Lagos: harsh criticism of legal profession
In an interview reported in Nigerian newspaper the Daily Independent, Professor Uche Uko Uche – who now teaches at the University of London – said it would be a ‘colossus tragedy’ if the judiciary were allowed to continue in its current state
He emphasised that judges and lawyers need to be more ‘above board, you have to be reliable, you have to be dependable. It should not be because the other man is related to you or he has met you in other capacity or he is a member of your club and you want to favour him’.
Too much influence
The system of judicial appointments in Nigeria has caused widespread concern, with Prof Uche arguing ‘the current system gives room for too much influence’ and that too few practising lawyers are appointed. He also criticised a ‘get-rich quick syndrome’, prompting lawyers to look for shortcuts in their profession.
Retirement provides additional problems for the judiciary; there are increasing calls for the pensioning-off age to be raised to 70 or even 80, putting pressure on the health of ageing judges.
Finally, Professor Uche offered some insights into the ‘deteriorating’ state of legal education in the country. He suggests possible benefits to introducing law as a second degree, despite the expense, arguing that ‘law is an expensive outing, if you cheapen it, you cheapen the practice’.