A Lagos based lawyer, Mr. Sonnie Ekwowusi who is also the principal partner of the law firm, Sonnie Ekwowusi & Co, has called on lawyers to reflect on how to end impunity in the judiciary
In a statement made available to TheNigeriaLawyer (TNL) with endIMPUNITYinthejudiciary Hashtag, Ekwowusi said children and grandchildren cannot demand for better Nigeria while lawyers keep quiet without taking steps to cleanse the judiciary
“These are indeed times that try men’s souls.
“These are times for sober reflection for all Nigerian lawyers inclusive. In fact, Nigerian lawyers should at the moment be reflecting on how to end impunity in the dispensation of justice in Nigeria. Our children and grandchildren cannot be on the streets and in trenches struggling to enthrone a better Nigeria, and, we lawyers who are born leaders and officers in the temple of justice, are reluctant in cleansing the judiciary of it’s yesteryears accumulated rots.” he said
Ekwowusi narrated that a “strange travesty” happened to him many years ago at the Ikeja High Court presided over by a certain judge.
He said a lawyer boasted to him (Ekwowusi) that the Court was his (the other lawyer’s) court and vowed to show him (Ekwowusi) “pepper” and the lawyer had his way. He petitioned the presiding judge afterwards but yet nothing was done about it.
“My matter was called. I stood up and announced my appearance for my clients. Our learned colleague on the other side, who, to my utter shock, had openly boasted in open court, that the court was “his court” and that he would show me “pepper” in the matter, also stood up and announced his appearance. Midway in the hearing of the matter, the Honourable Judge got angry with me for allegedly claiming to have effected service when in her own estimation no service had been effected.
“Thereafter she angrily got up from her imposing seat, left the harrowed and sacred chamber of the Bench, furiously charged at me at the Bar in a manner that seemed as if she was challenging me to an open duel court. Who was I to engage a judge in an open altercation in an open court for that matter? So, what did I do in my scandalized state? I swiftly packed my bag and baggage and quit the court. Of course, in my absence, she continued with my matter and later ruled against my clients.
“On getting my office, I penned down a powerful petition against the Judge. To cut the long story short, nothing positive has come out of my petition since then.
The judge is now a senior judge who may Someday become Chief Judge.” he lamented
Ekwowusi called on lawyers not to keep quiet to suffer in silence anymore. He admitted that though protest cannot be staged, but lawyers should speak up.
He said, “You reading this has more woeful encounters to narrate. I know you have. But should we continue to keep quiet over all these oddities? No. Should we continue to suffer in silence? No. Should we senior lawyers continue to overlook travesties? No.
“Then let us do something now. Of course, we must NOT stage a protest. But let us speak up. Let us demand for an end to impunity in the judiciary.
“Evil thrives, justice us scuttled when learned gentlemen keep quiet.”