Your column in Daily Trust on Saturday on above subject refers. The lawyers are merely validating the adage that says: people disregard the log in their eyes to point at the speck in other people’s eyes.
The truth is that there is as much if not more negligence in our courts than in the medical practice. You can lose a case on technical grounds, that is not on the merits or demerits of the case but merely on the competence of your legal representative in court. In other words if you have a good lawyer you can win otherwise forget it.
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So, justice is for the highest bidder not whether you deserve to win. What lawyers forget is that any society where there is no justice that society cannot have peace or even thrive. This is what we are seeing in Nigeria as we have neither peace nor prosperity.
What I recently found very shocking was that often judges are promoted to higher courts (Court Of Appeal and Supreme Court) when they have pending cases in their courts and those cases have to be restarted all over again. I would have thought the No. 1 qualification for promotion to higher court would be the judge has no pending case. In other words any judge with pending cases would automatically be disqualified from promotion to the next level. Have they forgotten the maxim that justice delayed is justice denied?
Another injustice in our courts is the number of detainees in our prison system awaiting trial. In many prisons, people awaiting trial outnumber those convicted. In most cases, the detainee is kept far beyond the period he would have served had he been found guilty. This is terrible injustice, in fact of the highest order.
One way to eliminate the need for legal representation and to decongest our prisons is to create small claim courts where cases are dispensed with at a sitting and with no lawyers. The whole appeal system, especially in small claims cases, is merely to enrich the lawyers and doesn’t advance the cause of justice.
Engr. S. I. Sodangi