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‘Bitter family experience spurred my interest in law’

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‘Bitter family experience spurred my interest in law’

He is an alumnus of the University of Abuja where he read law between 2008 and 2014. Emeka Azubike was called to the Bar in 2015. He shares his call to Bar experience, challenges, pupilage among others with JOHN CHIKEZIE

 

Background
Emeka Azubike is three years old at the Bar. He attended the famous University of Abuja for his LL.B between 2008 and 2014 and was called to the Bar in 2015 after the mandatory one year at the Nigerian Law School, Kano.

Azubike recalled his foray into the practice of law to New Telegraph Law this way; “My name is Emeka Azubike and was born on January 13, 1988. I hailed from Umunkwo, Isiala Mbano Local Government of Imo State. I attended Effortswill Nursery and Primary School, Ejigbo Lagos from 1989 to 1994. After I lost my dad in 1994, I was then enrolled in Ikotun primary School, Ikotun from 1995 to 1998.

After I successfully passed my common entrance examination, I was admitted at Ikotun High School, Ikotun from 1999 to 2004. I was thereafter admitted to study law at the University of Abuja between 2008 and 2014, where I obtained my LL.B. I also proceeded to the Kano campus of the Nigerian Law School and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2015.”

Law
When I was a child, my father said he wanted me to become a lawyer and that my elder brother will become a medical doctor; maybe because of the prestige that comes with the professions. However, after my dad’s demise, I discovered that I hated with a passion, seeing people or anyone being oppressed for any reason probably because of the bitter experience my family witnessed from my dad’s relatives.
Since I always felt sad seeing anyone being cheated and maltreated, I made up my mind that whatever it will take, I will surely become a lawyer and I did.

Pupilage
My pupilage has been of mixed reactions. I’ve been privileged to work with many of my senior colleagues from my chamber’s attachment to the period of my NYSC in Edo State. I thereafter joined a law firm on the mainland and also worked briefly with a senior before I decided to set up my own law office. I must say that some lawyers are in the habit of seeing themselves as competing with others, while a very few are homely and accommodating.

Challenges
As a young Lawyer, let me state that I have always enjoyed challenges because I was trained to know that challenges are stepping stones in disguise and it makes me more confident when I see something similar in the future.
One challenge I initially faced was combining work with my relationship. Most times, as a result of the voluminous work to be done, I forget to communicate with my fiancée and that would automatically make her feel or assume you are cheating and not being faithful to them.
Another challenge I encountered was when my principal, on separate occasions after he has been briefed, would immediately hand over the documents to me in order to prepare the necessary processes to be filed in court without explaining the facts to me.

Judiciary
I must really commend the judiciary for their hard work and speedy dispensation of justice, especially in this administration.
But also, I have discovered over time that the people responsible for the delays in dispensation of justice are mostly the prosecuting officers, who are always not ready to go on with their cases. In addition, there are also some lawyers who are of the habit of filing frivolous applications in order to delay cases or stall trials, especially when they are aware that they have a bad case.

Domestic violence and female lawyers
Let me categorically state that as learned minds whether on the Bench or at the Bar, we are all the same. To buttress this, there is a saying that we are all ‘gentlemen’ at the Bar. Moreover, we use the word ‘sir’ for judges and magistrates irrespective of their sex.
I will say the causes of physical abuses by female lawyers on their spouses are basically rooted in arrogance, pride, deliberate refusal to submit to their spouse as is the practice under the African traditions and custom, probably because of the privileges they enjoy as lawyers.

NBA
Yes, there are criteria that must be met before one can join the Nigerian Bar Association. First, the person must have been called to the Nigerian Bar by the Body of Benchers. Furthermore, the person must submit a copy of the call to certificate at the NBA Secretariat with the duly filled application form, with passport photograph, evidence of payment of practicing fee, insurance fee and NBA dues. After proper verification, the person becomes a member of the Nigerian Bar Association.

Practice and Lagos judiciary
The judiciary has done very well in these past few years. I must specially commend the Lagos State Judiciary for always setting the pace for the judiciary in other states. The Lagos State judiciary established a Special Offences Court that looks into particular offences like rape and other sexually related offences.
The Lagos state Judiciary have also set up what is known as “Small Claims Court”, where a person who claims the sum of five million naira or below can easily go with or without a lawyer and get quick dispensation of justice.
I need to also say that 98% of the judges and magistrates in Lagos state resume proceedings at exactly 9:00am. It is highly commendable.

Remuneration
On the issues of remuneration, let me categorically state that there is a saying that ‘ lawyers are generally stingy’. I’ve always heard the word “nobody can pay you as a lawyer” from my seniors before they mention the meager peanuts they are willing to pay.
While I was still an employee, the remuneration was really very poor. This also applies to most young lawyers out there, except for a few.
Some principals owe their juniors as much as three months’ salary. I have personally experienced this as well as some of my colleagues.

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