From the CourtPilot Law

MOST DRAMATIC: Day a judge gave me bench ruling

Abdulganiyu Bello was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2000 after attending the mandatory Law School. He holds LLM from the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife in Osun State in 2011 and Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) from Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin and still with intentions to further his studies.

Though later offered his dream course to study Common and Islamic Law by the Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto State after he reluctantly agreed to study Philosophy at the University of Ibadan, Bello got inspired from his very first day inside the court of law. It all started sometimes in 1987, when his aunt, Justice Titi Daibu was to be sworn in Magistrate Grade II. After seeing many advocates in suits, he picked-up the interest of becoming a lawyer. In this interview with ADETUNJI AYOBROWN he narrated his most dramatic day in court. Excerpts;

It was my first appearance in court  after my call to bar in November, year 2000. My principal called on me to get prepared that I will be going to court the next day because he would not be available.

Our client is locked in the prison, we had a motion for bail application which was supposed to be moved by my principal but for his absence. He wanted me to go to court and get a date for an adjournment for the case to enable him have better time to argue that particular bail application.

He wanted from me is to just announce my appearance and that tell the court that my principal would want to argue the case personally.

I was to announce my appearance and tell judge what my principal instructed me,

On getting to court that morning, it was before Justice S.M Akanbi, then chief magistrate now a high court judge. He said Mr Bello, ‘I can see you are a new wig’. When were you called? I said it was in October.

Exclaimed, and he asked, a month at the bar?

He went further, saying that “now that you have announced your appearance you just have to go ahead.

“Are you not a lawyer”, he asked me? You can’t just come here and ask for an adjournment date, so proceed with the case.

Shivering, I produced the motion paper and argued the case with the little I know.

The judge said, Mr Bello what is your response now that the prosecutor had filed a counter affidavit.

I paused for about a minute, dumbfounded.

But later, I picked up the courage to cite some legal angles in some paragraphs and the conclusion.

The judge applauded my courage and said yes, that was a good trial.

To my surprise that day, the judge gave me a bench ruling. He wrote the ruling right there and released the accused person on bail.

That was where I picked up my courage because I felt relaxed and very happy. That judge gave me a lot of encouragement.

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