(Nigeria Moment). Abuja –
After being sworn in by the Chief Judge of FCT on behalf of the Chief Judge of Nigeria as a Notary Public of Nigeria. I (Emmanuel Ukaegbu) swore to discharge my duties with dignity and honesty.
Notary Services Nigeria explains the requirements to be a notary public as follows: “In Nigeria, Notaries are senior members of the Nigerian Bar Association who have been called to the Nigerian Bar for at least 7 years, prior to the day of appointment as Notary Public. They are Legal Practitioners who are qualified to authenticate, prepare, attest, verify, witness and certify original and copy legal documents for use in Nigeria and internationally. A notarial certification or authentication is generally recognised as an international “certification of authenticity”.
“The Hague Convention, gives international recognition to the office and seal of a Notary. From 1st October, 1936 when the Law No. 41 of 1936 of Nigeria and under the Law of No. 37 of 1936 of Laws of Nigeria, Notaries were appointed by Queen of England or her representative in the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria and registered and subscribed by the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery. Following the introduction of the Notaries Public Act Law No. 107 of 1955, they are now appointed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
Every Notary appointed in Nigeria is by law deemed as an Officer of the Supreme Court of Nigeria”
Also According to National Notary Association, “a Notary Public is an official of integrity appointed by state government — typically by the secretary of state — to serve the public as an impartial witness in performing a variety of official fraud-deterrent acts related to the signing of important documents. These official acts are called notarizations, or notarial acts. Notaries are publicly commissioned as “ministerial” officials, meaning that they are expected to follow written rules without the exercise of significant personal discretion, as would otherwise be the case with a “judicial” official.”
A Notary’s duty is to screen the signers of important documents — such as property deeds, wills and powers of attorney — for their true identity, their willingness to sign without duress or intimidation, and their awareness of the contents of the document or transaction. Some notarizations also require the Notary to put the signer under an oath, declaring under penalty of perjury that the information contained in a document is true and correct.
Impartiality is the foundation of the Notary’s public trust. They are duty-bound not to act in situations where they have a personal interest. The public trusts that the Notary’s screening tasks have not been corrupted by self-interest. And impartiality dictates that a Notary never refuse to serve a person due to race, nationality, religion, politics, sexual orientation or status as a non-customer.
As official representatives of the state, Notaries Public certify the proper execution of many of the life-changing documents of private citizens — whether those diverse transactions convey real estate, grant powers of attorney, establish a prenuptial agreement, or perform the multitude of other activities that enable our civil society to function.