From the CourtPilot Law

Minimum Wage should be security issue – Barrister Akorede

Barrister Abdulrazaq Sheu Akorede graduated from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1991 and proceeded to the law school in 1992. In 1993, he had his practice at a law firm in Oshogbo before coming down to Ilorin to join Saka Isau & Co. (SAN). After spending two years, he later pulled out to establish Abdulrazaq Shehu & Co (Akorede Chambers) in Ilorin. In this interview with ACTING EDITOR, MUMINI ABDULKAREEM, the former Commissioner of Water Resources and onetime House of Assembly aspirant in the state shed light on some issues of interest in the polity. Excerpts:
Banditry and other kidnapping crimes have become rampant in Kwara State and across the country. How do you think the law can assist in this regard?
Well, naturally, it’s not as if we don’t have the laws, they are there. But no matter how we try, you don’t get to the middle of the field and shift the goalpost in a football match. That is one aspect of our problem. Secondly, irrespective of our solutions to these issues, a society that is not based on equity and justice will continue to live in shambles. That is exactly what is happening. If I have my way, the issue of the minimum wage should be part of security affairs one way or the other; it should not be left open. For whatever reason that an increment is made to the wages of workers, it should not be thrown open because at the moment such is done and the people are aware, there will be inflation and a corresponding increase in food items. The whole essence of increasing the minimum wage will be defeated. Furthermore, there is no equality in the amount of pay between workers and legislators and other certain categories of workers, yet we all go to the same market. We are only fooling ourselves not with all the allowances that the lawmakers and other categories of workers collect and yet, we find it difficult to pay workers N30,000. We are not living based on equity and fairness. The government ban the importation of rice for the masses, are we saying the local rice is what those in Aso Villa consume. The customs are there pursuing people here and there and they will eventually sell the cars they seized within themselves. There is no fairness, equity and justice in the land and that is why we having all these problems. Once there is social justice, then there can be maintenance of peace, law and order. The American system is there because it is based on these three principles even though they still have their own shortcomings.
Some protesters have called for the eradication of police from the street because of the atrocities of some SARS officials. How do you react to this?
On the issue of the EndSARS protest, while we agreed that the hoodlums actually hijacked it, but the issue is about the fact that they are youths and need a saner society and more structured society. Nobody would want to go against the protesters considering the brutality of the police. But if we say we don’t want the police again, then we have to make friends with the criminals. Even within the time that these agitations were on, we all saw what we actually went through. So we still need the police, the only thing is that apart from the issue of reformation, once people have the hope and confidence that there will be justice in all aspects of our endeavours including on the issue of minimum wage, there will be no problem. The police need to be well paid and well taken care of and once we achieve that, seventy-five percent of the police will be okay and that is a pass mark in all ramifications. They will tell you bail is free, but I can’t imagine when last I did bail for free and even your client will provide you money before you get there to bribe the police for bail.
Despite the fact the law doesn’t recognise diabolical means in the course of trials; the issue appears to be rife in the profession especially during cases. What is your take on this?
Although the court doesn’t recognise it on paper, but we know it exists let me be very frank with you. Agreed, as a Muslim, one is not supposed to believe in it but even the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) had their own challenges then about it and it was only God in His infinite mercy that rescued them. So they are there (diabolical issues) and we know they exist. But the only thing is that because it cannot be proved scientifically, that is why the court normally doesn’t recognise it. If the court feels it exist, how will it be proved scientifically? It definitely happens among lawyers but of course most common among the clients or litigants. I have a chieftaincy suit I am handling now which has gone on for about eight years and we have still not commenced hearing due to one or two reasons. But we have lost two of our witnesses already. So there is a way they (litigants) deal with themselves and we know all these things happen and even we lawyers are only protected by God especially when you think you don’t even believe in those things in the first place. But one has to be very close to God too. I have had several clients that have offered to give me some magical things. But where are they today is the question that I ask myself.

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