Sunday, April 26, 2015

"Learning The Law in Nigeria" -- "God I never knew that!"

Life is short. In Nigeria, it’s even more so. WHO data shows that any Nigerian above 55 is on extra time. We (are supposed to) live shorter lives than most other Africans.
That’s what makes Kehinde Adegbite’s first book How to Write Your Will with Ease important. What makes it more important is that it equips the reader to write their will without the services of a lawyer!
I remember listening, years back, to a lawyer’s lecture on “Will” and those Obahiagbonese: “A Will is a testamentary and ambulatory instrument.”, “A testator may bequeath his real and personal hereditament to his intended heirs...” At the end, the lecturer-lawyer succeeded in completely mystifying will writing. Adegbite’s first book undid that injury as it totally demystifies the entire will-writing process.
And now I’m concerned with his second book. “Learning the Law in Nigeria”. This fresh release is an important book for everyone and is accessible to anyone who can read and understand elementary English – which is why I think most lawyers should feel threatened right now. Our politicians are conceding defeat left, right and centre – so, no more job for the boys at the Tribunals – and a book is coming out to liberate Nigerians from professional legalese shackles. Not a good season for lawyers, I’m sorry.
There’s a common communication maxim: whatever can be said can always be said simply. To that I often add: except by a lawyer. Well … Barrister Adegbite has proved me wrong.
Throughout the 400+ pages, I kept on repeating aloud: “God, I never knew that!” Adegbite’s book is indeed not your typical law book both in the simplicity of its language and the exhaustive treatment of the subject matter in the Nigerian context.
Some jolting highlights for me include these: (1) you can represent yourself in court, even up to the Supreme Court except you’re being tried for a capital offence. (2) The law does not recognize “Mr and Mrs” as, say, the owner of a property. (Guys, get talking to Madam over this o)
I love Part XII of the book – the Law, Women and the Indigent. There he gives a long list of agencies and organisations in Nigeria – with addresses – which provide free legal services to the poor. If only the thousands languishing in detention today because they can’t hire a lawyer would have this information!

Before accusing me of undue promotion, check out the table of contents here.

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