Law

YOUNG LAWYERS’ FORUM: ‘I read law to curb injustice, indiscipline, lawlessness’

Background

 

My name is Awoyemi opeyemi Olusola and I am from Ile Ife, Osun state. I graduated from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in 2015. I further went to Augustine Nnamani Nigerian Law School, Enugu Campus, where I was called to Bar in 2017.

 

However, my admission into LLM at the University of Lagos is still on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I will describe myself as ambitious and versatile; a goal getter, who is always looking for opportunities to do better and achieve greatness.

 

Choice of career

 

To be honest; nothing pushed me to study law. I was not just into all other courses in my field at that time and only law seemed to be what ‘will be an interesting adventure.’ I love the legal practice because it offered me both an opportunity and the ability to help people around me.

 

And I receive so much inspiration to do more.

 

My motivation as a lawyer comes from my ability to take up challenges that will make me doubt my capabilities but, being able to overcome the problems at the end of the day, keeps me on my feet. So, I will say that the challenges I’ve taken up in the course of this profession and how I’ve been able to tackle them remain my inspiration so far.

 

Judiciary and justice system so far

 

The judiciary can do better. There’s so much corruption and lackadaisical attitude in the judiciary. We still have a long way to go. Most of our laws can’t work/cope with this present day and age. There is lack of credibility in the administration of justice and the law has been responsible for an avalanche of social injustice, lack of discipline and lawlessness in Nigeria and with Nigerians    The courts have the functions of interpreting the law, adjudication and judicial review and at a more general level, it resolves disputes and enforces the law. However, when the system, saddled with the responsibility of dispensation of justice, sometimes, is an embodiment of corruption and injustice, then the masses are in trouble.

 

This is because the social order is threatened where it is possible to contradict the law and go scot free. Unfortunately, such is the case in Nigeria. The judiciary has been described as equally corrupt as those arraigned before the court.

 

Literatures on the performance of the Nigerian judiciary is filled with accounts of corruption, misdemeanor, deliberate misinterpretation of the law, unnecessary delays in legal proceedings, haphazard legal proceedings and violation of rights of the citizens.

 

Sometimes, I summarize the justice system as ‘a criminal can become a free man if he has a smart and convincing lawyer.’ Currently, I am working on a project which I tagged the ‘criminal justice project.’

 

Law, social injustice and lawlessness

 

Sometimes it’s not the law. Oftentimes it is the administration of the law or sometimes the law is not even there at all. For instance, the invasion of the Justice of Supreme Court’s home in 2016 and the alleged killing of protesters at Lekki toll gate by soldiers last year.

 

Recently, I discovered that ‘bigamy’ was expunged from the amended criminal code law of Lagos State and bigamy is on the rise lately. Judicial Panel of Enquiry and Restitution for Victims of Special Anti- Robbery Squad (SARS)

 

Well, the inauguration of the panel  is a good step in the right direction. But whether justice will be achieved, we just have to keep observing and try to follow it up. It’s a matter of hope and not certainty.

 

Parade of suspects before trial by the police

 

It is unconstitutional. Section 36 subsections 5 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended, presumed every person who is charged with criminal offence as innocent until such person is convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction.

 

Such tendencies portray suspects as guilty in the eye of the society, thereby constituting defamation to the reputation of their characters.

 

A suspect is protected by the Constitu-  tion because the law says if a person is suspected to have committed an offence, he or she is a suspect. After conviction, if the accused person is convicted, the name changes from accused to convict.

 

At this stage, the media can pronounce to the whole world that the person is a criminal. Not when investigation has been conducted or trial concluded.

 

Future Ambition

 

Becoming an international lawyer and hopefully get to work with the United Nations Security Council.

 

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