then most times it looks as if the arms of government are also not also working on their own boundary as if most of the times they always trying to overstep their boundary, but I don’t think it should be so. For the rule of law to be very effective in any country every arm of government must work within its own ambit, that is the only way; the legislative is expected to make the law; the judiciary is to interpret with while the executive should execute. So anything outside of this, there is no way rule of law will be uphold in any country.
Who is Anomneze Obianuju Peace?
Madam Peace is just as simple as you are looking at me. I am woman that always want peace. God knows why they gave me the name. I am married to a lawyer too. Mr Davies Anomneze. We are blessed with 3 beautiful children.
What is your educational background?
I obtained my first course in Law from University of Nigeria Nsuka where I got my LLB. I got my BL from Nigeria Law School Abuja. After that I had several other qualifications like I had special masters certificate in entrepreneurship from Metropolitan Business School UK and I am also associate member of Institute of Strategic Management of Nigeria and also Nigeria Institute of Management. And there are other several trainings I have done and some articles written.
How do you manage family and business?
If there’s anything I have also learn from Mr. Edward Akinlade is to detach himself from his job. That’s one thing I have also learned from him. I’m the kind of person that when I’m in the office it’s the office business, but when I close from work its family business, I will be the mother, I will be the wife and I will do all that is expected of me both as a mother and as a wife. But there are some situations when work will call upon you.
All I need to do is to effectively communicate such situation to my husband to get his understanding and approval and he always support me. He is also a sound lawyer. He will tell me. “why don’t you do it like this’, why is it not like that.”I think you should suggest so, so and so to your company and then most of the time it works very fine. So, that’s how I have been able to manage work and family together.
Considering you as a lawyer married to another lawyer, how would you manage a situation where you face each other in court as opposing counsel?
At that point, you know the issue of bias will always come up. Will you be able to uphold the interest of your client above family. It depends on the nature of the case. If its not a contentious matter, you go ahead. If it is a contentious matter whereby my client will no longer be comfortable, the best thing is to allow my client brief another person, not because I will be bias, but for his own interest.
He will prefer that his counsel has no relationship with the opposing party. But one thing I always tell lawyers when you find yourself before judges, remember the tenets of law; uphold it what you are meant to is only what is required of you. You are just officers in the temple of justice. You are not going there to put in your own interest or to bend the rule of law. Just do the case as it is. Do all that is required of you.
Gather all the documents that you need from your client. Present them before the judge because in the first place the judge is not even part of the matter, it’s based on the documents you present before him or her that he will make his judgments. So, find out what you need to do, and then go ahead with the case. That’s where the fear of God comes in. if you have the fear of God, you don’t need to bend the law for someone to be faced with miscarriage of justice. So that justice and fair hearing must be paramount in everything that we do as lawyers.
Unfortunately these days we see lawyers who pursue monetary interest instead of the interest of the parties, and then to see that the rule of law is always uphold at every point in time, but I believe that with time we will get there, where lawyers will always consider the interest of the parties above personal vested interests. And most times we don’t have to necessary end up in court.
There are some situation that I will advise my client or company on matters that should be arbitration, let’s bring the partied before the table let’s hear from each parties and know what they both intend to achieve. Because it is not just to get to court and get immediate result, what do you intend to achieve is the main question.
That’s my way of approaching the law court. You don’t just go to court to deliberate, why should we go and delay five years, six years the matters that could be solve amicably? And you we see lawyers coming up with all sorts of technicalities and then 3 years into the case you have not done substantive matter, you are still on technicality. It doesn’t really make sense. If I have my way in the government where I will be able to allow my voice to be heard, I will advocate for arbitration.
Most cases that are in court have no business there in the first place, its about bringing parties together, give them enough opportunity to open up, tell their own side of the story. If there’s any document to back it up let them bring them, and then they go on from there. So, that’s my own counsel.
Where do you see Suru Worldwide Ventures Nigeria in the next 5 or 6 years?
As a company I pray that by that time we will be off the AMCON veil, we’ll be flying high. One of the objectives and also the vision of the company is to grow big and be in all parts of the states. Building low cost housing, affordable housing and luxury housing, and then I hope that by that 5 years we are able to achieve our objectives; we’ll have properties all over the countries and then we’ll be able to partner with governments when necessary because if we go into that PPP, it will help the government and it will also help the masses.
Most properties you see today are luxury properties, we forget to put into consideration the place of low income earners and middle class people who also wants moderate housing.
We are not building just because we want to build. If you come to GRA, most people that ordinarily cannot afford a land in GRA, can now call themselves land owners, because what we do is to buy large parcels of land and cut it into pieces and sell in square millimeter and its very affordable. So in 5 years’ time, we expect to have met the demands of people who suffer housing deficit.