Law News
Lawyers and incongruity of justice system

TODAY, law and lawyer character in England are different from law and lawyer character in Nigeria. Today, some lawyers want to pile up wealth by crook or hook. In the early years of the rule of civil law in Nigeria from Britain and up to the end of the 1980s, lawyers stood out. Chief Gani Fawehimi of blessed memory ended the era when lawyers and practice of law in Nigeria were defined by men of impregnable character who needed nothing from any political leader but to deliver a prosperous society and good governance.

Lawyers serving in government and outside it were the voices of the nation and the poor. Professional etiquette was supreme in character, dealings, dress code, incorruptibility, just name it.  This was high and symbolic of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) presidency of Alao Aka-Bashorun of blessed memory. That era is about 29 years ago but the impact of his leadership is still in our imagination and fresh. Alao fought despotism till his last breath.

Chief Bola Ige of blessed memory was also of this stock. Lawyers’ authentication in a vital document means the sanctity of the document. The society saw the document in that light. All families consequently wanted to have a lawyer to have this air around them. Professor Itse Sagay belongs to this noble stock also. He fought unhealthy system at University of Benin to a standstill. Bola Ajibola too, built Lagos Law School under the sage, Babatunde Ibironke, then Director of Nigerian Law School. Wealth gluttony was not the symbol of successful lawyers but professional fineness and national service.

Today, values and integrity have plummeted with ambivalence in the eyes of the average Nigerian. Nigerians now see and take lawyers and the Court of Law with a pinch of salt. Rather than be lawyers, young men and women prefer to be comedians and dancers. The Bench appears to have been touched also, hence, Aloma Muktar, the former Chief Justice of Nigeria; was crying out to exit some judges so that in all, the society is bearing the pandemic brunt like “a city without a wall”. This decay caused President Buhari to weep when he lost election in 20011. He is also of that glorious stock though not a lawyer.

This Godly value has earned him God’s recompense. God dispels darkness no matter the thickness. Greedy lawyers have ruined their names in the Court of God and Nigerians. They serve in governments with no impact on our profession or the society but service on their egos. Today, Nigerians woke up to meet their wealth is gone but no culprit. A lame man in law in the person of President Buhari has taken up the war no matter the cost, that was the spirit of the Bar and celebrated lawyers.

But the Bar in all of this stench of corruption did not bite or it decided to be blind to it. Some members who ought to know participated wantonly. Another victim of this debilitation are the younger lawyers who now believe this is the real practice. They were not lucky to meet the hay days of the practice of law by Chief Rotimi Williams who sang sung in court with law. The crave is get rich quickly. Lawyers should learn the Buhari way and live in tomorrow, in the very heart of humanity and God.

•Aimuan is a legal consultant.

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