By Tijani Hassan Abdulkarim
This may sound a bit controversial, but I’ve not seen a profession that promotes evil in the open like the legal profession. With the wig on, lawyers stand before the judge in defence of evildoers and plotters with a mandate of seeking their acquittal, using superior cunning arguments by looking for loopholes in the legal system and twisting the law for the sole purpose of earning monetary reward from their clients.
Doing the above is, of course, attributed to their training. I presume the training lawyers receive in the law school before being called to bar involves teaching them how to play down on their inherent personal conscience directly or otherwise. This leaves me pondering over the degree of good conscience left in the legal practitioners. Don’t get it twisted; many morally sound lawyers are equally in the profession across different chambers within the country.
Unfortunately, close discerning will reveal how the profession thrives best in deceit and feasting on the miscalculations of the appellant seeking justice before a competent court of jurisdiction.
Please permit me to cite two recent instances: one of a criminal offence and the other of a Shariah case, all in Kano State, Nigeria. We will need to pay close ear to discern how lawyers in the defence team are attempting to remodel the course of justice by dragging the cases to secure the release of the accused on all grounds.
It is no longer news that Sheikh Abdul-Jabbar Nasiru Kabara, the controversial Kano preacher, has been charged to court by the state government for offence bordering on blasphemy according to Islamic law. However, knowing full well the gravity of the (expected) outcome of the judgement, lawyers got in to ensure the acquittal of the accused despite the volume of evidence against him.
Upon discovering the hidden antics of the lawyers who have promised to defend and clear him of all charges, Abdul-Jabbar rescinded their counsel, protesting that they were insincere to their pledge of seeking justice on his behalf. His vituperation was that the lawyers were capitalising on his ordeal to enrich their chambers through the series of legal bottlenecks they’re cracking. The infamous Sheikh opted to stand in self-defence. All this drama unfolded after his defence team’s complete assurance of being victorious at the commencement of the hearing. Though, the possibility is highly impossible.
The second scenario from the same Kano is connected to the late five-year-old Haneefa, whose teacher Abdulmalik Tanko kidnapped and murdered in cold blood. Again, the details are everywhere on the web. Therefore, it is no longer news that the culprit openly confessed on camera and before the whole public of conniving with his accomplices to commit the crime and even went further to seek the forgiveness of the mourning parents.
Fortunately unfortunate, when the case came up for mention before the court, the same accused pleaded not guilty to the charges of kidnapping, culpable homicide, and murder read against him. Guess who advised him to claim innocence after the entire nation and the international community condemned his evil action? The lawyers – his defence counsel.
I am sure it is now visible to you to connect the obvious dots between the law profession, self-centeredness, injustice, deceit and outright evil against society. It is further appalling to see that most of these legal minds who wore the mask of innocence always go with the slogan of protecting the accused from being deprived of their human rights. This beg the question of what now happens to the fundamental human rights of the victims who have been deprived of their right to life by these evildoers?
Moreover, what is the fate of the society and its members who have been thrown into a theatre of evil because evildoers have the guarantee of going free by the antics of lawyers who are trained in using the constitution for the good of themselves; nay the society.
My submission is not an over-generalisation. There are good lawyers, and the opposite ones are also in abundance. However, the current reality will require the good to rise to the defence of the common good to save the society from the evil of their colleagues. To do that, our justice system needs to be remodelled to guarantee quick justice delivery. Remember, justice delayed is justice denied.
Post Scriptum: Without prejudice, this is my sincere sentiment on the practices of lawyers who are bent on defiling the legal profession in Nigeria and the world over. This will not interrupt the fact that I admire the job and aspire to study and practice as a legal luminary, but it has to be for good.
Tijani Hassan Abdulkarim is a graduate of Mass Communication from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.