#LawyerLivesMatter: Call to Action – Afam Osigwe, SAN seeks Justice for Uduak Adams
The lives of every lawyer, indeed every lawyer should matter and be strongly protected by the state. Many persons are mobbed and killed in Nigeria for allegedly committing offenses that range from the sublime to heinous ones. These persons are never allowed to defend themselves before their lives are oftentimes brutally snuffed out by a mob that increasingly sees itself as the trustworthy judge of justice.
Our dear colleague, Uduak Adams, recently fell victim to such vigilante Justice when she nearly lost her life to lynching by a mob that falsely accused her of kidnapping a child. In a Facebook Post, Arthur Amadi reported that she was falsely accused of kidnapping the son of a woman in the area where she went to look for accommodation.
According to her, she was mercilessly flogged with koboko (horsewhip), struck with planks, and subjected to numerous punches and kicks. She sustained severe and grievous bodily injuries and damage to her body.
She endured the brutal near-death assault and her accuser (now in detention), even called for her execution right on the spot. The gravity of the situation is further underscored by the fact that Uduak sustained severe damage all over her body.
Log in to primsol.lawpavilion.com and enjoy the best E-journals, textbooks, and many more
To subscribe to Primsol, go to store.lawpavilion.com.
The proclivity of mobs and law enforcement agents to brazenly violate the fundamental rights of Nigerians has taken a frightening incident of extrajudicial killings, assaults, and killings. The unwillingness of requisite agencies to investigate these crimes and bring the offenders to book has emboldened the perpetrators. One must note, that a state that ignores, condones, or adopts vigilante justice as a mode of punishment or addressing allegations of crimes, will unwittingly undermine its judicial system and administration of Justice. Such a state would also have the blood of many innocent victims of such crimes on its hands.
Uduak and many like her who are humiliated, assaulted, damaged, scarred for life, and sometimes mowed down should remind us that we have a lot of work to do in strengthening policing and ensuring that every citizen must be presumed innocent and have their day in court to answer to any allegations against them.
It is never too late to do the right thing. People must realize that they have no power to take lives or mete out justice to alleged offenders. The courts are there to do that. The Police and other law enforcement agencies must take urgent steps to stem this tide and save us from a descent into anarchy.
Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN