The insidious greed and public looting that the Nigerian judiciary has nurtured to an art form is metastasizing like a virulent tumor strain throughout the legal profession. It is sheer suicidal absurdity for the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN) herein otherwise known and addressed as Senior Advocates of Nigerian Lunatics (SANL) to hold brief for their lunatic colleagues.

Bayo Oluwasanmi

Because Nigeria is a lawless country, its legal system has become a sink-well of secret proceedings, the jailing of the innocent, and political misconduct. It is sullied with documented corruption, fake trials, and court fraud. In Nigeria today, judges and lawyers, especially the so called SANL, who are protected by judges, can commit felony crimes, fraud, money laundering in broad day light, leave the proof lying around, and yet avoid being prosecuted or even having their crimes reported by the Nigerian media. Nigerian journalists see a lot of material in court misconduct, and yet they know this is the story of which they dare not write about or speak about. The lack of Nigerian media coverage and scrutiny, in turn, encourages more judicial corruption, leaving millions of Nigerians in anger and despair.

A communique issued by Ebun Sofunke and Seyi Sowemimo on behalf SANL at the end of its recent meeting at Nigerian Law School, Lagos, urged the federal government to respect Nigerians' fundamental rights and the rule of law in the fight against corruption. “... the fight against the scourge should not be at the expense of Nigerians' human rights.” Members have “a duty and responsibility to hold ourselves to the highest professional and moral standards,” continues SANL, “and are determined to continue to ensure that those standards are maintained,” says SANL. 

The group condemns the “spate of disparaging remarks and attacks on the judiciary and judicial officers, often made in a generalized manner and perhaps calculated to intimidate and infuse fear in judges, who are sworn to disperse justice without fear or favor... saying blanket attacks on the judiciary were “unfair to the many honest and hardworking judges in our country.”

The communique by the SANL portrays them as hypocrites whose perceptions of reality and rationalizations for their actions are without objectivity. Sofunke and Sowemimo would do well to reverse the defense of their colleagues, and instead put the corrupt ones among them on trial for corruption, fraud, and professional malpractice. 

Where were the SANL when the entire judicial apparatus of our country was being hijacked and dismantled by their sleazy and contemptuous no-frills lawyers? Where were they when the thieves, by their greed and graft, completely wiped clean the ingredients of livelihood and good life of our people? Where were the Sofunkes and the Sowemimos when the con artists had effectively abbreviated the exercise of liberty and the pursuit of happiness of our people? What was their response when these corruption-personified criminals created a humiliating and primitive stagnation of our social life?  How dare the Sofunkes and the Sowemimos advocate for fundamental rights of the thieves who tuned our young ones into wild and homeless beasts and culturally lost people, spiritually disinherited persons, candidates for the streets, highway robbers, and prisoners?

How come the SANL didn't cry human rights when our dying groan for comfort? When our wounded cry for help? When poverty continues to consume the poor, the needy, and the innocent just as drought and heat consume snow? What rights have the SANL to hold brief for corrupt judges and judicial officers who put our justice on the farmer's market ready to sell – cash and carry – at basement prices? Where is their rage against their colleagues whose hands are dripping with blood money to pervert justice? Where is their outrage against corrupt judges? Their strident silence on bribery of judges by SANL speak volumes. 

Check out these names: Rickey Tarfa (SANL) bribed Federal High Court Justice Mohammed Yunusa with N225,000. Joseph Nwobike (SANL) bribed Justice Mohammed Yunusa N5m ($5,000). Kanu Agabi secretly filed motion in Justice Abdu-Kafarati's court to squash the case against Bukola Abiku Mesujamba Saraki (BAMS).

The SANL make up what they lack in intelligence, skill, and experience by bribing judges. It's shocking to the marrows that a lawyer would ever bribe a judge. With the exception of few, that's what Nigerian lawyers are reputed for. They bribe judges for favorable rulings in order to increase the size of their clientele and make more money. Lawyers who engage in bribing judges to win cases violate legal and ethical rules and should be prosecuted.

The SANL indulge in tawdry bribery scams all the time to scuttle justice. They shop for friendly judgesin friendly jurisdictions. Now you see why Kanu Agabis keeps going back to Kafarati. With these judges from hell and in magic jurisdictions they'll get favorable verdicts. These cases are not won in the courtroom. They are won on the back roads long before the cases go to trial. Any lawyer fresh from law school can walk in there and win the case, so it doesn't matter what the evidence or the law is. They create a sort of floating legal syndicate with changing players chosen as needed for a particular skill or connection.

The misdemeanor and malpractice of these mushrooming bolekaje SANL have swelled to absolutely unacceptable levels. There is no question that there is a crime wave of corruption in the rank and file of the SANL with very few exceptions. Noting the complicity of SANL with the thieves in the war against corruption, Femi Falana one of the few best, credible, and competent Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), in his key note address at a round table on “Winning the War Against Corruption” in Lagos this past Thursday, said “... the situation is compounded in Nigeria by judicial corruption and professional misconduct on the part of senior lawyers involved in the defense of corruption cases.

“As if that is not enough,” continues Falana, “the suspects are being granted bail in their own recognizance or other ridiculously liberal terms by trial judges notwithstanding the gravity of the offenses allegedly committed by them.” What kind of fundamental rights for the thieves is SANL calling for?

The SANL, in my opinion, is a body of confused mad men and women that does more to facilitate corruption and misconduct than it does to sanitize the badly infected professional body. It is one thing to ignore culprits among its members, but quite another to preach for the fundamental rights of criminals with whom they ally.

To the SANL, it's "pay to play." Orders are not enforced. Laws are not applied. Ethics and other professional considerations are thrown to the winds. Conflict of interest is ignored. If one is looking for the ultimate proof that SANL is a body of conniving and abetting professionals, consider the number of SANL who made up the circus – 80 lazy, hungry, and worthless lawyers – that accompanied BAMS to the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

The SANL should not weep for the judiciary. They should not weep not for the Belgores, the Yunusas, the John Fabiyis, the Ibrahim Bubas, the Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, the John Iyang Okoros, and other merchants of justice. We can deal take with them. And we will deal with them. Weep for your sins. Your noises are but hypocrisies from convoluted minds.

Bayo Oluwasanmi

[email protected]

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