SINCE TIME immemorial,
it has been the nature of man
on earth to have something
or one or more things that
brings him together or
into relationship with his
fellow human beings. This
relationship is necessary
because, there are many
or several things that that
man alone cannot achieve
by himself without any
recourse to other persons.
More so, it will be a sheer
madness for a man to think
of himself as a jack of all
trade as they say, ‘jack of
all trade, master of none’.
This illustration created
touches on the relationship
that co-exists among
lawyers, security and law
enforcement agencies of the
government.
This paper assesses the
advantages and benefits of
having cordial relationship
among these concerned
persons.
Several times and what
is virtually experienced
by some of us lawyers
in private practice in
the hands of some of the
officers in the security and
law enforcement agencies
cannot be overemphasised.
The intimidation, threat,
inhuman treatment and the
likes. This is not rather on
personal ground, rather, in
the course of rendering the
lawyer’s constitutional and
professional duties to his
client or prospective client.
Especially, the ones faced at
police station in the hands
of the police officers are
of utmost attention. In the
police station, some police
officers threaten lawyers of
detention, arrest, beating,
flogging, embarrassment,
intimidation, etc. even in
the presence of the lawyer’s
client or public, all in the
opportunity of possession of
the instruments of power or
instruments of oppression.
In fact, the writer of this
paper is actually speaking
from experiences. Many or
sometimes, the approach
some of these police officers
use to address the lawyer is
degrading and it will only
take a matter of confidence
for the lawyer to be able to
withstand the pressure from
the police officers.
Other security and law
enforcement agencies too
have their own way of
reacting and or relating
with lawyers within their
official capacity. The only
issue there is that the police cases are well known because
they are closer to the civilians
or the general public as a
result of their official function
or the nature of their job. In
fact, it is unfortunate that
colleagues among lawyers
who handle cases in court on
behalf of these security and
law enforcement agencies
appear in court several times
to display some of these traces
of oppression, intimidation,
threat, etc, that some of these
non-lawyers portray against
their colleagues in private
practice, all in the name of
being seen as an officer of the
concerned security and law
enforcement agency.
Now, let us consider some
of the reasons why it is rather
far more important for these
security and law enforcement
agencies’ officers to have
a cordial relationship with
lawyers in private practice.
Sometimes and even many
times, these officers run into
problems in their official
services that they require the
help and of course services of
a private lawyer. They then
see themselves as someone
who is aggrieved by his
employer(s) and then require
legal assistance. Where the
lawyer refuses to defend
such person, he will just be
left with no legal rescue. And
of course, that will be bad
and unprofessional of the
lawyer. However, where there
is a strong and a defensive
Nigerian Bar Association,
as a pressure group for
lawyers, a resolution can
be passed to disallow any
lawyer from defending any
of such government security
and law enforcement agency which posts as threat to the
lawyers as anything or harm
that affects lawyers affect
the legal profession and the
Nigerian Bar Association is a
defender of the Rule of law
and that of the protection
of the tradition of the legal
profession. Rather than that,today, what happens, lawyers
suffer regrettably in the hands
of these security and law
enforcement agencies and
nothing is done by its own
pressure group or association.
It is not just to merely attend
meetings of the association,
rather, your grievances
should be promptly analysed,
discussed and necessary steps
taken to ensure that such does
not repeat itself. Lawyers
pay practising fees, branch
dues annually, but all go to
no defence whenever there
is requirement. The truth
must be said. Petitions have
been written to the Nigerian
Bar Association, even at the
National level, do we expect
anything to be done about
them? What is rather seen is
selfish and personal interest
in the politic and leadership
of the association displayed
by some of the lucky members
at the association’s elections,
especially that of the branch,
at the expense of the members
whose funds are used to run
the association without any
protection or welfare package.
Then arises also, different
interest faction groups
awaiting to share the produce
of the association without any
sincerity of thought and the
fear of God.
The Nigerian Bar
Association should rather be
a proactive pressure group
and association of lawyers
that stand for justice and
protection as well as the
welfare of its members and
the national interests at large.
However, it is hoped that the
present leadership is very
compassionate and proactive
so that the leadership of the
Nigerian Bar Association
will be a legacy for other
leadership to emulate in the
fight, struggle and defence
of its members’ affairs like
a mother that is proactive
and compassionate to the
yearnings of its crying child.
Furthermore, as it happens
these days that some of
these security and law
enforcement agencies face
a lot of maltreatment in
service, they put in their
best to engage the service of
lawyers to defend them. Some
of them might be unlawfully
prosecuted, punished, their
rights violated, etc. If lawyers
were to retaliate and fight
back for all the intimidation,
maltreatment, etc that they
suffer in the hands of some
of their co-officers that
when some of these acts are
perpetrated, they witnessed
them themselves and gave
supports to those acts, they
will just suffer without justice.
Even, lawyers have been called various bad names by some
of these security and law
enforcement agencies that
it will not be in the interests
of the nation and that of the
public to explain or express
in this paper. Lawyers will
write petitions against
some of these officers’ evil
acts, but only very few
are treated, investigated
and communicated to the
petitioner or the petitioner
will not even be invited at all.
What always or sometimes
happens is that a panel or
committee will be set up all
in the show off of doing the
work. The important details
to maintain in reaching a just
decision will be disregarded
and a quick decision is
made with annoying and
embarrassing decisions
setting free the perpetrator
of the evil acts and praising
and encouraging him to do
more harms.
Finally, it is rather hoped
that the present leadership
of these security and law
enforcement agencies
will organise continuous
orientations and retreats as
well as seminars, especially
at these deserving situation
of the nation, on the need
to relate well and deal with
all and sundry with justice,
especially the lawyers as
the goal of security and
law enforcement agencies
is geared towards the
achievement and attainment
of justice as we are all
Ministers in the temple and
administration of justice.
Equally, the administration
of justice system in
Nigeria will benefit in
no few ways from these
kinds of development and
relationship.


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