In a circular made available to our correspondent, Adegbite says he has “read on various platforms, the opinions expressed by some colleagues on the need for the senior members of the profession, especially the Senior Advocates of Nigeria, to come to the aid of young lawyers who are presently faced with dire situations of imminent hunger.
I have equally had a personal conversation with a senior colleague who has volunteered to even coordinate the fund drive for the benefit of the young lawyer, whose survival is being put at risk due to the compulsory shutdown of courts by the CJN, and recent restriction on movements imposed by the Federal Government and some State Governments across the country.”
According to him “COVID-19 as at the time of writing this piece has claimed 2,352 lives in the UK, 4,309 lives in the US, 9,053 in Spain, 13,155 lives in Italy, and several thousand in other countries like China, South Korea, Iran, and India, among others.
Over 887, 000 cases have been confirmed globally and the figure rises in thousands on a daily basis. This scary figure should tell any reasonable person that this is an unusual time, therefore, we cannot blame the Government for taking decisive action to stop or at least reduce the spread. The economy of the world has been brought to its knees by this pandemic. We have also seen many countries introducing measures to cushion the effects of the economic shutdown on the lives of their citizens.
Nigeria by virtue of the announcement by President Muhammadu Buhari during his address to the Nation on the 29th of March, also listed several relief packages for the poor masses, especially farmers and traders. The Central Bank of Nigeria had earlier announced N50billion Covid-19 credit facility for Small and Medium Scale businesses in Nigeria.”
Adegbite then asked: “what is the fate of lawyers? Or how does a lawyer benefit from these packages?”
He then advised that “the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association should engage the relevant authorities to secure an access line for the Nigerian lawyers and law firms in need of such intervention. Luckily, we have a President that is not only capable but has the requisite network to negotiate this intervention fund for the needy members and firms.”
He also advised “all Branches of the NBA to engage the wealthy senior members of their various Branches to come up with intervention funds for the benefits of the young lawyers and even senior lawyers that may find themselves in precarious financial situation as a result of the shutdown.
I am of the view that this is better done on Branch by Branch basis with the help of the leadership of Young Lawyers’ Forum who will identify their members in need of such intervention package.
This, however, does not stop wealthy seniors from extending assistance to Branches other than their local Branches as may be necessary. I have personally received countless calls from colleagues in the last 24hours who are genuinely in need of assistance during this period. It is time to put the welfare and wellbeing of Nigerian lawyers on the table. It’s time for discussion on the way forward. Nigerian Lawyers deserve intervention too.”