In a country where the free and the enlightened can be arbitrarily taken down without batting an eyelid through inordinate misuse of power, one has to ask the burgeoning question, “Where is Justice?”
I salute the courage and bravery of the two men who were going about their basic duty of representing their client right before being put in harm’s way and abducted by the Nigerian Police. I however have it on good authority that the release of these lawyers occurred this morning. Kudos to the team of no-nonsense lawyers that were rallied to arms by the Unity Bar to go forth and rescue one of their own.
This just goes further to shine an uncomfortable light on the kind of society we live and work in as lawyers. The average Nigerian litigation lawyer who engages in legal fisticuffs with law enforcement agents of the land is truly an endangered species. These lawyers were charged with obstructing a public officer while in the course of carrying out his duties, in retrospect, all these lawyers were doing, was performing their brief which was to ensure that the rights and privileges of their client was not infringed upon.
The irony of this whole activity lies in the justice that was maniacally dished out to the avant-guard of justice in our land. There is a pressing need to protect the integrity of the system and the sanctity of the profession in the face of surmounting circumstances. The knight, trained in the art of war goes into the battle ground to face the battle ahead of him, believing his rear to be secure. He does not expect to be taken down by friendly fire. The police and lawyers are meant to be partners in the pursuit of justice, but we now have a dystopian reality to the contrary that has gained prominence. Decisive acts have been made to shun the injustice that is staring us in the face.
Impunity encouraged under the guise of carrying out official duties cannot and should not be encouraged, more so, by persons armed by “tax payers” to protect their rights. The pen when faced with a sword on an even playing field is bound to give way to the superior might of the sword. However, bear in mind that a “call to Arms” is far more potent than the person holding “the arms” in question.
To the law enforcement officers of the land, I say this, take a cursory look at your position and the standing of the law on your powers. You are empowered to “protect” and not “persecute.” Know thy self and your works will be better appreciated and extoled, but taking up arms against the knights of the law is a battle you are sure to loose.
We must take a stand and say “No!” to Police Brutality in whatever guise or cloak. It was them today, it could be you tomorrow…