Could you briefly introduce yourself?
I’m Barr Titus Onuora Odo. I’m Lagos based human rights lawyer.I’m the Principal Partner of Odo nwodo Chambers and the Director General of Human Rights Global Awareness Initiative, a human rights foundation that is concerned about the human rights violations and abuses here in Nigeria.
What area(s) interests you?
Here in Nigeria, the practice of law is rarely into compartments. We have what we call General practice.However, I have passion for criminal law practice and that’s why you see that almost every brief we handle is basically human rights enforcements.We engage in prison visitations using my human rights foundation as vehicle for human rights redress.
What do you like most about legal practice?
I have passion for legal profession generally but what I like most is the the fact that what bothers me most of the times is other people’s problems.It’s not about the financial benefits because you find out that most of the matters we do are pro bono.You will be convinced when you visit our prisons.Most of them are there because they are unable to perfect their nails.
Why do you choose to be a lawyer?
I chose to be a lawyer because lawyers are role models in the society.People look up to them anywhere and everywhere. Also lawyers are change agents and I had no option than to join the noble profession in order to contribute my quota in building the nation.
The most critical time in my practice as a lawyer was in 2008 when I was still fresh in the bar. I was sent by my principal to Special Anti Robbery Squad in Ikeja here in Lagos to go and bail somebody who was allegedly accused of kidnapping a top banker in one of the new generation banks.On getting there, i made the necessary enquiries.So, i met the IPO and demanded to see the suspect.Well,to cut a long story short, i had a professional baptism of fire and the rest is history.
What do you think determines progress in legal practice?
In legal practice,what determines success is first and foremost,Grace of God and favour.Apart from God factor, the second which is the one we have control is integrity.Any lawyer who wants to get to the apex of his profession should try to live above board.He or she should try to abide by the ethics of the profession.He or she should as much as possible keep away from both unprofessional conducts and professional misconducts.
What are your outside interests and hobbies?
I like reading classic novels and traveling.
Have you ever benefited from your disappointment/mistake?
As a young lawyer i cut my professional teeth under the tutelage of Bonajo Badejo & Co.Just a couple of days after my call to bar, i was sent to federal high court Ikoyi and the matter was for ruling. I was representing the claimant.Imagine, when the matter was called up, all i did was to stand up to indicate my presence,not knowing that i was supposed to announce my appearance. Lucky enough, i was later guided but not without some embarrassments.
Who has been most influential in your life?
So many people have really influenced my life but the only person who has been so influential that that I can’t forget is my uncle who is brain behind my going to school. After my waec exam,my mind was made up to travel to Onitsha to undergo apprenticeship but as luck would have it, my uncle insisted that i must go to school. On that ground, i sat for jamb, reluctantly though and made it. Thank God for Dr.Boniface Odugu who is currently a consultant in obstetrics and gynecology at Esuth Teaching hospital.
Your word of encouragement to young lawyers?
I encourage young lawyers to be honest in their dealings.They should try to abide by the ethics of the profession by maintaining a distant relationship with unprofessional conduct and professional misconduct. It’s a home truth that if you want to get to the apex of your profession, you must be ready to learn from seniors.