Exclusive, Top Stories, Photo News, Articles & Opinions
International Media
Nigeria Newspapers
Media Partners
Movement Of The People
Contact Us
Jackson Ude (publisher)
Phone No: (347) - 323 - 1693
Churchill Umoren (editor)
Phone No: (267) - 902 - 1923
Oladimeji Abitogun (managing editor)
Phone No: (913) - 384 - 2454
Charge-And-Bail Lawyers: Symphony Of A Perfunctory Theatrics Legal Education by Nasiru Nash Haruna Esq.



The Sunday Punch online newspapers publication of December 30, 2007 on“Good and ugly sides of charge-and-bail lawyers” by Kayode Ketefe with all due respect is an exposition of the quality and reliability of Nigerian legal education which is designed to produce apprenticeship lawyers rather than critical thinking lawyers armed with the didactic practical knowledge of the law as it relates to social, cultural, health, technology and political aspects of our society. My heart goes to those struggling young Nigerian professionals who are branded charge-and-bail (CAB) for patronizing magistrate courts. This practice is across the board of the profession in various forms. If CAB is soliciting clients at magistrate courts, it is akin to lawyers soliciting corporations for clientele as external solicitors. Neither is it different from lawyers using executive membership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) as a spring board for governmental appointment as attorney general or members of an agency or commission. The only difference being that the former merely apply for bail on behalf of the accused person while the others solicit for appointment as external solicitors or present themselves as government critiques with the intention of being appointed as government officials. Whatever the reasoning, they are all in violation of Article 33 of the Rules of Professional Conduct that bars lawyers from direct or indirect solicitation for clients. Two wrongs cannot make a right. Even in American, ambulance chasing has now gone beyond lawyers visiting accident scenes to open radio, television and newspapers advertisement that could be direct solicitation, which is prohibited in Nigeria.

Nevertheless, the Nigerian legal education just like any other aspect of Nigerian education does not meet the challenges of 21st century lawyers since lawyers successes are often attributed to pupilage experience that is analogous to articleship or apprenticeship as opposed to rigorous didactic practical training. Law school education is not necessary wherever pupilage is in place, as it is mere apprenticeship, which is devoid of any critical thinking of social, political, economic, health and technological concerns that connotes dynamic process of conceptualizing, analyzing, and applying information as a guide to actions. Articleship has no structured process for setting goals and actualizing such goals.  Law is not just an act but also an “instrument of social engineering” which transcends every facet of human endeavour. Therefore it is imperative that lawyers look beyond victories in court and predict the basis and outcome of issues.  Hence Nigeria through her lawyers in collaboration with the UNO has created huge refuge crises for Nigerians being deported from their ancestral home in Bakkasi.


The foundation of any profession starts with the introduction of basic fundamentals or procedures. The fundamentals are taught and practiced throughout the duration of the program. In this instant, it is the Nigerian laws of evidence, legal drafting and conveyancing, and criminal and civil procedures as they keep reoccurring in every course. This structure, except the law of evidence, is introduced last without much practical orientation in the university. So the law graduate has little or no practical training or even the slightest critical thinking on simple issues of law and politics or simple societal desires. This gives room to articleship of Mugo Park legal training with skimpy and deplorable income. Lawyers have no repeated exposures and demonstrations of structured advocacy, or conveyancing, or intellectual debates, or practical skills and creativity in simple legal issues, or even corporate legal advising as diversified as the profession.

They are inundated with theories like any other Nigerian profession, except theatre acts, without first hand practical experience. There is no Nigerian law faculty that has a legal clinic session or legal stimulation lab where students can demonstrate and rehearse theories learnt in class. Even majority of the legal educators have no practical experience in any field of law be it litigation, administration or even politics. They were hired right away from colleges after national youth service corps (NYSC) to maintain and preserve the status quo of lack of intellectual competition and/or critical thinking.

This lack of intellectual competition and/or critical thinking lead lawyers to participate as ministers in illegal and criminal governments that violated human rights abysmally and caused members of the executive committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to use their positions to solicit and accept appointment as Attorney-General of the federation or members of other governmental agencies. Even so, there are no sanctions by the NBA against such inglorious misconduct, since it is a mere resume bolster. NBA is a not for profit organization whose opinion with open mind should be based on research and investigation, that should be widely published, advertised and even lobbied for possible adoption by any government and/or any legislative body. Thus NBA has no set goals or objectives for a greater and better Nigeria, apart from deriding government’s policies for which it has no concrete solutions. Some of its executive members have various hidden individual ambitions. What happens is that some NBA executive members like other professional leaders readily criticize government to be part of that government? The body does not even welcome suggestions and solutions from the public.

The NBA ought to be in the forefront of providing legal education to Nigerians through various mass media. Such education would not only guarantee the rights of Nigerians, but would create jobs for young lawyers. For example how many Nigerians know that they have the right to sue for negligence under the following instances: failure of police to respond to distress call which caused a citizen damage or traumatic experience, or failure of any government to repair a sink hole which caused road accident or even death, or failure of INEC to ensure a peaceful election knowing well that Nigerian politicians are criminally violent and such violence could cause death or traumatic experience and did cause death or traumatic experience to innocent voters, or failure of political parties to call their supporters to order during election knowing that their supporters are disorderly and could engage in violent and criminal misconduct that  caused harm to innocent voters, or military harassment of voters on election day when they ought to be in Bakkasi defending our refugee brothers created by united nations international court of justice in collaboration with Nigerian leaders, or failure of hospital to follow trauma protocols in treating accident victim, or failure of a university to provide adequate security to prevent violent secret cult actions that caused death, rape or post traumatic stress disorder, or lawyers knowingly indulging in scam (419), or  a government official knowingly using government funds to fund political organizations and religious bodies, or  religious leaders, traditional rulers and state governments knowingly allowing their followers and citizens to kill and maim non-members of their religion and non-indigenes? The list of green area of litigation to refine our society is endless as that is the goal of law in general as an instrument of social engineering.

Though, NBA can sanction any attorney general or director of public prosecution who maliciously prosecute or cause the unlawful detention of another citizen or collaborates with government to disobey court orders. Yet there is no evidence of NBA sanctioning judges that were found corrupt in the early 2000s or lawyers openly paraded by the police for fraud. Lawyers are the precursor to make this happen. This can only happen through an effective bar leadership that provides continuous legal education for lawyers and the general public at large. A bar that challenges and seek review of antiquated laws and ensures that a director general of any commission that has power to review corporations does not sit in the board of corporations he or she ought to supervise as this is the greatest height of unprofessionalism and irresponsibility. For a judge cannot be a judge in his own course.

That Babangida’s law prohibiting tinted windshield of vehicles is anachronistic and antithetical to modern medicine, therefore should be expunged from our law books. This is how a 21st century lawyer thinks. Educating people and thinking beyond application for bail or using executive membership of NBA to solicit governmental appointment. Lawyers have the responsibility to promote justice by ensuring equal opportunity and accessibility to justice. NBA can only achieve this through mass media education.


In any case the Nigerian legal education needs complete surgical overhaul that would bring out the best and brightest legal minds in the world whose reasoning and actions would transcend monetary benefits and personal aggrandizements, but would focus on impacting lives regardless of race, tribe, creed, colour or financial standing. Therefore, the Nigerian Law School should be phased out and in its place should be the Council of Legal Education solely responsible for the conduct of general bar exam and scrutiny for call to bar. The council of legal education and NBA should jointly be responsible for accreditation of law schools and ensure that no new law school is opened in the next five years until all faculties of law, which thereafter become schools of law, meet the following requirements: Provision of sophisticated library and student learning centers with Internet facility, legal clinics and legal stimulator labs, at least 1,200 or more hours of legal clinic, court and chambers attachment with proof of work done.  The body of benchers in collaboration with the Nigerian Bar Association should call for a public hearing on the way forward for a new and vibrant legal education that is practical and obtainable by any Nigerian and inculcate critical thinking in its syllabus and emphasize practical training rather than theories as it is now done. NBA should desist from mere criticisms of government to actual participant by identifying problems and setting down the solutions and lobbying the legislature for legislation for their adoption or invoking the judiciary for judicial review of administrative actions as the  case may be. Therefore, Nigerian professionals, except theatre act, what is your policy?

Nasiru Nash Haruna Esq.
Charleston SC USA


© Copyright of pointblanknews.com. All Rights Reserved.