Day I scaled fence to escape being killed by rogues
Barrister Rafiu Oyeyemi Balogun obtained his LL.B from the University of Ilorin, Kwara State in 1998 and was called to the Nigeria Bar, 1999. Afterwards, he was elected Secretary of the Nigeria Bar Association, Ilorin branch in 2009 and after the expiration of his tenure in 2011, he won election to become Chairman of the association and served in that capacity till 2013. He also secured the position of the National Legal Adviser of the NBA in 2016. In this interview, the lead counsel of Balogun & Co, located in the state, speaks with KAYODE ADEOTI on his most dramatic day as a legal practitioner. Excerpts:
I have had series of dramatic moments in court, but I cannot forget my experience in Ekiti State some years back. I was the counsel briefed by E-11 group in Ekiti, Ekiti State and we were standing against Ayo Fayose, the present Governor of Ekiti state. It was during the time of election, so he was accused of lying on oath and as such, they said he was not qualified to contest for the governorship election.
On this fateful day, we commenced hearing and there was a short break, while we were consulting our files in preparation for the matter. Thugs invaded the court, and they were asking repeatedly, ‘where is Balogun?’, Immediately I realised I was the target, I became worried and scared knowing well that these people are deadly. And in a bid to avert been attacked, I scaled through the fence and went into the bush. It was God who saved my life, if those people had had prior knowledge of how I looked, only God know if I would have escaped the attack. In fact, it was Commissioner of Police and other security officials who came to rescue the judge; otherwise, it would have been a bitter day for him too.
One of these thugs carried a stool and smashed it on a lawyer’s head; I learnt they later performed brain surgery for that lawyer. The other lawyer had police escort. I have handled many cases but that one stood out because it involved an attempt on my life. There were several other times in Ekiti State that I had nasty experience in court, but God has been saving me in all.