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Ayatutu Bar Is At Risk

Leadership, Stories 25/01/2022 by Doosuur Ukula

Barrister Kamo Sende shook social media on Friday, the 14th day of January 2022, causing reactions from numerous people with his post about the “Ayatutu Bar”. From his explanation, the Ayatutu Bar comprises of a forum of Tiv lawyers, some of whom are mentors and those who have positioned themselves to receive mentorship from the big and experienced wigs.

The main issue as analysed by the learned barrister is that, firstly, it is appalling that most Tiv senior lawyers have failed to understand the true concept of mentorship and positioning. Their mentees (who are junior lawyers) are made to suffer the furnace. Their reason for this awkward mentorship strategy is because they (the senior lawyers) also had a rough time during their days so the junior lawyers ought to have their own fair share of the suffering to appreciate the law, even though it is not necessary.

Secondly, another prevailing issue as analysed by him is the putrefaction of the noble profession. It is not a novel thing that the legal profession is a noble one and as such its practitioners should be treated nobly, however, this is not the case. It is now a normal sight to meet lawyers of even 5-10 years post-call who are working for a Tiv lawyer mounting motorcycles to court. It is so bad that some even trek to nearby courts. Whereas, these big lawyers can afford a flexible loan scheme for the junior lawyers so as to enable them to get vehicles. 

To make things even worse, there are lawyers who are consigned to work akin to labour for meagre wages in Benue State. Lawyers of 5-10 years at the bar are earning below N50,000 in Benue State. This is very bad as such income does not suit today’s current economic inflation and devaluation of the naira. How are such lawyers expected to remain dry through the heavy storm that has besieged Nigeria? This is one reason why some lawyers do dubious things just to earn a decent and proper living. Lawyers deserve better. This analysis by the learned barrister prompted this comment by one Miss Joy:

I’ve worked in (sic) High Court before and from there I know say lawyers no get money. They just hail them, barrister for mouth.

Thirdly and most pertinently, his analysis properly corroborated the tragic event on-going in Benue State which is also the theme of the post by the learned barrister. The issue of bad, poor and inadequate mentorship by most senior Tiv lawyers got him embittered. There are many senior lawyers who believe in being in the spotlight and top ladders of the profession alone. Most senior lawyers handle the cases and fail to trust those working under them with any case. The junior lawyers only follow their principals to court to answer their names and take the bow. For this reason, most lawyers working under these people fail to understand the rudiments and technicalities of the profession. The younger lawyer cannot use his name on briefs and this accounts for one of the reasons we have Tiv lawyers who can hardly apply for silk applications to enable him to become a senior advocate.

Sadly, this issue of poor mentorship (that is if it’s even qualified to be called mentoring at all) and positioning are like moths, eating deep into the fabrics of this profession in Benue State. We have too many naïve lawyers in court and this has led to the scantiness of Tiv sons and daughters in the inner court. How many Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) can tar Tiv boast of because of this reckless condition of mentorship? Other states have made great marks and achievements in this profession because of the good legal upbringing and powerful mentorship.

As the learned barrister had properly placed his analysis, it is conspicuously true as he said that, tar Tiv have never really been positioned for anything and the bulk of it has been due to failure in political leadership recruitment, and the overall failure has been the refusal to set a Tiv agenda.

From the several comments gathered, many people are disheartened that it is not just that legal profession that is in this turmoil, but many other professions are suffering the same fate in Benue State. Even architects, pharmacists, doctors and so on. It cuts across all the sectors in the state.

The vision is to set up an agenda for tar Tiv, to also improve on the strategy employed by these senior ones regarding mentorship and positioning. We need to rethink our path towards shared and collective prosperity. Ayatutu bar is at risk and will head to doom if Benue State continues to move blindly without a vision.

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