By Daniel Bulusson, Esq

You need to know the law and how the system works. If you are ignorant, it is easier to be bullied, if you know what you are talking about, you have a fighting chance…” Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki.

So something funny and interesting happened while I was considering how to approach the topic of this article, I was reading a book on financial education (Rich Dad, Poor Dad) that was recommended by my Capital Markets lecturer (Professor A.R Agom) in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 2009. Back then, as a law student studying to become a lawyer, I felt there was no need for an undergraduate to read a book on financial literacy as law and accounting ought not to have a co-relation. Today, twelve (12) years down the road while reading ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’, I realize that I would not have sooo much liabilities than assets today if I had taken the book seriously back then.

How is this funny and interesting? Here I am as lawyer laying on my bed, racking my brain of how to educate and convince a non-lawyer why they need a lawyer, and then I stumble upon a quote that best illustrates the concept am trying to explain from a book I never thought was relevant to the education of a law student as an undergraduate, you get?

Most Nigerians have this erroneous belief that it is only when you get in trouble that they need the services of a lawyer, you hear statement like ‘me wey no like problem no need lawyer’, ‘why I want get lawyer, I dey plan enter trouble neh?’ and the likes, unknown to these set of Nigerians, it is more expensive not to know the law, than to hire the services of a lawyer who can educate you on legal steps to take, for if you know you are right, you will not be afraid of fighting back.

Let us use a practical scenario to explain my point, a landlord being owed three {3} months rent wants to evict a lawyer, instead of getting the services of the lawyer to follow the due process, decides to forces his way into the flat of the tenant, packs his/her property and keep for the tenant outside, forgetting that ‘where the right of one man end, na there another man own begin’. Or the scenario of a person being owed money who decides to go report to the police station and get a debtor arrested, rather than hiring the services of a lawyer to write a letter of demand first.

Someone might ask, how are the steps taken by the landlord and creditor without the involvement of a lawyer more expensive? When the tenants comes back home and sees his/her property outside, runs to a lawyer to complain, the next thing that happens is the landlord being served with a law suit for forceful entry/trespass and a claim for damages of N1 million from the tenant, or the Debtor who gets arrested then sues the Creditor for breach of his/her fundamental human right and asks for damages of N1 million also.

Now the landlord and creditor had a right which if enforced in accordance with the law would have cost him less, is now faced with a law suit claiming damages more than the rent or debt owed, saving two (2) kobo then end up spending (2) Naira, all because you didn’t consult a lawyer before making that move.

Lest not forget that because of these steps taken by the landlord and creditor before a lawyer was consulted, now makes the job more difficult for a lawyer when he is eventually hired by the landlord and the creditor, by then, the whole matter has been muddled up with legal mistakes which could have been avoided in the first place, the one who was right in the first place is now struggling to save himself from paying damages.

The sum of the whole gist be say, no be only when you enter trouble you need lawyer, always consult a lawyer before you make that move in a law related matter, no dey reason am say u fit handle the matter without a lawyer, e fit cost you more at the end of the day.

May God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

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