Law

‘Non-adherence to rule of law fuelling rights abuse’

Ajisegiri Oluwaseyi, an indigene of Ekiti West Local Government in Ekiti State obtained her LL.B at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. Ajisegiri who was called to Bar in 2016 also attended the Nigerian Law School, Kano Campus. She tells JOHN CHIKEZIE how her journey into the legal profession began

 

Background

 

I am Mrs. Ajisegiri Oluwaseyi and I was born in Kwara State, but I hailed from Ekiti State, Ekiti West LGA.

I bagged my LL.B (Bachelor of Laws) Degree from the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-ife, Osun State and my B.L from the Nigerian Law School Kano campus. I was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2016.

 

I had my National Youth Service Corp program in Cross Rivers State and my place of primary Assignment was the Ministry of Justice, Calabar.

 

I am into active practice with a six years post-call experience. I presently work with a Law firm in Ogun State.

Why Law?

Well, I chose to become a lawyer or I’ll rather say that the initial attraction to the law profession was their appearance. I was more fascinated by the wig and gown and how neat lawyers look, but became more intrigued at their articulations dur

 

These attributes propelled my decision but when I got to law school, I realized there is more to the profession than just their appearance.

 

Specialization

Presently I have no area of specialization, I engage in general practice of law.

 

However, my area of interest revolves around domestic violence against women and children, children molestation, child abuse and matters that bothers on the rights of women and children.

This interest arose while working in the law firm of the President of the International Federation of Women Lawyers, Ogun State Branch, where we mainly dealt with cases related to the general good of women and children, namely domestic violence, pedophilia, rape, cases for the benefit of women and children, etc. We handle cases of this type for free

 

Cases of this type happen every day, but people tend to be silent because of so many factors such as victimization, pressure from family, friends and so on.

 

Minors in prison

 

It is true that the increasing rate of reports of children incarcerated in adult prisons is now at an alarming rate. The problem boils down to our criminal jurisprudence and judicial system at large.

 

Although, I am aware of steps taken by some bodies to limit such occurrence. For example, there is this occasional visit to correctional centers by magistrates and the National Human Right Commission to conduct annual reports.

 

Others such as the members of the International Federation of women lawyers in Nigeria, the Nigerian Bar Association, civil societies are also making good efforts in this regard.

 

However, there is need to take more intentional steps in order to protect these children by providing more accessible correctional centers for minors or at least the adult correctional centers should have facilities for children as well.

JUSUN and Judicial autonomy

 

I believe they made progress in channelling their course. The union has taken a very fundamental step to fight for what is rightfully theirs and for the benefit of all, not just the judiciary.

 

The importance of autonomous judiciary can not be overemphasized.

 

Even though the ultimate objective is yet to be achieved, but I believe with the level of commitment demonstrated during the course of the industrial action and the several meetings held with the concerned bodies, as well as the intervention of the National Judicial Council (NJC).

 

I believe something good will definitely come out of it. It won’t be an exercise in futility. The role of the judiciary in a democratic system like Nigeria is inviolable and deserves anything that improves the smooth running of the system.

 

Desired judiciary reforms

 

A free and autonomous judiciary is important. I want the judicial system to be completely overhauled such that justice is not only done but seen to be done, as the court is seen to be the last hope of common man.

 

This entails an express access to justice, timely delivery of judgement, a proper correctional method of rehabilitating offenders in the society and so on. I am in total support of a full autonomous judicial system because therein lies the future of a successful democracy.

 

Rights abuse and extrajudicial killings

 

In my view, human rights abuses are mostly by the agents of the state and not by individuals. Even where an individual initiates the process of human rights abuses, you would see that mostly, the agents of the state like security agents and government agencies are mostly involved. Unless the rule of law is entrenched beyond papers, we might continue to face this ugly situation. I believed the way forward is to allow justice to reign, no matter who is involved, be it the military, the police or government officials.

 

Everyone must be responsible for their actions and omissions. No one should be protected simply because he is a uniformed man or a government agent. Also, more sensitization on human rights, as guaranteed under the local and international laws, should be given utmost priority.

 

Future ambition

 

Well, my future ambition is to see that people’s rights are protected as enshrined in the Constitution and also to assist as many that are oppressed who do not have access to legal representation get justice.

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