19 Nov 2012

Nigeria mourns death of Justice Kayode Eso

The death of retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria Kayode Eso has led to an outpouring of tributes in the country, with many describing his impact on the Nigerian legal system as immeasurable.

Nigeria: Kayode Eso mourned

Nigeria: Kayode Eso mourned Getty Images

The Nigerian Guardian reports that Oke Wali, president of the Nigerian Bar Association led the tributes to the 87-year-old. He said: ‘Justice Kayode Eso’s passage is a great loss to the legal profession and the country. But we must thank God for his gift and worthy life. The challenge is for us to sustain his legacy.’

Great mentor

The director general of the Nigerian Law School, Tahir Mamman added: ‘Eso’s passage is a huge loss to the law profession and of course our dear country. He was a great mentor and seemingly fixed like the Northern Star.’
Former bar association president Olisa Agbakoba, said Mr Justice Eso’s death ‘is massive loss’, adding that ‘he was a colossus at the bar. He was a colossus at the Supreme Court and will be remembered for the Eso Report on judicial corruption.’
In the Sunday Tribune, Aare Afe Babalola – founder of leading Nigerian law firm Afe Babalola & Co – commented: ‘Many Lawyers were loathe to appear before him as he had a reputation of ensuring that lawyers put in their best into the conduct of their cases ... some even wrongly considered him as snobbish when in truth it was simply a mark of his own confidence and his belief that excellence in the profession must be the continuous objective of all involved in its practice.
‘His judgments ... attest not only to his sterling performances as a judge, but more importantly, to his humanity.’

Uganda raid

Elsewhere in Africa, the Uganda Law Society has described a police raid on the offices of law firm M/S ON Osinde and Co Advocates last week as ‘discourteous and unwarranted’.
Local newspaper The Independent reports that the representative body called the raid  ‘an attack on the decency of the legal profession and an unjustified intrusion in the privacy of other firm’s clients not the subject of an investigation’.
According to the society, police investigators appeared unannounced and allegedly took away files following a search on 13 November.
The society added that it understands the powers of the police force to carry out searches under the Anti-Corruption Act, but added that they must take into account the confidential nature of a client-lawyer relationships.