The Chief Judge of Ekiti State, Honourable Justice Ayodeji Daramola, has decried the emerging attitude of some senior members of the bar who now go all out to frustrate and impede corruption cases, saying it is not good for the image of legal practice. He identified the trend as a major shortcoming in legal practice in Nigeria today. Justice Daramola spoke while delivering a lecture at the Faculty of Law, Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo titled ‘Law and Administration of Justice in Nigeria: The Role of Lawyers.’
Speaking at the lecture, he said some lawyers, especially senior members, also try to interpret the law in ways and manners tending to validate and justify breach of law and support impunity. He described such action as a very negative approach to the practice of law.
“Senior members of the Bar, even learned silk, are now noted to be in the vanguard of impeding and stultifying trials in our courts more particularly corruption cases involving politically exposed persons. When trial of those cases are impeded and frustrated, members of the public go away with the disturbing impression that lawyers and judges are conniving with dubious politicians to steal the nation blind. This, I should say, is not good for our image as legal practitioners who are expected to say what the law of the land is and what it is not…, now interpret the law in ways and manners tending to validate and justify breach of law and support impunity in this beleaguered nation of ours. They knowingly engage in sophistry and unwholesome attitude according to their politics and also on how hefty their briefs are,” he said.
He urged lawyers not to compete with politicians in doing wrong, saying that he has respect for politicians but noted that the standard by which Judicial officers are judged is much higher than that of the politicians. He , therefore, implored Judicial officers to be guided by the provisions of the Constitution of Nigeria and other laws, their conscience and more importantly the fear of God to whom, he says, all will be accountable, ultimately.
He also admonished Judges to live very high moral, decent, honest and reputable lives in line with their codes of conduct and also implored them to improve on their knowledge so as not to subject the judiciary to ridicule. He said Judges should shun corruption because a corrupt judge makes the Bench an object of hatred and contempt.
‘ An ignorant Judge who would not improve in his learning makes the judiciary an object of ridicule and a laughing stock. And the corrupt Judge makes it an object of hatred and contempt,’ he stressed, urging the students and lecturers to imbibe the best traditions of the profession in their learning.
At the end of his presentation, the Vice-Chancellor, Ajayi Crowther University, Rt. Rev. Professor Dapo Asaju, thanked the Judge for coming to give the lecture and urged students and staff to make the best use of his presence. He also thanked Justice Mojisola Abodunde, a High Court Judge in Ekiti, who presided over the Moot Court session in the Law Faculty before the lecture.