Connect with us

Crime/Justice

Arguments Against ‘Centralised Law School For Nigeria’ Are Diversionary, Mere Distractions, And Non-Sequitur

Published

on

To be able to follow and appreciate my position and suggestions, I humbly enjoin us to first read at least an article titled:
“Abuja Central Law School for Nigeria Archaic (1)” written by the very respected Chief Afe Babalola SAN and published on many news platforms and blogs in Nigeria. While I agree that there is no central law school in England, unlike in Nigeria, may I respectfully suggest that those who argue against one Law School for Nigeria should have been all encompassing in their comparison, if objectivity was their watchword, which I seriously doubt. Truth is, and I submit, there are really no bases for comparing England’s situation with Nigeria’s. But, if we must engage in such needless comparison, then let me respectfully remind us that licensing private Law Schools in Nigeria (to break the monopoly of Nigerian Law School) is at the bottom of the scale of preferences of the challenges facing the legal profession, that is, of the issues in respect of which we must urgently copy England and the United Kingdom.
Check these out:
Most lawsuits initiated in courts in England about January 2020/2021 are already concluded up to the highest court of the land, while the rest are near conclusion and may not last beyond December 2022. In Nigeria, on the other hand, most of the cases pending before our courts currently, were commenced between the last five years and 15-20 years and there is hardly any hope of their being concluded any time soon. A typical example of the situation in Nigeria is the case of Pillars v Desbordes (a landlord and tenant case) which lasted over 28 years in Nigerian courts (from its commencement at the Lagos High Court to Conclusion at the Supreme Court) before being disposed of. I wrote:”… on 5 February 2021, while delivering the lead judgment in a landlord-and-tenancy appeal case, Pillars (Nig) Ltd v. Desbordes, His Lordship, the Honourable Justice Emmanuel Akomaye Agim, J.S.C., had started with the following introduction: ‘This appeal was commenced on 24/6/2009 when the appellant herein filled a notice of appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal at Lagos delivered on 8/5/2009 in appeal no.CA/L/859/2006 affirming the judgment of the High Court of Lagos delivered on 8/12/2000 in LD/148/93 and dismissing the appeal against it. The notice of appeal contains 5 Grounds of appeal”. The suit number shows that the suit was filed in a Lagos High Court in the year 1993, appealed to the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, in 2006 and later to the Supreme Court of Nigeria in 2009. The suit lasted 13 years at the High Court, 3 years at the Court of Appeal and 12 years at the Nigerian Supreme Court. A total of 28 years! The cited examples fall among the rule, the norm, and not exceptional or isolated cases” (See “Snail-Paced Justice Dispensation in Nigerian Courts: Factors, Actors and Aftermaths” (yet unpublished). This is one major area that our senior colleagues need to copy something from England about. Those whose preoccupation is on how to decentralise, nay destabilise Nigerian Law School, should tell us whether a Central Law School for Nigeria is the reason why administration of justice in Nigeria is the slowest and among the most ineffective in the whole world. If our learned senior colleagues had channelled their energy and efforts towards pushing for reforms to accelerate justice delivery in Nigeria, perhaps things would have become far better than they are currently.
Appointment of jurists into Courts in England is based on merit, competence and honour. On the other hand, in Nigeria, almost all appointments are based on Quota, Place of Origin, Tribe, Language, Religion or Political Leaning. Is that what Nigeria ought to be doing in 2022 – the 21st century? What are our colleagues doing about this? Is licensing private Law Schools a more pressing challenge than this?
Corruption in the High Court of England is at the lowest ebb. In Nigeria, corruption is the order of the day, and has eaten so deep into our fabrics that even English leaders derisonly describe as “fantastic” the level of corruption in Nigeria.
What are the contributions of these respected senior colleagues of ours towards curbing corruption in the judiciary in Nigeria?
Judges on the Bench in England are free to hand down their judgments and rulings based on facts, law, evidence and the cases before them impartially and without fear of intimidation, harassment or disgraceful treatment from other arms of government. Recently, the Court of England ruled against the Prime Minister of England on the Brexit deal. On the other hand, in our country, the DSS would invade the homes of jurists in the wee hours of the night, bundle them into vans like common criminals. And nothing would happen by way of repercussions. An ex parte order from a court (Code of Conduct Tribunal) which has no jurisdiction to make such an order would remove easily Nigeria’s CJN, the head of Nigeria’s Judiciary, an independent arm of government, against the express provisions of the grund norm while some of our senior lawyers cheer the persecutors in support. Decentralising the Nigerian Law School is their only headache. What a misplacement of priority; chasing after rats when your house is on fire!
As of the year 2022, most Courts in England are fully automated, and their processes and procedures fully digitalised, ICT and internet-propelled. During the COVID-19 lockdown, more than 70,000 cases were heard and disposed of in England, by virtual means, backed up by law. How many were heard in Nigeria during the lockdown? A laughable number, if any! One would ask, these advocates of private law schools in Nigeria, what efforts are they making to have Nigeria key into the new norm, following COVID-19? Oh, they are more preoccupied with lobbying and arguing to have private law schools licensed for them to operate.
Courts in Nigeria are still recording proceedings in long hand. Storage of data is majorly manual. And hardly any prompt and effective mechanisms are put in place for timely, secure transmission of information about court proceedings, to litigants and counsel; one still has to travel from Lagos State to Kano State for a case fixed for trial only, and on getting to Kano, after huge flight fares and hotel bills, one would be informed that Court Is Not Sitting. In England, under such a scenario, lawyers and their clients would have been informed/ communicated in advance vide the Internet so that they would not waste money and time travelling such a long distance for a case that would not go on.
Courts in England operate and function wholly on a public power supply which is available 24/7, without any interruptions whatsoever. On the other hand, Nigerian courts depend on unstable, epileptic power supply, dilapidated generators. Most Nigerian Courtrooms are worse than bakery ovens. Witnesses, parties, court officials, counsel, etc, operate under very non-conducive courtrooms, mostly with archaic chairs and sitting arrangements suitable only for a 17th century courtroom. What efforts have these our respected senior colleagues made to remedy this ugly situation? They could not do anything because there are more concerned with campaigns to license private law schools in Nigeria. That, to them, perhaps is the only challenge facing the law profession
How many times have you heard that Courts in England are embarking on an industrial action to protest against poor condition of service or nonpayment of salaries and allowances, or to press for judicial autonomy? Compare this with Nigeria’s situation. Why are our colleagues more bothered about licensing private law schools in Nigeria, than achieving judicial autonomy or improved working conditions for judiciary members and workers, so as to nip industrial actions in the bud and make the judiciary more stable and effective?
Electronic filing (E-filing) and Electronic Service (E-Service) of court processes and and Virtual Hearing of lawsuits are a smooth practice in English Courts. Think about the position in Nigeria and you would shed tears about how backward we are?
How long does it take to dispose of an appeal in England, on the average? Contrast this with the position in Nigeria!
In the paper referred to above, I wrote, _”A distinguished Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Akajiugo Emeka Obegolu, SAN, was reported to have posted the following statement on Facebook on 22 February 2022: “Today, 22/2/22, a 2005 appeal came up for hearing before the Supreme Court of Nigeria. Counsel informed the court that both the appellant and the respondent are deceased. #Justicedelayed”. From the post, it is obvious that the appeal at the Supreme Court of Nigeria had lasted 17 years, the appeal having commenced in 2005. Who knows when the case was filed at the High/Magistrates’ Court. Meanwhile, when this author contacted Chief Obegolu, SAN, to confirm his authorship of the Facebook post and to get more facts about the case, Chief Obegolu advised that the case was later adjourned to 2024 to enable the parties file applications for substitution. A two-year adjournment to hear an interlocutory application”!
How long does it take to get a certified copy of a judgment, ruling or order of a court in England? What about Nigeria? Why does this not seem to bother some of our seniors, as much as they are bothered about Nigeria having only one Law School?
Meanwhile, one thing appears common: did anyone notice that majority (if not all) of the campaigners for licencing of private law schools in Nigeria, are themselves either owners, proprietors or top managers of private Universities in Nigeria. Considering the vigour and tenacity with which they push the unnecessary advocacy, one wonders whether they are not engrossed in this campaign for some wholly unaltrustic ends? Else why are they more bothered about Nigeria having only one Law School, than making contributions towards solving the pressing challenges of the Legal Profession in Nigeria? Why?

By: Udemezue
Udemezue is a practising lawyer in Port Harcourt.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Crime/Justice

Effect Of Drug Abuse: What Police Need To Do To OSPAC

Published

on

According to the BlacksLaw Dictionary (Nith Edition), in its page 572, Drug Abuse was said to mean “The detrimental state produced by the repeated consumption of a narcotic or other potentially dangerous drugs, other than as prescribed by a doctor to treat an illness or other medical condition”.
Google also described drug abuse as “The use of illegal drugs or the use of prescription or over-the-counter drugs for purposes other than those for which they are meant to be used, or in excessive amounts”.
Drug abuse as it was learnt, may lead to social, physical, emotional, job-related problem. Today, the menace of drug abuse is so obvious in the society in that it has caused a lot of havoc in both families and the entire society.
This bring to mind the rate at which crime is committed nowadays among young people. They do many things with ease including crime commission and execution. Then it was unheard of that someone was beheaded after being killed.
But now, young people especially the cultists and crime predators among them, blame and scold any of their pals who succeeded in ‘ killing a perceived enemy without beheading same. To show his worth and to get the class approval he needed, he must kill and dismember the enemy just to spite him even at death.
Drug has been written about in many languages and by many people over the centuries. Many of these works are very useful in treatment for addiction, but few have the same impact as the Holy Bible. According to the Scriptures in Ist Peter chapter 5:8, it generally condemned intoxication, which also include drug abuse.
It read thus: Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil propels like a roaring lion looking for some to devour”, .It was also gathered that substance abuse or alcohol addiction dulls the mind. It makes it a fertile soil for destructive behaviour which leads to various level of crime participation and commission.
Some addicts may start from petty stealing just to afford money for drug. That is why the Holy Scriptures pointed out in Ephesians chapter 5 in the 18th verse thusly: “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the spirit”.
Also, the Quran in its chapter 2 : 219 said thus” They ask you about wine and gambling. Say, “In them is great sin and yet, some benefit for people. But their sin is greater than their benefit”. And they ask you what they should spend. Say, “The excess beyond needs”.
No meaningful human environment has ever welcomed the idea of drug abuse. In some climes, abusers are often treated as lepers wherein even their family members and friends distance them. They are treated that way so they can retrace their steps and do the needful.
I was shocked to the marrow when I was told the items or substance that could be abused and lead to serious intoxication. Many have failed in this aspect and have permanently injured their brain. Some abuse even the human feaces in the name of getting high.
Today, in our society there are many promising youths who have ran mad or suffering other sorts of brain disease due to drug abuse. Some started as a result of one night stand with friends. From there, they became addicts.
These are the ones that are very gruesome in action. They maim, kill and leave their victims in horrible state. They are no more humans because their sense of responsibility has left them.They reason from the anus instead of the brain given that the brain has been lost to drug abuse.
In no distance time, families and the society generally may not boast of producing quality people and good brains. In a chat with one Primary School teacher in one of our rural areas in the state, I was drenched in my own tears when he told me that five male siblings of same parents are now psychiatric patients due to drug abuse.
Now, if this is the case, in the next decade more families in that community may suffer same fate. Another family very well known to me , shared in the fate with that ‘teachers community’, wherein two hefty male adults of same parents are now visitor to the psychiatric hospital due to drug abuse. If the government do not act fast in this direction, the fate of the future generation will be in serious jeopardy.
The most shocking aspect of the development is that girls are not spared in the ugly trend. While growing up, ladies were hardly sipping beer in the open. They were tutored to see such life style as masculine. They maintained a high level of decorum and were given the required protection and respect by their male counterparts who saw them as the ‘Weaker Vessels’, as the Scriptures made us to believe.
But currently, there is a keen rivalry between the males and females as to who should be adjudged to be the highest abusers of drug or substances. Many young ladies now roam the streets as a result of drug abuse. Night Clubs operators are, to my mind, the major sponsors of this venture, because some of them as I reliably gathered, provide the ladies with free drugs and other substances.
Reason for the free drug provision by the Club owners for the ladies is to enable them be on fire. When on fire, it was gathered that it will take the ‘help’ , of a male partner who is also on ‘fire’, to quench hers. This, according to sources, brings about business boom in the clubhouses.
Some of the ladies in the nightclubs have testified to the fact that no one can live such life without abusing drugs or other substances. Now if such revelation is anything to go by, why won’t drug abusers abound in the society? People must come together and fight drug abuse. The government and other relevant agencies are more concerned with what will be of immediate benefit to them before they will then consider its pros and cons.
This ugly situation which is gradually becoming the talk-of-the- day is a respecter of no man.Some time last month, it was rumoured that a son of a prominent Nigerian was spotted at the roadside dipping slices of bread in a stagnant water and eating same. When probed into, it was discovered that he was not only a substance abuser, but an addict of the highest order.
The Drug Law operatives have made it clear that they are always ready to partner any group or individual willing to undergo rehabilitation free of charge. At a security summit at Rumuibekwe in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, some time ago, a representative of the Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency, told the guests then how a woman’s head was pounded with a mortar pestle to pieces by a drug addict who was undergoing rehabilitation in their facility in Port Harcourt.
According to him, the addict who was said to be from a rich family was withdrawn by her mother the same night she was killed on the ground that the facility was not befitting for her son. The Drug Law representative revealed that the addict was fast responding to treatment before the forceful withdrawal by mother.
Now the nucleus of this write up is for the Police authority to partner with the NDLEA to fight drug abuse rather than focusing their searchlight on the OSPAC. OSPAC, just like every other human outfit, has its bad eggs. The bad eggs are not free of drug abuse, they could be fished out and made to undergo rehabilitation.
The Police rather than give the OSPAC an undeserving attention, should in a jiffy, come to terms with the NDLEA and flush the system. This will seriously check radicalism and the unwanton behaviour among OSPAC operatives.
From the above narratives and some definitions provided so far, it can then be generally accepted that crime commission is more often than not the result of drug abuse and other substances. If the listed agencies come together to fight against drug abuse, the excesses of the OSPAC will not only be nibbed in the bud, but the entire society will know peace, reason being the fact that the fountain of crime has been attacked and addressed.
History may not be kind to the callers of OSPAC’s neck going by the good they have done.
Let us not throw away the baby alongside with the bath water.

By: King Onunwor

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Crime/Justice

Hoodlums Kill Police Inspector In Aba

Published

on

A Police Inspector from Ndiegoro Police Station was killed on Tuesday by suspected IPOB/ESN members around Ohanku Road-Iheorji junction in Aba, Abia State.
Two of the attackers were however neutralised by the police in the ensuing gun duel.
Confirming the incident, the Abia Police Public Relations Officer, SP Geoffrey Ogbonna said the incident happened at about 12 : 30 pm on Tuesday.
Ogbonna said some policemen from Ndiegoro Police Station were on patrol around Iheorji when they came under attack by people suspected to be IPOB/ESN members.
“During a gun duel, one of the Policemen paid the supreme price while two of the gunmen were neutralised.
“As they shot the policeman they also collected his Police AK 47 riffle”, he said.
An eye witness told The Tide source in Aba that the Inspector was killed by one of the gang members when he went after the hoodlum as he was escaping.
The witness who gave his name only as Ahanna said that the incident happened about noon on Tuesday.
“We were in the market when we saw these boys, who were inside a tricycle with very powerful guns as they passed us.
“It was not long when they passed us that some policemen on patrol followed them.
“The Policemen engaged them and killed two of them while the others ran away and one ran into the back of a nearby building.
“The Inspector ran after the robber that ran to the back of a nearby building unknown to him that the other robber was waiting for him.
”The robber shot at the Inspector at close range and killed him on the spot”, he narrated.
Ogbonna said that the police were on the trail of the gunmen who escaped and urged residents to volunteer credible information that would help in their arrest.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Crime/Justice

Church In Court Over Conduct Of Elections, Exams On Saturdays

Published

on

A member of Seventh Day Adventist Church has dragged the federal government before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, seeking an order to stop the conduct of the 2023 general election and examinations on Saturdays.
An elder of the church, Mr Ugochukwu Uchenwa, told the court that the election fixed for Saturday February 25 infringes on their freedom of worship. Accordingly, he prayed the court to declare the day unconstitutional or in the alternative should be allowed to vote or write examination on any day of the week.
Defendants in the suit are President Muhammadu Buhari, the Attorney-General of the Federation, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Minister of Internal Affairs, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Examinations, National Examination Council, West African Examination Council and National Business and Technical Examination Board.
When the matter came up Monday, Counsel to the plaintiff, Mr Benjamin Amaefule, told the court that all the defendants had been served with the court process except NECO.
According to him, he was at a loss as to why the defendants were not in court.
The judge therefore, adjourned the case to March 15, 2023 for hearing.
In the originating summon, the plaintiff is praying the court for a declaration that the schedule of elections in Nigeria by the respondents on Saturdays, the “Sabbath Day” is a violation of fundamental rights of freedom of (a) conscience, profession and free practice of faith and (b) Right to participate freely in the government of the applicant and that of entire members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, Nigeria.
A declaration that the actions of the 5th to 8th respondents fixing examinations on Saturdays, a “Sabbath Day Of The Lord” is a violation of the fundamental rights of: (a) freedom of conscience, profession and free practice of Faith of the members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church Nigeria and right to freedom of education of the applicant and the members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church Nigeria.
An order of this Honourable Court restraining the 4th respondent from further violating the rights of members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church by holding elections on Saturdays or in the alternative order the 4th respondent to mark out a different day for the members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church Nigeria to participate in their own election if the 4th respondent cannot schedule and hold the elections on a day other than Saturdays.

By: Akujobi Samuel

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Trending