Lawyer Warns Nigerians Over Jungle Justice, Calls For Law Abiding

By Jelili Gbadamosi

A Nigerian lawyer, Barrister Ifashola Opeodu, has extended a strong warning to Nigerians about the dangers of jungle justice.

 He also urged citizens to refrain from calling lawyers liars and to be law-abiding.

Opeodu made these remarks at the official commissioning of his Iperu law office to commemorate his birthday, 21 years post-call, and in memory of his late father, Sir Oba T. A. Opeodu.

He emphasized the responsibility of lawyers, stating that their duty is to uphold the principles of the rule of law. He asserted that the rule of law is vital to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He said, “From the layman’s perspective, who has no experience with law, lawyers are liars. 

“But when you look at it from a professional angle and from a perspective that benefits you, when a lawyer renders a service that suits you, then lawyers are not liars.”

“People have the notion that lawyers are liars because they do not understand the scope of the lawyer’s argument, especially from the legal perspective.

“ The way ordinary people view issues is quite different from how a lawyer handles them because a lawyer integrates the application of the law.

“ When a lawyer achieves success that contradicts the general view of the naive, then the lawyer is perceived as a liar,” he said.

He further explained the importance of lawyers in society, claiming that they help uphold the law of the country.

He said, “The lawyer only does his job and presents his case in accordance with the provisions of law and applies the principles of law governing the case. Lawyers are not liars.”

Opeodu claimed that Nigerians do not want lawyers to defend certain alleged criminals, such as murderers, kidnappers, rapists, or those accused of other serious crimes.

“You see, the need to defend anyone accused of a crime is a primary duty of all lawyers because nobody is guilty of any offense until it is proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said.

“An offense must be proven to have been committed by the prosecutor, and the accused person must be pronounced guilty by the judge,” he added.

He continued, “That’s why it is contained in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that every accused person is presumed innocent of the alleged offense until the contrary is proved.”

“So, before you can say someone committed an offense, you must prove that the person actually committed the offense,” he said.

“And not only must you prove that the person committed the offense, but you must also prove the intention of that person to commit the crime,” he explained.

“There are elements of proving whether someone committed murder or not. 

“The proof involves not only presenting the corpse but also establishing the circumstances that led to the person’s death.”

He highlighted that the deceased could have been killed accidentally, under provocation, in self-defense, or in the course of preventing a crime. 

“For instance, if someone attacks with a dangerous weapon and in self-defence, the attacker dies, it is considered different from killing someone intentionally. 

The court might decide that it is not murder but manslaughter. 

The ordinary person watching the proceedings might call the lawyer a liar, but the lawyer is not a liar,” he said.

He advised Nigerians to always ensure that justice is served in every situation.

“I also warn Nigerians against jungle justice. We have seen many instances where people are wrongly accused and attacked by miscreants who want to steal their valuable property.”

He further explained that kidnappers and ritualists in areas like Sango Ota and Igbesa are using this method in both remote and urban areas to accuse individuals and hand them over to the police under false pretenses.

 Before anyone realizes it, people start beating the accused,” he added.

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